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Friday, February 1, 2008

Not-so Best of the Web Today

After contributing my little bit a couple days ago, today I responded less favorably to an item in BOTWT entitled, "Jimmy Carter's Lust and North Korea's Nukes" (second item). Read it first, then you'll understand my response, which I emailed as follows:

Ummm, sometimes your lack of close acquaintance with practicing evangelicals really shows.

(BTW: I'm no Carter fan, though I voted for him (once, not twice) after my religious conversion but before my political conversion).

Evangelicals DO consider pride to be the worst of all sins (see CS Lewis's "Mere Christianity" for the classic statement).

Evangelicals believe that salvation is by grace, not by deserving it. Humility means you can believe with full assurance that you are saved (otherwise, it would be tough to feel love, gratitude and praise for a God who made you live your whole life with an axe hanging over your head); even while you believe that you don't deserve salvation any more than anyone else.

Grace means my motive for serving God is love and gratitude, not trying to earn myself a condo in paradise. Grace means God doesn't decide who gets in and who doesn't based on some mysterious grading curve, so I don't need to make others look bad to improve my chances.

We are all sinners, "all have fallens short of the glory of God," and when we see people commit horrible sins, "there, but for the grace of God and a different set of genes or parents, go I". My secret lust is one and the same (in wickedness, though not in consequence) with Bill Clinton's serial adultery. Haven't you ever read Matthew 5 ("you have heard... but I say unto you...")?

Finally, to express these things isn't in itself prideful. One could say what Carter said with a certain smug self-righteousness (the problem with pride is that it is so hard to fully eradicate) or with genuine humility. Christians aim for the latter, and it is sinfully judgmental to look into the heart of someone expressing these thoughts and claim that his motives are baser than thou's.

I know that liberals believe that only a bad or stupid person can be a conservative, but I'm sure Peggy Noonan could explain to you why we shouldn't reciprocate.

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