Tuesday, March 28, 2017

HILLARY IS NOT PRESIDENT, BUT THE CLINTON EFFECT IS NOT GOING AWAY

I was always confident that Hillary Clinton would never be elected President. I had expressed this confidence here before. I had given thought to how I would respond when her defeat was certain, when she would finally cease to be a factor in American politics. This is what I thought I would write:

I have been told that once a virus is introduced into the human body, it is there for the life of the individual. However, that is not necessarily true for the body politic. With the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the Clinton's negative influence on American life and politics is at an end. The nation is no longer mesmerized by Bill Clinton. Most younger voters are not even old enough to remember his presidency. Now that Hillary has lost, politicians, foreign and domestic, will no longer seek favors from them. Chelsea has no future in politics. We have paid a high price for the presence of the Clintons in our political life. Their presence has been like a harmful virus in our system. Fortunately, with Hillary's defeat, that virus has been removed.

However, I would have been naive to think the influence of the Clintons would be over.

We have indeed paid a high price for electing the Clintons in 1992. I don't need to go into detail concerning their crimes and scandals. But I will point out that the brazen way they have flouted the justice system has emboldened the liberal-progressive-democrat party to openly defy the law of the land. To take one example, let me mention the FBI files scandal. Charles Colson, one of Richard Nixon's top aids, went to jail for reading one top secret FBI file. Hillary hired political operatives to obtain FBI files on hundreds of former officials of the first Bush administration. No one was arrested or sentenced for this flagrant criminal activity. The political establishment pretended no crime had been committed. The press had become so invested in the Clintons that they didn't seriously report on it. That the Clintons got away with so much only emboldened President Obama's administration to undermine the rule of law on a grand scale. Had it not been for the Clinton example, Obama's IRS might not had targeted conservative groups or been so openly contemptuous of the efforts to discover the truth. Without the Clinton example, the justice system might not have been politicized to the extent it was under Obama. When another liberal-progressive-democrat enters the White House, they will be as much, if not more emboldened, to undermine the belief that we are a nation of laws and not of men. Our politics have acquired a non-stop intensity because of the Clintons. It was the Clintons who introduced the notion of the permanent campaign into our political life in 1992. They are the ones who established the "War Room" to deal with every criticism of themselves and their policies. Most serious of all, we have paid a high price in human lives The Clinton policy, known as "the wall", made 9/11 possible. That policy prohibited intelligence sharing between the CIA and the FBI. Had that policy not been in place, and had Bill Clinton taken out bin-Laden when he had the opportunity, 9/11 would not have taken place. Were it not for Hillary Clinton's incompetence, four Americans would not have died in Benghazi. If it were not for Hillary Clinton's incompetence, in cooperation with Obama, many in the Middle East would not be terrorized by ISIS. President Trump campaigned against engaging in "unnecessary" wars in the Middle East. Yet the price to reverse the effects of the Clinton-Obama debacles may cost many more American lives, in addition to innocent lives of Muslims and Christians in that region. Because many thought Hillary would be elected President one day, many foreign leaders and business figures have donated enormous sums to the Clinton Foundation. They expected future favors from the Hillary Clinton administration and many received favors while Hillary was Obama's Secretary of State. In one case Hillary signed over to the Russians a major portion of the United States' uranium supply. The Clinton Foundation received donations for charitable enterprises. Yet much of the money was not spent on charity. The people of Haiti have seen very little of the money donated for their relief after the 2010 earthquake which devastated their nation.

Hillary's defeat has indeed rendered her and Bill Clinton politically irrelevant. But we have not yet paid the full price for their conduct. The consequences of policies may be reversed over time. But the corruptions of our system of government are here to stay.

You might say, "Why write this now? The election is over. Why didn't you post this during the campaign, or right after the election? This is old news." But is this really old news? We hear much in the news these days about the threat posed by North Korea. President Trump may have no option but to launch a preemptive strike to prevent North Korea from launching a nuclear attack on South Korea or Japan. Who knows how many lives will be lost. What does this have to do with the Clintons? It was the Bill Clinton administration that allowed North Korea the ability to produce nuclear weapons. The North Koreans were permitted to produce nuclear power for "peaceful purposes." Anyone with any sense should have known the North Koreans would use this opportunity to build nuclear weapons. This world is now a much more dangerous place because the Clintons were elected to high office. Who knows how much more damage their presence has caused?

   

Saturday, March 18, 2017

REDEMPTIVE THOUGHTS IS BACK!

Redemptive Thoughts is now running at full steam. Barely an article has appeared here for a year and a half. I was at work on a project that took all my time I had to blog. That project is now complete and will be featured on this site later this year. In the meantime, I hope to post here a couple times a week to build back the readership Redemptive Thoughts once had. A few political posts will be my first focus. My primary concern for posting these is to counter the view of some Christians who believe that Christians must abandon evangelical political and social action. I would like to to post more audio material with the purpose that I might engage in podcasting later on. The semi-regular feature "Friday Night Frozen Dinner and an Intellectual" will return, providing not only book reviews but more reviews of web pages, internet articles and podcasts. In the past, I had expressed my intention to examine the situation and views of the Global Church. I intend on turning that intention into a reality here. I also hope to feature more Christian biography and history, and Wesleyan writings. As always, feel free to comment on anything that appears here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

THOMAS ODEN, 1931-2016

Thomas Oden, the best known American Evangelical theologian from the Wesleyan-Arminian branch of the Church, died last month. He was already a professor of theology when he came to faith in Christ after studying the early Church Fathers. His 3 volume systematic theology was required reading at Wesley Biblical Seminary. His theological method was not to create something new. He applied the wisdom of the historic Church, from the early Church to the Reformation, to our understanding of scripture, the Christian life, and to the Church's mission in today's world. He sought out the truths that have been acknowledged by all branches of the Church from its beginning as the standard by which we discover the source of this wisdom. (Oden acknowledged that Scripture has greater authority than Church teaching.)   Oden's method is often referred to as Classical Consensual Christianity. Oden referred to it as paleo-orthodoxy. Oden also sought to locate the place of Wesleyan theology and spirituality within the greater Church tradition. Recently, he had been educating the Church on the roots of African Christianity and its place in Church history. I never met Thomas Oden. However, many of my professors at Wesley Biblical Seminary were taught and mentored by him. I would like to think that my classmates and I were influenced by Oden through them and help carry on his legacy in the ministry and in the classroom. Here is a collection of articles on Oden that appeared after his death. I hope you take some time to gain some perspective on one of the 20th century's theological giants from a variety of theological viewpoints.

Before examining Thomas Oden's theology and impact, here is a humorous personal account of what kind of person Oden was by C. Michael Patton, a Calvinist. (HT: Kevin Jackson's Wesleyan-Arminian blog).

Andrew Dragos of Asbury Seedbed gives a short account of Oden's life and importance.

This article from Christianity Today was linked to more than any other by those who wished to bring attention to Oden's life and work after his death. It features praise for Oden and his contributions to theology from theologians of many perspectives. For instance, J.I. Packer is quoted as saying that Oden's work on classical Christianity was needed by the Church for centuries.

Here, in Oden's own words is a short account from of his journey from spiritual futility to a robust faith in Christ. (HT: A short article on Oden from Mark Tooley, President of the Institute On Religion and Democracy, on the Caffeinated Thoughts blog. Here is a tribute to Oden written by Tooley after Oden's death. (HT: The Gospel Coalition.)

 Here is a short but useful article from Ben Witherington of Asbury Seminary explaining Oden's contribution to theology with a lament that Oden was not able to produce more on Wesleyan theology. 

Here is a article that links to a great interview by Ray Nothstein of Oden. It is a wide ranging interview covering not only classical Christianity, but its application to such subjects as poverty and social witness, ministry to prisoners, immigration, and suffering. The link to this interview appeared in an article on the Acton Institute blog by Joe Carter.  Here is a link to another interview with Oden, this time with Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Its not as wide ranging as the interview with Nothstein. It focuses almost exclusively on Oden's theological and spiritual journey. The link to the original audio for this interview is provided below.

Michael J. Kruger, of Reformed Theological Seminary, learned seven lessons from Oden's life story.

Short tributes to Oden by Stephen Beard of Good News Magazine and Jason G. Duesing

Here is a examination of Oden's theological method from the SUMMA PHILOSOPHIAE blog. This is not an article that can be understood through speed reading.

You can read reviews of Oden's autobiography , A Change of Heart, on Amazon .com . (HT: Gene Vieth.)

Here is a lecture given by Thomas Oden. I haven't had time to listen to it yet. It was given at Seattle Pacific University. It is entitled The Renewal of Classic Christianity:Spirituality (HT: Kevin Jackson's Wesleyan-Arminian blog). When I recommence blogging in earnest, one of my first posts will be my impressions of it, along with the interview with Mohler mentioned above.

Here is a post with a very short video of Oden. However, after it is over, links to longer interviews appear. From Terry Mattingly's On Religion blog.