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Erik is a public policy professional and owner of the online training course in democracy and civic action: www.3ptraining.com.au The Blog …explores ways to create a sustainable and just community. Explores how that community can be best protected at all levels including social policy/economics/ military. The Book Erik’s autobiography is a humorous read about serious things. It concerns living in the bush, wilderness, home education, spirituality, and activism. Finding Home is available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble and all good e-book sellers.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Empire is Over. Now get Serious



As a policy I don't repost stuff because basically I think its lame. On this occasion I am going to make an exception because you can't buy and can rarely find this kind of analysis. The author is a defence analyst, Russian patriot, and self described Putin fan boy, is Russian Orthodox and anti- Zionist (not the same thing as anti-Jewish btw). You may or may not share his politics, but the analysis in this article is factual and essential to understanding world events at present.






Just as the Britain had its moment of realisation that the British Empire was finally over when Nasser captured the Suez canal, so the US will realise within this decade that their empire is basically over - or lash out in suicidal nuclear hubris. That means all the little countries that are now part of the US Empire, like Britain and Australia, need to look realistically to their own defence now.




Quote:




Unless the USA changes political course and gives up on the suicidal russophobia of Obama and Trump, a military confrontation between Russia and the USA is inevitable






http://thesaker.is/from-2018-to-2019-a-quick-survey-of-a-few-trends/


The year 2018 will go down in history as a turning point in the evolution of the geostrategic environment of our planet.  There are many reasons for that and I won’t list them all, but here are some of the ones which I personally consider the most important ones:

The Empire blinked.  Several times.

This is probably the single most important development of the year: the AngloZionist Empire issued all sorts of scary threats, and took some even scarier actual steps, but eventually it had to back down.  In fact, the Empire is in retreat on many fronts, but I will only list a few crucial ones:
  1. The DPRK: remember all the grandiose threats made by Trump and his Neocon handlers?  The Administration went as far as announcing that it would send as many as THREE(!) nuclear aircraft carrier strike groups to the waters off the DRPK while Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea.  Eventually, the South Koreans decided to take matters in their own hands, they opened a direct channel of communications with the North, and all the US sabre-rattling turned into nothing more than hot air.
  2. Syria in April: that was the time when the US, France and the UK decided to attack Syria with cruise missiles to “punish” the Syrians for allegedly using chemical weapons (a theory too stupid to be even worth discussing).  Of 103 detected missiles, 71 were shot down by the Syrians.  The White House and the Pentagon, along with their trusted Ziomedia, declared the strike a great success, but then, they also did that during the invasion of Grenada (one of the worst assault operation in military history) or after the humiliating defeat of Israel by Hezbollah in 2006, so this really means very little.  The truth is that this operation was a total military failure and that it has not been followed up by anything (at least for now).
  3. The Ukraine: we spend almost all of 2018 waiting for an Ukronazi attack on the Donbass which never happened.  Now, I am quite sure that some will argue that the Nazi junta in Kiev never had any such intentions, but anybody with even a basic knowledge of what took place in the Ukraine this year knows that this is pure bull: the junta did pretty much everything to execute an attack except the very last step: to actually order it.  Putin’s open threat that any such attack would have “grave consequences for Ukraine’s statehood as such” probably played a key role in deterring the Empire.  Oh sure, the Ukronazis might well attack in January or any time after that, but the fact is that in 2018 they did not dare do so.  Yet again, the Empire (and its minions) had to back down.
  4. Syria in September: this time, it was the Israeli hypostasis of the Empire which triggered a massive crisis when the Israelis hid their strike aircraft behind a Russian Il-20 large turboprop airliner resulting in the loss of the aircraft and crew.  After giving the Israelis a chance to come clean (which, predictably, they didn’t – they are, after all, Israelis), the Russians got fed up and delivered advanced air defense, electronic warfare and battle management systems to the Syrians.  In response the Israelis (who had issued many threats about immediately destroying any S-300 delivered to the Syrians) had to basically stop their air strikes against Syria (well, not quite, they did execute two such strikes: one totally ineffective one and one in which the Zionist crazies again hid behind an aircraft, but in this case, no one but TWO civilian aircraft (more about this latest ziocrazy stunt further below).  The Empire backed down again.
  5. Syria in December: apparently fed up with all the infighting amongst his advisors, Trump eventually ordered a full US withdrawal from Syria.  Now, of course, since this is the USA, we have to wait and see what actually happens.  There is also a very complex kabuki dance being executed by Russia, Turkey, the US, Israel, Iran, the Kurds and the Syrians to stabilize the situation following a full US withdrawal.  After all the years of huffing and puffing about how “Assad The Monster must go” it is quite amusing to see how the western powers are throwing in towels one after the other.  This also begs the obvious question: if “The City On The Hill And Sole Superpower On The Planet, The Leader Of The Free World and the Indispensable Nation” can’t even deal with a weakened Syrian government and military, what can this military successfully do (besides provide Hollywood blockbusters to a gullible US public)?
  6. Various smaller defeats: too many to count, but they include the Khashoggi fiasco, the failure of the war in Yemen, the failure of the war in Afghanistan, the failure of the war in Iraq, the failure to remove Maduro from power in Venezuela, and the gradual loss of control over an increasing number of EU countries (Italy), Nikki Haley’s ridiculous antics at the UNSC, the inability to gather up the intellectual resources needed to have a real, productive, meeting with Vladimir Putin, the disastrous commercial war with China, etc.  What all these events have in common is that they are a result of the inability of the US to get anything done, truly done.  Far from being a real superpower, the USA is in a full-spectrum decline and the main thing which still gives it its superpower status are its nuclear weapons, just like Russia in the 1990s.
All the internal problems resulting from the infighting of the US elites (roughly: the Clinton gang vs Trump and his Deplorables) only make things worse.  Just the apparently never ending sequence of resignations and/or firing from the Trump Administration is a very important sign of the advanced state of collapse of the US polity.  Elites don’t fight each other when all goes well, they do so when everything goes south.  The saying “victory has many fathers but defeat is an orphan” reminds us that when a gang of thugs begins to lose control of a situation, it rapidly turns into an “every man for himself”, everybody blames everybody for the problems and nobody wants to stay anywhere near those who will go down in history as the pathetic losers who screwed everything up.




As for the US armed forces, they have been tremendously successful in killing a very large amount of people, as always, mostly civilians, but they failed to get anything actually done, at least not if one understands that the purpose of war is not just to kill people, but is the “continuation of politics by other means“.  Let’s compare and contrast what Russia and the US did in Syria.
On October 11th, Putin declared the following in an interview with Vladimir Soloviev on the TV channel Russia 1: “Our objective is to stabilize the legitimate authority and create conditions for a political compromise“.  That’s it. He did not say that Russia would single-handedly change the course of the war, much less so win the war.  The (very small!) Russian task force in Syria achieved these original objectives in just a few months, something which the Axis-of-Kindness could not achieve in years (and the Russians did that with a small fraction of the military capabilities available to the US/NATO/EU/CENTCOM/Israel in the region.  In fact, the Russians even had to quickly create a resupply system which they did not have because of the purely defensive Russian military posture (Russian power projection is mostly limited under 500-1000km from the Russian border).


In comparison, the USA has been fighting a so-called GWOT (Global War on Terror) since 2001 and all it can show is that the terrorists (of various demonstrations) only got stronger, took control of more land, murdered more people, and generally seemed to show a remarkable ability to survive and even grow in spite of (or thanks to) the GWOT.  As Putin would say, what would you expect from “people who don’t know the difference between Austria and Australia“?


Personally, I would expect them to take full credit for the victory and leave.
Which is exactly what the USA has done.
At least that is what they are saying now.  This could change 180 degree again.


As for Afghanistan, the USA spent more time there than the Soviets did.  Does that no strongly suggest that the US leaders are *even more* incompetent than the “stagnation” era Soviet gerontocrats?


The failure to subdue or even contain Russia

Putin’s speech on March 1st to the Russian Federal Assembly was truly a historical moment: for the first time since the Empire decided to wage war on Russia (a war which is roughly 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic but which can turn 95% kinetic in one hour or so!) the Russians decided to openly warn the USA that their strategy has been comprehensively defeated.  You think that this is hyperbole?  Think again.  What is US military power based on?  What are it’s main components?
  • Airpower (air supremacy)
  • Long-range standoff weapons (ballistic and air-breathing)
  • Aircraft carriers
  • Anti-missile defense (at least in theory!)
  • 800-1000 (depends on how you count) bases worldwide
The deployment of what are without any doubt the most sophisticated air-defense systems in the world supported what are also probably the most formidable electronic warfare (EW) capabilities currently in existence have now have now created what the US/NATO commanders refer to as a “Russia’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD)” capability which, so do these US/NATO commanders say, can pop-up over the Baltic Sea, over the Eastern Mediterranean, the Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere (might show up on the La Orchila island in Venezuela in 2019).  Furthermore, in qualitative terms Russian tactical airpower is newer and at least equal, if not superior, to anything in US or NATO tactical aircraft holdings.  While the West in general, and especially the USA, have a much larger number of aircraft, they are mostly of the older generations, and various encounters between Russian and US multirole aircraft in the Syrian skies have shown that US pilots prefer to leave when Russian Su-35S show up.




The deployment (already in 2018!) of the Kinzhal hypersonic missile has basically made the entire US surface fleet useless for an attack against Russia.  Be it the aircraft carriers or even various destroyers, cruisers, amphibious assault ships, (mostly ill-fated) littoral combat ships, transport ships, etc. – they now are all sitting ducks which the Russians can blow out of the water irrespective of any air-defenses these ships, o or their escorts, might have.




Likewise, the deployment of the super-heavy thermonuclear armed intercontinental ballistic like the Sarmat and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle have made all of the US anti-ballistic missile efforts completely useless.  Let me repeat this: ALL of the US ABM efforts, including the billions spent on research and development, have now been rendered completely useless.
[Sidebar: it is important to clarify something here: none of the new Russian weapon systems provide any means to protect Russian from a US nuclear (or conventional) strike.   “All” they do is to make darn sure that the US leaders are never under the illusion they have been pursuing since Reagan’s “Star Wars”, i.e. that they could somehow escape a Russian 2nd-strike (counter-strike) retaliatory capability if it decided to strike Russia.  In truth, even without the Sarmat or the Avanguard, Russia already had more than enough missiles (land, air and sea based) to  wipe-out the USA in case of a retaliatory counter-strike, but the US politicians and force planners began pursuing this pipe-dream of anti-ballistic missile defense in spite of the fact that it was rather clear that such a system could not work (a few “leakers” might be acceptable with conventional weapons, but a few “nuclear leakers” are more than enough to extract a terrible price from any attacker delusional enough to think that a 90% or even 98% effective “shield” is enough of a protection to risk attacking a nuclear superpower).  So you could say that these new Russian capabilities (including the short(er) range Iskander tactical missiles) are a type of “delusion destroyer” or a “reality reminder” who will burst the bubble of US illusions about the risks of a war against Russia.  Hopefully, they will never have any other use.]
Finally, the deployment of a new generation of advanced and very long range standoff missiles by Russia has given Russia the huge “reach” advantage of being able to strike any US target (be it a military force or a base) worldwide, including in the United States (which now is almost never mentioned in the western media).




Now take a look at the list of key components of US military power above and see that it has all been transformed into, basically, junk.




What we have here is a classical situation in which, on one side, one country’s force planners made fundamental, strategic miscalculations which directly defined what kind of military force the country would have for at least two, possibly three, decades, while, on the other side, the force planners made the correct decisions which allowed them to defeat a military force whose military budget is roughly ten times bigger.  The most severe consequence of this state of affairs for the USA is that it will now take at the very least a decade (or more!) to reformulate a new force planning strategy (modern weapons systems sometimes take decades to design, develop and deploy).  The ill-fated Zumwalt, the F-35, the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) aircraft carrier – these are all obscene examples on how to spend billions of dollars and be left with major weapon systems disasters which only further weaken the US armed forces.




There is a simple reason why the USA became a superpower in the 20th century: not only was the US mainland protected by huge oceans, all of WWI and WWII were fought far away from the USA: all the potential competitors of the USA had their national economies completely destroyed while the USA did not even lose a single factory or research/design bureau.  Then the USA could use its immense industrial powerbase to basically provide a world-wide market with goods which only the USA could built and deliver.  And yet, in spite of such huge advantages, the US spend almost all its history beating up one defenseless country after another to ensure full submission and compliance with the demands of Uncle Shmuel (the AngloZionist variant of Uncle Sam).  So much for being “indispensable” I suppose…




Thanks to the globalists, the US industrial base is gone.  Thanks to the Neocons and their arrogance, the US is in one form of conflict or another with most of the key countries on the planet (especially if we ignore the existence of US-supported and run comprador elites).  The infinitely dumb and self-defeating submission of the US to Israel has now resulted in a situation where the USA is losing control of the oil-rich Middle-East it used to run for decades.  Finally, by choosing to try to submit both Russia and China to the will of the Empire, the Neocons have succeeded in pushing these two countries into a de-facto alliance (really a symbiotic relationship) which, far from isolating them, isolates the USA from “where it is happening” in terms of economic, social and political developments (first and foremost, the Eurasian landmass and the OBOR project).


2019 prospects for the Empire: problems, problems and even more problems

Well, 2018 was an exceptionally nasty and dangerous year, but 2019 could prove even more dangerous for the following reasons:
  • Unless the USA changes political course and gives up on the suicidal russophobia of Obama and Trump, a military confrontation between Russia and the USA is inevitable.  Russia has retreated as far as she possibly can, there is nowhere else to retreat and she therefore won’t.  There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that if the US had actually targeted Russian units in Syria (which, apparently, Bolton wanted but Mattis, apparently, categorically rejected), the Russians would have counter-attacked not only against the US missiles, but also against their carriers (especially ships).  I have it from a trusted source that on the night of the attack, the Russian MiG-31K with the Kinzhal missile were in the air ready to strike.  Thank God (and, possibly, thank Mattis) this did not happen.  But as I said in my article “Every click brings us closer to a bang!” each time WWIII does not happen following a US strike on Syria this emboldens the Neocons to try yet once more, especially since “Assad The Monster Must Go” remains in power in Damascus while one after the one each western politician which decreed that Assad must go, goes himself.


  • It is pretty obvious that Israel has gone absolutely, terminally and, possibly, suicidally insane.  Their little stunt with the Russian Il-20 was already a disaster of immense proportions which, in a normal country, would have resulted in the immediate resignation of the entire Cabinet.  But not in Israel.  After hiding behind a Russian military turboprop, they now decided to hide from the Syrian S-300 by hiding behind two civilian aircraft!    See for yourself:



  • I don’t think that it is worth pondering here that Israel is the last openly racist state on the planet, or that the Israeli leaders are evil, immoral, insane and generally batshit crazy maniacs.  That you either understood for yourself or you are hopeless.  What is important here is not how evil the Israelis are, but how stupid and totally reckless they are.  Simply put, this is how this works: the Israelis are evil, stupid and completely delusional, but they own every single US politician which means that no matter how insane and egregious the actions of the Israelis might be, the “indispensable nation” will *always* cover them and, when needed, cover-up for them (cf. USS Liberty or, for that matter, 9/11).  Right now there is nobody in the US political class with any chance of being elected who would dare to do anything other that automatically worship anything Israeli (or Jewish, for that matter).  The real motto of the USA is not “In God we trust“, but “there is no light between the U.S. and Israel” (yet another reason why the USA is not a real superpower: it is not even really sovereign!).


  • The Empire has some major problems in Europe.  First, should the Ukronazi protégés of the USA ever find the courage (or despair) to attack the Donbass or Russia, the resulting chaos will flood the EU with even more refugees, many of whom will be most unsavory and outright dangerous characters.  Furthermore, the anti-EU feelings are becoming very strong in Italy, Hungary and, for different reasons, even Poland.  France is on the edge of a civil war (not this time around; my feeling is that the Gilets Jaunes will eventually run out of steam; but the next time around, which will happen sooner rather than later, the explosion will probably result in the overthrow of the French CRIF-run regime and a massive anti-US backlash.


  • In Latin America, the Empire has been massively successful in overthrowing a series of patriotic, independent, leaders.  But what is missing now is the ability to make these pro-US regimes successful by being economically or politically viable.  Amazingly, and in spite of both a massive subversion campaign by the USA and major political mistakes, the Maduro Administration has remained in power in Venezuela and is slowly but very resolutely trying to change course and keep Venezuela sovereign and independent from the USA.  The key problem of the USA in Latin American is that the USA has always ruled by using a local comprador elite.  The USA has been very successful in this effort.  But the USA has never succeeded in convincing the Latin American masses of people of its benevolence and this is why the word “Yankee” remains a slur in every Latin American country.


  • In Asia, China is offering every US colony an alternative civilizational model which is becoming increasingly attractive as the PRC is becoming more economically powerful and economically successful.  It turns out that the usual mix or arrogance, hubris and ignorance which allowed the Anglo countries to dominate Asia is now losing its power and that the people of Asia are looking for alternatives.  Truth be told – the USA has absolutely nothing to offer.
The bottom line is this: not only is the USA unable to impose its will on countries which are considered “US allies” (if the NorthStream ever happens – and I think that it will – then this will mark the first time that EU leaders told the US President to get lost, if not in so many words), but the USA obviously lacks any kind of project to offer to other countries.  Yes, “MAGA” is all fine and dandy, but it does not have much traction with other countries who really don’t care about MAGA…

Conclusion in the form of a Russian saying

There is a saying in Russian “better to have an horrible end (than to have to live through) a horror with no end” (лучше ужасный конец чем ужас без конца).  There is very little doubt that the decline of the AngloZionist Empire will continue in 2019.  What will not change, however, is the ability of the USA to destroy Russia in a nuclear attack.  Because, make no mistake, all that the new fancy Russian weapons provide is the capability to punish (retaliate against) the USA for an attack on Russia, but not the capability to deny (prevent) such an attack.  If the Neocons decide that a nuclear holocaust is preferable to a loss of power in the USA, then there is nothing anybody can do to prevent them from playing out their own, sordid, version of Götterdämmerung.  I have recently had to spend a few days in Boca Raton, were a lot of that new US “aristocracy” likes to spend time and I can tell you two things: life is good for them, and they sure ain’t giving up their privileged status as “leaders of the planet”.  And if somebody tries to take it away, there is no doubt in my mind that these people will react with a vicious outburst of Samson-like despair-filled rage.  So the only question remains this: will we (mankind) be able to take away the nuclear button from this class of parasites without giving them the chance to press it or not?


I don’t know.
So, will it be a horrible end or a horror with no end?
I don’t know either.
But what I know is that the Empire is cracking at all its seams and that its decline will only accelerate in 2019.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Genderless Birth Certificates - Letter to Parliamentarians


Dear Legislative Council Member

I am writing a heartfelt request that you do all that is necessary to ensure that Tasmanian births must be registered according to their biological gender.

I am a parent of three, a former Greens supporter, and a public servant with over 20 years experience in public policy development and administration. I am well acquainted with the personal and policy issues around non-heterosexuality and sexual dysphoria.

The removal of biological gender from birth certificates should be opposed for the following reasons:

It is Unnecessary

A simple provision allowing persons who have attained the age of majority to alter their birth certificate to a third option is all that is required to cater to the needs of a very small number of people who experience genuine and abiding conflict between their biological gender and their sense of self. Removing gender entirely has clearly nothing to do with transgender people, but is part of a political agenda as explained below. It should also be noted that ‘transgenderism’ is currently a parenting fad that is being pushed by the radical Left via the ‘Safe Schools (sic) Program’ that encourages confused teenagers to make permanent life choices which many will regret in later life, and to do so without the knowledge or consent of their parents. For that reason any change relating to gender should not be legal until the person reaches adulthood.

It is Unpopular

Most people identify with and by their biological gender. There has been no plebiscite to suggest otherwise. The fact that the radical Left have strategically and successfully captured key positions of influence and power does not alter the good sense of ordinary people. This scenario has already played out in Ontario Canada where the radical Left and the LGBT took power and imposed their anti-gender ideology. That government was recently thrown out because the public rejected those policies. As a politician take note!

It is Unfair

A birth certificate is the foundational document that established identity in this country. Gender identity is an important component of establishing identity. There is an international push to abolish gender on birth certificates. If adopted in this country, nearly 25 million people would be disadvantaged to supposedly benefit a handful of individuals of suffer gender identity confusion. That is abusive of the population – let’s not start it in Tassie.

It Encourages Mental Illness

The suicide rate for transgender individuals is approximately 60 per cent not because of any fault in the ‘straight’ community, but because it is a mental illness. Removing gender from birth certificates will not help anyone but it will communicate to all future generations that there is no such thing as gender. This encourages gender confusion and identity malaise, which in turn leads to depression and anxiety and harms relationships.

It is unwise to make the whole of society unwell so that a handful of unwell people feel that they fit. By the reasoning recently displayed by the House of Assembly, we should encourage schizophrenia, paranoia and depression among the population so that those suffering from these illnesses feel normal.

 

It is Part of a Bigger Plan

These amendments are part of a sustained and systemic attack on human identity and a functioning society. The program is as follows:

  • Destroy gender identity
    • Homosexual marriage undermines the concept of motherhood and fatherhood as relevant and necessary to identity formation in children
    • Removing gender from birth certificates suggests that gender is not real
    • Teaching in schools that gender is a social construct – promoting ‘transgenderism’
    • Punishing people who believe in male and female as distinct and complimentary e.g. jail terms for using a non-preferred gender pronoun (California)
    • Allowing men to compete in womens sports supposedly as transgender athletes
    • Removing performance benchmarks to allow women to underperform in traditionally male roles e.g. emergency services and military
  • Undermine Fatherhood and Motherhood
    • Change ‘mothers day’ and ‘fathers day’ to ‘persons day’ or similar
    • Denigrate motherhood as inferior to paid employment
    • Pretend that there are no negative consequences to promiscuity
    • Do not hold men accountable to provide for their offspring
  • Destroy National Identity
    • Abolish or undermine national holidays – Australia Day, Easter, Christmas etc
    • Dilute the culture through mass immigration from non-Western countries
    • Outsource the national economy
    • Sell off national assets including land
    • Paint as racist any person/view that holds a positive view of Western Civilisation
    • Do not teach the history of Western Civilisation or portray it only from a radical Marxist perspective
    • Do not acknowledge the genuine achievements and positive benefits of Western Civilisation but focus only on its failings
    • Teach that every other culture on earth in inherently superior to ours, or at least equal, regardless of real world outcomes
    • Re-interpret history (e.g. Islam as a religion of peace not of war and slavery)
  • Destroy Racial Identity
    • Generate feelings of guilt and inferiority for being white
    • Teach that white people are responsible for everything that is wrong with the world
    • Teach that there is no such thing as race but exult every other race and culture
    • Teach that the West was never really white, or that there is something inherently wrong with a nation having a majority ethnic group or being ethnically homogenous
  • Undermine Belief in Truth and Reason
    • Teach that objective facts (such as gender and the need for women to reproduce) are less important than subjective feelings
    • Teach that reason is violence if it hurts someone’s feelings
    • Teach that truth becomes untruth if it contradicts progressive ideology
    • Suppress intellectual enquiry and debate in favour of vapid slogans and ideological statements across all policy domains
  • Abolish Organised Religion
    • Make the above program law
    • Punish anyone who dissents
    • Force closure of churches, religious schools and institutions of higher learning, and church based charities – find an excuse. Current excuses are policies around hiring people with compatible values and lifestyles which ipso facto discriminates against sexual perverts and radical Marxists

It is non-controversial that identity is foundational to mental health. If therefore we are concerned with mental health we must also be concerned with pushing back on the above agenda.

Short of war, there is no better or more certain way to increase mental illness, social breakdown, and human misery than to co-operate with the radical Left in rolling out this program…but then it is a war isn’t it? It’s a culture war and the casualties are real. These amendments are not progressive change, they are clinical calculated cultural vandalism.

The rest is up to you

 

Kind regards

Friday, 28 September 2018

Feminists are Right


That is because white males invent, create, solve, build, and modify nature to make life liveable, even comfortable, for women and children. Not all cultures do.

How many patents have come out of Africa (that were not invented by white Zimbabwe or South Africans)?
In any 12 months Israel patents more inventions than the entire Muslim world.
When was the last time a feminist, or any woman, actually invented something real in the physical world (as opposed to hypothetical mental constructs and social movements)?
China has literally stolen its technological development from the West, like Japan did before it. Has either culture achieved any fundamental breakthroughs in science in the last 500 years?
Empirically, a truly multi-cultural, feminist, equal society would atrophy and regrade very quickly because there would be no motive force to move it forward, sans empowered patriarchal males. By ‘patriarchal’ I mean ‘care enough to want to protect and provide for their mates and offspring’.
Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps the reason the modern world was created by white men from Judeo/Christian cultures is because they selfishly didn’t give anyone else a chance. If it wasn’t for colonialism and male oppression everyone else would have got there too, right?
Women were relegated to the home and would have invented, created and built if they had been given the opportunity, no?
Hhmm. That argument would be a lot more convincing if the people making it were actually making things. You know, practical stuff like wiring houses, fixing motor cars and inventing anything more complex than an e-com website or a grant application. To a womyn, those making this argument work in humanities faculties, administration, or the caring professions. They are not scientists, trades, or workers in industry. Nor are their daughters flocking to be car mechanics, geologists, builders or engineers. Lawyers and doctors, yes. Engineers and chemists, no. Despite there being no objective barriers to career entry* and positive discrimination here and there, overwhelmingly women choose other professions and do not patent inventions. There are praiseworthy exceptions of course, but they are exceptions. This is so even among the most highly education, wealthiest and empowered Clinton supporting womyn.
After all, creativity has many drivers but one of them is competition, which is a very male value.
These are factual observations in the real world, not a moral judgements. Frankly an all female motor mechanic business sporting nice décor and exhibiting communication skills would make an absolute killing financially. There are vast opportunities for women in traditionally male industries. Go girls!....um, girls??? There is one licensed plumber in my State. There are no electricians. I have met one female car mechanic in 30 years.
All I am saying is let’s build up and include, not exclude and tear down:
  • Individualism
  • Freedom
  • White men
  • Motherhood
  • Femininity
  • Christianity
  • Rationality
  • Western Civilisation
But hey, that's me.
*there may well be gender based barriers to career progression though this is far from universal.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Reflecting on White Male Privilege


As a middle class white guy I am supposed to reflect on my racial, gender and class privilege. Well, I am always up for a challenge, so not only did I reflect, I actually did some research. This is what I found.





My ancestors came from the Jutland Peninsular on North Germany. They were Saxons who invaded what is now England in the fourth century. They had the privilege of coming after the Roman occupation, so missed out on the salt mines. We also got to subjugate the Celts who lacked the basic organisational skills to compete militarily.
 
Our capital was Mercia – now Coventry, but pretty soon we were in a war of extinction with the Danes who invaded next. Over two generations we fought them to a standstill and made a peace treaty. Then in 1066 everyone got conquered by the Normans - Vikings who had settled in North Gaul (France). They were an extremely cruel race who imposed a system of absolute feudalism that lasted for centuries and kept most of the population as little more than slaves.
 
However freedom never fully died in our hearts and we started eroding executive power beginning with the Magna Carta in 1215 and eventually developing a system of Parliament along with the Monarchy, giving women the vote, and abolishing slavery. In fact, my white male privileged ancestors were the only people in any time or place in all of history to abolish slavery by choice. The Islamic world still hasn’t.
 
We also adopted Christianity which taught us that there is a rational, consistent, and moral creator. With this world view we assumed the universe must also be consistent and rational. This led to the early development of science, helped along by the Reformation and the Renaissance. We also developed the rule of law, patents, and banking, which taken together led to the industrial revolution. Along the way we fought off the French, Spanish and Germans, Nazism, and the Catholic Inquisition.
 
Now the most technologically developed culture/race ever known, we swiftly colonised most of the globe. We didn’t do this because we were better or worse than anyone else. We did it because we had the guns, the discipline and the organisation to do to other nations what they wished to do to us, but were unable to.
 
My grandparents were born into working class poverty. My paternal grandmother came from a slum in a time before social security, and was largely uneducated. My paternal grandfather worked from the age of 12 to support his family during the Great Depression. Between them they saved and worked their way out of poverty by establishing a successful business. Along the way WWII happened and Coventry was heavily bombed. My paternal grandfather was a pacifist and worked at the local factory. Obviously he survived. My maternal grandfather fought in North Africa where he lost many of his mates. A generation of young white men gave their lives to protect their wives, mother, sisters, and girlfriends. Today, they would be called bigots.
 
After the war the mood was socialist and my parents got to go to University – the first generation in either family to do so.

In 1979 we moved to Australia. Today Australia is a modern developed country because it got colonised by the British. Colonisation wasn’t any prettier than when we colonised the Celts in the fourth century – but that happens when you spend 40 thousand years not getting around to inventing the wheel or the paint brush. Less than 50 years previously Australia had barely escaped being colonised by Imperial Japan who would hardly have treated us better. Now we are being quietly colonised by China who killed perhaps 40 million of their own citizens during their 'cultural revolution' and now seek to make us a vassal state.
 
Australia was undergoing its own experiment with socialism. As a result of this I too got to go to university. I lived on a pittance, studied hard, graduated with honours, and now earn about the same as an average plumber. My white male privilege did not entitle me to any assistance from anywhere, unlike my equally white but supposedly Aboriginal colleagues.
 
After being long-term unemployed I got my first real job (part time) that landed me $25,000 gross. I saved $10,000 net and invested in a house. It was lived in by two alcoholic bachelors who pissed in the carpet and accumulated rubbish and kangaroo carcasses. It was what I could afford. Now it is a beautiful property with an orchard and hand crafted timber kitchen which was designed by my wife.
 
As I sit in my kitchen I feel that I am indeed ‘privileged’. I am privileged to live in the blessing of opportunity bought with the suffering, sacrifice, and vision of those who went before.
 
To speak negatively of that is to dishonour my ancestors, my race, my culture, my faith, my family, and the community that raised me.

So yes, I have reflected on my privilege.
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, 20 August 2018

Political Hacks vs the Bible


With people running around claiming Biblical support for everything from open borders to gun ownership to gay marriage/not gay marriage, it is timely to recall that the Bible is a collection of ancient literature. Like all ancient literature, it was written by someone, for someone, for a purpose, in a particular culture, at a particular time and place.  Therefore the Bible has the objective meaning intended by its authors. The job of Biblical interpretation is to discover that meaning. There is a science and a method to interpreting any work of ancient literature and the Bible is no different. Application is when you consider what relevance that might have for a particular situation today.
Therefore is no such thing as a ‘post-modern’ interpretation of the Bible.
The following is an example of the kind of analysis any preacher or theologian worth their salt does. This essay got 92 per cent in a graduate certificate course at Christian Heritage College. Readers without a prior knowledge of Biblical concepts may prefer to skip to the second part.
Happy reading....




 


Graduate Certificate in Ministry
Assessment Task 2 for JA401 Theology of Ministry
Student      Erik Peacock
Student # 417359
Lecturer     Sandra Goode
Due           5 June 2018
Word Count        Maximum 3500 (plus or minus 10 per cent).
Actual count: 3792


 
Part A
Select and conduct an ‘observation’ as outlined in Duvall and Hays chapters 2 to 4 on Romans 7:1-4
 

Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.
4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.



Context of the Book
Romans was written by apostle Paul written between A.D. 55 and 58 at the end of his third missionary journey. This date range is based on Romans 15:19-32 compared with Acts 19:10, 21-22, (Schreiner, TR 1998, p. 2-5, and Carson and Moo, p. 394). It was written when Rome was the sole cultural, economic and military power in the world known to Paul, and was therefore written to Christians who were living in the centre of gravity of the pagan world. Given this, it is perhaps unsurprising that Romans is a major epistle; one which and has helped form the understanding of theologians as distinguished Augustin, Luther, Calvin, and (more recently) Barth (Schreiner, TR 1998, p. 1).
 
It was written to the church in Rome although this church was not founded by Paul. Scheiner states that: “secure knowledge of the origin of the Roman church eludes us” but he goes on to argue that the church was founded by Jewish Christians (Schreiner, TR 1998, p. 11).  Shedd (1967, p. 1) argues that the church was started by Jews from Rome who were converted at Pentecost and returned home. Later tradition names Peter as the founder of the Roman church Carson and Moo, p. 395).
 
TS points out that Jews were ejected from Rome by royal edict in A.D. 49 leaving the Roman church predominantly Gentile, however many Jews would have returned after the death of the Emperor Claudius in A.D. 54 (Schreiner, TR 1998, p. 13). This would explain the tension between Gentile and Jewish Christians regarding Jewish laws and customs in addition to the tension between the cultural attitudes of the new faith and the prevailing pagan culture. Addressing these is a major concern of Paul in Romans from both a pastoral (don’t cause your brother to stumble), church governance and theological perspective. These three strands are woven throughout the 16 chapters of the epistle.  Clearly, while some details of the story are missing, Paul was accepted by the Roman church as having apostolic authority – an authority Paul claims, justifies, and places in theological context in the introductory seven verses of the epistle.
 
Outline of Book
Schriener (1998) divides Romans into eight parts based on Paul’s flow of thought. In summary, they are:
  1. The gospel as the revelation of God’s righteousness (1:1-17)
  2. God’s righteousness in his wrath against sinners (1:18 - 3:20)
  3. The saving righteousness of God (3:21 – 4:25)
  4. Hope as a result of righteousness by faith (5:1 – 8:39)
  5. God’s righteousness to Israel and the Gentiles (9:1-11:36)
  6. God’s righteousness in everyday life (12:1 – 15:13)
  7. The extension of God’s righteousness through the Pauline mission (15:14 – 16:23)
  8. Final summary of the gospel of God’s righteousness (16:25-27)
 
Note that this outline has nothing to do with chapter breaks.
 
Genre of the Book
In terms of literary genre Romans is generally regarded as a letter-essay written to specific readers but applicable to a wider audience. Within the letter-essay different rhetorical styles are employed which makes detailed paragraph study necessary (Schreiner, TR 1998, p. 23-24). Carson & Moo (2005, p. 402) take this further arguing that Romans is a …’tractate letter, one that has as its main component a theological argument or series of arguments’ in contrast to the more pastoral writings that dealt with specific circumstances such as those in 1 Corinthians. Whatever else it is, it is primarily a theological treaty on justification by faith. Shedd (1967, p. 4) states: ‘The aim of the Epistle to the Romans is didactic. The main object of Paul is to furnish the Roman church with a comprehensive statement of evangelical doctrine…it is systematic and logical …the writer touches upon all the other truths of Christianity’.
 
Key Message of Book
 
Justification by faith is the key message and theme of Romans. All the discourses/teachings and examples given by Paul in Romans serve to build his argument for justification by faith from various angles and then apply that teaching to the apparent conflict between Jewish and Gentile believers. Space does not permit a detailed discussion of this but note alternative view including the overall theme of “the gospel” (Carson & Moo 2005 p. 408-409).
 
Context of Passage
 
In the preceding passages in Romans 6 Paul contrasts being dead to sin with being alive to righteousness. This translates the believer from being a slave to sin to being a slave to righteousness. Paul then contrasts the consequences of this – one reaps death and the other reaps holiness and eternal life. The wages of one is death. The wages of the other is eternal life through Christ. Paul then interrupts the flow in Romans 7 to directly address his reader/hearers. These are revealed to be “men who know the law”. From here he continues the theme of dying but in reference to the Mosaic law of marriage. This theme continues to verse 7 after which the monologue continues the discussion of the purpose and value of the law that (in my opinion) begins at 5:20.
 
The theme throughout is the superiority of the righteousness that is the fruit of faith, over the sin that is provoked by the law, and thus the sufficiency of faith in Christ which enables us to live in the “new way of the Spirit not in the old way of the written code (Romans 7:6, NIV)”.
 
Paragraph Analysis
 
Paul’s opening address to “men who know the law” places in context the subsequent discussion of the Mosaic (and Roman) law of marriage. However, given that this appears in the middle of a much broader discussion of the place and purpose of “the law” it is necessary to understand what this actually means if the rest of the passage is to be understood. This will be discussed further below.
 
Paul uses marriage as an illustration/figure of speech to explain spiritual truths. The statement that the law only applies to a person while they live is self-evident and a familiar concept in Judaism (Schreiner, TR 1998, p. 347). Similarly, a marriage contract is annulled by the death of either party.
 
While not stated in the passage, Paul’s Jewish reader/hearers would have grasped that the law of Moses was presented at Mt Sinai as a Hebrew marriage contract. Paul then presents the key point: ‘So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress, even though she marries another man.’
 
If the ‘men who know the law’ are in this illustration married to the law, they cannot also be married to another – that is adultery. A righteous second marriage is only possible if at least one partner dies – the person or the law. This is both analogy and legal explanation.
 
Having set up the punchline, Paul then brings the argument to conclusion by stating that the ‘men who know the law’ have in fact died ‘to the law’ and are therefore released from it.  This death was accomplished ‘through the body of Christ’ thus annulling the marriage contract entered into (by implication) at Mt Sinai. Paul does not go on to state the obvious follow through – that we are now married to Christ, though that is stated elsewhere in Pauline writings and implied in the following passage: that you might belong to another…  
 
The Hebrew concept of marriage is that it should be ‘fruitful’ and reproductive and Paul likely draws from this in his following reference to bearing fruit:  … to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. The reference to ‘fruit’ here also acts as a bridge to a discussion in verses 5 and 6 of the fruit of the law and the sinful nature. Paul uses the word ‘karpophoreo’ implying a fruitful marriage (to Christ).
 
As a person with a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) background this passage has particular resonance for me because I was born and brought up ‘under the law’, so this discussion is not an abstract one but part of my lived experience. Like evangelicals, SDA’s distinguish between the ceremonial/customary law and the eternal law which (they say) includes the ten commandments and thus the Sabbath. In this they are far more consistent than evangelicals and equally wrong. For example, Pentecostals teach tithing which never made it into the ten commandments and was established solely for the upkeep of the Levitical priesthood which is now done away with in Christ, whereas the Sabbath was instituted at creation, included in the ten commandments, practiced by Jesus, and was continued in the early church, but is disregarded by evangelicals.
 
No such distinctions are made anywhere in the New Testament or in the text of the Pentateuch. In his forensic examination of the Greek text in Romans 7 Shedd (1967, p. 174) concludes that the reference to ‘the law’ refers to: “The Mosiac law both ceremonial and moral, but eminently the latter” leading him to conclude that: “So far as forgiveness and acceptance with God is concerned, the believer and the law have no more to do with one another, than one corpse has to do with another.”
 
The consistent positon is that there is one law and it has been fulfilled in Christ. We have died to the entire law. We have been raised with Christ. Thus, we are freed from the entire Old Testament law including all of the 600 clauses in the marriage contract a Sinai. We have as Paul states, graduated from the “school master who led you to Christ” (Gal 3:24, NIV)
 
Word Studies
 
The six significant words in this passage are:
 
  • Law
  • Lives
  • Dies
  • Marries
  • Belong
  • Fruit
 
‘Law’ - Greek ‘nomos’ which is the common term in all the epistles and gospels and refers in common usage to a prescription or commandment. The term ‘nomothesia’, referring to legislation and specifically the Mosaic law, is used elsewhere in the New Testament but is not used in Romans 7, which supports the view that ‘nomos’ should in this passage be read in its broadest meaning as referring to the whole Old Testament law.
 
‘Lives’ - Greek ’zao’ which is a primitive verb meaning ‘to live’ which is used in John, Revelations and the epistles. It is not used in any technical sense here but can be distinguished from ‘psuche’ translated as ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’.
 
‘Dies’ – Greek ‘apothnesko’ literal or figurative meaning to die, be dead or slain.
 
‘Marries’ - Greek ‘ginomai’. It is a verb with many possible uses including a change from one state to another. It is not confined to any specific type of marriage or arrangement. The more common term for ‘marriage’ in the New Testament is ‘gameo’ meaning ‘to wed’ (of either sex) or to take a wife. However, Paul in Romans 7 uses ‘ginomai’ to give a more flexible meaning allowing it to be adapted to his illustration.
 
‘Belong’ – Greek ‘deo’ literal or figurative meaning to bind or be in bonds. Translated in the King James as ‘bound’. Used extensively in Acts in that literal sense and here in the sense of the marriage bond.
 
‘Fruit’ – Greek ‘karpophoreo’ meaning to be fertile, to bear and bring forth fruit. CF Luke 8:15 and Matt 13:23 (an allegorical crop).  (All references from Strongs and Marshall, A 1959, Interlinear Greek-English New Testament).
[COMMENT - Ok, you mined some excellent research here in Section 1 Erik, but you needed to pull it all together and give a concluding statement about the deeper meaning of the text, in your own words, as a result of your extended research.  I want to know how the meaning of the passage has been enriched from your study ….. ]
 


 
PART B
 
The Historical Cultural Context Method
 
This method reflects material reality by acknowledging that everything written was written by someone for someone with some purpose in mind. It was read and understood by the writer’s contemporaries first, and then by people later in time. Both the writer and the first reader/hearers lived in a time, place and culture which provided context and meaning to the passage. Understanding what it would have meant to them is a condition precedent to understanding what it means to us. This ‘Romantic Hermeneutics, as Friedrich Schleiermacher described it, focusses on the mind of the author, along with the impact of his or her sociohistorical setting, as the means of gaining meaning from a given text; in other words, it considers the relationship between author and text in interpretation (Porter & Stovell, 2012 p. 14).
 
A key strength of this method is that it provides an actual hermeneutical procedure (Porter & Stovell, 2012 p. 11), and this acts as a check on bad doctrine. For example, Jesus’ statement regarding marriage that ‘what God has put together let not man cast asunder’ is not a prohibition on divorce. Rather, the patriarchal scribes had simply decided that a man could divorce his wife for no reason thus depriving her at whim of dignity, honour, children, and the necessities of life. Women had no reciprocal divorce rights. Effectively women were reduced to the status of disposable property. In reaching back to the original intent of marriage Jesus was, in this passage, upholding the rights of women. Understanding this in historical/cultural context prevents the passage from being twisted to, for example, force women to stay in abusive relationships. Other interpretive methods that are too narrow e.g. word studies, or too subjective e.g. post structuralist, do not achieve the same reliable result and leave the passage open to abusive interpretation. Another strength of this method is it recognises that hermeneutics occurs within the Bible itself as later writings interpret earlier writings (Porter & Stovell, 2012 p. 12).


In the Romans 7 context Paul is writing to a mixed Jew/Gentile readership living in Greco/Roman culture which was largely Hellenistic. At issue was the relevance of the sacred Hebrew scriptures to the new faith and how salvation is obtained. His audience already had a rich spiritual, literary and philosophical heritage from multiple traditions including with regard to marriage. Paul taps into this with the marriage analogy to explain in terms understandable to Jews that the law is dead to us and yet, paradoxically, we sin less under grace. In this he introduces his own hermeneutical approach to the Old Testament. [COMMENT - … because we are connected to the “sinless” one and are being sourced from His/ Our heavenly Father. ]
 
The possible weakness in this method is that it does not automatically lend itself to present day application. Rather it supplies the first step in the process of application – understanding what the passage actually meant to the author and its first reader/hearers.
 
Word Study Methods
 
Systematic word study undergirds any other method of interpretation because we cannot understand a passage without understanding what the key words – usually verbs and nouns - actually mean. Indeed, it was the science of word study, and the rediscovery of the ancient languages, that fuelled the reformation through the rediscovery of the doctrine of grace, and (some would say) the doctrine of predestination. Romans 5 – 8 can thus be legitimately said to have changed the world (see further Mangalwadi, 2011 especially at pp. 137 - 157).
 
In some respects, word study is another form of ‘historical cultural context method’ but at a more micro level because the meaning of words changes throughout time and place. An understanding of word meaning in the time and place/culture the passage was written is therefore essential to understanding the passage. The old King James for example rather delightfully refers to ‘naughtiness’ when talking about serious moral sin.
 
In this passage, the word meaning is fairly evident though the subsequent passages certainly benefit from a forensic examination of New Testament Greek in the manner of Shed (1967). The terms ‘law’ ‘marriage’ and ‘fruitful’ in their historic meaning interlock to communicate the transition from the less fruitful marriage covenant at Sinai to fruitful union with Christ.
 
However, suppose for example that a person approached the passage without this understanding. Today divorce is a ‘no fault’ affair and people may have several intimate partners in their lifetime. In a democracy laws reflect merely a degree of social consensus about a particular topic. They do not purport to reflect eternal truth. The law of marriage now includes homosexual unions. These carried the death penalty under the law of Moses which is referred to in this passage. Today being freed from a marriage, or a change in legal status, carries none of the weight and depth that it did to Paul’s reader/hearers. A person applying contemporary meaning to Paul’s words would likely miss the true meaning of the passage.
 
The strength of this method therefore is that it grounds meaning in the words as they were used and understood at the time thus making eisegesis more difficult. The limitation of this method is that meaning is built through the other building blocks of language – syntax, grammar, paragraphs, and the use of genre and literary methods such as allegory and symbolism which provide the context that defines the range of meaning that the individual words have (Duvall & Hayes, 2012 p.214).
 
Reader Centred Meanings/Application
 
This ought to be the natural follow on from historical/cultural context and word studies. Duvall and Hays point out that a valid application should find sufficient things in common between your circumstances and the circumstances of the passage (Duvall & Hayes, 2012   p. 236). I do not entirely agree. Firstly, in the Western World our circumstances are often too materially different for exact comparisons, and secondly, we are under a new covenant to that relating to most of the Bible, and so our application will differ. The better approach which Duvall and Hays acknowledge is to find a universal moral or spiritual principle and then apply that to our present circumstances. They correctly summarise that in order to be universal a principle must be applicable to all people in all cultures in all times, even though application may differ, and must be consistent with the rest of scripture.

I think of it in terms of what I call the ‘doctrinal triangle’. Good doctrine starts with a broad base of scripture, then doctrinal history, church acceptance, practical lived experience, and then lastly a small pinnacle which is the final proposition. [COMMENT - Erik, have you heard of the Wesleyan quadrilateral method ? (i.e. scripture, tradition, revelation, experience) ]

Bad doctrine is typically the inverse in which the proposition is large, and the supporting scripture is small, and is thus beloved of cults and those who wish to be the master of the word rather than its servant. The ‘principle’ approach looks beyond the word to the message, but only through proper exegesis.
 
A strength of the reader centred/application approach is that it looks beyond word studies and cultural context to also consider narrative criticism and literary styles and devices and how they are understood. In this way, the experience if the reader in discovering meaning is acknowledged. However, if the text is unmoored from its historical basis and treated as entirely autonomous, or reader experience is placed above author intent, the actual meaning can be lost, other meanings imposed, and the Christian is left in a post-modern malaise (Porter & Stovell, 2012 p. 16-18).
 
In this context Pinnock (1993, p. 492) warns against: ….’unbridled subjectivism and reader driven interpretation,’ while Duvall and Hays warn against a number of errors, notably over spiritualising various Biblical genres by treating them as allegories to something else when there is no evidence that this was the intention of the original authors.
 
In earlier church history, it was acceptable practice to see the entire Old Testament as an allegory to Christ and interpret it accordingly at the expense of the historicity of the text itself. This error still occurs today. Duvall and Hays argue that unless the new Testament itself makes the connection it is best not to assume. I find that once the Bible is understood at the level of principle, improbable comparisons become unnecessary.
 
The great benefit of the ‘principle’ approach in application is that it makes sense out of those parts of the Bible we find confronting, irrelevant or somewhat embarrassing. Take for example the law that required a digging stick and a certain distance from camp for passing motions when laying siege to a city (Deuteronomy 23:9-14, NIV). This is easily dismissed as irrelevant historical relic. Not so. Had the principle of public sanitation been understood from scripture after the fall of the Roman Empire countless lives in Europe would have been saved.
 
Discussion
 
The different hermeneutical approaches are like different materials that lend their strengths and properties, which, used in the right place and combination, build a house of understanding. Used exclusively, wrongly, or in wrong order and the house falls. However, it is the Lord who builds the house, and engaging with the Word is both an intellectual and spiritual discipline. As Pinnock (1993, p. 494 and 498) puts it:
 
‘Illumination is what happens to readers who dialogue with the text, in which the Spirit is helping them know what to do with it in Christian experience…The Spirit causes scripture to come alive, helps us magnify God better, deepens our heart understanding, and challenges us to venture out in faith.’
 
Moreover, there are rules to building which is why there is no such thing as ‘post structural architecture’. Nevertheless, while there are clearly rules to follow, application is not an exact science and the role of the Holy Spirit in being the ‘counsellor and the guide’ is critical. Indeed, the Greek root word for inspiration is that same as for the Spirit (Duvall & Hayes, 2012, p. 226).
 
Perhaps for that reason we need to distinguish between application and inspiration. The Spirit may speak a rhema word to a person through a passage of scripture (as He often does to me) by way of guidance, encouragement or correction. Similarly, dreams, visions, and prophetic utterances may fulfil the same function. However, this is not exegesis nor is it a way of interpreting the original and eternal meaning of the passage. For that reason, it is not ‘application’ of the passage but rather a way in which God speaks to individuals through scripture.
 
Such inspiration is accountable to the actual meaning of scripture, not the other way around.
 
References
 
Carson, DA & Moo, DJ 2005, An Introduction to the New Testament, Zondervan, Grand Rapids Michigan
 
Duvall, JS & Hays JD 2012, Grasping God’s Word, A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and applying the Bible, Zondervan
 
Mangalwadi, V 2011, The Book That Made Your World, Thomas Nelson, Nashville
 
Marshall, A 1959, Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Samuel Bagster and Sons Ltd, London
Pinnock, CH 1993, The Role of the Spirit in Interpretation, JETS 36/4
Porter, SE & Stovell, BM 2012, Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views, Spectrum Books, IVP Academic
Schreiner, TR 1998, Romans Baker Exegetical Commentary on The New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids Michigan
 
Strong, J., Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts
Shedd, WGT 1967, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on the Epistle of St Paul to the Romans, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan
 
The Holy Bible: New International Version 1998
 
General Comments:
Dear Erik,
I enjoyed reading this assignment and it covered some very interesting and significant points/understandings for your chosen passage. Section B was particularly well done and very thoughtful.
Excellent work.
Kind regards
Sandra Godde.
55/60  HD