A young man named John Earnest is the suspect that allegedly shot up a synagogue on April 27 after allegedly publishing a Manifesto. The suspect is a member of my denomination; so it behooves me to make some remarks. Only a few themes of this event can be explored in a single post. Here, I wish to restrict most of my comments to the published responses of my church. The focus will be on three statements: that of the suspect’s father, his pastor, and self-declared representatives of the denomination as a whole.
In passing, it bears mention that at the time the statements were issued, there was no public finding that the Manifesto was even written by Mr. Earnest. It would behoove them to show a little modesty by using language like, “if the alleged Manifesto was indeed written by him…” until the cognizant authorities publish such a finding. Being careful even in the acceptance of “obvious facts” is important for developing a mind that is oriented to impartial justice. In the ensuing, I too will presume the Manifesto was written by Mr. Earnest, but I do so with cognizance that this is an assumption.
In general, there is a rush to judgement of their son and brother that is unseemly and which the jews for their part must (privately) shake their heads at in astonishment, as exhibiting, not piety, but just the opposite. The spiritual lynching of this young man can be contrasted with the state of affairs following the rape and murder of Mary Phagan by Leo Frank, a jew. The Synagogue’s response to that crime was to orchestrate a national campaign of rhetorical terrorism and every kind of popular, political, and judicial pressure to get Frank off the hook. Meanwhile, the Gentiles bent over backwards to afford him an ample and fair trial. In contrast, the Church’s response in this case seems to forget that a fair trial is even to be demanded. Indeed, some voices are heard suggesting that no trial need even be conducted.
Now our guys might respond, “just so; this is the difference between how Christians behave toward one of their own committing a crime versus how non-Christians like jews do. This is the form of the cross, and this is the ideal of universal justice which is only possible because of Christ’s incarnation and resurrection.”
But they do not say this. They would never say this. It would be anti-Semitic to do so, for it would imply that the people of the Chabad synagogue do not know God, despite their bobbing rituals and long faces. Instead, here is what John Earnest’s father, an elder in the OPC says:
[John] has killed and injured the faithful who were gathered in a sacred place on a sacred day.
Jesus identified the jews that hated him as the children of Satan. But this OPC elder identifies them as faithful, and their superstitions as sacred times and places.
- I thought the Old Covenant holy days all pointed to Jesus Christ; so that to continue to celebrate them while denying the One they are all about was superstition or worse.
- I thought the word of God identified this place as a synagogue of Satan, not a “sacred place.”
- Is it proper to identify as “faithful” those who crucify Christ anew every day in their hearts in their rejection of Jehovah? Is this not a degradation of the notion of faith, which only and always is tied to Jesus Christ, and replacing it with the banality of Mark Twain, who said that faith is believing what you know is not true?
But the father says “[John] has killed and injured the faithful who were gathered in a sacred place on a sacred day.” Suppose the shooting had taken place in the Church of Satan of Los Angeles, which recently obtained religious tax exemption status from our magistrates. Would this OPC elder still identify the victims as “the faithful who were gathered in a sacred place on a sacred day”? (i) If not, why not? (Say it.) (ii) If so, then he admits that Satanism is as much a matter of the faithful as anyone else, a rank absurdity.
Hoping for improvement, let’s look at the statement by the Escondido pastor.
As a congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ, we devote our lives to the love and mercy of the Lord to all of God’s beautiful children, from every nation, language, and tribe.
This statement is only relevant if the synagogue attendees are a referent of the phrase, “all of God’s beautiful children.” But according to our gospel, every man must pass from the wrath of God to a new status of His child, and this is only by receiving Jesus Christ, the Son of God. For St. John says,
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (Jn 1:12-13) [emphasis added]
Moreover, the Son of God accused the jews that rejected him of being children of Satan, not of God, John 8:42-45.
Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me… ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do… When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
God says these people are children of Satan whose only hope to escape His wrath is to embrace Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. But OPC Pastor Zach Keele says they are “God’s beautiful children,” without hinting at the need for repentance or faith, or union with Christ.
The irony here is that one of the central claims of liberalism, in reaction to which the OPC came to be formed, was the idea of the universal fatherhood of God. Our patriarch, Gresham Machen wrote
God is indeed represented here [Mt. 5:44-45] as caring for all men whether evil or good, but he is certainly not called the Father of all. Indeed it might almost be said that the point of the passage depends on the fact that He is not the Father of all. He cares even for those who are not His children but His enemies…The modern doctrine of the universal fatherhood of God is not be found in the teaching of Jesus. (Christianity and Liberalism, p. 60)
He also adds, “so his children, Jesus’ disciples, ought to imitate Him by loving even those who are not their brethren but their persecutors.” Had this theme been the keynote of Pastor Keele’s note, it would be a point worth exploring. The jews as the persecutors of Christians would then be the foundational fact in terms of which the objection to Mr. Earnest’s alleged act could be framed.
Let’s turn to the words of Moderator Van Meerbeke and Clerk Ross W. Graham of the whole denomination, hoping to find improvement.
Along with our Escondido congregation, we condemn in strongest terms the sentiments of anti-Semitism and racist hatred which apparently motivated the shooter.
We have commented some twelve years ago on the unacceptability of the term anti-Semitism. The word plays on an ambiguity between the judaic religion and the physical tribe known as Semites. (Actually, there is a second layer of ambiguity in that the latter can refer to either a language-group or a branch of DNA blood-descent from, we say, Shem.) So if the church uses this word, it should specify in which sense it means it. Is it the claim that Mr. Earnest wrote negative things about the judaic religion? then why not call it anti-judaism rather than anti-Semitic? (And is not God anti-every false religion?) This is not a quibble: cleaning up the language will change the whole discussion. The word itself, with its nested ambiguities, sets in motion a mental dialectic that makes the clarity of truth inaccessible.
But if the claim is that Mr. Earnest’s remarks were intended for all blood-descendants of Shem, then the claim is completely implausible. Arabic Christians, for example, are such, yet clearly not in view. Yet only in this second, implausible sense could the subsequent epithet of “racist hatred” make sense.
You see, the term “anti-Semitism” pretends to add content to the description of the view itself — as if there is some germ called “anti-Semitism” that one catches that causes such-and-such belief about jews. Upon closer analysis, it is actually just a substitution term for the belief itself, with no additional content. It would be like calling someone an anti-Mexite because he doesn’t want more Mexican immigrants to come. When asked, “what is an anti-Mexite?” the answer comes, “anyone that doesn’t want more Mexican immigrants to come.” The word promised to give an explanation, but proves to be empty.
The Talmud promotes ethical dualism, and despises the goyim. Yet we don’t even have the word anti-Gentilic, even though this would be a good summary of what the judaic pseudo-religion is centrally all about, especially in its more Orthodox forms.
A similar analysis, which I would be happy to give if needed, shows that racist is another meaningless word that rattles by like an empty boxcar. It has been claimed that the word was coined by Leon Trotsky, a jew, for the exact purpose of corrupting the goyish conscience. I will leave it to etymologists to verify whether this is the case, but I do know I have not come across the word in any of the many systematic theologies I have studied. Our larger catechism’s copious exposition of the sins implied by the commandments breathes no word of it.
Finally, calling “hatred” a sin without qualification will need to deal with Scripture such as
Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. (Ps. 139:21-22)
Naturally, this thought must be checked by other considerations. As John Murray said
In God’s hate there is no malice, malignancy, vindictiveness, unholy rancor or bitterness. The kind of hate thus characterized is condemned in Scripture and it would be blasphemy to predicate the same of God. (Comm. ad Rom 9:6-33).
At the end of the day, the hatred that Mr. Earnest self-identifies could arguably be modeled as righteous resentment that has reached a fever pitch. It is often assumed that if, in a moment of weakness, legitimate resentment grows a tumor of sinful malice, then malice must be the root cause of the resentment. But this is an elementary fallacy. To bring Mr. Earnest under discipline for hatred simpliciter would be unjust and unpastoral. Instead, it needs to first be determined whether his resentment is unrighteous in the manner that Murray identifies; next, if so, he should be encouraged to repent of that aspect of his resentment; finally discipline should only be exercised if both he refuses to repent of that aspect, and the objects of discipline cannot be achieved in some other way.
The pastor’s statement is simply echoing the judaic jargon of our day with words like Anti-Semitism, racist, and hatred. The fact is (and this list should be memorized and repeated three times every morning by every judaized OPC elder):
- Anti-semitism is not a sin
- Racism is not a sin
- Hatred is not necessarily a sin
Of course you can define any of these terms such that so defined, they describe sin, and thus win by definition. But my claim is that no such definition can be given that is both explanatory of the terms’ common usage, and sinful according to the law of God. Continuing to use these terms is a sure mark of dishonesty, and conformity to the spirit of our age.
The statement continues,
Such beliefs are contrary to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and have no place within our system of doctrine or in the teachings and practices of our church.
They condemned them “in strongest terms,” which expression itself is of dubious meaning. I suppose if it means anything, it means that there is nothing remotely that could be said in defense. But here is a summary of the charges against jews published by Mr. Earnest, which our churchmen have declared to be “contrary to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He accuses the jews of
- lying and deceiving the public through their exorbitant role in news media
- using usury and banks to enslave nations in debt and control all finances for the purpose of funding evil
- starting wars on a foundation of lies which have costed millions of lives throughout history
- cultural Marxism and communism
- pushing degenerate propaganda in the form of entertainment
- their role in feminism which has enslaved women in sin
- causing many to fall into sin with their role in peddling pornography
- voting for and funding politicians and organizations who use mass immigration to displace the European race
- every slave trade for the past two-thousand years
- promoting race mixing
- cruel and bloody history of genocidal behavior
- persecution of Christians of old (including the prophets of ancient Israel—Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc.), members of the early church …, Christians of modern-day Syria and Palestine, and Christians in White nations
- degenerate and abominable practices of sexual perversion and blood libel
- not speaking about these crimes
- not attempting to stop the members of their race from committing them
- the murder of the Son of Man—that is the Christ.
Where is the lie? And which of these charges is eo ipso “contrary to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ”? what could that even mean? Does it mean, coming to the conclusion that these charges are true is already intrinsically contrary to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ? How does that even make sense?
You can’t unsee what you have seen.
Naturally, there is some youthful lack of nuance that would need to be back-filled. Not all jews are guilty. And many goys have set their hands to the plow as well. All of that can be worked out.
Perhaps the response will be, “it doesn’t matter if any or even if all of this list is true; no one has the right to take the law into his own hands and serve as judge, jury and executioner.” (Except apparently they can do this in the case of Mr Earnest himself; but let’s move on.)
Fair point. But then your words should reflect that reality, not the falsehood that you said.
If the verity of Mr. Earnest’s charges does not matter for the judgment you reach, then in conducting your trial, and even in explaining your posture, you should be willing to stipulate that the list of accusations against the jews may be true, and allow Mr. Earnest to mount his defense on that basis, or you must allow him to show it is true and be ready to rebut. You can’t just assume that these charges are unknowable, or prima facie false.
Contrast Mr. Earnest’s case with other shooters such as Columbine, where Christian victims were deliberately sought out. But there, no précis of Christian crimes was in mind, which needed to be avenged. That slaughter was indeed malicious hatred without cause. The Manifesto shows that Mr. Earnest’s alleged homicide is in a different category.
There are many things that can be said on behalf of Mr. Earnest. He is obviously a bright young man, a man also possessing musical talent, that loved Beethoven. He was going to become a nurse — a field that people do not go into unless they have human empathy. Note well: this was not a psychopath. This was man with aesthetic and empathetic impulses that was driven to despair.
He has been handed the ruins of a civilization that was the envy of the world, created at great cost of blood and sweat by his ancestors, but destroyed during the lifetimes of his father and grandfather. Most young people don’t even know what has hit them. They might be addicted to the pornography that is delivered at the touch of a screen, yet at some subliminal level they have to know that a society that permits this is corrupt. They have been diligently instructed by judaic film makers to utter our Savior’s name, perhaps with the F-word interjected, when they stub their toe, or feel amazement, even though they scarcely have an idea who that is. They are sexualized yet unmarriageable. They amass a mountain of college debt, and can’t find a decent job. (Or, they did not go to college, and their most frequently-heard words are “super-size it?”) Their great-grandfathers out of high school could get a factory job and support a wife and four children in a snug brick home; or if they went to college they were catapulted into the managerial class. Most of today’s young people can’t get such jobs, for the jobs have been sent overseas. Though they can’t find a good job, their cities are being filled up with surly aliens that take half the jobs that are available. If they are so lucky as to get a good job, they still need two incomes to buy a decent house, and their lives become a rat-race, with little time for leisured recreation or fellowship. And how can they have very many children under that condition?
Why do we suffer this deplorable condition? Is this just the free market? (1) No it is not. The capitalists are sucking dry an infrastructure they didn’t pay for, and exploiting an international payment system enforced by the blood of the very same class of men they are busy laying off. (2) Even if it were, why should the youth of this country be sacrificed in free competition with all the nations of the world, even though they should be the inheritors of what their fathers created?
The very fact that a bright and talented boy like John Earnest felt that becoming a male nurse was his best option shows the unacceptability of our situation. How absurd is that?!
I fear many pastors are just glad they themselves are so richly endowed. The plight of the youth is just “their hard Providence, which they must prayerfully learn to submit to.” Even if true at one level, they have not earned the right to give such advice. Let them receive one third of what they making — which is what most of them would be earning anyhow, if they hadn’t been so fortunate as to get a call—, and designate the rest for missions. Then they will have earned the right.
Or, from their own cushy position, many pastors will decry some of the destruction of our civilization, but the blame is pinned on depersonalized Sin — some amorphous blob that bubbles up from the slime of humanity, and which their own trembling sheep are just as much part of as anyone else. No. Mrs. Grundy praying daily that she will bite her gossipy tongue did not bring 30 million aliens into our land, did not hand control of our money to an alien and subversive tribe, did not start wars all around the world that are none of our business, and did not arrange to have slave labor on the other side of the world do the production in order to maximize capitalists’ profit. Nor did she make it so states cannot protect the unborn or that men that like to play with each other’s wee-wees can strut down the aisle and be declared husband and husband. Nor did she corrupt the youth with pornography and blasphemy poured down their throats.
It was not some amorphous blob of Sin that did these things: it was men that can be named.
Luther said that if someone strikes you on account of the gospel, then turn the other cheek, but if someone strikes you just to rob you of your goods, you can fight back.
Pastors, if you disagree with Luther, then declare and explain your position. Be clear.
Mr. Earnest’s resentment is fully understandable. He has been betrayed by his parents’ generation. He is like a baby bird whose mother, instead of putting food into his beak, picked him up by the scruff of the neck and dropped him into a viper’s nest, while tweeting, “good luck baby bird.”
So his parents, elders, and church should find some word of sympathy along with their reflexive condemnation. There is no reason to fret whether retributive justice will be done. It will be swift and merciless, you can bank on it.
Something should be said in sympathy for his parents as well. They may feel the shame and rage of seeming to be helpless as our patrimony is wadded up, pissed on, and thrown on the dungheap of history. Yet the parents and elders, tight-lipped and grim, their spirit withering in despair, cannot muster anything but hastening to condemn their son and throw him to the wolves with no defense or empathy. They should — we that are older all should — apologize for our passive complicity in the destruction of a great civilization not earned by us, that is leading young men to understandable despair.
In God’s mercy, maybe He will show us a way. His will be done.