Christian, is the Unbeliever Your Enemy?

Short answer:  In one sense, no. In another sense, maybe. In yet another sense, definitely yes.


Mark Citadel, at his blog, posts an excellent essay Parallel Blueprint to Victory. In it he points to the successful colonization of parts of Western Europe by Muslims who reject their host societies, and he urges Christians to learn from their success.  This post is not an evaluation of Mr. Citadel’s entire essay, but a meditation on part of it: Are unbelievers our enemies?

Some quotes from Mr. Citadel:

The solution for us [traditionalists] is not much different from the solution that Muslim immigrants to Europe have exemplified.

We call this the ‘parallel society’. This is not the creation of a hermit kingdom, it is the creation of [an] entirely separate and hostile social system that runs alongside the main culture.

…this approach is much more openly hostile than the one which [Rod] Dreher espoused, and I would argue it is this aggressive nature that determines long-term stagnation or long-term victory.


Christians primarily need to start raising their children on two essential doctrines of this struggle.

1) You are Christian, you were born Christian, you will die Christian.

2) The world is not Christian. The world is your enemy.

[Emphasis in original.]

The key word for the present discussion is hostile. Since we are Christians, says Mr. Citadel, we should be hostile to those who are hostile to us. But to what extent are unbelievers our enemies? Continue reading

To the Manosphere: There is a Christianity you can Respect

It’s called “Confessional Protestantism.” It’s small, and mostly unknown, but it’s solid.


The problem with contemporary Christianity is its liberalism. Trying to be popular with the masses, the church generally accepts the thinking of the contemporary world, feminism included. Being Christian, it adds to this mix a belief in Jesus Christ. But when the teachings of Christ conflict with liberalism, today’s church generally sides with the world, even if it tries to dress up worldly thinking in Christian clothing.

Today, many conservative Christians are theologically Christian but philosophically liberal. They believe in the Holy Trinity, and also in multiculturalism. They affirm that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and that we must stop making homosexuals feel excluded. They receive holy communion, and they protest for more rights for immigrants.


The way to stop this nonsense is first to identify that your highest authority is the written word of God, the Bible. Other authorities can be corrupted, but the Word of God is a matter of public record. Continue reading

A Call to the Christian Manosphere: be More Christian

The Manosphere criticizes Christendom, and it partly deserves it. But there are Christian and non-Christian ways to criticize.

The Manosphere’s basic critique of Western Christendom is that it panders to feminism. Enamored of the world, the church often propagates the worldly, feminist idea that the man is to blame and the woman is justified in rebellion. Instead of affirming biblical and historical Christian teaching that the man is to be the head of the family and that the wife is to submit to her husband’s leadership, many Evangelical churches, while giving an occasional nod to biblical teaching, present a de facto doctrine that gives the woman veto power. Without acknowledging it, they often pander to the wife’s right to feel offended, and sometimes even to divorce, if she feels that her man is mistreating her or not meeting her needs.

Broadly speaking, I agree with the Manosphere’s critique. When they err, it is usually an exaggeration of a valid point rather than a fundamental untruth. But something important is missing.

To understand what’s missing, consider the notion of law versus gospel: Continue reading

We Need an Ecumenical Council to Oppose Contemporary Heresies

The liberal revolution has smashed tradition and authority.  Throughout our nation the children are running amok. We need the fathers to step in and reestablish order.

The church is polluted by heresy like never before. Never before have heresies been so varied, so popular, and so powerful. These are not the “classical” heresies such as Arianism or Pelagianism, although these beliefs still have influence. Today’s popular heresies were created no more than a hundred years ago and they have no official heretical status. It’s time officially to stigmatize them as the dangerous heresies that they are.

We’ll define some of these heresies later but observe first that heretics such as Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland and Rob Bell are—from a worldly viewpoint—highly successful and influential. The smog they generate is polluting not only the church, but the cultures of entire nations. Although these heresies all originated in the United States, and within Protestantism, America’s powerful worldwide influence has spread them to all corners of the globe.

Therefore Catholics and the Orthodox should take note: the cultural smog emitted by the contemporary heretics affects you too. Heresy is an ecumenical menace.

And non-Christians should also take note. The contemporary heresies promise this-worldly peace and prosperity and Christians under their influence will not oppose the liberal jihad ravaging Western Civilization. They may even join it, seeking peace with the world so they can enjoy their lives. Heretical pseudo-Christianity is part of the problem, not the solution. By opposing these heresies we don’t just build up Christendom. We also oppose liberalism and help work toward a sane, traditionalist society.

These heresies originated within Protestantism and although it currently has no authorities that seem capable of enforcing a proper order (and this is apparently also true of Catholicism), Protestantism generally recognizes the authority of the Bible. There are pastors and teachers who would command widespread respect were they to issue an unambiguous statement, based on the authority of the Bible, opposing contemporary heresies.

We therefore put forward the idea of an ecumenical council of leaders of biblically-faithful Protestant congregations, denominations, and seminaries which would craft an official response to contemporary heresy. Such a council would have no power actually to defrock heretical pastors, but its unofficial influence could potentially be great. Heretics would be taken aback, and Bible-believing Christians would have an official response from the fathers of Protestantism giving them comfort and support in their battles with heresy. Continue reading

Predestination Again

I’ve been trying to explain the reasonableness of the biblical doctrine of predestination (more accurately, divine election), the biblical teaching that God chose us before the creation of the world to come to Christ in faith. [Cf. Ephesians chapter 1.] I’m not satisfied with my previous presentations, so here goes again:


Picture someone who hates Christ. The head of ISIS, for example. Or the village atheist who trolls Christian websites. Anybody who hates Christianity.

Such people sometimes change their minds and come to faith in Christ. At one time they hated Christ, but later they changed their minds.

Question: What caused this change?

The answer that most quickly comes to mind is the following:  The former Christ-hater gradually began to notice that Christianity is good and makes sense. He began to sense his own sin and his inability to atone for his sins by good deeds. He began to see that Christ, as reported in the New Testament, is an intelligent, compassionate and powerful figure. He began to understand that the eyewitnesses could not have been fabricating their account of the life of Christ. And so on. He gradually began to be attracted to Christ.

But this answer is obviously false. People who hate Christianity don’t begin to notice that it’s good. The moment someone begins to notice that Christianity is good, his mind has already changed. So the above is no explanation of the cause of the change. Continue reading

Thirty Steps from Honest Uncertainty to Christian Faith

When he finished his setting of the Credo, Stravinsky remarked to a friend that, “it is much to believe.” Indeed. If you start with the banquet of the Creed, you hardly know how to begin, and the whole mass of doctrines it encodes can be pretty hard to swallow at one bite. But there are only about thirty steps, more or less, from complete agnosticism to a profession of Christianity. Many are truisms, that if understood could hardly be denied by anyone; those that depend on knowledge of facts might require a fair bit of (absolutely fascinating) background research (e.g., especially, the Shroud). Each step is of course open to quibble, but such quibbles as I have so far encountered at each step are easily settled. Taken seriatim and in the proper order, none of the steps are as incredible as all of them seem taken at once. Continue reading

The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church

[Some time ago, I asked readers for recommended reading on their branches of Christianity.  Below is my understanding of Eastern Orthodox theology, as gathered from Vladimir Lossky’s “The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church”, one of the books recommended to me.  This is the second in a series as I work my way down my reading list.  Orthodox commenters should be considered to have more authority than me on this topic, and I will gratefully take their correction.  The goal of this post, and I hope of the subsequent discussion, will be to accurately describe the Orthodox faith, rather than to criticize or defend it.]

Lossky’s book was first published in French in 1944, so Thomist Catholicism is naturally the tradition to which he most often compares his own, and the “individual” vs. “person” craze of that era definitely left its mark.  These points of familiarity will aid western readers.  Lossky sometimes strikes me as too eager to assert differences between East and West, but the purpose is to explain rather than disparage, making it a good book for our purposes.

Lossky (and, I gather, much of the Eastern tradition) is ultimately motivated by a desire to defend two truths:  1) that God is utterly beyond our knowledge and comprehension, 2) and yet He does make Himself really and immediately accessible to us, especially in mystical experience.  God is both inaccessible and accessible, a seeming paradox that would probably please Lossky and the Eastern Fathers who inspire him.  His goal is to preserve antinomies rather than resolve them; the danger of contradiction worries him far less than that of premature epistemic closure, of replacing the real, incomprehensible God with some construction more amenable to the human mind.

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Gnosticism: Its Self-Representation

Gnosis 02Part I of this series posed the linked questions whether Eric Voegelin’s characterization of Gnosticism in his various books on the topic was valid – and whether, as Voegelin asserted, modernity, in the form of the liberal and totalitarian ideologies, could be understood as the resurgence of ancient Gnosticism. The purpose of Part I was not to furnish definitive answers to those questions, but rather to explore two critiques of Gnostic doctrine from Late Antiquity. These were the essay Against the Gnostics by the Third-Century Neo-Platonic philosopher Plotinus and the discussion in Saint Augustine’s Confessions (Books III, IV, and V) of the Manichaean religion, a late variant of Gnosticism. The exposition concluded that the two accounts of Gnosticism although written more than a century apart (Augustine being subsequent to Plotinus) were convergent and largely similar. The argument did not propose that Plotinus and Augustine, in their critiques, anticipate Voegelin, but readers might justly have inferred that as a tacit thesis.

The present essay addresses Gnosticism by examining it in its own terms. It is certainly provocative that two ancient writers, separated by a tumultuous century-and-a-half should have arrived at essentially the same assessment of Gnosticism. Nevertheless, this similitude in the judgment might be because both authors are prejudiced in the same way; thus their agreement could erroneous or bigoted. After all, as the father of modern Gnosticism-scholarship, Ferdinand Christian Baur (1792-1860), averred, the Gnostics were formidable thinkers, masters of confabulation, and connoisseurs of a wide variety of religions, including but by no means confined to Judaism and Christianity. Elements of Gnosticism likely became incorporated in Christian theology (think of Revelations) even as Patristic writers systematically anathematized what they regarded as heresy.

What follows concerns itself with details of four Gnostic documents: The Tri-Partite Tractate, usually attributed to Heracleon, a follower of Valentinus; The Origin of the World, of anonymous authorship; The Gospel of Truth, by Valentinus; and Zostrianos, also of anonymous authorship – all of which come from the so-called Nag Hammadi documents and all of which belong to the mid-Second Century or slightly later. Zostrianos likely influenced Mani (216-276) when he was writing his own scripture in the Third Century.

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The Way of all Ways

Any religion must express some truths, or it will be utterly useless, and will gain no purchase among men. It will fail to convince them. They will see that it is just absurd.

So all perdurant religions express some truths. Nevertheless they disagree, or they would not differ. So none of them express the same set of truths. And to the extent that they disagree in any respect with Christianity about the Incarnation and its implications, they cannot but mislead men, to their spiritual detriment, and even in the limit to their damnation.

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Sex in Church

In a wide-ranging and penetrating essay contra the ordination of women, Peter Leithart argues that because sex is inerasably graven in the logos of man, ipso facto is it graven in the nature of whatever man does, from liturgy to marriage; that worship, being the quintessentially human activity, in which we can reach the sublimity of all our special capacities (for thought, word, deed; for art, music, argument, prayer; and so forth), is the font and archetype of all subsidiary activities, to which it lends them form; so that when we upend or confuse the sexes in church, we must perforce do likewise in marriage, and everywhere else.

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