Category Archives: Politics

Translate Reformed Theologian Richard Hooker into Chinese

As the Church in China moves beyond fundamentalism versus modernism, and as it grows in numbers and confidence, it faces political questions that until recently it has not been in a position to do much about. Richard Hooker wrote to Elizabethan England, but I think his thought is useful today for China as well and deserves to be heard. (I do note, however, that in some things I think reform only puts off a necessary revolution that would overthrow a thoroughly tyrannical (dis)order. I do not share the reactionary or the bourgeois conservative’s horror of all things that go by the name of revolution. Nevertheless, the desire to clear everything away to start from scratch, especially in the divinely ordained Church, against the gates of Hades will not prevail, is a vain wish that brushes catholic experience aside in favour of private opinion.) Bradford Littlejohn and Bradley Belschner are translating Hooker’s antisectarian work into today’s English. Who will translate the same work into Chinese?

Time to Bring Dead White Reformed Divines to China

chinese-paper-hooker

A Chinese academic paper on Richard Hooker.

For better or worse, the Young, Restless, and Reformed (YRR) movement, or New Calvinism, is in China. Much of the growth of seminaries in China may be Reformed, and every year Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) has students from China. According to Bruce P. Baugus, a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS), ‘It’s not at all unthinkable that China would have more Reformed seminaries within 20 years than we do here.’ People are seeing the names of American Reformed celebrities such as Tim Keller and John Piper. About both I have my complaints, but I think the growth of New Calvinism – which is noticeably different from classic Reformed literature – also means the time may be ripe for Chinese translations of not only Augustine of Hippo and John Calvin, whose Institutes of the Christian Religion the ChiCom-directed China Christian Council (CCC) itself published in Chinese in 2005, but also the still untranslated authors Hieronymus Zanchius, Franciscus Junius, Johannes Althusius, and the judicious Richard Hooker 理查德·胡克 (see this Chinese paper on Hooker).

Hooker-Zanchi-1024x593.png

Zanchius and Hooker, Reformed scholastics.

Again I am reminded that the need for sound development of public theology in China will be great in the next 50 years, and I hope I can do my part, especially in interpreting the word of God and China’s history – such as recorded in the Zuozhuan 左傳 – in a way that is not Americanist or Western. I can already see, for example, that the article I have linked about public theology casts plurality in human authority – a constitutional arrangement common in the West and especially in the Anglosphere – in terms of plurality in the Trinity:

With the insufficiency of maintaining the tension between the two worlds, the Trinitarian order revealed through God becoming flesh is lacking attention in the Chinese Christian world. Anyone made in the Creator’s image cannot live out his image without the Creator’s revelation and redemption. The three persons of one essence of the Trinity – both one, yet many – is quite unlike the common, human, governing order where either one or many will be preferred instead of both simultaneously. The Son of Heaven in traditional Chinese dynasties, rather than the Son of Man of the Scriptures, has cast a long shadow over the popular Chinese impression of authority. Even in contemporary China, the head of any institution tends to be a paramount figure which makes it difficult to develop checks and balances between that individual and other associates and colleagues. It is no surprise then, for the Chinese to be more familiar with the monopoly of power than with the sharing or separation of power.

This interpretation and application I myself consider theologically unsound, even if we leave aside the Chinese author’s quiet anti-Chinese chauvinism. The popularity of social Trinitarianism in parts of the Western Reformed world does not help matters. As the facile application of unsound Trinitarian teaching suggests, it will be important for work in public theology to be done carefully, independent of Western liberal propaganda of the past 200 years, dependent rather on the word of God interpreted according to right reason and the common testimony of the fathers, and then applied respectfully and judiciously to a civilization that needs not the deception of the West but the light of Christ.

Edit:
This is rich. Meanwhile, New Calvinism colonizes the Chinese church by the œconomic and social power of the US-backed New World Order. Sometimes, New Calvinists are almost as bad as Jesuits.

Congratulations to Taiwan for Its Sodomitical Marriage Ruling

For 24 May’s court ruling on gay marriage in Taiwan, I have just a few gay words for such a happy occasion.

must-liberate-taiwan

‘We must liberate Taiwan.’

For this historic and brave moment, the strongest congratulations and gun salutes are in order – indeed, the event deserves a nuclear salute. Let the world know: Love is love. Taiwan, not China, is on the right side of history. It is entirely laudable, after all, to be at pains not to identify as Chinese while also claiming 5000 years of Chinese history as your own, and even more so to stake your identity on the kind of difference that draws upon you the fiery wrath of Almighty God.

‘Clash of Civilizations’ Does Not Help White Folk

Godefroy de Bouillon faisant acte d’allégeance
à l’empereur byzantin Alexis Comnène. Alexandre Hesse.

Eugene Montsalvat explained last year how White peoples’ understanding of their national struggles as an existential conflict between ‘European civilization’ and ‘Islamic civilization’ must be discarded in favour of coexistence and mutual aid against a common enemy. He showed how the current Islamic threat was in fact a creation not of the Arab world but of the globalist agenda of US foreign policy.

The enemy, therefore, is not Arabs or Muslims but globalism and those who serve this false god, and against this enemy all who love their own nations must be united in struggle, both physical and spiritual. Read the rest of my article at ARC Media and tell me what you think.

Update:

Against Jake Meador the Trad Dad?

Jake Meador with Rod Dreher

At Thermidor Mag, P. T. Carlo has written against the trad dads and their bourgeois apologism. I agree with him, and my hatred of most self-styled traditionalists’ nasty penchant for doubling down on bourgeois commitments – as Cyprian of Carthage says (Epistulæ 74.9.2.179–82), ‘custom without truth is an error dressed in old clothes’ – but I was a little surprised to see Jake Meador looking back at me in the photo. Hi, Jake. Don’t get purged in the DOTR, mkay? Well, at least you don’t wear problem glasses.

Ethnostates? Look at the Chinese Empire

chine-composition-ethnique

Those who think about the possibilities of culturally and (for the most part) racially homogeneous ethnostates for their nations, to protect their cultures, often envision small states in which such homogeneity can be had. It may be useful, however, to consider China, which though not at all a proposition nation is a very diverse empire whose Chinese cultural identity has lived for thousands of years, through many dynasties. Check out my article at ARC Media and see what you think.

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Lenin Against Free Love as ‘Bourgeois’

A letter by Vladimir Lenin, to Inessa Armand, 17 January 1915, in Collected Works 34, suggests that the hippie New Left’s sexual degeneracy is (at least in the eyes of Lenin) related more to bourgeois society than to socialism:

‘I feel bound to make one point right away. I suggest you delete altogether paragraph 3 dealing with “the demand (on the part of women) for free love”. This is, in fact, a bourgeois, not a proletarian demand. What do you really mean by it?’

US Air Strikes on Syria: Betrayal

President Bashar al-Assad

After the alleged use of chemical weapons in northern Syria by the Syrian army, and just a week after the Trump administration said that US diplomatic policy on Syria was no longer focused on making Bashar al-Assad leave power, Donald Trump says he has changed his mind on Mr Assad. So much for détente with Russia. Less than an hour ago, news broke that the US military had fired more than 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syrian targets near Homs, Syria. Mr Trump, I thought, might give us a few years of peace. The Deep State and those near Mr Trump have decided otherwise, and so, it seems, has Mr Trump himself. (These developments are in line, I should think, with Steve Bannon’s removal from the National Security Council’s principals committee.) The media have done it again, the benefit accruing to Daesh and the Israeli state. Mr Trump has betrayed us.

Update:

The Trump administration denies accidental incidents between US and Russian military forces in Syria.

Robert P. George’s Hypocrisy on Punishing Women Obtaining Abortions

Robert-George

Robert P. George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton, is a leading figure in the American ‘pro-life’ movement. I feel indebted to him for his being a professor at an élite university who publicly opposes abortion; that alone is, in these evil times, supposed to be a great feat. But he also signifies, to me, the moral failures of America’s neoconservative establishment. Continue reading

Talks About Double Standards; Does Nothing

The good professor Anthony M. Esolen says, in Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture,

We now know, from the confessions of one of the fabricators (Dr. Bernard Nathanson) and the boasts of another (Dr. Alan Guttmacher) that the statistics upon which the Supreme Court based its infamous decision on abortion were just made up – for example, that a million American women had died from illegal abortions. How far wrong was that statistic? It is like saying that three decades ago the earth’s temperature was five hundred degrees, or that a human skeleton had been discovered at another Piltdown, measuring a hundred feet in length. The lies have been amply documented. Has anyone other than the repentant Dr. Nathanson of blessed memory hung his head in shame and recanted? Or do any legal experts say, ‘It disgusts us to have to endure this decision, based as it was on sheer mendacity’? No, never. The lies are our lies. Harvey Milk was an openly homosexual politician in San Francisco, assassinated along with the mayor [in 1978]. His assassination had nothing to do with his sexual predilections. Mr. Milk was also a serial predator of teenage boys. That will get you a Hollywood movie and actual ‘religious’ icons, featuring the man with a halo. They will name a street after you. They will produce daft picture books of Mr. Milk, dressed and not tumescent, for the consumption of little children in school. The lies are our lies.

First, a bit of an autistic note, perhaps, but one I cannot help making: To say the earth’s temperature was 500 °F is only about twice the actual figure, because the zero we must use for temperatures is absolute zero (−273.15 °C; −459.67 °F), not the zeroes of either Celsius or Fahrenheit. To measure how many times a given temperature is another temperature, we must use figures in kelvin (K).

Second, disgust is necessary but not sufficient. Morally, of course, repentance is essential, and no Christian can dispense with a call to repentance. When all is said, there are reprobates so hardened that they will never turn no matter how much you upbraid their arrogance; neither does it any political good for the conservative to feel good about his own moral superiority. When all is said, then, virtually nothing is done. By all means, the Church must call the wicked to account before God, with the word of God. That is what the Lord did to the Pharisees: he called them what they were, sons of the devil. Ye are of your father the devil, he said, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Likewise, we must pray for God to ‘abate their pride, assuage their malice, and confound their devices’. But Christians may not do these things only and consider their duty done. We must actually stop the wicked, by force when necessary.

duterte-punch

The pieties that tell us we must ever do only what is legally regular are the pieties of the eunuch’s schoolyard, not the pieties of the Christian. Western Christian condemnation of Rodrigo Duterte and those like him is often no more than that. ‘So much for the tolerant left,’ and all the chatter like it, has to go. Conservatives talk; to defeat the enemies of all moral law, we need action.

Graham Greene Reads Bourgeois Christianity

one-does-not-simply-modernize-God

We warrin’ on bourgeois Anglicanism like it’s 1689.

In The North American Anglican, Brian Miller has some brief thoughts, ‘Praying to Themselves’, about Graham Greene and a passage in his Orient Express.

In this short piece’s second part he says, ‘Graham wants us to think about what happens when religious bodies undertake the effort to update and modernize religious texts.’ Greene, he says, shows us how an attempt at relevance in fact makes the Church accessible only to a select group, weakening or destroying the ‘common prayer’ that the English world and the Latin world once enjoyed. Replacing the language of Zion, therefore, is a fool’s errand. That second part is well done.

The first part, however, is strange. It may make full sense only to a bourgeois audience, for it is perhaps only to a bourgeois audience that it seems necessary. To those with a bourgeois sense of Christianity, Mr Miller notes that Graham Greene ‘had notorious communist sympathies’ but was nevertheless a devout Romanist. ‘Catholic and Communist’, he says, ‘seem oxymoronic.’ He then quotes the ‘conservative’ William F. Buckley interviewed in The Paris Review:

Graham Greene always struck me as being at war with himself. He had impulses that he sometimes examined with a compulsive sense to dissect them, as though only an autopsy would do to dissect their nature. He was a Christian more or less malgré soi. He was a Christian because he couldn’t quite prevent it.

But Mr Miller can see in the Greene passage in view that, ‘far from being a contradiction, the communist and the conservative Christian impulses are perfectly aligned in that they both speak a universal moral language that seeks to transcend the matters of every-day life.’ Maybe, just maybe, William F. Buckley was wrong about Graham Greene, and Buckley was the one at war with himself. Buckley attempts to read Greene, but through that Orient Express passage he instead is read by Greene.

Buckley, eat your heart out. The contradiction is between Christianity and Whig conservatism.

Decrees of the Church to Be Kept as Wisdom

common-prayer

A high churchman’s conviction that holds the old decrees and customs of the Church in high regard is not unreformed, nor among the Reformed churches is such a conviction unique to Anglicans. Thus says Girolamo Zanchi in De Religione Christiana Fides:

For I beleeve that the thinges which were decreed and received of the fathers, by common consent of them all gathered together in the name of the Lord, without anie contradiction of holie scriptures, that they also (though they bee not of equall authoritie with the scriptures) come from the Holie ghost.

He speaks similarly in his Operum Theologicorum, intended to be a Protestant ‘summa’ modelled after that of St Thomas Aquinas, in the section on the traditions of the church:

Thesis 3. Moreover, just as political laws have their origin in natural law, so, too, the traditions of the church have their origin both from the Holy Spirit (as in the case of the apostles) and from the written Word of God (as in the case of the holy bishops and synods).

[…]

Thesis 4. Therefore, as long as these traditions are either consistent with Scripture or at least not contradictory to it, they are truly the traditions of the Church and must be accepted. And we ought to obey and honor them.

Thus did the fathers of the Council of Jerusalem speak, as St Luke records by the Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles:

Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us [emphasis mine], to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.

Therefore, such decrees received from the Holy Ghost, consonant with what he breathes out in the holy Scriptures, are also reverently to be kept until altered under the law of Scripture, and of nature, by duly appointed authority.

Decrees and recognition of adiaphora

Yet reverence for what we have received is not always simple. St Paul tells the Corinthians,

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; and through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

If what St Paul teaches is as true as the words of the Apostolic Decree recorded by St Luke, then the matter seems less simple than that decrees of the Church should be obeyed religiously, as a matter of religion strictly. To acknowledge this complexity we are forced all the more if, as historians believe, 1 Corinthians was written a few years after the Apostolic Decree was sent out. Here, the Council of Jerusalem’s decree to abstain from meats (i.e., in today’s English, foods) offered to idols is not the basis of St Paul’s argument at all, though he should know of it. Instead, he treats an idol as nothing in itself: As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world. Thus, that some food has been sacrificed to idols is also nothing in itself: it is the weak conscience that is defiled by eating what has been offered to idols. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. The matter in itself St Paul as adiaphoron, a thing indifferent.

food-offering-incense-chinatown-bangkok

But it makes little sense that a decree recorded many years after in Acts should be nothing to St Paul writing to the Corinthians. After all, the Council of Jerusalem was summoned in the first place because of his disputation against Judaizers in the Church, and at this council he and Barnabas declared what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. The letter promulgating the Apostolic Decree was sent with them at least ‘unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia’, and there is no reason to suppose that the decree’s compass would have excluded the Gentiles of Corinth. There is no room for doubt that St Paul knew of the decree and followed it in his ministry to the Gentiles.

St Paul’s way of arguing for adhærence to the Apostolic Decree, then, is instructive. Nowhere is his persuasion of this sort:

 The Church has ruled against eating what is offered to idols.
 What the Church has ruled, the Corinthians should obey.
 The Corinthians should not eat what is offered to idols.

Instead, he recognizes a basic Christian freedom but urges the Corinthians of ‘stronger’ consciences to take heed lest by any means their liberty become a stumbling-block to those of ‘weaker’ consciences. Otherwise, when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. How St Paul argues for the Apostolic Decree is how Richard Hooker, writing fifteen centuries later, argues for the reformed Church of England’s episcopacy, liturgy, and canons. On the Apostolic Decree, he can easily be read in The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, particularly in book 4; on the settlement of the Church of England as it then stood, throughout the eight books. ‘The end which is aimed at in setting down the outward form of all religious actions’, Hooker says, ‘is the edification of the Church.’ It is not, then, a mere matter of obedience to divinely ordained authority, as if any arbitrary judgement can be taken for that of the Holy Ghost, but a matter of submitting to an intelligible wisdom.

ChristBol Defended Ethically on Just War, Subsidiarity, and Wealth

OrthodoxPolitics has replied to my more recent defence of ChristBol, which addresses a comment of his, on three points:

  1. Just war and aggression;
  2. Subsidiarity and sovereignty;
  3. Redistribution and commonality of wealth.

Just war

Following the order we have used in the earlier parts of our exchange, I shall begin with just war. Continue reading

Russian and Uyghur for the Children

When I was in high school, I had autistic dreams of having my children natively speak an analytic language, an agglutinative language, and a fusional language. As a Chinese American, I thought Chinese would work well for analytic and Latin for fusional; for agglutinative, Finnish. Even at that time, of course, I knew that it would not be practical, as Romantic as it might be, for the son of a Chinaman to speak Mohawk.

I take for granted that, if I marry and God give me children, they should speak Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and (if possible) my grandfather’s mother tongue, Taishanese; Latin also remains eminently good and useful. In addition to these languages of Chinese and Christian heritage, though, I hope they can speak Russian and Uyghur.

modern-uyghur-grammar-by-haimit-tdmiir-16-638

For that hope, I have my reasons: (1) Eurasian bloc integration and (2) the Back to Jerusalem movement. The two are related, and of this I shall say more later.

Introduction to Family Devotions

Reproduced below is the introduction to Family Devotions, from the Book of Common Prayer: With prayers at the communion, from bishops Taylor, Ken, and Beveridge, compiled by Thomas Stephen in 1841. Since this Mr Stephen was also the author of The Confession of Faith of the Church of England in the Thirty-nine Articles, and in the piece below refers to the prayer of ‘the Reformed Catholic Church’, we can well be assured of his commitment to the scriptural piety that is the standard of the Church of England.

* * *

An established religion is as necessary and useful in a family, which is a little kingdom, as in the state. In both, the voluntary system is pernicious, and will not be found to work well; for what is left to the good pleasure of every man’s own discretion will perhaps be left entirely undone. The learned and pious Dr. Doddridge has very justly remarked – ‘that, if any had rather that a family should be prayerless than that a well chosen form should be gravely and solemnly read in it, I think he judges as absurdly as if he would rather see them starving to death, than fed out of a dish whose materials or shape are disagreeable to him.’ Many, from early prejudice, object to forms of prayer; and many, on the other hand, are incapable of conducting their family devotions without a form. Set forms of prayer have many advantages; but, of all forms, the Book of Common Prayer is incomparably the best. Eloquence is a gift of God which few men possess; neither is it necessary in divine worship. Aaron was a most eloquent man, and had the gift of a fine and ready utterance; yet Moses, who was ‘slow of speech and of a slow tongue’, was appointed to instruct him what to say. It is not, therefore, eloquence, but faith and repentance, with obedience and humility, that are necessary in our devotions. Continue reading