The idea of cobelligerency is that people with diametrically opposing views on certain critical issues should nonetheless join together to fight a more treacherous common enemy. The question here: should more Protestant oriented evangelical Christians join forces with Roman Catholics in the cause of ending abortion?
The basis for this website's rejection of cobelligerency rests on the presumption that the term "evangelicals" means genuine followers of Christ working ungrafted to the World. Being ungrafted means gracious refusal to assume government indenture designated by active Social Security status, federal income tax liability, and for many Christians the girding of an incorporated institution and/or a registered non-profit contractually bound by the terms of a 501c3 agreement.
It is perfectly fine for any person or institution to have such arrangements, but as such they are operating outside the benefits and provisions of Jesus Christ. World Service is elaborately designed to sustain legitimate activity of Caesar. All that is required for the Kingdom work which brings complete wholeness, freedom, and salvation is fully committed discipleship under Christ.
As much as Scott Klusendorf has obligated himself and his organization to the World by establishing incorporated status and making it a subdivision of the Roman Catholic Church, then his defense of cobelligerency is merely a fine recruitment promotion on behalf of the Institution.
The treatise offered here will assume that the term "evangelicals" refers to those who have freed themselves from the World and have an authentic desire to be servants of the Living God whose hands and feet are used to accomplish His great purposes.
Each of Mr. Klusendorf's main points itemized, quoted from the Christian Research Journal, (Vol. 29 No. 3, 2006, pp. 52-53), followed by a response to each:
Response: While cultural reformers can fix things up a bit, followers of Christ want to see that people are alive by introducing them to Christ. Having a spiffy culture may be nice, but if you're dead, what difference does it make? To use the fire analogy again, this is like being in the middle of the raging fire, and Mr. Klusendorf hands you an ice cream cone. Hey, ice cream cones are great! But wouldn't it be better to be safe and away from the fire?
It is simple. The weak and oppressed get strong and free by Christ. I imagine that for those who abjectly refuse to come to Him, it is good there are people like Mr. Klusendorf who have the ice cream cones to refresh them a bit while they are weak and oppressed. I'm just someone who believes in having everyone saved and healed and in the embrace of Christ. I don't think Jesus felt any differently. Sure He said there would be goats next to the sheep, tares in with the wheat, but that's only because they refused to come to Him. So obsequiously do people sympathize with the goats and whimper, "We might as well give up on Jesus and His power to make people whole."
What would you say if I asked, "What would you rather have, (a) abortions going down from 21 per 1,000 births* to 17, or (b) abortions going down from 21 per 1,000 births to zero?" Any sane pro-lifer would select (b). Why do so many get all giddy when they think about getting (a)? Are they that tied to their chest-pounding efforts that they marvel in a tiny drop in abortions but shrug off the thought of no abortions because they've been sold the lie that it's just "too utopian," or, as many Christians pathetically rationalize, "We live in a fallen world, so, that's the way it is"?
Response: Very true! But what many don't understand is that there is a word for "cobelligerent cultural reform." It's called government. Government's job is to restrain evil acts. This is the "Ministry of Condemnation." It is the government's very task to be "belligerent" against evil, and it does so with the oppressive power of police, prosecution, internment, and all forms of merciless (and very justified) suppression of sinful behavior.
Is Mr. Klusendorf so eager to be associated with this activity, when Jesus clearly asks those who claim to follow Him to be reconcilers, to be the ones who are His flesh and bones to those so weary of condemnation that they may experience grace, and know that it truthfully is offered? The World has no conception of this, and all of Mr. Klusendorf's esteem for "cultural reform" and "social justice" suggests that his real desire is to settle for the piddle the World can offer.
It should be added that a relevant part of this discourse is whether or not government should be making laws prohibiting abortion. Recently South Dakota boldly made all abortions illegal. Please know that I am not arguing against the legitimate activity of government. And certainly, as Mr. Klusendorf states, the law does have a didactic purpose. But this is standard practice. The government has laws against murder and theft and all sorts of bad things. Fine. Now what? The Bible clearly says that the law cannot save. Someone who's not getting an abortion for not-getting-an-abortion's sake is still in misery.
Response: Mr. Klusendorf uses slavery in the 1800's as an example of how everyone, believers and nonbelievers, working together got it stopped. What he is ignorant about is the extent to which the Catholicist Nation and its influence contributed to slavery to begin with, and as such, how much all those believers and nonbelievers were pawns in the hands of the insidious power brokers who exploited them through it all.
This is not even the most important point. People without Christ are still in slavery, and not just the spiritual kind. Real physical slavery has not been abolished. Certainly the kind in which whites own blacks to do plantation work for no pay is a thing of the past, but today slavery takes a number of different forms — they're just not as widely perceived. When you borrow money, you are enslaved to your creditor. When you incorporate you are enslaved to the issuer and his laws and by-laws. When you are justly imprisoned, you are enslaved to the ruling authority. In fact, take a peek at the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Read it very carefully, every word. You'll see that slavery is still very much around!
Response: Great point, but the real issue is what exactly is the cause in question? Mr. Klusendorf's elementary understanding of the nature of government and its subdivisions is revealed in this blanket approval of joining forces. It depends entirely on the activity and just as significantly on the contract that is entered into.
Let me share an example of the importance of discernment from my own experience. I once did "Lit Drops" in communities near where I live. A Lit Drop involved a gathering of about forty people who got out very early on a Saturday morning to put pro-life newspapers (or "literature," hence the term "lit") at the doorsteps of all the homes in a targeted area. I did this with all kinds of people, some of whom were Catholics, and was happy to be involved in it.
One day the leader of the effort informed us that the church facility we'd been using as a headquarters would no longer be available, and that he'd received permission to use a Roman Catholic church instead. I graciously told him that this should be rejected because it represented a plainly manifest union with Belial. He responded with all the typical stuff about how Catholics are not that bad and that some Catholics have more of a heart to save babies than many evangelicals. While that may be true, it was clear that this gentleman, whom I deeply respect, had put saving babies above the integrity of the word of God. Saving babies is incredibly important, but God is higher. This isn't an either/or. Putting God first is the thing that saves the babies — all the babies. Putting Him after saving babies may get a few rescued from the abortionist but it also brings more of the drudgery fighting the System you've contracted with.
I should note that as I later comprehended the true nature of 501c3, I realized that, really, any state-church used as a home base will be corrupted by this obligation. In that sense my argument is indeed that those who name the name of Jesus should make a 100% break from the World System and actually rely 100% on the Lord for all provision of deliverance and salvation. Why don't we trust in Him when he says He'll give us bread when we ask Him?
Response: I firmly believe pro-life advocacy is an essential part of discipline responsibilities. I think Mr. Klusendorf here is addressing the assumption we shouldn't be doing pro-life work at the cost of sharing the gospel. I really don't know, but I think this is a straw-man he's setting up. And if a church does say this, then it is just another symptom of the impotency that comes with the grafted church.
Response: People feeling safe in superficial Christian morality is precisely what you see in the depths of the Catholicist Nation. People grafted to the World live by the World, however upright that appears, and in their souls they still endure spiritual agony. Mr. Klusendorf then offers a Calvinist-oriented question that is condescending and confuses the issue.
To Mr. Klusendorf's credit, "cultural reform" does set people up for the gospel. In other words, the Law is primarily for moving people toward Grace. What I don't get is, again, why he is so eager to be a part of that realm since that is the domain of condemnation? The law administered by government should drive people into the arms of Christ, yes, but I think Mr. Klusendorf overlooks the fact that there must then be reconcilers to embrace all those condemned people, and you can't be a reconciler if you're doing what the condemners do.
His willingness to "join forces" is a candid admission that Mr. Klusendorf is working out of the ministry of condemnation and not the ministry of reconciliation. That's not necessarily a bad thing! People need to be out there kickin' ay, using that firehose to blast others, and apparently Mr. Klusendorf is an expert at it.
Those who follow Jesus Christ are to touch people's hearts with Truth and Grace. Yes, that may involve extraordinarily powerful arguments for the pro-life position! You go Scott! But if you do choose to be on the Grace side, you can't do it running around with the operatives of the World!
Response: Here Mr. Klusendorf elaborates on the fire rescue analogy. He uses a quote from a cobelligerence-favoring bio-ethicist who closes by saying, "It is cold comfort to a dead baby that we allowed him to die to avoid working with Catholics." This presumes, however, that we need Catholics to save babies. Illustrated, this presumes that we need arsonists to save those in peril from the fire. Again, what if we just stopped the arsonists? Then we'd have no fires to begin with.
The key thing that Mr. Klusendorf just doesn't get is that, again — it can't be emphasized enough — the Roman Catholic Church is greatly responsible for the abortions he's trying to stop. This institution is phenomenally powerful and has cleverly utilized deceit and complicity in the farthest reaches of society for centuries, and will continue to convince people that it is just another "Christian" church, that it is a harmless helper and wants good things like everyone else. Mr. Klusendorf is being yanked big-time by the ministers of condemnation, and as much as he continues to allow himself to be exploited (as revealed plainly by his stubborn endorsement of cobelligerence) he will grow into an exploiter himself.
Is the Catholic Church going to go away? Not until God decides to take it out, and no one knows how or when He will. I do know that you can't fight it or change it, and that the only way to protect yourself from its machinations is to humbly ask Him to take you by the hand and lead you into the Kindgom. I also know that there are those who don't want Him to do so if they continue seeking salvation from the World by contracting with it as they have. I further know that the one institution that manages that "salvation" is the Roman Catholic Church. As long as people seek their salvation from the World, the Roman Catholic Church is not going to go away.
And there will then be more fires. And there will be more firefighters like Scott Klusendorf trying to put out fires, or at least serving lots of ice cream to those caught in the inferno. No wonder he likes cobelligerency so much.
He knows he needs so much help.
* The incidence of abortion in 2001 for women ages 15-44 was 21.1 for every 1,000 births. In 1973 it was 16.3. It reached a high of 29.3 in 1981. Each year, two out of every 100 women in this age range have an abortion. 48% of them have had at least one previous abortion. (Statistics from the Guttmacher Institute)
This page was originally posted by David Beck at yourownjesus.net on July 5, 2006