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9 Responses to “How to Win (or Lose) This War”

  1. Tim Kriewall says:

    Arrogant = convex lens?
    Wounded = concave lens?
    Seared = broken lens?

    I always enjoy reading your missives. Thanks for sharing. I wonder if we as individuals can affect another person’s conscience.

  2. Mike Metzger says:

    Yes, I believe individuals can. Scripture says if love our enemy, we “heap hot coals on their head” (Proverbs 25:22), an illusion to the conscience being stricken so the guilty come to repentance.

    Cultures also play an important part in developing the conscience (perhaps even more than individuals). Many Christian traditions speak of societies having a “coarsened conscience” due to permitting abortion, for example.

  3. Trent McEntyre says:

    Great post. How do you think the spheres of common grace and special grace apply to understanding and dealing with the conscience?

    Also, how might dichotomist reasoning (or dualism nature/grace) common to the Greek, Enlightenment, and Western cultures prevent us from understanding and dealing with conscience?

  4. Mike Metzger says:

    Common grace = all human beings are endowed with a conscience. Paul was not a Christian his entire life, yet he lived his entire life with a clear conscience.

    Special grace = upon receiving salvation, a believer’s conscience is redeemed (Hebrew 9:14), meaning any of the four consciences can be cleansed.

  5. Mike Metzger says:

    Good question about dichotomies: the chief one I see in Western churches is: I, a believer, have a conscience and pagans don’t.

    Or, I, a believer, have a clean conscience and pagans don’t.

    Either way, these are the products of the sacred/secular divide so common in Western faiths.

  6. Dave T says:

    Mike, please take us further – if Clapham “evoked the conscience of the British people” and either provoked or performed confession as a means and a model – then it was toward what end? I don’t think I’m reading where you’re guiding us. If there are those of us with good consciences, how do we act in this culture’s overall war or “the particular mass shooting war”?

    If conscience was before character, isn’t heart the Bible’s word for it? The Bible bears no account of emotions as a category, but we see exhibited character and conscience and heart in emotions expressed in the text. Murder, to me, is heartless, and it’s the same word used of God’s rage – God suspends his heart of love for “a man” and takes his life (or the lives of a tribe thru warring Israel) to protect other hearts.

    I like what I hear you saying about Clapham between the lines – they told the TRUTH about slavery in a way that was heard. They stopped the lies. Our culture lies SO much. And truth is told with utterly next to no humility. I see how confession is truth + humility and where our culture needs to go in a hurry.

  7. Mike Metzger says:

    Hi Dave:

    The end was the abolition of the English Slave Trade.

    We see the power of conscience in slave trader John Newton, a Christian, coming to his senses and writing his confession late in life in a book that powerfully moved the masses.

    As for God killing, killing is not murder. “Thou shalt not murder” applies to individuals taking the law into their hands (such as mass shootings). Killing is what soldiers do acting as agents of the government, an institution ordained by God. If you feel the government is not pursuing a just war, you can apply to be a conscientious objector (a reminder of how conscience plays a role in shaping a society).

  8. Dave T says:

    HOW are you suggesting that we “evoke” in the way that Clapham evoked? Newton’s powerful truth + humility is therefore an example? But that would take a mass murder’s confession. You must have something else in mind aside from one man’s confession that ends shootings in the same way that Clapham ended the slave trade?

    Acts 9:1 – Saul murdered – and you’re saying that he did so with a good conscious? Or do you compare him to a soldier at war engaged in killing? I realize that he said that he always had a good conscious. If so, we may as well say that slave traders could have killed/murdered slaves with a good conscious? And that mass murders do so from a good conscious? Where do you want us to go in ending mass murder? If you’re saying “a culture of confession” then I get you, but how would you see us (back to the top) getting there?

  9. John R says:

    Great points, as always. And then there’s the other factor never talked about: the broken home/fatherless factor that is almost universal when it comes to mass shooters. The mountain of data just keeps growing:

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