Mark Butler is now a blogger on Millenial Star, the bloggernacle's equivalent of the Weekly Standard--(BCC is the New Republic, they like to pretend they're liberal but they're not, they just write well. T&S is the Atlantic Monthly, FMH is The Nation, Ned Flanders is Oprah).
Anyhow, Mr Butler is expounding on the nature of a church. I guess I must have been asleep for all those years in church, because I don't remember any of his ideas being mentioned as the reason.
Here it is (millennialstar.org/index.php/2006/10/02/dark_tower) :
First of all, what is a church in the generic sense? I submit that any organization that meets the following five criteria is a church:
1. A church is a society of believers or disciples
2. A church claims a functional monopoly on the truth - to be authoritative with respect to all the questions it addresses.
3. A church claims to be the spiritual court of last resort with regard to all questions of morality, policy, and behavior.
4. A church has a leadership, or priesthood, which sets the standards for what is to be taught in each subject or department, accrediting adherents, and discrediting disbelievers.
5. A church excommunicates heretics, if at all possible.
From this, he sets out to explain the Great and Abominable Church:
In short, a church is not a liberal institution at all (in the classic sense of the term), but rather a most conservative one. Now what are the salient characteristics of the institutions that compose the great and abominable church?:
1. They act as a functional unity and have dominion (authority) over all the earth:
And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people
(1 Ne 14:11)
2. Because of their influence, the dominion (authority, membership) of the true church is small:
I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.
(1 Ne 14:12)
3. They promote creeds that are abominations, having a form of godliness, but teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Their professors deny the power of God.
I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof."
4. They have corrupted the commandments and ordinances of God
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
5. They despise the words of plainness and the lessons of history and glory in the irrational and incomprehensible:
But behold, [they] were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.
And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that by the stumbling [they] will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation.
6. They are ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
Unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
(2 Tim 3:1-9)
Now of course we should say that the great an abominable church is manifest elsewhere than in academia, it is just that contemporary academia more greatly resembles a church, than the other manifestations thereof - the only possible contest is the church of commercial materialism. But that is merely an adjunct to the doctrinal development and propagation of the church of all things secular, all internal protest to the contrary.
Explicit materialism shows up in thirty second commercials. The great and abominable church carries the plot and the theme of the most of the books, films, and television shows now produced. Hollywood (by and large) is the press agent for the whore of all the earth - a whore like all whores that has a form of godliness, denies the power thereof - promoting a grand counterfeit to the real thing in accordance with his or her lusts, such that many perish, knowing not where true salvation is to be found, being deceived by the mists of darkness and slick promotional material that emanates (directly or indirectly) from the dark tower.
Last edited by capt jack on Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.