My first comment:
The first five minutes or so of this conversation offers the best commentary that 2020 has been the fruit of evil. No human power could have so easily infected the minds of men to willingly and suddenly abandon all the gifts that give life meaning - up to and including physical church attendance (to include Easter, and, soon enough, Christmas). Whatever one believes of a proper understanding of Romans 13, it certainly isn't this.
What prompted this comment? They discussed the world since corona – mostly VanderKlay discussed this. His church was closed for the first three months, then opened, then the state wanted another shutdown, but he didn’t go for it. He sees his parishioners deteriorating, especially the older ones.
VanderKlay laments that this is the new equilibrium. No one has any idea what church looks like on the other end. What will resolution of covid look like, etc.? There is a tone of almost complete resignation.
Sadly, Anleitner says that his church shut down before any government decree. “It was never really about meeting in person.” Needless to say, this is stunning to me.
On to the second comment: At some point later in the discussion, they hit on the culture war. They were discussing the attraction of Jordan Peterson. He was saying many of the same things for many years prior to his rocket to fame. One of the two Pauls noted: “The thing that really propelled [Peterson] was his entry into the culture war.”
Peterson could get people by the countless thousands to listen to him speak on the Bible – to spend real money to listen; they would come by the countless thousands to hear him speak about a life of meaning – to spend real money to listen.
In other words, people spent money and came to hear Peterson speak on what the church should be speaking on for free every Sunday. Yet churches are dying, despite not having a cover charge.
But what brought people to him was that he was not afraid to dive into the culture war, on the side of what I would describe as a natural law position. Maybe church leaders could take a cue from this (and from Peterson’s positions on the matter) when discussing their concerns about why the congregation is stagnant or shrinking.
But neither of these pastors want anything to do with this. They don’t like the culture war stuff. One of them said, paraphrased: “It is commendable that [John] Vervaeke doesn’t do the culture war stuff.”
My reaction? No, it isn’t. Perhaps don’t wonder why churches in the west are dying. Destroy culture and you destroy meaning and, therefore, you destroy man. Whose objective is it to destroy man? It isn’t God’s, it’s the other guy’s.
Murray Rothbard would write, in 1992: “Yes, yes, you rotten hypocritical liberals, it's a culture war!” It is a culture war, and, unfortunately, it is almost exclusively those on the side of evil that realize this. My second comment at the site was on this point, the culture war:
One side of this culture war has the aim to destroy Christianity; the other side doesn't act accordingly, and, therefore, is losing. Read Antonio Gramsci.
Gary North would write of Gramsci:
Gramsci in the 1930s acknowledged that Western society was deeply religious, and that the only way to achieve a proletarian revolution would be to break the faith of the masses of Western voters in Christianity and the moral system derived from Christianity. He placed religion and culture at the base of the pyramid.
Regarding Gramsci, Malachi Martin would write how the church must be adapted to a “this-worldly” vision of a communist “material paradise”:
They [communists] join with the Christian churches in brotherly dialogue and in common humanitarian ventures. But the object is to confirm the new Christianity in its anti-metaphysical and essentially atheistic pursuit of liberation from material inconvenience, from the fear of a nuclear holocaust, from sexual restriction of any kind and, finally, from all supernatural constrictions.... Total liberation is to construct the long-dreamed Leninist-Marxist Utopia.... By just that process, authored by Antonio Gramsci... has Western culture deprived itself of its lifeblood.
It was asked by Anleitner: “How to recognize ‘this is the evil we are actively to resist.’” The evil we are to resist is right there, under your nose. But too many Christian leaders either don’t want to engage in this battle or are fighting on the wrong side of it – either knowingly or unknowingly. For those who are honest actors, the confusion stems from an ignorance of the value and necessity for natural law.
Ephesians 6: 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Do we think these principalities and powers are just floating out there, only in disembodied spirits? I have offered that it is not the case; this evil prince works through human actors, real flesh and blood. Don’t trust me? The Apostle Paul gives his answer:
Ephesians 2: 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
The children of disobedience. They are here, physically, today. It is time to recognize this evil that we are actively to resist.
As mentioned, Anleitner pastors a church in Minneapolis; it is on the same street where George Floyd was shot. He has had parishioners pulled from cars, beat up, etc., as he discusses in the last few minutes of the video.
Isn’t it obvious the evil we are actively to resist?