Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Christianity of John Locke, Part II

As it is fairly quiet as to the religion of the framers in the blogosphere, except, if we are to include, secularists pummeling Michele Bachmann for claiming God is judging our nation because of our National Sins. Are these people are not aware the framers thought the same as Bachmann? Anyway, Jon Rowe referenced me and my earlier post on John Locke. Jon's first point of contention is this:
Locke was not provably Christian (and I doubt he was under this definition).
My simple response is Locke was not provably non-Christian.

Locke is a tricky character, given he abstained on certain fundamentals. These fundamentals Locke calls "Mysteries."

Another leap Rowe takes is this:

Locke is important because if modern liberal democracy is to have any kind of Christian political theology, it is of the Lockean understanding.
There should be many academics that dispute this, including modern Evangelicals. Christian political theology is founded in the Scriptures, thus you have the Reformers and pre-reformers who founded practical Republican government reference the Bible. These men include Christian Philosophers: Richard Hooker, and Thomas Aquinas. Likewise, Founding Father Richard Henry Lee rejected Locke was the foundation for the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison thought Locke's mind was "warped."

Jon bases this quote on Locke rejecting Christ's satisfaction for sin, but is that what Locke says?
If you will have the Truth of it, Sir, there is not any such Word in any one of the Epistles, or other Books of the New Testament, in my Bible, as Satisfying or Satisfaction made by our Saviour, and so I could not put it into my Christianity as delivered in the Scripture. If mine be not a true Bible, I desire you to furnish me with one that is more Orthodox; or if the Translators have bid that main Article of the Christian. Religion, they are the Betrayers of Christianity, and Condemners of the Epistles, who did not put it there; and not I, who did not take a Word from thence, which they did not put there. For truly, I am not a Maker of Creeds; nor dare add either to the Scripture, or to the Fundamental Articles of the Christian Religion.
From below, Locke's words have a quite different meaning. Locke is only claiming the word "Satisfying" or "Satisfaction" is not in the New Testament. Locke goes on to say he DOES speak of satisfaction, but in different words:
This Rejection of the Doctrines contained in the Epistles, was the not mentioning the Satisfaction of Christ, amongst those Advantages I fhew'd, that the World received by his Coming. This appears by the Words he here quotes, as my Excuse for that Omission. In which Place, I also produced some Passages in my Book which sounded like it, some Words of Scripture that are used to prove it; but this will not content him: I am, for all that, a Betrayer of Christianity, and Contemner of the Epistles. Why? Because I did not out of them name Satisfaction. If you will have the Truth of it, Sir, there is not any such Word and so I could not put it into my Christianity as delivered in the Scripture. If mine be not a true Bible, I desire you to furnish me with one that is more Orthodox; or if the Translators have bid that main Article of the Christian. Religion, they are the Betrayers of Christianity, and Contemncrs of the Epistles, who did not put it there i and not I, who did not take a Word from thence, which they did not put there. For truly, I am not a Maker of Creeds; nor dare add either to the Scripture, or to the Fundamental Articles of the Christian Religion. But you will say, Satisfaction, though not named in the Epistles, yet may plainly be collected out of them. And so it may out of several Places in my Reasonableness of Christianity, some whereof, which I took out of the Gospels, I menrion'd in my Vindication, p. 546, and others of them, which I took out of the Epistles, I shall point out to you now: As p. 490. I say the Design of our Saviour's. Coming was to be OFFERED up; and p. 508. I speak of the Work of our REDEMPTION. Words which in the Epistles are taken to imply Satisfaction And therefore if that be enough, I see not, but I may be free from betraying Christianity; but if it be necesiary to name the Word Satisfaction and he that does not so is a Betrayer of Christianity, you will do well to consider how you will acquit the Holy Apostles from that bold Imputation; which if it be extended as far as it will go, will scarce come short of Blasphemy: For I do not remember that our Saviour has any where named Satisfaction imply'd it plainer in any Words than those I have quoted from him; and he, I hope, will 'scape the Intemperance of your Tongue. [bold face mine] 
The word "Satisfaction" could also refer to "the penalty." But I doubt Locke is referring to the duration of the penalty for Sin because Christ himself says the penalty is eternal in several passages, and that is different than blood atonement anyway. Furthermore, Locke had to take Communion as he was a High-Anglican. This contention may truly be a matter of semantics.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just checking in to see if a miracle has occurred.

It hasn't.

You are still an idiot.

Our Founding Truth said...

I mentioned Lee not affirming Locke in the DOI because TJ wrote that Lee said he copied the DOI from Locke's treatise. I read somewhere Lee or his grandson denied he said that.