Chalcedon Foundation Back-Pedals On Defending Doug Phillips

Chalcedon Foundation Lifetime Supporters Maligned by Chris Ortiz

Like one who takes a dog by the ears
Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him. Prov. 26:17

On May 7, 2007, the Chalcedon Foundation posted a lengthy article on their blog entitled In Defense Of Doug Phillips. However, the article stayed up just a matter of several hours and was hastily replaced by a much briefer two-paragraph article, entitled Beware Agents Of Defamation.

I consider both articles to be misleading and misrepresentative of the facts. However, I also have to wonder what the full story is behind Chalcedon yanking the first lengthy article and replacing it with the second very brief article? It would seem that the article’s author, Chris Ortiz, went off half-cocked and, recognizing his blunder, quickly decided to back up and regroup.

The first Chalcedon article would have been a major coup for Doug Phillips. However, it didn’t stay up nearly long enough for him to have been able to use it to his advantage. Had he tried to use it, and then found that it had suddenly been yanked, that could have been very embarrassing. The fact that it was taken down so hastily raises all kinds of questions. I don’t know if the removal and replacement of the original In Defense Of Doug Phillips article posed an embarrassment to Doug Phillips, but its appearance certainly didn’t pose any embarrassment to me. Therefore, I’ve reposted it below.

I do know that more than one person has contacted Chalcedon Foundation to express their displeasure over Chris Ortiz’ original article. Was Chalcedon responding to the pressure of these complaints from some of their own donors? It would appear so.

In his original article, Chris Ortiz acknowledges the long standing friendship between Chalcedon Foundation and the Phillips family. This friendship is obviously far more important to them than the facts in my case, but still not so important that Chris Ortiz isn’t concerned about how his original article, and even his current article, might adversely affect donor support for Chalcedon. It would seem that this friendship with the Phillips family isn’t of so strong a bond that it’s invulnerable to the pressure exercised by Chalcedon’s own financial supporters.

Here is Chris Ortiz’ hastily posted back-up-and-regroup article:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Beware Agents Of Defamation

A letter has been circulating to various homeschool oriented groups and individuals that calls for organizations to disassociate themselves from Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. You may have received or read such a correspondence. As an organization that is friendly to the Phillips family and Vision Forum, we recommend that you disregard this correspondence and any and all web sites espousing such defamation and strife. The husband and wife team that sent this letter are currently under church discipline, and the accuracy of their personal complaints are contradicted by reputable ministries.

Please pray for Doug Phillips and Vision Forum that the Lord will dissuade these fellow Christians from this needless campaign. Since the letter calls for organizations to disassociate with Doug, I want to make clear that the Chalcedon Foundation continues joyfully in it’s friendship with the Phillips family and Vision Forum. I suggest you do the same.

I can’t imagine that Doug Phillips was at all pleased to see the above article hastily replace the original article of May 7. Nevertheless, the article has a far more inflammatory and misleading title than the original article had. I don’t consider it a minor thing to be accused of “defamation.” Chris Ortiz needs a dictionary:

Defamation: To damage the reputation, character, or good name of by slander or libel.

You can’t defame someone with the truth. You can only defame them by slander or libel. Mr. Ortiz fails to specify how I’m guilty of slander and/or libel. At no time has Chris Ortiz ever contacted me. However, I’m aware that he has been in contact with Vision Forum and even dialogued extensively with Matt Chancey. Apparently, Chris has been very eager to get Doug Phillips’ side of the story, and only Doug Phillips’ side of the story.

Here is Chalcedon’s original article:

Monday, May 07, 2007

In Defense of Doug Phillips
A letter is circulating within the isolated halls of the Christian homeschooling blogosphere that represents an appeal to the homeschooling community of both individuals and organizations to disassociate themselves from the “ecclesiastical tyranny,” and other assorted evils, of Doug Phillips, founder and president of Vision Forum.

I am responding to this letter only because the appeal is made to associated organizations that might “give him a platform from which he can promote his views.” The writer seeks to “protect the Christian homeschool movement” by isolating and relegating Doug Phillips “to the outer fringes where he properly belongs, and where he can do little harm.”

For a good many years, the Chalcedon Foundation, and the Rushdoony family, have enjoyed a mutually edifying friendship with Doug, his personal family, his father (Howard), and many of the fine staff at Vision Forum. Doug Phillips was a featured speaker in 2005 at our 40th anniversary conference and is a vocal endorser of the ministry of R. J. Rushdoony. Granted, I’ve rarely met Christian leaders that agree on every point, but the calling for Doug’s isolation is an unjust and immoral appeal. It lacks a Biblical basis, and despite the author’s denial, reeks of a personal vendetta.

The author of the letter is a woman by the name of Jennifer Epstein. Her and her husband Mark have both hosted and participated in a number of web sites focusing on Doug Phillips and Vision Forum (See Jen’s Gems, Ministry Watchman, and Ultimate Truth). The word count dedicated to “exposing” Doug Phillips is enormous.

Mrs. Epstein extensively details the problematic relationship with Doug Phillips at her blog, “Jen’s Gems: Exposing Doug Phillips’ Ecclesiastical Tyranny” — a rather odd title for a blog. I’m not sure how the “Jen’s Gems” part fits with “exposing ecclesiastical tyranny.” How is public exposure of a Christian leader a gem?

The account of the Epsteins and Doug Phillips is too detailed to cover here. Although that history is needed to understand the full context of any events, only Jennifer Epstein has taken the time to type it out. Doug has not. Therefore, the story is one-sided, and for that reason, no responsible Christian should respectfully adhere to her admonishment to dissolve a working relationship with Doug Phillips and Vision Forum.

The local church in which the Epsteins encountered Doug, and where Doug serves as an elder, did release a few official statements regarding the Epstein controversy. You can read them here. This is a disappointing and obviously painful history for all parties involved, but the efforts being made by the Epsteins to discredit Doug Phillips are irresponsible, in my opinion.

Let me say at the outset that I have no doubt that the Epsteins have experienced great personal pain brought on by themselves and possibly by the actions and treatment of others. Because we are not privy to both sides, we cannot make a judgment as to the nature of their case. We also shouldn’t need to. This is a private ecclesiastical matter that should not be burning up the blogosphere. That’s where I have a problem.

The Epsteins struggled severely for a good many years due to an act of adultery on the part of Jennifer Epstein that led to the birth of a child that they put up for adoption. This transgression occurred prior to the Epsteins becoming Christians, and Jennifer regularly insists that her sin is off limits for consideration by her husband, Mark, or anyone else that might criticize her. Christ has forgiven her, and so should everyone else. Fair enough.

However, years of anger had built up in Mark Epstein, and their marriage deteriorated to the threshold of divorce. Jennifer viewed the problem as primarily Mark’s anger over her past adultery. This is not surprising. Such a thing is no cakewalk for a man, as the Scriptures declare:

For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, thou that givest many gifts. ~ Proverbs 6:34-35

I have a very close Christian friend whose marriage finally ended in divorce for the very same reasons. His wife committed adultery with the worship leader of their local church. She repented of it, but he could never forget about it. This affected him emotionally, and soon others would accuse him of being bi-polar and in need of medication for his seasons of anger toward his wife.

Anger, like pain, is the indication that something is terribly wrong. Anger doesn’t linger, or increase, if there’s nothing to be angry about. It’s likely, with the Epsteins, that Mark was experiencing the lack of justice or restitution for the sins committed against him. Like my friend, asking him to forgive and forget was a tall order.

This is why God permits divorce for adultery. The “excommunication” is part of the restoration process for the offended spouse. Mark was not able to experience this. He continued to live with the woman that caused his personal pain. This only encouraged his imagination to replay his wife’s adultery. Giving birth to the child must have significantly compounded Mark’s heartache. But Jennifer decries anyone that mentions the “sin” which she committed before she became a Christian. Practically, this is an unreasonable request when it becomes the source of later tension that itself becomes the source of a local church conflict. You reap what you sow.

The season of their greatest struggle was spent at Boerne Christian Assembly (BCA), the home church of Doug and Beall Phillips. Jennifer provides a detailed account of her version of the transpiring events that prompted her campaign to “expose” Doug Phillips. The leaders at BCA emphatically deny these allegations, and two other churches provide their confirmations that seriously question the Epsteins’ allegations. Despite this, the Epsteins continue to defame the names of Doug and Beall Phillips as well as the ministries of Vision Forum and the associated National Center for Family-Integrated Churches.

Much of the accusation — as the title of Jennifer’s web site implies — is focused upon what Epstein describes as “ecclesiastical (and patriarchal) tyranny,” i.e. the oppression of women within the Christian home, and the suppression of Mrs. Epstein within the church. In one sense, Doug is absorbing the general criticism of all patriarchy adherents. This is hardly justified. The theological discussion of patriarchy should be engaged in a different forum by someone other than Jennifer Epstein.

As to the personal allegations, the evidence is circumstantial. Phillips denies these accusations, but he has not sought to publicly defame the Epsteins. He’s also not written a response to every detail of Jennifer’s account. I think this is wise. Since Doug is the face of Vision Forum, and the Epsteins intend to tarnish both, Doug must respond to this as any sizable organization would — with official statements. The more the Epsteins drone on about Doug on their respective blogs, the more this appears to be a personal vendetta. I cannot see what good they hope to obtain by this method.

Again, I am only responding for the sake of those few readers of this blog that are also familiar with Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. You are probably aware of the extended friendship between Chalcedon and Vision Forum. They have done much to introduce a great many to the work of R. J. Rushdoony. We know Doug. We don’t know the Epsteins. So, when I became aware of the intent of the Epstein’s letter, I felt it necessary to say something in response.

I’m sure the testimony of Mrs. Epstein regarding the painful path of her marriage is valid and her feelings real. I hope that she understands that regardless of Christ’s forgiveness, there is often a harvest for seed we’ve sown. I admire their attempts at making their marriage work, and I genuinely hope they can find the peace they’re looking for. I would caution them from redirecting their pain and bitterness from themselves to Doug Phillips. You cannot blame him for your history. Remember, none of this would have developed had the initial transgression not been committed. To lay their present burden at the doorstep of Doug Phillips is an unjust balance — something the Lord hates (Prov. 11:1).

The damage is done. She has sent out her letter and posted all the details on her web site. She has admonished Christian organizations like Chalcedon to disassociate themselves from Doug Phillips because of her personal encounter with him. This is faulty reasoning. The two things are not connected. She knows this. Therefore, to make it sound less personal, she has expanded the tarnishing of Doug Phillips by introducing other accusations.

She accuses Doug of being “insensitive and callous” regarding an article he wrote after the Virginia Tech shooting in which he suggested that students should be permitted to carry guns. She brings up an internal dispute about the veracity of a documentary entitled “Raising the Allosaur.” She accuses Phillips of being a closet racist because of his endorsement of the writings of R. L. Dabney. (Well, that would put a great many of us in the same light. I love Dabney).

Do you see the problem here? These are important issues, but they are also disputes over doctrine or debates over social positions such as slavery or the second amendment. They hardly warrant the sort of defamation campaign the Epsteins are presently pushing.

Therefore, there is no other conclusion than that the Epsteins are doing this for personal reasons. To say this has to do with protecting the reputation of homeschooling in general is beyond disingenuous. At one point in her letter she mentions the indelible issue of her adultery; that subject we’re all supposed to forget about:

Without any due process whatsoever, Doug Phillips unjustly excommunicated us for sins that we’d already repented of, as well as sins for which there wasn’t a shred of evidence to support. In fact, one of Doug’s charges against Jen was over a sin that she had committed years before she had even become a Christian, and years after she had repented of that sin! The Lord Jesus forgave her of that sin over seventeen years ago, but apparently Doug Phillips’ standards of forgiveness are far higher than the Lord’s.

This one was hard to swallow. The prose makes it sound as if Mark is making this statement, but if you read Jennifer’s whole account regarding her own marital strife, Mark was the one who struggled most with “forgiving” her:

“Mark continued to grow increasingly angry, threatening divorce almost daily, until one day it seemed as if it would become a reality. Retiring from 20 years in the Army, he had a job offer in another state and decided to leave us for good.”

“Things were becoming so bad at home, however, as the emotional abuse escalated to new heights and we began fearing for our physical safety, that I decided to formally approach Mark in March 2004 in the spirit of Matthew 18 as well, pleading with him to repent from his anger and to turn his heart toward his family again.”

For years his deep resentment resulted in constant anger, threats of divorce, and finally endangerment. However, this letter makes it sound as if Mark is bewildered at how Doug can’t seem to find forgiveness for Jennifer’s 17 year-old act of adultery: “The Lord Jesus forgave her of that sin over seventeen years ago, but apparently Doug Phillips’ standards of forgiveness are far higher than the Lord’s.” Are they kidding?

Folks, this is a private conflict that one party has decided to make public. And, if the principle of forgiveness is supposed to reign here, then why doesn’t Jennifer follow her own standard? If she can criticize her own husband for not forgiving her past sin, and she can criticize Doug for the same, then why can’t she simply release Doug as well and move on with her life?

She doesn’t want to. She wants justice! That’s what her husband sought all those many years. He was sinned against, and there seemed to be no penalty. Jennifer simply let her adultery and illegitimate child be washed away in the blood of Jesus and the adoption agency. Mark would have to forgive as Christ forgave. He struggled with that. There was no justice for him.

Yet, she will have her day of justice against Doug Phillips — even if she has to ruin his life’s work to do it. She claims she has sought reconciliation through proper channels on two different occasions. That’s well and good. In both instances, she says, Doug refused their offers of reconciliation. That’s also well and good. Then she says, “We’re not motivated by vengeance. We’re motivated by a genuine concern for the well being of the Christian home school movement.”

This logic does not follow. How does one go from failure to personally reconcile over a serious ecclesiastical matter to warning the public about a man’s beliefs about patriarchy, the second amendment, and reading an old Southern theologian that endorsed slavery? How does one make such a leap? Her personal conflict with Doug Phillips does not warrant a public defamation of his ministry.

The Epsteins want justice — plain and simple. They claim they’re following the Scriptures in approaching Doug Phillips. Now, Doug has left them with no recourse. They are going to a higher authority, i.e. the public! They should be going to God. It’s not their responsibility to extract this justice by their own hand. They are seeking penalties by defaming the Phillips’ name and hindering the work of Vision Forum. If you read their personal account, you’ll see the motivation is highly personal. Jennifer Epstein states the purpose for her letter to homeschoolers regarding Doug Phillips by writing:

“It’s vital that the most prominent of our home school leadership be men and women of impeccable reputation and strong moral character. We’re* very concerned that one of the most prominent of our home education leaders runs the risk of causing the entire home school movement great damage.”

I would agree. Impeccable reputation and strong moral character are vital. However, does this not assume that she is both an example of such an impeccable reputation and a clear judge of that same quality in others? She herself states that she is a part of the “home school leadership”:

“I’ve* been a Christian home educator for twelve years now and have been president of a local home school group for seven years. I’ve* been active in the home school community for quite some time and have helped to coordinate numerous home school functions and co-ops in the San Antonio, Texas area and have worked at many homeschool conventions.”

*Notice the change from second to first person in this last paragraph. Although the letter is signed by “Mark and Jennifer Epstein,” it’s obviously her letter.

I don’t think a woman suffering years from a crumbling marriage brought on by her own immorality, and facing church discipline, is an example of impeccable reputation and strong moral character. Therefore, she is on very weak ground to be spreading her side of the BCA controversy all over the internet. After all, I found out about this letter on a secular web site that regularly condemns Christian conservatives. These are sites that already war against homeschooling and regularly have men like Doug Phillips in their crosshairs. Mrs. Epstein has made a bold step in making these matters public. She better hope she’s right. The heavenly reciprocity may not be to her liking.

posted by Chris Ortiz at 5:02 PM

There is much that I can say about Chris Ortiz’ own personal interpretation of the events, aided of course by the input of his friend, Doug Phillips. However, instead of offering my own analysis of Chris’ articles, I’d like to open things up for discussion and comment. Readers are also welcome to ask me questions (as Chris himself should have done) about these two Chalcedon articles. Feel free to contact Chris Ortiz directly at theonomy@mac.com What I will say at this point is that I simply don’t understand why Chris Ortiz would want to drag The Chalcedon Foundation into this. It wasn’t his fight.

A Personal Note To Chris Ortiz: Chris, your donor relations skills are atrocious. Before you start attacking people and accusing them of “defamation,” etc., it would be smart to first look up their names in your own database just to make sure they’re not Chalcedon donors. Did you know that the Epsteins are Lifetime Members of Chalcedon? You do now. Because Doug Phillips spoke so highly of Chalcedon, we became supporters while we were members of Boerne Christian Assembly. I’m sure you also now understand why we will never again financially support Chalcedon. It’s not because of Doug Phillips. It’s because of you. Chalcedon has you to thank for that, Chris. Chalcedon also has you to thank for losing Cynthia Kunsman as a financial supporter. Chris, how many more donors will you cost Chalcedon?

Advertisements

222 Responses to “Chalcedon Foundation Back-Pedals On Defending Doug Phillips”

  1. Jen Says:

    Sometimes tax issues are on topic — like those regarding Chris Ortiz and Chalcedon. Sometimes they aren’t. 😉

  2. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Lin quoted someone above saying that if we tell the truth, what do we have to fear…

    That doesnt’ work all the time in the world. It certanly didn’t help Jen and Mark in a community of Christians. We wouldn’t be here discussing this if the world were truly fair. Sadly, the church is sometimes more harsh than the world. Tribulation is sometimes unavoidable, and we are often wounded even in the house of friends.

  3. David M Zuniga Says:

    Lin,

    I understand; the IRS does indeed train their down-line people to be ruthless. But a lot of them don’t enjoy it, and they leave “the Service” because they grow weary of “serving” the beleaguered Taxpayer in that way.

    My original point regarded Chris Ortiz’ silly and unlawful divulging of a “tax exempt donation” by someone posting on this blog — suggesting that we should not even MAKE donations with a tax deducation in mind, even if we’re ignorant enough to remain in the ‘Taxpayer’ line.

    My next point was that many times, the IRS operative is not the monster (s)he is painted to be. They often despise their employer’s state-sponsored terrorism just as much as their victims do. So I asked that people please put the black hats on the right heads: corrupt politicians in Congress with insatiable appetites.

    This is germane to the discussion of what Chris Ortiz did; and is germans to the discussion of how Chalcedon pays its bills every month. If it was an impeccably honest, ethical Christian organisation, it would leave its 501c3 racketeering behind, and depend on the provision of the Lord.

    But Chalcedon will not do that, for it enjoys its present cashflow largely by feeding that beast of false motivation: the 501c3 machine.

    THAT was my central ethical point, and the corollary — both of which I trust Jen will acknowledge are very much on point in this discussion.

    Have a wonderful Lord’s day!

  4. David M Zuniga Says:

    Erratum:

    “tax deducation” should have read “tax deduction”. I guess I can’t ever get education off my mind!

  5. David M Zuniga Says:

    N.B.: I don’t suggest that Chalcedon is at all unusual in using the 501c3 structure to increase the inflow of “donations”.

    Because of the proliferation of lawyers and “litigation-think” in our society, I have the hardest time convincing those who are planting a new local church, that they don’t have to incorporate under the State (it is folly to do so), and they really don’t need to file for inclusion under Section 501c3 of the Tax Code.

    Every bona fide church and/or religious organisation in America is already tax-exempt by law, and so Taxpayers can already deduct their ‘donations’ to such organisations, whether or not the organisation has filed under 501c3.

    The reason I place ‘donation’ in quotes is that the money ceases to be a gift/donation the minute that person takes a tax-writeoff on it. They are getting that money back, in effect; or at least avoiding paying an equal amount to the DC al-Qaeda, by paying it to the 501c3 operator.

    It’s a racket that Chalcedon plays as well as any other 501c3. It’s amazing to see how little faith is found in the Church today, as one surveys the landscape. If “men of God” were truly just that, this republic would not look anything like it does today!

    Lord, have mercy on us, sinners.

  6. Jen Says:

    David, do you think that all Christian taxpayers give to organizations like Chalcedon simply so that we can take a tax deduction? Do you give money to the Lord’s work? If so, why? You know you won’t get anything back for doing so. I am of the opinion that if we take a tax deduction for giving to the Lord’s work while here on earth that we already have our reward and we will not get another one in heaven. We did not claim any of these gifts this year.

    I like to give just because I want to help support a ministry I believe in.

  7. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen:
    I am of the opinion that if we take a tax deduction for giving to the Lord’s work while here on earth that we already have our reward and we will not get another one in heaven.

    Morgan:
    So then those of us that recieve the statements from their church treasurers at the end of the year and take the deduction will have no reward in heaven? Are you saying that this is a point of salvation? (ie no reward in haven…heaven IS our reward…). Choosing to claim or not to claim is a personal one….or is this more BCA holdover theology…or is this your personal belief regarding all other christians that take the deduction?

    double sheesh on home baked bread with a double slab of french butter….and some good grief thrown in as well….

  8. Jen Says:

    No, Morgan, rewards are not the point of salvation. I think that we will be rewarded in heaven for our life here on earth. Those things that are wood, hay, stubble will be burned up. That’s probably a lot of our life. Those things that will endure — gold, silver, precious stones — will be the ones that we will be rewarded with in heaven. I think these rewards are totally separate from our salvation. I also think that when we take praise here on earth for something we’ve done for the Lord, we already have our reward for that. There are many great preachers, for instance, who bask in their glory now. What will their reward be when they get to heaven?

    This is a very minor issue to me, Morgan, but I do think God delights in a cheerful giver who doesn’t look for an earthly reward such as a tax write-off. But I want to be clear that I do not in any way think it is a sin for a Christian to take tax deductions for giving. It is a personal choice and I don’t mind if you disagree with how I do it. 🙂

  9. Jen Says:

    BTW, Morgan, the only reason I brought it up was to refute David’s apparent assertion that Christians only give for the purpose of tax write-offs.

  10. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    On tax deductions and giving:

    As I believe that as our country becomes increasingly more socialist and $ gets tighter, we will eventually lose tax deductions for such gifts. Then we (through ministries losing support) will see just who gives to get a tax deduction and who gives completely for the right reasons.

    In the 9/11 and Katrina aftermath, many people did not give more but just redirected what they gave to these causes from other charities. Only about a Pareto Rule 20% of evangelical Christians give tithe anyway, based on many studies. In fact, I think that it’s actually less than 20%, not even adhereing to the 80/20 Pareto pattern.

    I believe that claiming tax deductions for giving falls under the “meat sacrificed to idols” catagory in the standards of Christian living. As long as the specifics of the information remains private and in consideration of all that the government extorts to pay for a whole host of things that I don’t remotely support, I will take advantage of deductions as long as we have the privlege. As you’ve heard all the tax payer’s party “fire the IRS” stuff by now from Dear Doug, I’ll spare you.

    I may change my mind too. Like all of these specifics, we all come to the table with different experiences. We are all at different places on the path to full sanctification, and things that convict me now did not in the past, and vice versa. Thank God for his enduring mercy and his new mercy evey morning for giving us the liberty to be different and “in process.” As long as our hearts do not condemn us, then we have confidence before Him.

  11. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Morgan:
    “Choosing to claim or not to claim is a personal one….or is this more BCA holdover theology…or is this your personal belief regarding all other christians that take the deduction?”

    Jen:
    “It is a personal choice and I don’t mind if you disagree with how I do it. ”

    I never DID DISAGREE with your methods. This is America. Knock yourself out on that 1040. I do not appreciate having my motives examined and stated as thus:

    “This is a very minor issue to me, Morgan, but I do think God delights in a cheerful giver who doesn’t look for an earthly reward such as a tax write-off. ”

    How do you know what I am looking for without asking me? Is this one of those Gothard heart issues methodology things you are still doing? Seems to be. By the way…its very hurtful too. So my write off is some kind of earthy reward?????? yeah tell that to my bank account…..you might not like the answer….

    It is a big deal with me because it explains so much about what is wrong in the evangelical world.

    I have had to edit this post four times and delete because I am SO angry and hurt.

  12. Lin Says:

    “THAT was my central ethical point, and the corollary — both of which I trust Jen will acknowledge are very much on point in this discussion”

    Sorry guys…I got off topic. Anything “IRS” does that to me. I need to read David’s blog.

  13. Lin Says:

    “So then those of us that recieve the statements from their church treasurers at the end of the year and take the deduction will have no reward in heaven? Are you saying that this is a point of salvation? (ie no reward in haven…heaven IS our reward…). Choosing to claim or not to claim is a personal one….or is this more BCA holdover theology…or is this your personal belief regarding all other christians that take the deduction?”

    Morgan, I take every penny I can in deductions instead of allowing the evil state to get it, so I concur with you. (Please, David, no lectures, I am coming to your blog soon :O)

    With that said, if we really look at all the teaching in the NT about ‘giving’ where is the command or standard? It is basically summed up as: if your brother needs help, sell your stuff and help him. Be cheerful in giving, etc.

    Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and Ceasar allows me to deduct!

  14. CynthiaGee Says:

    I’m inclined to agree with Jen on the whole tax deduction issue, but then, that’s easy for me, since I seldom have more money that it takes to keep food on the table and a lighted, heated roof over our heads, and, if I do have money to spare, I usually give it to other poor people, who need it, rather than to a church, who doesn’t.
    Still, to each his own, as his own conscience dictates. The fact that experienced, well grounded believers can and do disagree on this issue shows us that the Bible doesn’t clearly dictate what we ought to do here: therefore, it is a matter of liberty.

    I will note one thing though — some churches who DO teach that it’s wrong to take the deduction may well do so because they don’t want records of their donation income floating around for just anybody to find. Think about it.

  15. Corrie Says:

    I am sure that most of us who deduct our giving on our tax returns, do not give with that in mind. I know I don’t. I give with no view to what I will get back. But, many “tithers”, those who believe scripture commands a 10% at least giving, do give with what they will get back and use the verse “test me” to show that we should be looking to see God opening up the storehouses when we give to Him.

    I believe that we are to be cheerful givers and give according to what God has laid on our hearts with NO view as to what we will receive in return.

    I am not giving to get a write-off. I would give regardless of any deduction I receive. If anything, it just allows me more money to give in return!

    Nor does taking the deduction for charitable giving mean that this is our reward and we don’t have any rewards in heaven. And I think that is what people are reacting to because it infers that we DO have motives and that we get no “reward” for our giving on this earth.

    How about the parable of the wicked steward? The first two stewards invested their money and made money. The evil one buried his in the sand.

    If Uncle Sam says I can take a charitable deduction, well, then why shouldn’t I take it so as to maximize the money God has given me?

    I could give a hoot if they got rid of the whole system. I would still give like I do. My incentive and I believe the incentive of most people who give is to give to God without an eye for getting a $300 (for example, based on a certain amount of giving) deduction off of the top of their taxable income. I do not do it for the deduction Uncle Sam gives me OR for the reward from God. And I don’t do it under compulsion, either. I give as the Lord leads and lays on my heart and with a cheerful heart realizing that all I have comes from Him.

    “I am of the opinion that if we take a tax deduction for giving to the Lord’s work while here on earth that we already have our reward and we will not get another one in heaven.”

    and

    ““This is a very minor issue to me, Morgan, but I do think God delights in a cheerful giver who doesn’t look for an earthly reward such as a tax write-off. ””

    Jen,

    I think the above two statements are the issue.

    “The reason I place ‘donation’ in quotes is that the money ceases to be a gift/donation the minute that person takes a tax-writeoff on it. They are getting that money back, in effect; ”

    David,

    The money you give to charity you get back when you deduct it on your taxes as an exemption? LOL Hardly!

    I will run some numbers later today and show a mock up of the exemption a person will get when he/she itemizes mortgage interest, property tax and charity and when they don’t.

    It is still a donation. It doesn’t cease to be a donation because you can itemize it on your tax return. For those who don’t itemize and there are many, you can’t get any deduction for your donations.

    Like I said, it is hardly an incentive to the average working class Christian family. How giving ceases to be giving because we itemize is beyond me?

    I am not saying you don’t have a point about 501c3 and its effects on churches.

  16. David M Zuniga Says:

    Cynthia,

    “May well do so” is quite a hypothetical; I’m sure people do things for many motivations.

    What is far more clear is that it is likely that the majority of Christians who make ‘tax-exempt’ donations, are also still Taxpayers. In other words, they take tax deductions for the “donations” they make…thus giving the lie to the “donation”.

    It is a write-off, NOT a donation. I don’t care if anyone becomes madder than a wet hen over the concept, the ethical point stands.

    Thus I believe that it is certainly in the spirit and letter of Christ’s teaching in Matthew 6:1-4 to “not let your right hand see what your left hand doeth…give not your alms before men, otherwise you have no reward beforeyour Father…” (that was Jen’s point, Margan).

    Thus any faithful church should frown on people taking tax deductions for a “donation”; the church’s leadership, in line with Christ’s teaching as Matthew records it, is that “tax-deductible donation” is an oxymoron, and flies in the face of this teaching of our Lord.

    The tax deduction game teaches Christians to “give”, but for a selfish motive. Of course, as I say on my Tax Honesty blog, the much larger stewardship issues are two:

    1) most local churches place themselves under the control of the secular State by incorporating thereunder instead of serving as God’s mediating institution against civil tyranny; and

    2) the American who ignorantly allows his checks to be skimmed by the IRS, if he/she has no legal duty to allow that skimming, has already exercised far more egregiously poor stewardship than the mere giving of alms in public, to be rewarded of men.

    And then of course there are the threats, counter-threats and recriminations to, from, and about the IRS, that age-old black-caped boogeyman — as what Chris Ortiz seemed to be trying to pull.

    I have proposed on this blog that if you’re still a Taxpayer, you are being extorted by a palpably corrupt Congress that has used the IRS as its bag-man since WWI. I have also proposed that the IRS is being used to control the pulpits of America. On my blog, I lay the case out for your consideration, with considerable supporting documentation.

    I propose that such sins (yes SINS!) of sloth and omission are not merely bad stewardship; they are quickly becoming disastrous to the Church and to our way of life and form of government. That man or woman who carries on without so much as looking into the claims of Tax Honesty even after being given the information on a silver platter* does very much play a part in the retrogression of this republic, and the American Church.

    I already see the next few posts: Mike (and Morgan) will fire across my bow with their “double sheesh with jelly and toast! Ix-nay on the taxes-hay!!”. And the “Lawdog” will let out a shrill bark, too, perhaps. But since the subject was tending to the use/abuse of the IRS by America’s (complicit 501c3) churches and ‘ministries’ (businesses?), I think the larger sins of the ‘Taxpayer’ population are fair game.
    ________________

  17. David M Zuniga Says:

    Corrie,

    Really; you don’t have to dazzle me with the numbers. I’ve had CPA’s do it for years. My point is the ethics and motives, not the amounts.

  18. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    More Damage Control From the Chalcedon Blog:
    Believe as I blog, not as I do….

    Saturday, June 23, 2007
    The Church
    By R. J. Rushdoony (quoted by Chris Ortiz)

    Once again, the church is beginning to see itself in these terms. Christian Schools and home schooling are areas where the church has again resumed governing….

    The church is a kingdom whose monarch is the King, Jesus Christ. It has a plan for the peaceful conquest of all things, and for the regeneration of fallen men. Instead of hostility towards men and nations, we in Christ’s name offer peace….

    Those who counsel aggression, or who want to pass judgment on the nation to justify hostile actions, are wrong. Ours is the Prince of Peace, and we are called to serve Him, not to supplement or alter His strategy. When men set aside God’s law or any part of His word, they then assume the right to use more “appropriate” means, and they thereby pervert the Faith.
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Can I apply this to the Epstein situation, I wonder? Who does Chris Ortiz think was aggressive here, if this truly does apply. (Do we think that it could possibly be quoted specifically to counter this past week’s events?)

    Doug Phillips is the aggressor. DP is the person who refuses to mediate or collaborate about the excommunication. DP employed an attorney to make threats, not only to sue but to expose the allegedly poor character and integrity of a family he “shepherded.”

    Poor Chris, in his deluded allegence, has actually called for judgement of his friend, Doug. Isn’t it sad that he doesn’t even realize it?

  19. CynthiaGee Says:

    “Instead of hostility towards men and nations, we in Christ’s name offer peace….”

    Does that mean that they are now against stoning people to death?

    Peace… it’s just a stone’s throw away!

  20. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Over on Ultimate Truth, the webmaster posted Mrs. Brownes comments about Rousas J Rushdooney made in this forum (on Friday, I beleive). She states that Chalcedon has fallen upon hard times intellectually, and contrasts RJR’s actions and practices with those of Doug Phillips.

    I posted this response at Ultimate Truth:

    I took the liberty of copying and emailing this to P. Andrew Sandlin, since he left Chalcedon shortly after RJR’s passing into Glory. (In my opinion, his departure also contributed significantly to the “intellectual hard times.”)

    He responded that these comments made by Mrs. Browne were excellent, followed by

    “Rush hated legalism and church tyranny.”

    Good work Mrs. Browne!

  21. Jen Says:

    Morgan, I am sorry I offended you; I certainly didn’t intend to. You asked if this was a personal choice and I stated that it was. In so stating, I was meaning that it was a personal choice for each person. It’s not even necessarily a conviction or even a preference for me. It is something that someone brought up recently and I’ve thought about it. When David brought up the issue of tax write-offs today, I was reminded of it and thought it an interesting topic.

    When I said, “This is a very minor issue to me, Morgan, but I do think God delights in a cheerful giver who doesn’t look for an earthly reward such as a tax write-off,” I was not trying to project anything on you at all. I was speaking from my own perspective. God delights in a cheerful giver. Am I (personally) giving cheerfully if I am looking for a tax write-off? I guess I can’t help but think about all those end-of-year pleas for donations, with the express intent of increasing a tax write-off. Those turn me off. I want to give because I want to give. Period.

    In looking at this comment, I am trying to figure out why you are so offended. I can only guess that maybe you thought I meant that someone was not a cheerful giver if they took it for a tax write-off. That is not what I meant at all. Or maybe you thought that God wouldn’t bless our giving because we took a tax write-off. That’s not what I meant either. In fact, it doesn’t really bother me at all if Christians do take tax write-offs; we all have the liberty to do either. I just think it’s interesting to consider that all our works will be thrown in the fire on Judgment Day and I wonder which ones will survive.

    Morgan, please know that I did not mean to offend you at all. I don’t know what you think; I merely wanted you to be free to disagree with me. 🙂

  22. Mark Epstein Says:

    Cindy,

    I’m glad Andrew said RJR “hated legalism and church tyranny.” Chris Ortiz ought to hate it too.

    All men ought to “hate” anything that distracts from God’s holy and infallible Word, for HIS WORD gives life — not man’s twisted interpretation.

    To GOD ALONE belongs the glory. Man, in his fallibility, can easily engage in gross error when he detracts or adds to God’s ways, God’s Word, and God’s love.

  23. David M Zuniga Says:

    Sarah,

    I don’t know what thread you posted it on, and I know you were just trying to poke back because I have (apparently) offended or corrected you in the past, but it is highly improper for you to say [and I am paraphrasing here], “Where is David Z.? Maybe he got arrested for tax evasion. I’ve seen such things happen before. :)”

    I was out of state on a (very uncommon!) vacation/training break for a week. Now that I’m back, I’m behind on my work and also have a new hobby so I won’t spend as much time here as I once did.

    Imagine if I said, What happened to Sarah? Did she get picked up for sidewalk prostitution again? I’ve seen stranger things happen. 🙂

    How would it make you feel to have such slanderous things said about you?

  24. David M Zuniga Says:

    Sarah,

    When I write a check to a ministry, I do so without any attempt to keep a record of it. Since I have been a law-abiding Nontaxpayer (have not filed tax forms or kept IRS records, etc) for eight years, I would have no reason to keep a record of my giving. Not only that, but (as I said above) Christ says that when we give, no one should know about it.

    My family’s life has been manifestly simpler for eight years; I haven’t had to chase my tail and keep government records of every receipt, every trip, every purchase so that I can get two pennies back from the dollar that I voluntarily allowed Congress to skim from my checks.

    When I see the next convicted felon leave Congress to live on his fat government pension, I am secure in the knowledge that my paychecks did not build that man’s elicit estate — or any of the 10,000 others in Washington, DC.

    Because I am “cruel and judgmental” to the sold-out 501c3 industry, I will be able to stand before my King one day with clean hands. At least in the matter of financial stewardship, I can say I have done my level best by the lights I had.

    I’ll lay off now, Sarah; thanks for “listening”. Time for my work week!

  25. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jens Original:
    “I am of the opinion that if we take a tax deduction for giving to the Lord’s work while here on earth that we already have our reward and we will not get another one in heaven.”

    In looking at this comment, I am trying to figure out why
    you are so offended. I can only guess that maybe you thought I meant that someone was not a cheerful giver if they took it for a tax write-off.

    Morgan says: No Jen I am offended that you are elevating your personal opinion of people that take the deduction to that of Biblical reasoning and theology. I certainly hope that God is smart enought to know the hearts of those who worship and give and act accordingly. I would really like to know what passages of Gods word you have used to make this rationale. You can knock yourself out all you want on the 1040…thats a good thing…..but a 1040 is not theology and thats what you are making it. This is one of those situations like when people here described watching people at the airport and then making heart judgements because of what they observed. You have made a judgement on my heart, motives, reasoning and my relationship with God, because now I am NOT GOOOD ENOUGH to have any reward in heaven at all….because now a 1040 is a theological ….whatever…..

    I would strongly urge you to discuss with with your mentor…..

    David chimes in with: “Imagine if I said, What happened to Sarah? Did she get picked up for sidewalk prostitution again? I’ve seen stranger things happen. ”

    Uh no David…YOU are the one who has been public about not complying with the requirement to pay taxes. Whatever Sarah does on her own time we know nothing of. Sarah was just making an observation using data she already had…..and considering the news this week it could have been a possibility….

  26. Jen Says:

    Morgan: “No Jen I am offended that you are elevating your personal opinion of people that take the deduction to that of Biblical reasoning and theology.”

    Morgan, I assure you that I have no opinion whatsoever of what anyone else does with their taxes and deductions. That would be the LAST thing I would judge someone for, and these days, I try not to judge others for just about anything outside of direct biblical commands.

    My personal opinion is for me only, Morgan. But it is generally acceptable to have discussions based upon personal opinions, where all parties are allowed to disagree and we all walk away friends. I am not trying to force my personal opinion on anyone here and I really couldn’t care less what you do with your taxes. That is between you and your husband and God.

    Morgan, when God gives us liberty in certain areas of life, I believe that to mean that different Christians will come to different conclusions about many areas of life. This is one of those areas. God has allowed for you and me and Corrie and everyone else to decide what we want to do about this issue. That is why I don’t care what you choose. It doesn’t have to be what I would choose. But it does provide for an interesting discussion!

  27. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jens Original:
    “I am of the opinion that if we take a tax deduction for giving to the Lord’s work while here on earth that we already have our reward and we will not get another one in heaven.”

    Yes Jen we certainly DO HAVE liberty to have at it with the 1040…coming to an unbiblical conclusion that may affect relationships and how you view other people in your dealings with them. My upset is that your OPINION is being used as theological fact.

  28. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jens Original:
    “I am of the opinion that if we take a tax deduction for giving to the Lord’s work while here on earth that we already have our reward and we will not get another one in heaven.”

    badly worded above….. You have used a biblical statement “reward in heaven” and determined your own standards for Gods’ reward in heaven to His people.

    Thats all I am trying to call your attention to: You have made YOUR OPINION a theological fact and doctrinal point. How do YOU know this to be a fact? You are presenting your opinion as true theological fact because you are making an ultimate statement about what God will do (in your opinion). Can’t do that…not right…we cannot impose OUR opinions on God and dictate that our opinions will affect His actions.

    Opinions are like ears…..everyone has two…..please re-read your intitial statement and especially “we will not get another one in heaven….”

  29. Morgan Farmer Says:

    And thats the end of that. I will say no more…I am blue in the face.

  30. Moderator Says:

    David M. Zuniga said: “I already see the next few posts: Mike (and Morgan) will fire across my bow with their ‘double sheesh with jelly and toast! Ix-nay on the taxes-hay!!’. And the ‘Lawdog’ will let out a shrill bark, too, perhaps. But since the subject was tending to the use/abuse of the IRS by America’s (complicit 501c3) churches and ‘ministries’ (businesses?), I think the larger sins of the ‘Taxpayer’ population are fair game.”

    Actually, David, what you think is quite wrong. On your own blog it’s “fair game.” Talk about whatever you want on your own blog. It’s a free country — on your own blog. However, the subject of this blog, as you’ve been repeatedly reminded, is “Exposing Doug Phillips’ Ecclesiastical Tyranny.”

    Other subjects will sometimes be discussed here too, provided that they still somehow relate to Doug Phillips. Even a certain amount of off topic discussion has often been permitted here. However, your propensity for bringing up subjects that are completely and totally off topic with what anyone else here is discussing, including any discussion of Doug Phillips, is amazing. You’ve got one or two drums to beat, and you never stop beating them (or is that “beating a dead horse”?). Your aptitude for redundancy is unsurpassed.

    All anyone has to do to get you cranked up again is to mention a word, any word, that happens to appear somewhere, anywhere, in the tax code (501c3, tax deduction, etc.). The fact that someone mentions a word that appears somewhere in the tax code doesn’t entitle you to highjack Jen’s articles with your tax protest rants.

    I had a long talk this morning with Jen about you, David. Jen has a difficult time with even just putting someone into the moderation queue. She didn’t like it when I did that to you, even though you thanked me for it because of your admitted total lack of self-discipline and self-control (your referred to yourself as a “blogaholic”). Refusing to approve comments is hard for Jen to do, as evidenced by all the comments she’s approved from her attackers (e.g. Kate, Lucy, K, etc.). Deleting comments is even harder for Jen to do. As she told me this morning, “I just hate having to tell grown adults what they can and can’t say. I assume that as adults everyone should be mature enough to know what’s appropriate.”

    One thing I appreciate about Jen is that we can freely disagree with one another, even argue and debate (and we often do), and yet still remain friends. I’d like to be able to agree with Jen on this one, David, but I can’t. I believe that there are plenty of adults in this world who are seriously lacking in common sense. The very subject of this blog is about one such man. David, I believe that you too have often demonstrated a serious lack of common sense. Even if you were right about all your tax protest arguments, your manners and methods are utterly appalling. Name-calling and ridiculing those of us who do pay the income tax isn’t likely to win you converts. Saying the same thing over two-hundred times (redundancy) won’t win you converts either. Highjacking other people’s blogs, and doing it repeatedly, won’t win you converts.

    David, it’s hard for Jen to delete comments, but I have no such misgivings. I’ve just removed several of your tax protest comments in this thread. I won’t hesitate to start going back through previous threads to delete more. All you need to do to provoke me is to post just one more tax protest comment, just one more “Calvinian” comment, just one more comment of any kind that you’ve already posted here a hundred times before.

    You’ve been warned about this before, David. There will be no further warnings. FYI, Jen has an extremely hectic week. That means that, for the most part, I’m in charge this week.

    Oh, and one more thing, David. You’ll notice that I Moderate as “Moderator.” That’s obviously an alias. Jen also permits commenters to use aliases. This is Jen’s blog. She gets to make the rules. Other blogs may not permit anonymous comments, and they’re free to impose whatever rules they want. In either case, what should never be permissible is for a commenter to show up on a blog and start ridiculing the blog owner, or other commenters on that blog, over things which aren’t a violating of that blog’s rules. In other words, a commenter isn’t entitled to demand that others comply with rules of his own making. David, you don’t get to make any rules here of any kind, including issuing demands that people use the name that appears on their tax return (sorry for the bad pun). Yet, you’ve repeatedly ridiculed the anonymous commenters here. Don’t ever do that again either.

  31. Alias 1 Says:

    Hmmm when I tried that I got in trouble – Jen permits aliases – since when? Also now that I know that aliases were permitted who exactly is Unmerited Grace? Thanks for confirming what I already knew.

  32. David M Zuniga Says:

    “Moderator”,

    Your posts are living proof that this is a very difficult issue for America, especially for Christians. I’m passionate about the Church taking it seriously because I live on the porous Mexico border, and all my life have seen and heard the resignation and cynicism of a population that stopped trying a long time ago, to stand against government corruption.

    I’m sure I don’t matter very much at all in the larger picture, but I am doing what I can. Your “banishing” me from a little-known Christian blog won’t make much difference one way or the other, but you’re welcome to go back and erase everything I have posted on Tax Honesty.

    Which would, of course, prove my point. That’s OK by me, too; knock yourself out brother/sister.

  33. Moderator Says:

    “Your posts are living proof that this is a very difficult issue for America, especially for Christians.”

    Once again you are wrong. All things considered the commenters here have interacted with you very politely, reasonably, and rationally. Not that you’ve made it easy for them to do so. If it’s “a very difficult issue” then that’s largely your own fault, and your redundancy and insults are a big part of that.

    You’re also the master of mischaracterizations, and your latest allegations that I have “banished” you is just one such example. Really, Mr. Zuniga, if you wish to represent “tax honesty” then you should start by making honest statements in general. You have not been “banished.” You have been told to behave yourself.

  34. David M Zuniga Says:

    Once again, sir/madam, it is YOU that is wrong.

    If you make a long, threatening post (of which your redundancy and insults were a big part) that you are going to banish my POSTS from this blog, then you are banishing ME from the blog. No other form of banishment is possible in the blogosphere.

    I have proffered some inconvenient truths about the subjects that have arisen on this blog. You don’t like them, and I understand that.

    You are perfectly right about my redundancy; teachers at the grammar stage of any new subject DO like to repeat things.

    Again: you are welcome to excise my posts on this blog; I don’t own it. If you do, I only ask that you excise ALL posts made by me, please. I should think that’s easier anyway.

    I’m a rather hard-nosed, hard-speaking man but with a heart for real reformation of the body of Christ. In such times as ours, soft words only add to the hardness of hearts; occasionally, hard words can make softer hearts.

    I trust God to do with our words what He will, and of course the outcome is His, as well.

    Your threats, bluster, and calling the truth a lie does no more for me, than my repetition does for you. I suppose the lesson we can both take from this is that old dictum: “moderation in all things”. 🙂

  35. CynthiaGee Says:

    “You’ve got one or two drums to beat, and you never stop beating them (or is that “beating a dead horse”?). ”

    OT, but, when a horse is dead enough, it swells up like a drum; and if someone wanted to, I suppose they could use it for one.
    Makes one heck of a mess when it bursts though…

  36. Moderator Says:

    K., um, I mean Alias 1, how is that you reached the conclusion that you “got in trouble” for using an alias? As I admonished David to be honest, and not mischaracterize events, I also admonish you to be honest.

    No one has ever gotten into trouble here for using an alias. However, Jen does ask that commenters only use one name, and that they stick to that name, unless they have prior authorization from her to use more than one name, or to change their names.

    Wasn’t that part of your problem, K? Wasn’t that why you “got in trouble”? You kept changing names without first explaining it to Jen, just like you’re even doing right now? Why did you also just now post as Alias 2? You just cause confusion that way, K. Many of your previous comments, in and of themselves, are plenty confusing enough as it is. Please don’t try to add to the confusion that you’ve already caused by changing your names.

    If you have some valid reason to be changing names then please send Jen an email about it.

  37. David M Zuniga Says:

    Chris Ortiz,

    If you’re still “listening in”, before I am immoderately banished into the dark corners of the blogosphere, may I make a request?

    I still receive The Chalcedon Report, and have done — for many years. I don’t recall sending any donation in the past few years, and I’ve not read the magazine for at least as long (other than to skim it, seeing that it does indeed still follow the RJR dominionist grail).

    Since we’re on the subject (and NOT on the subject of Tax Honesty, hurrah!!) may I ask that I be removed from your mailing list?

    Thanks.

    David Zuniga
    Laredo, TX

  38. Alias 2 Says:

    Dear Moderator – how about you use your real name too?

  39. Alias 2 Says:

    Better yet – send me an email.

  40. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    What I want to know is, why does the Reformed world, and theonomy in particular, seem to attract so many Dougs and Garys?

  41. Moderator Says:

    K/Alias 1/Alias 2, I tried.

    You don’t dictate the rules on Jen’s blog. That’s for Jen to decide.

    Your comments will now be directed to the moderation queue.

    Jen still wants to know if you now have permission from your husband to be posting again? You told her that your husband said you didn’t have his permission to post on her blog anymore. Why are still lurking here?

  42. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    I still receive The Chalcedon Report, and have done — for many years. I don’t recall sending any donation in the past few years, and I’ve not read the magazine for at least as long (other than to skim it, seeing that it does indeed still follow the RJR dominionist grail)

    Gee, I wonder why that is David?

  43. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    K. Theodore Jenkins”

    I don’t know, but my husband is also a “Gary.” It comes from Garth or Gareth which means “warrior.” Could it be that it appeals to those who are looking to fight? I’m partly decended from “Milot” or the militant.

    On the other hand, I’ve had several pastors named “Jack.” Does that name come up on theonomy radar also?

    Curious stuff.

  44. David M Zuniga Says:

    Gee, what is it that you’re wondering, Kevin:

    1) Why I still receive the Chalcedon Report?
    2) Why I haven’t been reading it anymore?
    3) Why it’s a bi-monthly magazine dedicated to all things only as Rousas Rushdoony saw them?

    I can’t answer the first, but the answer to the second, is because of the third. Hope that helps you.

  45. CynthiaGee Says:

    “What I want to know is, why does the Reformed world, and theonomy in particular, seem to attract so many Dougs and Garys?”

    K. Theodore, that’s an easy one. Theonomy is all about control — put in simplistic terms, it’s a system whereby Christians seek by force of law to convert and control the world from the top DOWN, rather than do as Jesus told us and work from the bottom UP, by simply preaching the Gospel, loving God and our fellow man, and allowing the Holy Spirit to control things through the salvation of souls and the subsequent transformation and renewal of men’s minds.
    Since theonomy is all about Man in control rather than God controlling Man, it attracts control freaks…. ’nuff said.

  46. Ex VF Supporter Says:

    K., you’re a perfect example of one of the things that irritates me so about Patriarchy women… wives who hide behind the “authority” of their husbands. But they only do it when they find it advantageous to do so.

  47. CynthiaGee Says:

    Cindy, I think that people who are looking to fight ought to forget about starting churches and try debating in the Blogosphere. It’s easier, lots more fun, and if you’re are wrong about something, fewer people end up getting hurt…. LOL!!!

  48. David M Zuniga Says:

    Dear “Alias 1” (or whatever you call yourself next),

    [snip: tax protest comments, anonymous comments, etc.]

    The rules of a blog are written by the owner of that blog, and exercised (as well) by the owner’s moderator(s). If you don’t like the moderator, leave the blog.

    But since it looks like the Immoderate Moderator has relegated you to your own corner of our dampish, darkish little moderation queue here, let me tell you about life here in the queue. It’s not that bad, really! Some of your best repartee and one-liners will be vapourised; you have to prepare for that. But once you get used to the dark and the smell…and the lack of food… the moderation queue for “unwanted guests” really isn’t as mad as one might first think.

    Personally, I consider it a ministry!

  49. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Well, we are told that we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Perhaps we battle spiritual wickedness in cyber places in this 21st century?

  50. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    K. Theodore, that’s an easy one. Theonomy is all about control — put in simplistic terms, it’s a system whereby Christians seek by force of law to convert and control the world from the top DOWN, rather than do as Jesus told us and work from the bottom UP

    Ok, if that’s the case, why is it church polity was clearly hierarchical from the earliest extra-biblical Christian source we have, first and second century, with Ignatius of Antioch? Why is it virtually every Christianized nation, beginning with Armenia and Orthodoxy, to Geneva and Calvinism, has been so clearly anti-democratic? Did nobody understand Jesus’ message for that long in history? I understand presbyterian polity to be representative and republican, not democratic, and cannot be called egalitarian. Episcopal polity is monarchistic, and one can understand how long it existed in the visible church considering antiquity, that fact that Christ is not a “President” or a “Prime Minister”, but a king.

    These are genuine questions. And simply saying “men love power” isn’t going to cut it for me. In saying that, you’ll have agreed with Doug Phillips about Christian history (not that you do). Look what ecclesiastical conspiracy theories about Christians in the fifth century being pagan syncretists has given us; tyrants in business suits. So we got rid of tyrants in tall hats and robes, and replaced them with tyrants in business suits and khaki pants; big deal.

    And if you think I’m changing the subject here, I’m not. Surely you understand how part and parcel this is with theonomy. Your attacks on theonomy, to me, are apart of a larger hostility in general by American Christians to hierarchy of any sort. It’s a kind of knee-jerk anti-authoritarianism, if you will. “Control”, as you put it.

    Since theonomy is all about Man in control rather than God controlling Man, it attracts control freaks…. ’nuff said.

    I like the Stan Lee ender. But really, how is obeying the statues given to us in Mosaic Law “controlling God”? Isn’t that the essence of letting God control is -by submitting entirely to His revealed will and law?

  51. CynthiaGee Says:

    Starting with the last thing first, KTJ… we are no longer under the Mosaic Law. And if you want to know why, talk to Mike — he’s much better explaining that one than I am.

    And, of COURSE the church has a hierarchy, but the hierarchy of the Church is to be separate from the hierarchy of the state. Neither one is bad in itself, and Christians as individuals can and should serve in the civic sphere, but when the Church as a Body begins to do so, she ceases to be a Bride and becomes a Harlot.

  52. David M Zuniga Says:

    Gee, Kev…you answer your own questions pretty well!

    First you ask, “why is it [that] church polity was clearly hierarchical from the earliest extra-biblical Christian source we have, first and second century…”

    [Um…let me guess…could it have to do with man’s sin nature and the “earliest EXTRA-BIBLICAL” part? Yes, men will gum up the works in a trice; it doesn’t take long at all to make a mess of Christ’s Church. Even a YEAR is plenty of time to do it; just look around you!]

    Then you talk about Christ being a KING…and then turn around to quickly tell how MEN need to be kings, instead!

    [snip: nuclear physics question, quark theory, racy joke about tax-protesting aliens]

    At least from my dark, crabbed view from the Immoderate Moderator’s Basement, it looks like you can forget Doug Phillips and all that; you’re doing just fine, arguing with your own self, bro!

  53. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    Starting with the last thing first, KTJ… we are no longer under the Mosaic Law.

    But Christ said He came to establish the law. St. Paul said it is a “schoolmaster” -do you raise your kids to know the Mosaic Law? Proverbs says the righteous man meditates on the law both day and night. Where are you getting this hostility to theonomy, which literally means “God’s Law”, from?

    Americanism, perhaps?

    And, of COURSE the church has a hierarchy, but the hierarchy of the Church is to be separate from the hierarchy of the state. Neither one is bad in itself, and Christians as individuals can and should serve in the civic sphere, but when the Church as a Body begins to do so, she ceases to be a Bride and becomes a Harlot.

    This is always a problem I’ve had. If an individual Christian can do it, but many Christians (an ekklesia) can’t, some thing’s wrong here. The dispensationalist, who is consistent, says it’s wrong for Christians to be involved in civil government. The Reformed Christian, if consistent, says it’s good for Christians to be involved in civil government.

    I’m not to keen on “movements” these days. I wouldn’t say I’m pushing some sort of movement here, just waxing theological. Again, I subscribe to no Constipation Party, lets-all-go-to-the-Pink-House-for-Jesus (bowel) movement. However, the idea that the Church should wield no power over, or alongside, the state, is alien to historic, biblical Christianity in its entirety.

  54. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Excellent must read on the subject of the intertwining of American Evangelicalism and American patriotism:

    Mark Noll in “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.”

    I leaned quite heavily on it in writing this: http://www.undermuchgrace.com/view/?pageID=340954

  55. CynthiaGee Says:

    Like I said, take up the mosaic Law with Mike. He’s the expert, and I’m far to lazy to get into the subject anyhow.

    And, your statement that”the idea that the Church should wield no power over, or alongside, the state, is alien to historic, biblical Christianity in its entirety” is only half right. The idea that the Church SHOULD wield power over, or alongside, the state, is quite consistent with Historic Christianity, unfortunately, but completely alien to the message of Gospels.

  56. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    Thanks for this crucial concession. I rest my case.

    To detach history and the witness over Christian orthodoxy from the Bible is solo scriptura, and leads to snazzy tyrants in business suits and/or top-down (buttons, hardy-har) shirts. People take one extreme, Romanism, and go to the other extreme, Anabaptism (a hatred of historic catholic Christianity).

    Protestantism stands directly in the face of both extremes. In Protestantism, the authority of the elder, the creed, and the consensus of Christendom are still, just that; authoritative. However, Scripture alone is the final authority that each must be governed by and subject to. You’re saying Scripture alone is authority. And, as you concede, this flies directly in the face of orthodoxy and the history of Christ’s Bride. This is reactionary, not biblical balance.

    Again, we’re back to point A. If you are correct, why is it virtually no one saw it your way until Anabaptism and 1776?

  57. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    A few corrections: *of, not over, Christian orthodoxy + Such is reactionary, not “This is reactionary”.

  58. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    [snip: nuclear physics question, quark theory, racy joke about tax-protesting aliens]

    LOL, I love this moderator!

  59. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    David, my friend, we’re all ears!

    Go ahead, Pope Zuniga, tell me more about those tax-protesting aliens, your holiness. Tell me all about those mean old Church Fathers, the stuffy pagans who high-jacked the Jesus movement and turned it into something not very nice. Not very nice at all.

    I want to hear more about judeojesus, the social worker in the sky who sent you, his only begotten bishop, to clean up the mess the actual Jesus made by bequeathing to His Bride those horrible, nasty old white men in those silly, nasty little robes -with all their Nicean nincompoopery. Please David, write a book right here and now on the subject. Comment endlessly for a year about it. We’ll all drop everything and read every word you say!

  60. CynthiaGee Says:

    “Again, we’re back to point A. If you are correct, why is it virtually no one saw it your way until Anabaptism and 1776?”

    I don’t know, but it appears that Jesus saw it this way, and that’s good enough for me. It’s not about people seeing things my way, it’s about me doing my best to see things God’s way.

  61. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    Well Cynthia, I’m afraid you’re saying Jesus was a liar when He said the Comforter would be sent to lead His disciples into all truth.

    Looks like they were led into all error until Roger Williams came along to set the captives free.

  62. Moderator Says:

    Mr. Jenkins,

    Kindly do not provoke the pope. He might anathemize you, and the power of the moderation queue cannot overcome the force of the pope’s anathemas.

    Furthermore, we need to return this thread to something that more resembles an on topic discussion. Thank you for your cooperation.

  63. CynthiaGee Says:

    “I’m afraid you’re saying Jesus was a liar when He said the Comforter would be sent to lead His disciples into all truth.”

    So, K. Theodore, you’re saying that everything the Church has done since the day of Pentecost has been completely in keeping with the will of God……I take it you’re a Roman Catholic, then.

  64. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    I’ll let you have the last word Cynthia. But I think I’ve already dealt with whether or not Protestantism = Roman Catholicism enough for one day…or year.

  65. CynthiaGee Says:

    Regarding Williams, I don’t agree with him on everything, but he did seem to have a good many of his theological ducks in a row, and he was good for the Indians, which is more than I can say for most of his contemporaries. If the other European settlers had been like Williams, they might have won the American continent for Christ.

  66. Justice Prima Says:

    Jen, as quoted by the moderator: As she told me this morning, “I just hate having to tell grown adults what they can and can’t say. I assume that as adults everyone should be mature enough to know what’s appropriate.”

    I see the problem here. Jen was assuming everybody here is a grown adult. The evidence clearly indicates this is not the case.

  67. David M Zuniga Says:

    This is true, Justice (this is true justice?):

    Some adults are not GROWN adults; they are smaller than the full size they will eventually attain. This affects their ability to engage in adult dialogue.

    For instance, every time I try to discuss

    [snip: RE highest rubber production quota shipped via Rangoon last year]

    So I think if we could all get over our immature defenses and act like grown adults, we might be able to devide the perfect religious State; a virtual Utopia. Just because Christ said that His kingdom was not of this world, doesn’t mean that OURS can’t be, right?

    At least this is the Rousas Rushdoony theory of government, as I understand it. We just put sin on hold for a few generations, and — TA DAAAA! — we will usher in the kingdom!

    [snip: repetitive, preachy closing]

  68. Sheldon Says:

    Oh wow, I’m laughing hysterically at the snips. Thank God for moderators.

  69. David M Zuniga Says:

    Hey Moderator,

    See? I’m not as bad as you thought…and you’re looking better than ever! 🙂 [snip:]

  70. TheIronHare Says:

    Cynthia Gee:
    June 25th, 2007 at 5:34 pm
    “’What I want to know is, why does the Reformed world, and theonomy in particular, seem to attract so many Dougs and Garys?’

    K. Theodore, that’s an easy one. Theonomy is all about control — put in simplistic terms, it’s a system whereby Christians seek by force of law to convert and control the world from the top DOWN, rather than do as Jesus told us and work from the bottom UP, by simply preaching the Gospel, loving God and our fellow man, and allowing the Holy Spirit to control things through the salvation of souls and the subsequent transformation and renewal of men’s minds.
    Since theonomy is all about Man in control rather than God controlling Man, it attracts control freaks…. ’nuff said”

    THE WAY I see it, CG, is that you are describing a distortion of theonomy. My thinking in regard to theonomy is largely in terms of post-millenialism (sp? spelling dictionary not handy at the moment). Reformation and revival. The leaven of the gospel slowly working its effect on the lump of dough. Biblical Christian consensus and the resulting changes in law and practice. Worldwide. NATIONS in fact being made disciples by the work of the *Holy Spirit* not bullying brutes like Thuggy Duggy. I don’t know that the distortion you present represents the majority of thought among theonomists. Maybe it’s just the squeaky (w)heels getting the press.

    Dennis

  71. Morgan Farmer Says:

    ” My thinking in regard to theonomy is largely in terms of post-millenialism (sp? spelling dictionary not handy at the moment). Reformation and revival. The leaven of the gospel slowly working its effect on the lump of dough. ”

    Oh my…Dennis you may want to do some more research on theonomy and its sister dominion theology. Mere terms can be confusing and lead to a misunderstanding of the actual tenents of a thing.

    “I don’t know that the distortion you present represents the majority of thought among theonomists.”

    Ummm welllllllll…… I remember the first time I heard one of the elders in the old church talk about BIBLICAL SLAVERY…. I nearly fainted being of Jewish descent myself…

    Wikipedia has great objective articles on both theonomy and dominion theology along with links galore that support both sides of the argument. It will take the better part of 24 hours to get through all of the material but it is well worth it.

    Personally for me….if the theonomists/dominnionists ever gain control of the US government it will time for some ex-patriation to South Korea. (Been there..done that …loved it)

  72. Open Letter To Chalcedon Foundation Regarding Its Defense of Doug Phillips | Jen's Gems -- Doug Phillips' Ecclesiastical Tyranny and Abuse Says:

    […] In a comment that Chris Ortiz posted in reply to Jen’s article he offers up as a defense, “We know Doug and VF. We were not aware of you and Mark (and this is not a fun way to meet!).” When we say “we know” someone in that sort of context, and with the sort of events that were transpiring at that time, it can only mean, “I vouch for this person’s character and integrity, and I’m so convinced of my position that I’m willing to publicly call you an ‘Agent Of Defamation’ and ‘irresponsible’.” Ortiz presumptuously and omnisciently dismisses Jen’s assertion,  “We’re not motivated by vengeance. We’re motivated by a genuine concern for the well being of the Christian home school movement.” He dismissed the Allosaurus fakeumentary debacle, even though it’s public exposure as a fraud created such a huge scandal that Doug Phillips had to pull it from his catalog. Ortiz concludes In Defense of Doug Phillips with, “Mrs. Epstein has made a bold step in making these matters public. She better hope she’s right. The heavenly reciprocity may not be to her liking.”  […]


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: