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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Truth From Stones – Non-Christians Getting it Right

Jun 16, 2017

If you are even semi-biblically literate you will know where my title comes from. It is from the story of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Luke 19:35-40 puts it this way:

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

All truth is God’s truth, and if God’s people will not proclaim it, then God is quite able to use non-Christians to speak truth. This is part of what we call the doctrine of common grace: God shares general grace on all of us, and a non-Christian can be used to share truth.

We often find this happening in the culture wars for example. The churches should be speaking out boldly on all the hot potato moral, cultural and social issues of the day, but sadly far too often they are not. They prefer to remain silent. They refuse to act as salt and light to a needy world as Jesus commanded us to be.

paglia 3Often therefore the ones speaking out against the radical agendas of the secular left are non-Christians. I am very glad they are speaking out, and they put many of us Christians to shame. Why do they get it, why do they speak out, and why are they so bold, when most of us say and do nothing?

There would be a number of non-Christian conservative commentators, thinkers, politicians, etc., who often speak truth, and speak it boldly. These would include people like Andrew Bolt, Mark Latham, Brendan O’Neill, Geert Wilders to name but a few.

I of course hope and pray that all these secular truth-speakers come to know the one who is truth. Just think what some of these folks would be like if they had a life-changing encounter with the risen Christ. But as I say, all truth is God’s truth, and even those who do not know Christ can speak truth, at least to some extent.

I say all this because another case of a non-Christian saying what needs to be said has just appeared in the media. Camille Paglia is a 70-year-old academic and intellectual who is certainly not a Christian. Although a radical lesbian feminist, she has often been an outspoken critic of both.

She has just done a lengthy interview with the conservative Weekly Standard. The whole piece is well worth reading. It covers a wide range of topics, including Trump, the Left, Islam, and sexuality. While I want to focus on her thoughts about homosexuality and transgenderism, let me briefly quote from what she said about Islam and the Left:

Liberalism of the 1950s and ’60s exalted civil liberties, individualism, and dissident thought and speech. “Question authority” was our generational rubric when I was in college. But today’s liberalism has become grotesquely mechanistic and authoritarian: It’s all about reducing individuals to a group identity, defining that group in permanent victim terms, and denying others their democratic right to challenge that group and its ideology. Political correctness represents the fossilized institutionalization of once-vital revolutionary ideas, which have become mere rote formulas. It is repressively Stalinist, dependent on a labyrinthine, parasitic bureaucracy to enforce its empty dictates.
The reluctance or inability of Western liberals to candidly confront jihadism has been catastrophically counterproductive insofar as it has inspired an ongoing upsurge in right-wing politics in Europe and the United States. Citizens have an absolute right to demand basic security from their government. The contortions to which so many liberals resort to avoid connecting bombings, massacres, persecutions, and cultural vandalism to Islamic jihadism is remarkable, given their usual animosity to religion, above all Christianity. Some commentators have suggested a link to racial preconceptions: that is, Islam remains beyond criticism because it is largely a religion of non-whites whose two holy cities occupy territory once oppressed by Western imperialism….
Right now, too many secular Western liberals treat Islam with paternalistic condescension—waving at it vaguely from a benevolent distance but making no effort to engage with it….

But her thoughts on the gender bender agenda is something I want to highlight. I have shared her thoughts on these issues before, and I am pleased to share more of them today. She begins with the feminist-transgender conflicts:

Feminists have clashed with transgender activists much more publicly in the United Kingdom than here. For example, two years ago there was an acrimonious organized campaign, including a petition with 3,000 claimed signatures, to cancel a lecture by Germaine Greer at Cardiff University because of her “offensive” views of transgenderism. Greer, a literary scholar who was one of the great pioneers of second-wave feminism, has always denied that men who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery are actually “women.” Her Cardiff lecture (on “Women and Power” in the twentieth century) eventually went forward, under heavy security.
And in 2014, Gender Hurts, a book by radical Australian feminist Sheila Jeffreys, created a heated controversy in the United Kingdom. Jeffreys identifies transsexualism with misogyny and describes it as a form of “mutilation.” She and her feminist allies encountered prolonged difficulties in securing a London speaking venue because of threats and agitation by transgender activists. Finally, Conway Hall was made available: Jeffrey’s forceful, detailed lecture there in July of last year is fully available on YouTube. In it she argues among other things, that the pharmaceutical industry, having lost income when routine estrogen therapy for menopausal women was abandoned because of its health risks, has been promoting the relatively new idea of transgenderism in order to create a permanent class of customers who will need to take prescribed hormones for life.

And her comments are all the more remarkable given her own lifestyle:

Although I describe myself as transgender (I was donning flamboyant male costumes from early childhood on), I am highly skeptical about the current transgender wave, which I think has been produced by far more complicated psychological and sociological factors than current gender discourse allows. Furthermore, I condemn the escalating prescription of puberty blockers (whose long-term effects are unknown) for children. I regard this practice as a criminal violation of human rights.
It is certainly ironic how liberals who posture as defenders of science when it comes to global warming (a sentimental myth unsupported by evidence) flee all reference to biology when it comes to gender. Biology has been programmatically excluded from women’s studies and gender studies programs for almost 50 years now. Thus very few current gender studies professors and theorists, here and abroad, are intellectually or scientifically prepared to teach their subjects.
The cold biological truth is that sex changes are impossible. Every single cell of the human body remains coded with one’s birth gender for life. Intersex ambiguities can occur, but they are developmental anomalies that represent a tiny proportion of all human births.
In a democracy, everyone, no matter how nonconformist or eccentric, should be free from harassment and abuse. But at the same time, no one deserves special rights, protections, or privileges on the basis of their eccentricity. The categories “trans-man” and “trans-woman” are highly accurate and deserving of respect. But like Germaine Greer and Sheila Jeffreys, I reject state-sponsored coercion to call someone a “woman” or a “man” simply on the basis of his or her subjective feeling about it. We may well take the path of good will and defer to courtesy on such occasions, but it is our choice alone.

As I say, read the whole interview. And as I also said, if we can’t get Christians with enough guts and intelligence and non-PC views to stand up in the public square and declare truth, then I will happily take non-Christians who will. If the church is failing in its duties, then God can raise up stones to speak truth.

Give us some bold Christian truth–proclaimers Lord, or give us more stones.

www.weeklystandard.com/camille-paglia-on-trump-democrats-transgenderism-and-islamist-terror/article/2008464

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15 Responses to Truth From Stones – Non-Christians Getting it Right

  • On Monday I received an email asking to sign a petition from the Christian Federation to stand with Margaret Court and her rights to freedom of speech. When I told my wife, she asked how come we had to stand as individuals when we had not heard of any of the churches in Australia standing with her? Have we missed something? Have the churches united with her? Why are they silent?

    Here is the link if you want to take a look;
    www.gopetition.com/petitions/supporting-margaret-courts-right-to-freedom-of-speech.html

  • Yes Paul, once again, far too much shameless silence from most churches. I wrote on the Court issue at various times already, eg:

    billmuehlenberg.com/2017/06/03/hate-rage-demonised-left/

    billmuehlenberg.com/2017/05/27/gotta-love-activists-think/

  • Love this article Bill. Funny I don’t see Christians trying to shut down those with a different world view but endeavour to use dialogue. People like Camille Paglia are the courageous people in the world because their enemies give them more stick then they do to Bible believing conservatives. It can be loosely likened to ex Muslims speaking out who are also courageous in the light of hate and vitriol. Both groups need to be supported by the conservative community. After all we are not trying to force them to be ‘like us’ and neither should we condemn them if choose their own way. They will have trouble enough in their afterlife so in this life we want to be the voice of reason.

  • Thanks Keith. Yes quite so. And needless to say, I of course may not agree with everything a Marine Le Pen, Andrew Bolt, or Camille Paglia says. As non-believers, it is expected that they will still get many things wrong, especially on spiritual issues and the like. But when they do speak truth I am more than happy to run with what they have to say, and give them some moral support when needed or deserved.

  • Things are getting so absurd that even academics are starting to see some of the problems.

  • In regards to the transgender post, according to Breitbart, only 22.7% of Americans support the transgender ideology and rights whereas about 78.3% don’t. It also says that some gay people (like Camille Paglia above) don’t even support this idea, along with ex transgenders, feminists (the ones who actually want equality and not the crazy contradicting ones), most conservatives and most moderates. Even former president Barack Obama had to admit twice that his unpopular transgender bathroom policy was one the reasons Hillary was defeated in the election. Unfortunately Bill, like you said in your last post, the left has gone mad here in America. www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/01/01/transgender-goals-supported-by-one-quarter/

  • Yep, plenty of madness there James.

  • Thank you Bill. Could I also mention Tammy Bruce (lesbian) who has been brutally incisive on these issues of homosexual and transgender activism, and Melanie Phillips (Jewish) who has brilliantly exposed the deceitfulness of all of the above and more, and, though not a Christian, has consistently warned her own countrymen (the Brits) and the West in general that its all-out attack on Christianity is suicidal – destructive of our civilization and making us ripe for the taking. I love the opening and closing paragraphs of a recent piece she wrote:

    “The recent terrorist attacks in Britain have exposed once again the enormous divide between millions of ordinary people who “get it” and the elite class of politicians, media and so-called progressives who do not.”
    “The great political struggle of our times is not between Left and Right. It is between those who are connected to truth, reason and reality and those who are not. It reflects a fundamental division in the West, whose fate will be decided by its outcome.”

  • Thanks Alec. Yes I certainly had both Tammy and Melanie in mind as well when I penned my piece. I have featured both of them often on my site. There would be a number of such champs that could be mentioned.

  • Thank you Bill, Really appreciate your article. You asked why so many Christians don’t speak out, and I have asked the same question myself many times. Even Katie Hopkins, who I don’t particularly agree with on some matters voices so many truths in relation to Islam, that we have to appreciate her stance in the face of such venomous opposition. Fear seems to be at the crux of the matter for some Christians, but I love how God uses whoever and whatever he will to speak out. Truth from Stones – love it.

  • Camille Paglia is somewhat of a hypocrite… however, despite that, she has the enviable skill of clarifying basic truths about these hot-potato issues with significant credibility and aplomb.

  • Great article, Bill.
    I’ll give you some of the reasons I have heard and seen over the years why the church at large shies away from confronting some of the issues you mentioned on your article. I could also include abortion, Islamic influence, education, politics and more. Some points are valid whilst others are not necessarily wrong themselves but have subtle misconceptions. Other reasons are outright wrong in my opinion – they are based on the fear of men rather than on the fear of God.

    Here are some of the reasons:

    (1) Jesus commissioned the Church to preach the Gospel rather than meddle with worldly things. Many Christians believe spending time convincing people about the error of homosexuality or transgenderism is contrary to the Great Commission. It is the worldly against the spiritual. The mentality is not to get entangled with the “things” of this world which will pass away anyway. In other words, this is not our business.

    (2) One passage which is often quoted is the one where Paul says “I did not come to you with persuasive words of men’s wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit’s power”. In other words, demonstration of the power of God is more persuasive than clever words. The idea is “we don’t want to win arguments but we want to bring people to Christ.”

    (3) Taking the “Margaret Court” approach puts people off the gospel because it comes across as being judgmental. First we bring people to the gospel through God’s love then we allow the Holy Spirit to show them the truth. Gradually they will be brought to repentance as they follow Christ and walk away from the old ways.

    (4) Being part of public demonstrations carrying placards (e.g. “March for the Babies”) is not as effective as praying. All these battles against the forces of evil are won spiritually through prayer and not through social activism. If the devil is blinding people how can placards and debates change their mind?

  • Some good news and bad news from Britain.

    Good news: more young people than expected (some 13-21% of 11-18 year olds) describe themselves as active followers of Jesus.

    Bad news: by definition 13-21% of young people means some 79-87% aren’t followers of Jesus.

    www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/17/one-six-young-people-christian-visits-church-buildings-inspire/

  • I read Schaeffer’s books on the need for Christians to be active in the public square 40 years ago and view with dismay the lack of action by many church leaders. This is why people such as yourself, Bernard Gaynor, Margaret Court, ACL, FamilyVoice and then overseas LifeSiteNews and 1 Peter 5 speak in the vacuum left by leaders who should be fearless as Paul was. If Wilberforce had not addressed slavery when would it have been outlawed? If Lord Shaftesbury had surrendered to pietism when would child labour have been stopped?

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