Renewing Our Mind: Part 2

(Christ Is King)

Alas I cannot speak of transformation without the renewing of our minds nor can I speak of the renewing of the mind without transformation for central to the proposition of transformation is Christ. He is the key ingredient. Additionally, if your mind has been renewed, then you have the Holy Spirit inside of you. Your mind has been reformed to be on the thoughts of God and not of man. What I am saying is that born-again Christians have an acceptance of and are obedient to the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I am going to explain what every person needs and must do to be transformed and also provide a measure by which whether their minds are truly renewed. 

The Transformational Process 

For there to be a beginning of the renewing of the mind, there must be the beginning of the renewing of the heart. Because “there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) all individuals must both repent i.e. confess our sins (1 John 1:9) and turn away from sin (Acts 3:19) by turning toward Jesus Christ for as it says in Romans 8:9-11:

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Now it is vital for our souls that we hammer out the understanding of Faith and Repentance as they are coequal and cannot be separated from another. 

Christ Is King 

We can never understand the God of heaven unless we come to know him through his earthly Son” (Batson, 22, Jesus is Lord). In the eternal perspective of things we cannot afford to take salvation lightly. Faith in Christ means understanding, respecting, and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord or Kurios as it is in the Greek. Kurios often translates as master, but in the context of Christ it is understood that He is the Supreme Authority because as all the gospel’s tell us and has been prophesied since the fall of Adam (Genesis 3:14-15) that a Savior would come, fulfill the law, die for the sins of the world, and physically come back from the dead on the third day. Jesus Christ of Nazareth is our Lord; our King who is without sin, and who conquered death. So often we make the death and resurrection of Christ about us, after all, John 3:16 states:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

But understanding the world did not love God, but rather the world chooses to live in sin. We know this to be true from the Old and New Testaments but consider 1 John 4:10 which states:

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

God, by his mercy and grace, chose to love us; His creation. Thankfully, God is a God of promises who keeps His covenants with His people as we see throughout the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. From Genesis to Revelations we witness the Gospel; the promise and fulfillment of the Good News of Christ our Lord. Nevertheless, this really is not about us, but about His unwillingness to allow sin to pervade over His creation. Take to heart Romans 3:9-18 which again shows man’s choice to follow sin:

What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.  

Humanity worships the Self rather than Yahweh. Thankfully the Gospel is not about us, but rather it about God’s eternal power, truth, justice, mercy, and grace that overcomes death in every way. To finish out here, the Lordship of Christ means putting him above everything else. Your family, friends, houses, cars, jewelry, favorite foods mean nothing in comparison to God. Our so called “righteousness” are but filthy rags before the King of Kings (Isaiah 64:6) or as King Solomon exclaimed when looking over his works saying it was “all vanity” before God (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11). It is that understanding of who Christ is that leads us to the coequal step in salvation: Repentance. 

All Must Repent

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17) said Christ as he began to preach in Galilee. If true faith is upon a believer, repentance is waiting to bring godly sorrow. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11:

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.  

Worldly sorrow is when we feel bad because we got caught. Worldly sorrow is feeling sad and maybe even stop watching porn or getting drunk for a little while, but eventually falling back into it without consideration of the eternal perspective. Worldly sorrow is even when you kick a particular sin out of your life for good because you were just sick with the way it made you feel. This form of sorrow is temporal. 

Godly sorrow is the understanding that we are at enmity with God because of sin and implore for forgiveness from Adonai. Godly sorrow carries a thick air of esteem and contemplation of who we are before the Holy of Holy’s as sinful fools that attempt to taint His purity. The Puritan minister Thomas Watson would write that “Godly sorrow is abiding” (Watson, 25, The Doctrine of Repentance) explaining:  

It is not a few tears shed in a passion that will serve the turn. Some will fall a-weeping at a sermon, but it is like an April shower, soon over, or like a vein opened and presently stopped again. True sorrow must be habitual (Watson, 25, The Doctrine of Repentance). 

In the eternal perspective, godly sorrow is commanding the responses of our mind. In the temporal perspective, worldly sorrow drives the reactions of our heart. Heed my words then and repent with a godly sorrow for Christ is Lord and Christ must be addressed with deference. In doing so, we are then beginning the renewing of our minds through a process unlike any other.  

Trial by Fire: The Measuring Stick of a Renewed Mind 

Christ both justifies and sanctifies believers. In the First Letter to the Corinthians 6: 9-11 Paul explains this point clearly: 

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Quoting from the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM), here are a set of definitions of what it means to be justified and sanctified in Christ: 

Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is reckoned to the sinner, so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous under the Law. Sanctification is the process of being set apart for God’s work and being conformed to the image of Christ. Where justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process (Slick, CARM, Justification and Sanctification: What is the difference?). 

The renewing of our mind is a sanctification process, one that will continue until we pass-on, and it is what I call a Trial by Fire process as described in 1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

Walking with Christ will not be easy as there will always be temptations in our lives. Sin waits on every corner. As sons and daughters in Christ we must always remember that we are not at war with our own, but rather at war with the unseen; principalities and darkness above; spiritual forces that our beyond our own fleshly capacity (Ephesians 6:10-12). Paul alerts believers to put on the armor of God in our daily walk with Him which means at all times the Armor of God ought to be equipped so that we can fully honor Him and remain faithful servants to Him in our walk for Him (Ephesians 6:13-20). The description of the armor is as follows (I am paraphrasing some): belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the Gospel and the peace that comes from it, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (word of God). But there is more, believers are also called to pray always and always in the Spirit and be ever watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. This ultimately ties into the final part of this verse. 

Next Part 3: Trial By Fire

Clausis Oculis, Caelo Late Patente

(Christ Is King)

By: Edward Kyle Richey

This is the reading of the LORD,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3: 5-8).

Worldly wiseman, from John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress, informs the Christian that he need no longer burden himself with that “book” (the Bible) for he has a much more appropriate way to remove that pesky burden off of Christian’s back, “Why, in yonder village (the village is named Morality), there dwells a gentleman whose name is Legality, a very wise man, and a man of very good name, that has skill to help men off with such burdens as thine is from their shoulders;.” Indeed, there is mighty good to be found in the village of morality from whom Mr. Legality lives. Should any man or woman who praises virtue as a pillar to be built upon the foundations of eternality ought to admit, yes, there is goodness in work. Who are we without work? A dead faith according to St. James (James 2:17).

Neither the righteous seeking Christian or the virtuous practicing Pagan would argue against the value of feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing the homeless, or assisting the poor. Though today there are those who find that even the value of life, that of the person, is a deficit when compared to animals, plants, and other life outside of the human-being. Those blind and broken souls deny the Imago Dei. Absent from all three of these views, however different, are the wisdom of trust established in Proverbs. Doing good is never enough. Faith in the one true God can only save, heal, and progress the good man or the good woman.

We are called to not lean on our own understanding. That phrase to lean is sha`an in the Hebrew שָׁעַן which carried over into the English as a forewarning to not rest fully, to not support, to not rely on ourselves, but rather put all of our understanding, to invest all of our trust, in God.

It cannot mean we are never to rely on our understanding in the sense that I must doubt all that I think and do; that is an absolutist attitude of skepticism which the Scriptures are not advocating. If they were, we could not even rely on our own understanding of what the Bible is telling us. That would be foolish, rather the Proverbs are instructing us, as that is the literal meaning of Proverbs i.e. instruction. Solomon through the Wisdom of God is instructing believers to put their full and final faith in God, and for Christians’ in Christ the King, and never themselves.

Our world dictates to trust the Self, to value billionaires such as Warren Buffet or famous actors or a political leader. Trust thyself is the motto. Yes, there is plenty we can learn from such rich and powerful men like Buffett. Let there never be any doubt that Buffett knows how to invest money. But money and power will only last as long as the body is alive. Then shall all fade away from thy hands. No more, we are naked again, yet alive regardless of whether one believes in the Almighty or not. At that moment, their wisdom will be put to the test. God shall judge. And judge us all He shall.

Turning to the Lord requires a holy acknowledgement that only can be ignited by God in the midst of our pitch black, darkness of the night soul searching. Fumbling and bumbling we shall walk, but walk we must toward the light. Running from evil and calling out to the Lord are means to an eternal end, a life that is His alone. Once one is captured by the grace of Christ they are tied to the bosom of the Church by which Christ is King. Headship over heaven and earth; dominion over all that is and was and shall ever be. That is the wisdom that covers the believer. Do not fear the world, fear the Lord.

Like Noah, take cover in the Ark; let God seal the doors from the crashing waves in the rising floods. End will always be near whether it comes from war, famine, accident, or natural causes. Until the moment your eyes are shut once again, it is better to build a life that seeks the goodness of God than empires of gold, iron, and feast for they shall rot or rust. The world may be decadent today. But tomorrow is never guaranteed let alone a better tomorrow can always turn to worse. Only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are eternal and always good.

Seek Him, Seek Christ Alone.

Symposium Of Dreams

(Mere Beauty In Truth)

By E. Kyle Richey

Beauty assembles itself in many forms. Nature, Art, Humanity, and Architecture are all designs that can culminate beauty. Architectural design requires a synergistic adaptation to its environment either urban or rural, natural or manufactured; there must be a harmony between that which is and that which is becoming. A biomimicry between the incoming architecture and that of the existing world…

Bode Museum, Berlin Germany

Construction for the Bode began in 1897 with Eberhard von Ihne as the museums architect devoted the Bode to a Renaissance design. A masterpiece respectable to the period while symmetrical and honorable to the surrounding city environment.

What fails in respect is the atrocious Soviet Fernsehturm TV Tower seen in the background. An eye sore lacking in respect to the historicity of Berlin, the tower is protruding a modern gaucheness that pollutes the surroundings.

Indoors the Bode, however, continues the synergy between the City of Berlin and the Classical Renaissance design inside the Museum, as though the indoors and outdoors carry semblance in purpose and meaning for the German people and all those who come to visit its humble grounds.

Modernity produced a post-modern movement; an accolade of its success turned rebellious child. Do all thing modern and post-modern automatically lack a Mere Beauty In Truth? Hardly. Rather it is a matter of tact and a real desire to mimic the environment that make a community whole and wholesome by producing an air of remembrance that is transcendental, immanent, and traditional in a way that everyone wants to stay or return again; I would describe it as grandmas café’ where the coffee is always hot, rich in aromas of delicious food, and there is a seat that always feels reserved just for you.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque)

Temples, Churches, or Mosques like the Blue Mosque are fundamental to the whole design of a community as they represent real meaning and purpose as expressed through the architecture outside with its six minarets which call the people of Islam to their daily prayers. Indeed the Western, liberal, and secular mind tends to see religion as an affront, but such minds excuse the quintessential desire of the sacred; a root need to recognize God and the Heavens. Nothing is perfect, but the beauty of Islam for billions is portrayed in their belief of One God.

Sir Roger Scruton was a friend to Islam. Scruton writes that in Muslim philosophy there is a tradition where God and His oneness is definite, “that he is one, the possessor of an inimitable tawhid or oneness, which attaches to him precisely because it does not attach him as a property that might be shared” (Scruton 2014, Soul of the World, p. 190). Any attempt to eradicate the structure of mosques or churches or temples, in most cases, demonstrates a level of unrequitedness toward the higher ends of culture.

Al Masjid an Nabawi (Prophets Mosque)

Not everything in a culture requires such delicacy but areas of faith are part of the biomimicry, the DNA of societal wellness. And of course I say that as a Christian just as Sir Roger comprehended Anglicanism and the Church of England as sacred for England.

Canterbury Cathedral

Aesthetic moral worth is as much immaterial as material

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

To speak of beauty is to enter another and more exalted realm—a realm sufficiently apart from our everyday concerns as to be mentioned only with a certain hesitation. People who are always in praise and pursuit of the beautiful are an embarrassment… — Sir Roger Scruton, The Soul of the World

Humble harmony: the street as home, taking the term from Scruton, that is what the town of Florence represents, and the Florence Cathedral is the manufactured mountain side one witnesses in awe as they weave through a large river, never too sure what is exactly around the corner, until you see its immanent precipice; a refreshing liturgy from the day to day. Beauty is not merely ravishing architecture but more so it is humility in the midst of what it is trying to accomplish. Take for example the Sikh Golden Temple:

Think whatever you may of its intended space with which it mimics the surrounding environment (physical/cultural), but consider its purpose of worship and feeding roughly 40,000 people a day for free. Even Christians would do well to remember what good is our churches should they fail at helping the Samaritans in their surrounding communities who are in need of the eternal spiritual nourishment of the Gospel and failing at feeding the hungry or caring for the sick? True beauty, a Mere Beauty In Truth, has intention within its aesthetic value.

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford University

Radcliffe Camera,  Oxford University’s Science Library

I want to end with Radcliffe as it captures the centrality of Oxford University (old Oxford at least) where truth and knowledge intersect, a temple of knowledge surrounded by devotees and a city that exudes humble harmony.

Aesthetic moral worth is as much immaterial as material, not that the material has no worth, rather the moral worth is determined by factors outside of architectural material preferences. Feeding the hungry is a far more valuable material act than choosing a neoclassical design to match the exterior environment, but considering how an appearance creates or diminishes worth, not just monetary, but having a immaterial or spiritual respect for people and their needs is also a value worthy of consideration as we feed the hungry and care for the sick.

If we can build a community that has self-respect for its surroundings than there is a possibility in creating a respect for one another. Seeing the streets as a home instills eternal values for the soul. Entering a space of learning that inspires, like Radcliffe, can and must be applied to the baker shop, the gas station, and our homes. God created time, space, and matter that includes us; as Imago Dei there is a universal condition of self-worth places upon every human-being regardless of differences and conduct. In some manner, the aesthetic plays a central role in upholding that value.

That is a Mere Beauty In Truth.

— EKR

Thy Week, Thus Far: Trump Vs Biden Vs God

(Podcast)

Links to all articles mentioned:

Policies, Persons, and Paths to Ruin by John Piper https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/…

John Piper, Me, and the Cool Shame Election by Doug Wilson https://dougwils.com/books-and-cultur…

Christians, Conscience, and the Looming 2020 Election by Al Mohler https://albertmohler.com/2020/10/26/c…

Christian Witness Demands That We Defend Truth—and Reject Donald Trump by O. ALAN NOBLE https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/20…

For Whom Should a Christian Vote: Moral Reasoning and the 2020 Election https://theopolisinstitute.com/for-wh…

TIF Podcast: Ep. 2 Another Gospel? By Alisa Childers

This is the second book review. Not all podcast episodes will be book reviews but it is a great place to start for me. You can listen to this podcast at our Youtube Page All Things Veritas linked here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9-Sh8mvsuk&ab_channel=AllThingsVeritas

Fasting

Prayer and fasting are central to the Christian faith; you will find often in fact that is all we have in the fight but we should find peace in it because that means it’s all up to God. I’m fasting this week. Not going to say how long or why except that I want to point to Christ no matter the outcome.

There are a few things I want to do different this week as well. And you will see that in a few days. Til then I ask you to keep me in your prayers.

Blessings.

Principles Over Politics: Virtuous Individualism

(Special Series)

(Part 1)

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10: 29-37).

Hyper-individuality has spread infectiously throughout the world producing a toxic malaise over the minds, hearts, and souls of mankind. In reaction to it a dangerous collective desire of Identity and Identity Politics now stands to shatter any real sense of the individual beyond the group.

The term hyper-individualism can be described as a state of an individual acting in such a way that completely disregards the community. An attitude that carries over into the belief that an individuals identity of race, gender, sex, or personal background is the end all, be all position. Nothing another person has to say or do matters beyond the self. This attitude follows into their daily actions as the individual can do no wrong, demand a life to be lived without any form of judgement, and expect little in consequences to their actions. Rising tensions within harmful political environments make respect for differences of opinion a place of distain, yes, but that is only one part of a larger problem. Rather increasing tensions cause differences of opinion to intensify to the point of extremes, blinding individuals from seeing the faults in one or more positions.

Neither the radical beliefs of neoliberal individualism i.e. hyper-individuality nor the radical movements of collective solidarity (e.g. Marxism or Fascism) can suffice without calamity. Truthfully no system is perfect nor ideal, however, at the heart of the Christian faith and a philosophy of Primitive Conservatism is the individual who demonstrates mercy; whose actions are sacrificial not for their own vain glories but with the sole purpose to do right and to help others in-spite of differences.

“Justice without mercy is cruelty. Mercy without justice is the mother of all dissolution.” — Thomas Aquinas

Principles Over Politics: Exordium

(Special Series)

What then is a Christian to make of conservatism? The danger, it would seem, is not in conserving, for anyone may have a vocation to care for precious things, but in conservative ideology, which sets forth a picture of these things at variance with the faith. The same is true of liberalism. From time to time Christians may find themselves in tactical alliance with conservatives, just as with liberals, over particular policies, precepts, and laws. But they cannot be in strategic alliance, because their reasons for these stands are different; they are living in a different vision. For our allies’ sake as well as our own, it behooves us to remember the difference. We do not need another Social Gospel—just the Gospel. – J. Budziszewski

The Problem With Conservatism (1996)

Conservatism at its purest form is philosophical though it inevitably holds political weight in decisions of property, rights, laws, war, and nearly every other area of socioeconomic and political consequence. Richard M. Weaver reminded us in 1948 that Ideas Have Consequences, what we believe and follow, can reverberate throughout all of human history. “The modern position,” wrote Weaver, “seems only another manifestation of egotism, which develops when man has reached a point at which he will no longer admit the right to existence of things not of his own contriving” (Weaver, p. 154). Faith is more than tradition. Christ is beyond any philosophy. Historic Christianity is rooted in truth and reality that centers on the wholeness of Jesus Christ. Conservative philosophy at best recognizes the need for God and the institutions of the Christian faith, but it is not a practice of faith. As Professor Budziszewski of government and philosophy at the University of Texas in Austin and author of the blog, UndergroundThomist, distinctly makes clear: there is the Christian Faith and there is Conservatism and Liberalism and every other philosophical, ideological, and political system. At the end of the 1996 article (the article can be read in full at First Things website) he notes the essential truth of Christ and His Kingdom:

Christians can no more be others on the right than others on the left. Citizenship is an obligation of the faith, therefore the Christian will not abstain from the politics of the nation-state. But his primary mode of politics must always be witness. It is a good and necessary thing to change the welfare laws, but better yet to go out and feed the poor. It is a good and necessary thing to ban abortion, but better yet to sustain young women and their babies by taking them into the fellowship of faith. This is the way the kingdom of God is built.

The Problem With Conservatism (1996)

Therefore what comes first in terms of principles must be through and by the means of Christ, the Scriptures, and the Church. Christendom can be the only root source of a Primitive Conservative. Politics is secondary. Our identity is tertiary. Philosophy a helpmate. Surrender is strength not a weakness. Intersection is inevitable in the world of questions concerning morality, law, justice, or economics.

The Common Good

Tom Nelson, President of Made to Flourish, a network that works with churches in helping people flourish for the common good, argues that one of the best ways to achieve an act of common good is through our daily work (Nelson 2017, pp. 78-79, The Economics of Neighborly Love). By no means against the Free Market, Nelson seeks to make the case for a “triple bottom-line approaches that take into account not only profit but also promoting the flourishing of people as well as the planet” (pp. 79-80). One of several approaches to economic revitalization, the real father of economics can be found in the ideas of Thomas Aquinas whose central doctrines and dogmas remain as a central, though controversial, voice within Catholicism and broader Christianity.

Gloria L. Zúñiga at Acton Institute explains that “Thomistic economic thought… is grounded on private property and voluntary exchange as the principle for determining licit contracts.” Mary L. Hirschfeld, professor of economics and theology, wrote the book Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy (2018), arguing that there are intrinsic values modern society can learn from Aquinas for the sake of redeeming a neoliberal society from its moral shortcomings.

Alternatives and reforms to a capitalistic society are nothing new to conservative thought as the late Sir Roger Scruton explains that “to be a conservative at best is to be a reluctant Capitalist you have to acknowledge the free-market… but it has to be tempered.” Our source for the “good life” derives from a similar stream but diverges from its source as to the ultimate purpose over ones life. Economics is simply one example for indeed Jesus Christ did not come to establish an economic doctrine or political order on the Earth. He came to die for the sins of the world and to redeem all that is His. Yet he tells believers not to be anxious or to worry but to build up for the Kingdom of Heaven:

Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke 12: 32-34).

Giving, charity, helpfulness are virtues to be practiced for they are goodness in of themselves; eternal values of immense worth as conservatives understand them to be. However the Christian does not simply do good, he does it at the service of God who commands them to do good. A distinct difference not because of a total lack of will to do any good but that Christians acknowledge the source by which goodness is bequeathed. For none do good, not even one (Psalm 14:3; Rom. 3:11). A secular reader shall fail in their attempt to decipher its meaning without close inspection as much as new Christian in the faith who fails to study the scriptures. Acts of “good” can be accomplished by all men but their heart remains corrupted. Christ is the redeemer of the heart—that is the Gospel. Secondly, all life comes from God the creator. He is worthy of acknowledgement. And lastly Christians source their life around the Gospel. Good works follow after it but virtue is not their source or it is simply vanity. Harry Blamires succinctly summarizes this truth in his book, The Christian Mind (1963), between the Modern mind and the mind of the Christian:

If Christians think carefully and prayerfully, they will come to understand what the Incarnation means for them in terms of their twentieth-century vocation… They will learn what are the proper twentieth-century modes of judging the world, of identifying the self with its sins, of being in and yet of being out of this world which our Lord inhabited and yet was not of. But these vital insights will be achieved only if there is among us a Christian mind sharp enough as an instrument of discrimination to cut cleanly through the befuddling mental jungle which constitutes the practical ethic of our secular society (pp. 104-105).

Christ is the source of our Common Good; He is the Principle; the Rule of Thumb; and the Sole Being Worthy of Adoration. A.W. Tozer tells us that to be a follower of God means to be “other-worldly” (Tozer 2006, The Pursuit of God, p. 63). Or as Dietrich Bonhoeffer hammered it out straight for his readers in The Cost of Discipleship (1995), “Faith can no longer mean sitting still and waiting—they must rise and follow him. The call frees them from all earthly ties, and binds them to Jesus Christ alone” (pp. 62-63).

This week will be a week of explanation of what it means to hold to principles over politics; truth over lies; reality over irreality. A foundation that built from faith in Christ and Christ Alone. Sourced from Christian Doctrines and Dogmas in the face of a world that fails to love; fails to do justice; and fails in establishing dignity for all.

Foundations: What We Stand On

(A Declaration)

Preamble

Truth In Focus started as a blog to share ideas, peer into American culture, and establish principles by which to follow in life that look beyond the mere political lines of left versus right but established on Christianity first and Conservatism secondly; a place for faith and principles; theology and philosophy. That commitment not only remains, it is emboldened at a time when the world “does what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6, ESV). Faith has always been important, however, our faith could never be more important at time when political leaders, multinational corporations, billionaire globalists, and radicals of either leftist or right political persuasion who seek to topple goodness and faithfulness and righteousness for their own sake. History does repeat itself and it does so through a single source, human-nature.

Man may proclaim they are above and beyond pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth; however human nature and human history demonstrate an entirely different story. Today injustice and irrationality thrusts the United States of America and the Western World into a spiral, yet based on whose justice and which rationality, as Alasdair MacIntyre titled his 1988 book.

Our Christian Faith

Here at Truth In Focus that answer begins and ends with Scripture by support of the Universal Christian Church and Philosophy as her handmaiden. While there may be no perfect answers to every cause or issue, there are a plethora of sources that Christians and Conservatives can obtain in working towards a better and brighter future with people of all races and backgrounds. A sacred place of common ground. For Christians, such a common ground begins and ends with Jesus Christ alone at the center.

There can be no compromise in terms of Jesus Christ as established by the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed:

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
      creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
      who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
      and born of the virgin Mary.
      He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, died, and was buried;
      he descended to hell.
      The third day he rose again from the dead.
      He ascended to heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
      From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the holy catholic church,
      the communion of saints,
      the forgiveness of sins,
      the resurrection of the body,
      and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen

Indeed there are a great many creeds, confessions, and statements that make Christianity and Christian History rich in study and practice. Learning the The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion (1571), The Westminster Confession (1646), or the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) demonstrate our similarities and differences. This is not a weak advocating that all Christian churches are the same because they are not. Simplistically, accounting for great doctrinal differences without deep detail, the Christian faith can be described in one essence as Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Reformed, Arminian, or Anglican. While these historical differences exist and cannot go ignored, there is a real sense that Christianity must be a faith as Christ intended His Church to always be: a Sacred Body with Christ as the Head, that stands on dogmas and doctrines, working through our differences, proclaiming Christ Alone through His Grace Alone by means of faith and repentance, upholding eternal biblical truths, and critiquing the culture by ultimately pointing to Jesus Christ.

As they relate to each other in coequal First Principles of the Christian Faith: Affirming the death, resurrection, ascension, and return of Jesus Christ; that Christ died for the sins of the world and only through Him can a person be saved through faith/repentance to enter the Kingdom of Heaven; and affirming the truth of the Triunity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Without these affirmations there is no Christianity. Christ is Lord or there is no faith, church, or a foundation to build upon as Christians (1 Corinthians 15: 12-34).

Our Conservative Philosophy

Either there is a philosophy established on truth, reality, and virtue or there is nothing. Anchors therefore are discovered and maintained to build such a structure. Conservatism is that philosophy under the context of what I call Primitive Conservatism:

A form of conservative thought detached from a particular time or place, but rather seeking to incarnate eternal principles discovered throughout all human history. It values the rights of individuals through the understanding that liberty and freedom are not detached from principles that uphold their stability. In order to maintain individual rights there are required responsibilities and encouraged responsibilities laid upon citizens, institutions, and governments alike. No society on earth lacks responsibilities rather fewer societies openly acknowledge the necessity of holding society toward standards choosing instead a lesser form of liberty. Primitive Conservatism seeks to frame and structure responsibilities into laws, norms, and mores. Virtue is its primal source. Liberty is a living structure that requires constant care. Specifically, primitive conservatism is concerned with three areas pertaining to the survival of liberty at large: Morality, Justice, and Dignity.

Under no circumstances does philosophy triumph faith rather it assists to construct where Scripture and Theology are silent, unclear, or in need of further structuring . The Christian faith pronounces the underlying determinations of morality, justice, and dignity; it structures virtue versus vices. Nothing can come without God.

More progressive, liberal, and libertarian minded individuals may find themselves conservative under these circumstances once they grasp the value of its philosophical though surely imperfect discourse. Humility is the first of many virtues, nothing good is gained from pride for “[o]nly by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10, KJV). Even Warren Buffett quotes the Book of Proverbs in his Buffet reports (annuals and letters). Why? Because Lady Wisdom has a source. Another acknowledgement, there are no “races” but the human race (Acts 17:26), an ideal Darwin himself sought to confirm through Evolution in respect of persons, yet neither Darwin nor Christianity ignore the trials and tribulations of different cultures or ethnicities or races. A Primitive Conservative holds to that same standard of belief. We can reject differences without rejecting the human-being, for example, a person may freely reject all religious beliefs (an Atheist) without necessarily rejecting the entirety of personhood. No one will always believe equally but they can be held to an equal respect as a human life created by God. Granted nothing comes easy from such discourse as it requires hard thinking and real restitution. Hence the value and principles of Justice, Morality, and Dignity. Liberty must be watered by virtue. True philosophy demands thinking hard and faith in Christ requires holiness from imperfect beings. A mystery worthy of embrace.

Tradition, Faith, Imagination, and Reason are pillars of conservative minds yet hardly the only institutions of established belief. Since the time of Plato (and prior but one has to start somewhere) questions concerning justice and morality have been considered essential to a societies livelihood. Over the centuries the question of justice has been centralized or trivialized; Thomas Sowell wrote, The Quest for Cosmic Justice (1996), argues that attempts to achieve justice too often results in injustice. Perplexing and a reminder that no perfect justice can be achieved on this side of heaven. At best humanity can consider the deep complexity of matters at hand while holding firm to proven methods of easing concerns.

Dignity has entered the modern lexicon as a central theme by legal thinkers and political activism at the turn of the 20th century out of reaction to horrific events. Modernity forewarned internal dilemmas of freedom and totalitarianism as Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Communist Russia arose to power threatening the entire globe, clear distinctions now but saviors at their insurrection points. Yet today totalitarian desire remains as Hannah Arendt (Philosopher) analyzed:

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist (The Origins of Totalitarianism 1976, p. 172).

Modern American culture suffers these preset delusions as the lines of reality blur further and further into nonexistence. Distinctions turn extinct at the risk of unraveling all that is human, nature, and God. Technology and science are purported in late modernity as saviors for a Secular Age. Mammon is worshiped at the altar of the global economy served ferociously with hopes of maintaining a decaying decadence while people suffer, reality distorts, and the environment both the natural world and cultures decline. Meaning and purpose are in shambles.

Our Promise, Our Purpose

In light of human events the only right recourse is to build a set of institutions that seek truth over lies, reality instead of irreality, and virtue rather than the unvirtuous life. That is where Truth In Focus (TIR) comes in. A statement of principle that purposes itself on a foundation of truth; a voice for the voiceless and a defense of the defenseless based on the Christian Faith and Conservative philosophical principles. Nothing could be more important at this time.

TIR Stands On Five Pillars:

  1. We are obligated to the truth regardless of the individual or institution in question. Truth stationed in the Christian Faith and Conservative Principles.
  2. We support principles over politics; people over profits; and the practical over the utopian.
  3. Society is at the mercy of Multinational Corporations, Powerful Institutions, Big Pharma, and Big Government who serve at the seat of Crony Capitalism and Woke Socialism; TIR serves neither and seeks to bring the powerful into the light regardless of their political leanings.
  4. Rebuilding the Community is essential but under the understanding of a Republic; a nation and a people who respects a virtueous individualism rooted in God, Family, and Country. TIR supports Federalism (the Rights of States), the Rule of Law, the Constitution, and a Living Liberty ingrained in virtue.
  5. Knowledge, Meaning, Purpose, and Reality are at risk; TIR serves to be a place that inquires facts over emotions to establish real meaning and purpose in the lives of our readers. Presently the globalized world is captured by a hyperreality of biased journalism, deep fakes, unsubstantiated science, and technological sedation. Therefore, we seek to break these trends for the sake of rebuilding the Good Life.

Future articles will be using these principles as guides for our readers; Food Politics, Black America, Rights to Privacy, Constitutional Issues, Corporatism, Christ & Culture; Theology; Women & Society, Men & Society; Indigenous Groups; and The Family are only a few topics that will be Our Focus at Truth In Focus.

So the question is now on you, the reader, will you join us? If so, sign-up to our email list, share TIR, like our articles, and join our groups.

Sincerely,

EKR