Posted by Peter Lawler
Not if you take Matthew 10:16 seriously.
Probably, though I like Michelle's pithy certainty. And don't you have to know some pol phil, ot at least some Thomas, Lincoln or Shakespeare to properly understand Matt 10:16?
Joe is right: "Be you prudent as serpents and harmless as doves." The Greek word is a variant of phronesis.
My point was only that a reference to phronesis in Matthew is not self-interpreting, and that evangelicals have shown themselves less likely than, say, Catholics, to recur to extra-biblical sources for education in prudence.
Now we have an interesting question. I think in the end, Christian prudence should be an oxymoron. Wisdom does not equate to prudence. Also, why is Matthew 10:16 such a clincher? You're only focusing on one part of the verse; if I redirect you to "I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves" what do you conclude about prudence then? How prudent are sheep? Is not the wisdom of the sheep only in reliance on the shepherd. Continuing in the same passage Jesus explains that we should not worry [think perhaps] about what we should say when brought before worldly powers for the Spirit will speak for us.
Christian wisdom is not the same as worldly wisdom/prudence. My evangelical rant on the subject here.
I'd make the same point about the use of the word logos for Christ at the beginning of John's Gospel. If you know Greek philosophy, the passage just explodes at you. And it doesn't help either that the Wisdom Books are still excised from the evangelical OT.
Yes, evangelicals are more likely to believe in sola scriptura and less likely to recur explicitly to any other source, but we all know that saying it doesn't make it so. And the Bible isn't by itself a comprehensive source for teaching about politics.
Perhaps it's fair to say that there is no prudence that is "evangelical" as such, but there's also no "politics" that's evangelical as such or physics that's evangelical as such.
To say that I send you out as sheep among wolves is to say that you are potential prey among predators. It is not to say that sheep are prudent.
Now, as to the prudence of the evangelicals, well....
Let's just say that they have not entirely avoided worldly success in the past several decades.
Why all this talk about the Greeks? If the King's English was good enough for Jesus, its good enough for me.
God wants and intends for man to use his brain. He doesn't want slavish imitation. Christianity isn't islam. In the latter, the great warlord Mohammad is the beau ideal, the great exemplar for ALL situations. Muslims are urged to model themselves on him, and allow his example to lead them in all aspects of their life.
That's not the case with Christianity. When the soldier asked Christ what was he to do, Christ didn't respond lay down your arms, and embrace the cross. He told him to be content with his pay and not be a force for insurrection. Some he called to a unique ministry, but not all. Furthermore, when he responded "Render to Ceasar that which is Ceasar's..., he made a distinction that resonates in the West to this day.
As for prudence, it's well to recall that the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity don't displace the traditional Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Temperance, Courage and Prudence. Grace completes man, and does not diminish him, nor does it leave him as a sacrificial victim before the wolves of this world. Some may be called to martyrdom, but not all, nor does Christianity enjoin the state to embrace martyrdom.
And Clint is dead right to note the division of the private and the political. A lie between two private men does not become less than a lie were it uttered on the political campaign trail.
Let's define a lie here though, just to be clear. A lie is the deprivation of DUE truth.
Let's turn now to the campaign trail. When someone who is still pro-choice in his soul and his mind, goes out on the campaign trail and proclaims himself pro-life, THAT'S a lie, because the voters are DUE that truth. When someone doesn't intend to secure our borders, yet says on the trail that he will because he wants to win the nomination, THAT'S a lie, because he's withholding the truth from the electorate, which is entitled to that knowledge.
People who misrepresent themselves on the campaign trail are committing sin, serious sin, and to their deliberate deception they add the sin of scandal. Because it's scandal when a man deceives millions all for his own private desires.
It's true that national security calls often for deception, as Churchill said, sometimes "the truth is so precious that it goes arrayed in a bodyguard of lies." But then again, that's a matter of who is DUE that truth. Thus military secrecy does not involve sin. But political deception can, and does.
That's why I used the word DECADENCE on another thread.
When men prostitute themselves just because they're rich, they're bored, and they want The White House and their own presidential library, that's a SERIOUS matter, that's a SERIOUS distortion of our political system, which ideally rests upon good faith by all involved.
So before we ask whether Evangelical Prudence is an oxymoron, perhaps we should ask some questions of those that are seeking our votes.
This question effectively fingers fellow voters in our party. Those aren't the people in the dock however. It's the leadership of the GOP that's in the dock, and the indictment against them is lengthy indeed.
The problem with Prudence is that it assumes some assumption or expectation of the resultant conclusion. This can be resolved by considering the solution in the regular time domain with the discontinuities required for first order, senior, observation miracles that are otherwise insolvable in the set of real numbers. To achieve the moral outcome, independent of the mortal expectation, the refined derivations of the sum of all the time wasted when you could have been having sex and eating bacon, divided over the inescapable realization that no mater how much you want the comfort of an easy answer, you can't escape the nagging suspicion that all that trust you were expected to put in your minister, was unqualified and slightly dangerous.
It really depends on your interpretaion of the relevant portions of the Bible (as discussed above). If you areq
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