Sunday, November 30, 2014

Introducing My New Podcast

 
 
Lee Enochs' Traveling Libertarian Roadshow
 


             Dear Friends,

 I am pleased to announce to you that my new daily podcast called; Lee Enochs' Traveling Libertarian Roadshow will be on the air in a few days!!!

It will be a zany show, filled with high drama and lot's of laughs and will focus on my Libertarian vision for America.

I will be traveling all over the East Coast, interviewing people on their political and religious views and explaining to people why the best government is the least amount of government.

Stay tuned for more info on my new podcast that should be up and running in a few days!

That Jesus Christ May Have Preeminence in All Things



                                    "That Christ may have preeminence in all things"

                                                                                              Colossians 1:18


        I want to clear to all my readers that I am a Christian who believes in Jesus Christ with all my heart, soul, mind and being. I love Christ and His church. I am a Christian and make no apologies for my Christian faith. Having said that, I am far from being a perfect man. In fact, I am a wretched sinner that constantly needs the grace of God.

I believe that Jesus Christ should have first place in everything that I do. Unlike some conservative libertarians I know, my faith means the most to me. Moving forward as this blog and my other media endeavors increase their visibility in the public arena, I want it to be known that I am a devout Christian who believes in the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all areas of my life. I believe in loving those whom the world does not love and reaching out to the outcasts of society that no one cares about. I dare to be different and a little wild to reach the untamable.

This blog, Theologian X exists to communicate the Gospel of Christ to non-Christians, atheists, agnostics and rebels for Christ. Here I step on toes and break sacred glass cows for the cause of Christ. This blog is not for everyone, I get that. I am really not interested in advancing the stale old Evangelical status quo. On this blog will appear my articles, thoughts and essays about politics and Christian theology. Some of the things that will appear here will be controversial and I am sorry about that. I believe it is sometimes necessary to go against the grain to get to the truth and I plan to do a lot of that here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Reasoned Critique of My Senior Thesis on Capitalism




By Joe Stocker
B.A., BIOLA University 

 
 

I was invited by my dear friend to write a response to his paper “A Biblical Defense of Capitalism" that can be found at:

http://theologyx.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-biblical-defense-of-capitalism-by-lee.html
 


When I first read the title of Ed’s paper, I was pessimistic that he could make a case to defend Capitalism because it seems to me to be an inherently selfish system where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Consider these facts:


-       “In America today, the top 1 percent owns 38 percent of the financial wealth of America. The bottom 60 percent owns 2.3 percent. 

-       In America today, one family, the Walton family of Walmart, owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent, while the top 400 individuals in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of the nation – over 150 million people.

-       In terms of income, the top 1 percent earns more income than the bottom 50 percent, while the wealthiest 16,000 Americans, who make more than $10 million a year (the top 0.01 percent), saw their income increase by nearly a third from 2011 to 2012. 

-       According to the most recent study, from 2009 to 2012, 95 percent of all new income went to the top 1 percent. Meanwhile, since 1999, median family income declined by more than $5,000 after adjusting for inflation.

-       Today, a record-breaking 46.5 million people live in poverty in the United States. One out of every four kids in this country does not know when his next meal will come.”[i]

These facts seem to indicate that the “invisible hand” that Adam Smith wrote about has become a symbol of human greed? I’m not advocating a revolution, but I’m also not ready to defend Capitalism as a shining Biblical economy. I am not prepared to go further than Jesus, who permitted paying Taxes to Caesar. 


I am looking forward to the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and I will submit to whatever form of economy He sovereignly ordains but until that time I am content to obey my rulers as the Bible instructs me to. The Kingdom of Heaven reigns and rules in the hearts of all believers now, it is both a present Kingdom in our heart, and a real place in the future. 


The primary thesis of Ed’s paper is that “free market capitalism is the economic model most compatible with the economic principles delineated by the authors of sacred Scripture.” I was surprised to find that He did not recommend any economic system found in the Old Testament, especially since that would have matched the most closely with the thesis of being the most compatible with Scripture. For example, the Old Testament Law required debt forgiveness and a redistribution of private property. 


“Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years.  Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land.  Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines.  For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.” (Lev 25:8-13)


This is a Biblical economic principal not adopted by Capitalism, and yet we don’t find Ed advocating for it in his paper. Why not?

Historically, the Nation of Israel had its own sovereign economic system with Saul as its first king in 1020 BC, followed by King David, and his son Solomon. The land was conquered by the Assyrians in 722, and then the Babylonians who destroyed the first temple in 586 BC, then the Persians, and the Greeks in 330 BC, and the Romans in 63 BC. The land changed hands a few times more and ultimately the Nation of Israel was given back her land in 1948.  If we were to roll back the clock and consider the economic system under King David and Solomon, could we be inspired by those Biblical systems to improve our own even if that meant something other than Capitalism? This is a question Ed’s paper does not raise, but should if it is going to claim having an end goal of finding a system that is most compatible with the authors of the sacred Scripture.


Ed writes “the weaknesses of other economic and political systems is primarily that there is no incentive to go above and beyond since everyone is paid at the same level.” However, this presupposes that all motivation for hard work is monetary, whereas Jesus Christ tells the soldiers in Luke 3:14 to be content with their pay. Paul said that he was able to find contentment in whatever circumstances he was in (Phil 4:11). The New Testament teaches that our motivation for work should be that we are working unto the Lord “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23).

Collectivism in the New Testament


The early church clearly practiced collectivism:

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need” (Acts 2:44-45)


The early church had a welfare program:

“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food” (Acts 6:1)


So what would be the harm in the Government providing a similar service on a larger scale? It has Biblical support, after all. It would be an argument from silence to suggest otherwise.  


If our Government is aware of a citizen who needs food or clothes, aren’t we as a nation guilty if we don’t take action? 


“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1st John 3:17


Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress” James 1:27

I for one would advocate for a Government that matches my own heart, one that is looking after those citizens, my fellow 
countrymen who are widowed, orphaned, or perhaps hunted down by human slave masters (human trafficking).  What I fear is that a “basic capitalism” system advocated by Ed and others would deny funds for these types of programs. To me, that would be a social and moral evil that we would all be guilty of. A sin of omission. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them.” James 4:17. 


“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”

“Basic capitalism”


I would have liked to see Ed elaborate deeper on the limits of the proposed system coined “basic capitalism.” For example, would there be any anti-trust authority to break up harmful monopolies (imagine if Exxon bought Chevron and there was only a single supplier of Gasoline in America) or imagine if there was only one electric or water supplier to citizens and they decided to increase their profits and we had no other sources or means to obtain an alternative? In these cases, Adam Smith’s invisible hand needs to be slapped by Uncle Sam.

Submitting to Authority


I would have liked Ed to point out that although it is Biblical to submit to government, there are certain times when it is necessary not to (for example, to submit to Hitler’s commands to execute innocent Jews). General George Washington inspired his troops by reading out loud “The American Crisis” (by Thomas Paine) which points out their cause was to conquer tyranny:

“These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”

What is the solution?


In the opening paragraph of Ed’s essay, we are given facts to support America’s economy is faltering due to a debt of 16 Trillian dollars, however, we are then told that we should still stick with free market capitalism because it is the most compatible with the Bible. The paper as a whole does make a strong case that it is the most compatible compared to socialism and communism, but it fails to offer any solutions how our current capitalistic system can reverse its course. If it is so strong, then why is China’s communist economy larger than the American economy according to the International Monetary Fund? (http://www.businessinsider.com/china-overtakes-us-as-worlds-largest-economy-2014-10)

The strongest Biblical case the paper makes for personal property (in contrast with collectivism) is this phrase:

Decalogue itself argues that in order for a person to steal or covet another person’s items that in fact must be the possession of another, thus demonstrating that personal property rights are inherent”  


The paper fails (in my opinion) to make a connection between the right to own personal property and the right of the Government to tax its citizens a higher rate to pay for the less fortunate or those who cannot work because of a disability or illness. This is in essence what Socialism is, which could be more Biblical because of its strong emphasis on mercy and compassion. Unfortunately the paper is largely silent on the issue of taxation as it relates to a redistribution of wealth through higher taxation. 


When Jesus Christ came to earth, his followers wanted him to overthrow the Roman government. Jesus declined and therefore allowed the secular Government to continue ruling over Israel, much like how God allowed the Assyrians, Persians, and Babylonians to rule over Israel as a divine Judgment. This shows us that God’s primary plan is redemption of souls, not revolutions of governments. God will use whatever means necessary, including pagan governments to crush our hearts so that we will be drawn to our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus told us that if the world hated him, it will hate us too. He told us that we would have tribulation in this world (John 16:33).


The Bible’s true purpose is to describe God’s redemptive plan to reconcile sinners to Himself. Using the Bible to inspire economic and political systems should secondary to accomplishing God’s primary pursuit to rescue lost souls. We should seek to put God’s Kingdom first in our life and then we will see clearly how to organize and construct earthly Kingdoms (Matthew 6:33) when it is in our power to do so. 


The welfare state is not perfect, however to argue against having welfare would be a moral evil. Poor people could starve to death if there are no available employment opportunities. Yes, the current system is being abused, however, it should be reformed and not replaced, otherwise it would be a greater evil to have people starve to death than to have people abuse the system. 

This type of reform occurred in the Book of acts when some widows were being overlooked in the distribution of food (a Biblical welfare system that the early church used to take care of the widows). There was reform needed and so Stephen was appointed to make sure that people were not discriminated against and overlooked. So the Bible advocates reform of welfare when it is abused, not abolishment. 


Meno Lowenstein, former professor of economics at Ohio State University defined economics as “the study of how man uses scarce resources to satisfy his wants or needs.” An Evangelical would not limit resources to himself, but instead, it would be extended to meet the needs of his family, his brethren in the church, and the orphans and widows of society who cannot provide for themselves.

The conclusion ends with “by implementing sound Biblical principles of economics, this nation can stem the tide of financial chaos that is presently ravishing our great land.”


This rhetoric is thundering but lacks a specific solution. For example, if free market capitalism is the economic model most compatible with the economic principles in the Scriptures, and if that system is in financial chaos, then it doesn’t seem to be the solution if it is part of the problem.




The Gospel is Not Southern Baptist Moralism

        Why Almost All My Ex- Heresies Live in Texas

 

I found it ironic and a bit tragic while a student at a renown Southern Baptist seminary, that SWBTS and former Southern Baptist Convention President Paige Patterson often harped on the need to preach the Gospel and gave emotive based altar calls in chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, but sadly very seldom preached the actual Biblical Gospel in his messages. Southern Baptist friends, the Gospel is not a list of "do's and don'ts" that tells us not to drink alcohol or go to R-rated movies.
 
 
 

 
 
 
I know this may be hard for some of my Southern Baptist friends to understand, but the Biblical Gospel is not at all about wearing slick cowboy boots and hats to chapel and big game hunting. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is exclusively about that God sent His only Son to die on the cross for our sins and rise again from the dead to give us eternal life if we sincerely repent and believe ( 1 Corinthians 15:1-12, Romans 5:1-8 and Acts 17:30).
 
I often found it strange that Patterson would often tear up and get emotional up on his "preacher boy" platform about the gospel but hardly ever get around to explaining what the Gospel is!
 
The Gospel is not moralism, it is about the risen Lord Jesus Christ!

On Drones, Planes and Automobiles

 A Call for a Libertarian Revolution 


 (The American Government is Invading Your Privacy and Spying on You)



      By Lee Edward Enochs
Executive Director,
             Conservatives for California 
                                                                                               

“But examine everything carefully, hold fast to the truth”
                               1 Thessalonians 5:21

 

Once upon a time there was a great Archangel. He was the greatest of all of God’s angels until he started to break bad and was thrust out of heaven and from the majestic presence of the Lord of glory. In the process he took a third of the angels with him. When Lucifer fell, he fell hard and when he spiraled from his lofty position, tumbling and stumbling to the earth, he thought of diverse ways to enslave men and women (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:13-19, Luke 10:18, 2 Peter 2:4 and Revelation 12:9).
 
 Of all the dastardly plans the devil has concocted for humanity to do his diabolical bidding, one of the most perverse strategies was for him to convince a great portion of the world’s populace to believe that they are servants to the State.That is, they have bought into the fallacious thesis of known as Statism (the view that the state should control social, economic and political activity in a given society) that they exist to be subservient to professed elite class of individuals who run the governments of this world. A “State” is an organized community living under one government. 

They have bought into the lie that we exist to serve the State and that everything we own create and aspire to do and be is a possession of the State. To quote Morpheus’s verbal discourse to Neo in the Wachowski’s cinematic masterpiece known as The Matrix, you are a slave if you believe that you exist to serve the self-appointed "elite" few.


 
You are a slave if you believe a self-appointed "elite" few should control your life


 
You must realize that there are authoritarian political forces at work right now in the United States that actually believe that it is in your best interest that they control every aspect of your life. They want to subjugate you through social control. The elite few want to control your speech, thought, movements, money and essentially every aspect of your life. Right now, the government has the ability via drones to spy on your every move. The American government also has deemed it necessary to tap into your cell phone calls, bank account and essentially every other area of your life. We are being spied on, herded like chattel and assaulted by the very government we voted in to “protect” and serve us.
 
Case in point, most of us have bought into the absolute lie that to ensure our safety we must be groped, probed and physically assaulted by the TSA every time we want to fly via commercial airlines. This is another form of social control. There is no evidence that the TSA’s efforts are doing anything but shaming us silly at the airport each and every time we travel. As a Libertarian, who believes in the maximization of human autonomy and freedom from the State's control, I greatly disdain and protest this government intrusion into our personal lives and will fight against it to my last dying breath.
 
I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees and a slave and pawn to an elite ruling class who think they know what is best for me rather than I myself. Like many lovers of freedom, I want to live free or die without drones spying on me and the TSA groping me every freaking time I travel by plane. I am calling for a Libertarian revolution against the encroachment of the moribund American government upon our civil liberties. I am calling for all those who want to live free of government control to join me against big brother. If you are bemused by this blog and think I am joking, just do a little research and see how much the government knows about you…


People of these United States, rise up and be free of government intrusion and control! 

Rise up and be free! Live free and die hard!

Imagine a Libertarian revolution; it’s easy if you try.

------------------------------------------------------------------




Lee Edward Enochs is the Executive Director of Conservatives for California, A conservative and libertarian political group dedicated to election of conservative political candidates and the revival of conservatism in the great state of California. Lee is also the Chairman of the Evangelical Debate Society and has served as the President of the Southwestern Apologetics Group. He earned a B.A. in Humanities from the College at Southwestern, the undergraduate program of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, located in central New Jersey. You can follow Lee right here on his “Theologian X” blog and write to him at lenochs66@gmail.com


Friday, November 28, 2014

Full Metal Jesus

 
 
The Cost of Discipleship in  Postmodern Culture
 
 
"And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me"
 
                                    Luke 9:23
 
 
 
  
 

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: "ye were bought at a price," and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
 
                                               (Dietrich Bonhoefer, The Cost of Discipleship)
                                                       

I have a confession to make. I don't like where the Southern Baptist Convention and American Evangelicalism are at right now. Although I came of age in American Evangelicalism and went to some of the best schools American Evangelicalism and the Southern Baptist Convention has to offer, I was not at all impressed with both the spirituality and academic rigor of these movements.

I saw very little spiritual and intellectual authenticity in American Evangelicalism and the Southern Baptist world I came out of. We were too busy fighting the losing battles of the past, such as boycotting Disneyland or debating the timing of the rapture, than to speak to our neighbor about Christ in a way she or he could understand...

I look around me here in Princeton, New Jersey and see how very little, if any impact Evangelical and Baptists have made in this secular enviornment and it disheartens me. I realize now, that I must go rogue and develop my own approach to be an effective Christian witness here in a land or almost complete secularization.

As I reflect upon the suburban, upper middle class Evangelical world I came from, I realize that it has very few answers and even less effectiveness for the academic and secular culture I presently live in. I realize now, that I must go, "Full Metal Jesus" (go all out for Christ) in a brand new way to reach my world for Christ.

The little games Southern Baptists and Evangelicals play all the time mean absolutely nothing to the culture I am in and I am presently thinking about developing a cutting edge ministry with the distinctive purpose of being a Christian witness to the many atheists, agnostics and secularists I encounter in my new community.

I realize now that I must bust out of my little Evangelical comfort zone and go rogue for Christ. I realize. to be the most authentic witness I possibly can be to this secularized community, I must discard almost all the Evangelical and Southern Baptist baggage I have been enculturalized in.

Most people I encounter in the Princeton area want nothing to do with Christianity and feel that Christians have nothing to other them. I want to be the best and most authentic Christian I can be to point these skeptical people to a relationship with Jesus Christ...




 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving


It’s been a Good Year Overall

 
 
Psalm 51
 

Dear Family and Friends, 

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I want to give thanks to God for so many things. First and foremost, I want to thank God for my family and friends, without you I would not be where I am today.
I also want to thank God and give Him all the glory for allowing me to graduate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary this past May. While my time at that fundamentalist Southern Baptist school was very difficult and I was often and am now at odds with the administration here at SWBTS, I managed to graduate and earn an accredited degree that allowed me to take my next step towards graduate school.
I want to announce to you that I have two book projects in the works. The first book, will chronicle my experiences at SWBTS and in the SBC in general. It will be a hard-hitting book, which will pull no punches in detailing some major problems I see in the Southern Baptist Convention. The second book I am working on is about the Calvary Chapel movement and some areas I believe need reform.
I want to report to you that my blog “Theologian X” has had over 15,000 readers in the last few months and I plan on expanding my writing and apologetics ministry in the near future. I plan to have a new website up and running in the next few weeks.
I want to give thanks to God for allowing me to be a student at Princeton Theological Seminary and for allowing me to get a good job with benefits here in Princeton, NJ.
I want to thank God for providing me so many great friends all over the country, and while I am not with most of you now, know that I love you all so very much.
Sincerely in Jesus our Lord,

Lee Edward “Ed” Enochs

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Real Black Friday


Behind the Crass Commercialism Lies the Message of the Ages
 

 

As most Americans scamper about, making final Thanksgiving preparations, some of us are already casting our longing and lustful eyes upon “Black Friday,” the unofficial holiday of crass commercialism, wherein many department stores and other retail companies conduct mass “blowout” sales to entice the masses to buy their products.

If any day on fiscal calendar displays the best and worst of American Capitalism, it is Black Friday. It is a good day for the American economy, but a bad day in a sense for our souls, as many of us join in on the mad and mass feeding frenzy for the one last unneeded electronic trinket that will probably be broken or unused come January.

While many of us are thinking about this faux holiday of wanton consumerism, I think there is another “Black Friday” we all should be pondering. It is the black and gloomy day wherein our Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross of Calvary and died for our sins. That is the only “Black Friday” we as Christians should be considering this holiday season.
 
 

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Dark Tower

 

 
 
There is a dark tower I often go to...
Time after after time I return there
It is dark, dank and dismal

It is a monolith and testimony to my hidden shame...

Augustine wrote about it
Calvin pondered it...
 
Barth spoke of it as well..
 
I have spent most of my life there
In solemn solitude
 
It is the dark tower of my heart
It is the abyss of sin that is in my soul...
 
However there is another tower!
It is an infinitely greater tower!

The Lord God Almighty is that strong tower
Mighty and strong to save
The righteous run to Him and are safe!

We are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone.

The only way to wash away our hidden shame and the darkness of our soul is to look to Jesus Christ, who died and rose again that we might live in Him forever!