Love = Obedience

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by John Ellis

As a child, obedience was a pragmatic activity for me. Navigating the tension between my desires and the possible punishment if I got caught fulfilling my desires, my decision to obey or not was rooted in a cost/benefit analysis. If the reward from my desire was greater than the risk of the punishment, obedience was jettisoned. On the other hand, if the reward was less than the risk, I was an obedient child. Not to mention the many times in which obedience enabled me to do what I wanted. As an example of how my pragmatic obedience worked, refusing to sing Patch the Pirate’s song “Obedience” with the rest of the students brought with it punishment not worth the reward of not singing. So, I dutifully sang the lyrics “obedience is the very best way to show that you believe” many times throughout my childhood.

It’s only as an adult that I get the irony.

My childhood’s pragmatic hypocrisy aside, is the song correct? Is it true that “obedience is the very best way to show that [we] believe?”

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Molly Ringwald and ‘The Breakfast Club,’ My Response to Scientology’s Open Letter to Me, Male Feminists, and Other Articles of Note

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by John Ellis

Although my family and I have been traveling for the last month and a half (with a day or two home, here or there), I still managed to churn out several PJ Media articles. Some that I even like. Below are what I believe are my most note-worthy and interesting articles over the last month and a half. If you’re interested in reading my articles that I didn’t include below, click here for my PJ Media author page.

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Progressive Proof-Texting: Defending a Libertine Spirit With Matthew 15

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by John Ellis

And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciple came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you still also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passed into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:10-20

Recorded in Matthew 15, Jesus’ words cut two ways. On one hand, the passage challenges legalism (Neonomianism), but on the seemingly-opposite hand, it confronts antinomianism, especially the self-proclaimed progressive kind. Sadly, many legalists ignore this passage and many progressive Christians rip Jesus’ words out of context in order to justify their libertine-loving antinomianism.

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Progressive Proof-Texting: Did Jesus Come to Judge or to Save?

triumphal entryby John Ellis

If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” John 12:47

In the West, claims to exclusivity in reference to religion are one of the quickest ways to engender cries of disapproval from the curators of society. In fact, the concept of exclusion has been relegated to the closet of offensive by many progressives who claim to be Christians. The notion that anyone should be required to recognize that something is broken inside of them, find a new identity, and come to God on God’s terms may be the one and only heresy in the progressive church. During the Easter Prayer Breakfast, declaiming the thesis statement of progressive Christianity’s soteriology, Vice President Joe Biden said, “We all practice the same basic faith but different faiths.”

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