The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

I Thought Fischer Sounded Fishy

Posted on | December 30, 2011 | 27 Comments

by Smitty

Bryan Fischer. . .ah, yes, back in April, when the stench of his writing reached me in Bagram, Afghanistan.

When we pick a president, we are in fact choosing a minister of God
. . .if we allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves, we are in fact choosing a minister when we select a president. No less than three times in Romans 13, Paul uses words that emphasize the sacredness of public service.
The one who serves in public office is “God’s servant” and the “servant of God” (v. 4), and statesmen are “ministers of God” (v. 6).
The word translated “servant” in v. 4 is the Greek word “diakonos,” which elsewhere is translated “deacon,” referring to one of the divinely ordained offices in the church. Another form of this word, “diakonia,” is frequently translated “ministry.”
So if in fact we allow the Scriptures to be our guide, then public service is a form of ministry. One who holds public office is serving in a divinely ordained role, just as much as a pastor in the pulpit. The role of a statesman is every bit as sacred as that of a clergyman.

So, churches have Deacons, and that word could be translated into Minister, as in Prime Minister. Thus, because some countries have Prime Ministers, all public offices are like Deacons or something. So, whenever we vote, we’re somehow, unbeknownst to the person on the ticket, turning them into a Deacon.

I think I can perform a conceptually similar trick, and connect the character of Fischer’s exegesis with a random graph of earthquake data I found here.


What sort of person performs such tortuous feats of mental gymnastics with scripture?

Fischer, you really deserve to be ignored. The United States is not a theocracy. Presidents are not ministers. How many Presidents would seriously meet the ministry qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy 3? Fischer, if you were any further out to lunch, you’d be sitting in Westboro Baptist Church, listening to the equally risible Fred Phelps.

Update: linked at Daily Pundit, who thinks Phelps is evil. No, I won’t defend Phelps, though I’m not sure his evil has any special magnitude about it.

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Comments

  • Anonymous

    Love it!

  • Anonymous

    Typo: “How may Presidents would seriously meet the ministry qualifications”

    Many?

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    This is the very sticky area we get into (or the sort of sticky person we get) when the basic moral fiber of a society has been frayed, and we desperately try to mend the tear with scotch tape as we have no needle and thread.

    I am certain there are people who think like Mr. Fischer who have the best of intentions — but we live in a postmodern society which has thrown morality and ethical behavior on the dustheap of relativism.  So they wind up like Mr. Fischer (who may have good intentions and is casting for the fish who isn’t there, or may be a complete charlatan and/or fascist who has just found his niche, his flock to fleece, and a canidate willing to play a bit of pay to play with him).

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Of course! Now it’s clear!  The Priest-King Obama is unworthy and the land is suffering therefore!

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    To the volcano!

  • Pingback: Not Funny At All | Daily Pundit

  • blaster

    Well, actually, you don’t have to torture the scriptures to get here.  You could, for example, read them.  If you don’t have one handy, there are many on the internet.  Since Mr. Fischer has conveniently provided us which passage he means – Romans 13 – we can easily look it up.  I prefer the KJV since the King’s English was good enough for Jesus, so it’s good enough for me:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. More modern translations make the government more secular.  Here’s the NIV:3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. They did not do a lot of voting in Paul’s time – nor when the KJV came out.  So it may have been important to point out that since God is in control of everything, he is ultimately why the rulers are the rulers.  Now that we get to choose our leaders, keeping in mind that God is in control and still, rulers are the rulers because it is God’s plan.  Just as we may choose to follow God’s law on our own, we can also choose to be ruled by those who follow God’s law or not.  You may disagree with Mr. Fischer as far as US politics, but his reading of the Bible is pretty straightforward.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Personally, I don’t care if our President is an atheist as long as he does the right things while in office.
     

  • blaster

    Okay, well, reading Fischer in full, he does indeed make a leap that is not justified.  The reading of Romans is spot on.  

    However, it is an inappropriate conflation to further take Paul’s instruction in 1 Timothy about deacons in the Church to be an instruction about rulers.  

    I think had his advice been to remember that rulers are servants and even ministers of God, so therefore choose wisely, this would have been a perfectly fine column.  

    Also important in 1 Timothy is Paul’s discussion of himself in the first chapter:  

     12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 

    13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 

  • JeffS

    I prefer the KJV since the King’s English was good enough for Jesus, so it’s good enough for me…

    Ahem — King James ruled England some 15 or 16 centuries after Jesus was crucified.  And English wasn’t much of a language back then. 

    Which shut me off from the rest of your rant, as it indicates you are either not serious or take yourself waaaaaaaaay to seriously.

  • David R. Graham

    @JeffS – blaster was being facetious with the KJV/King’s English remark.

  • David R. Graham

    @JeffS – blaster was being facetious with the KJV/King’s English remark.

    Fisher is right with his reading and wrong with his exegesis. He misses two things:

    1- The meaning of “servant,” dia + konos (active with another for that other and not for oneself). A servant is the opposite of a master. A servant is selfless. Ministers etc. are servants of a group or individual, expected to be self-sacrificial. Religious and secular ministers.

    2- The meaning of divinely ordained (chrism). Not all in positions of authority are ministers, which is why mechanisms are in place to remove ministers from the servant position they occupy but do not fulfill. Ministers have chrism, tyrants do not. Ergo ministers merit respect while tyrants do not. Religious and secular ministers – some are tyrants. And today, not a few. The key is the chrism or not.

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    Thanks, fixed.

  • Anonymous

    You’re welcome.  Proves I’m reading your stuff closely.  :)

  • Cube

    The fundamental error is confusing the Kingdom of God with any political system.  A brief reading of Matthew 20:25-28  shows they have very little in common.  In politics it’s all about promoting yourself and gaining power over others, while one of the consistent themes of the Bible turns that paradigm on it’s head as “the last shall be first”.

  • Cube

    The fundamental error is confusing the Kingdom of God with any political system.  A brief reading of Matthew 20:25-28  shows they have very little in common.  In politics it’s all about promoting yourself and gaining power over others, while one of the consistent themes of the Bible turns that paradigm on it’s head as “the last shall be first”.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Well, yeah, but magnificent document that it is, the KJB is extremely slanted to suit the tastes of its patron in many ways.  Small wonder it can be found to justify a modern day preacher who rediscovers the divine right of kings.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Well, yeah, but magnificent document that it is, the KJB is extremely slanted to suit the tastes of its patron in many ways.  Small wonder it can be found to justify a modern day preacher who rediscovers the divine right of kings.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Humorous aside: when PJ O’Rourke visited Jim and Tammy Fae Bakker’s Christian-themed amusement park, he claimed to have found in the gift shop a book entitled, “The Bible in English Just Like Jesus Talked.”

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Since people, even Roman citizens, had no role in choosing political leadership, Paul simply could not have been advising us to “choose wisely.”  So any permutations of that interpretation are incorrect.

    The divide between civil and religious authority is clear, but any conception that one can rule justly or morally without God was debunked by Augustine in his 5th Century work The City of God.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Since people, even Roman citizens, had no role in choosing political leadership, Paul simply could not have been advising us to “choose wisely.”  So any permutations of that interpretation are incorrect.

    The divide between civil and religious authority is clear, but any conception that one can rule justly or morally without God was debunked by Augustine in his 5th Century work The City of God.

  • blaster

    Okay you caught me I was being facetious about the KJV.  I do enjoy the use of words in the KJV, but also sometimes The Message gets the the, umm, message across better.  

    @yahoo-EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U:disqus 
     I noted that in Paul’s day people were not choosing the rulers, yet today we are.  What is unchanging, though, is that God is in charge, and we are living by God’s plan.  

    But, like I said – if Fischer were making the point that in electing a leader we are choosing someone who is a servant or minister of God, so we ought to choose like we are doing that, that is a supportable position based on Romans.  What is not supported, however, is that because a ruler is a minister of God, that Paul’s instruction to Timothy about how to run the church, and specificially, what sorts of people should be deacons, that that applies to rulers. 

    Surely David, who was chosen by God, did not meet Paul’s deacon rules.  

  • BLBeamer

    Luther said he would rather be governed by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian.

    I only wish we had competent anythings to choose from.

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    So, you don’t even note the URL to Scripture in my post?

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    Fischers exegesis is so oddball (both here and the link last to April included above) as to make one wonder if his point is merely to discredit Christianity, as with Phelps.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Augustine didn’t know what the shit he was talking about. Either that or he was a blatant liar, take your pick. He said pagans prayed to Dionysius for wine. Errr, no they prayed to him THROUGH wine, not FOR it. Augustine would have been a damn good GOP political operative.

    And while it might be arguably difficult to rule “without God” its not impossible, its a matter of finding the people with the right kind of morals and integrity, things which are their own reward.

    I’ll take an honest, ethical atheist who believes in limited government and federalism any day over some asshole who justifies picking my pocket on the grounds of fealty to some religious ideal, hello Mike Huckabee.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    I think one of the things that has cost Bachmann a lot of support is her fealty to the KJV. Specifically, where she said she submitted to her husband, to the point that’s why she became a tax attorney due to his advice. I think a lot of people jumped to what seemed the logical conclusion to make that she would submit to him in governmental matters as well. I guess most of these Christians never heard of the Biblical Old Testament Judge Deborah who led Israel in battle, successfully, and who was also married, and presumably therefore “submissive” to her husband.