Friday, February 24, 2017

Yes, The Sojourner Has Certainly Been Oppressed.

"Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears:
for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
Psalm 39:10

Have you heard it?

"Your bible permits sojourners and so it is wrong to have borders- where is your Christian compassion you hypocrite?”

The latest apologetic sentiment for the political Left seems to be the ‘sojourner,’ and very likely, those making this assertion have not read the Bible, or having read a little, read in a self-serving and superficial manner. Likely though, they merely rely on what others say that the Holy Scriptures teach rather than laboring through diligent and communal study as do Christians-- within the Body, the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit.

The usual result of such an approach is something known as Presentism a fallacy or logical error imposing contemporary cultural agendas on ancient texts without generally realizing they even commit the error. Others though, are certainly aware some Christians will not have the wherewithal to spot such twisting of an archaic doctrine and these people are guilty of committing argumentum ad ignorantiam, another fallacy 
exploiting the ignorance of an issue and thereby ‘guilting’ the hearer into accepting the error as valid.

The line of faulty reasoning behind the sojourner issue insists that an illegal alien is the contemporary and moral equivalent of the Old Testament sojourner and that Scripture tells us the breaking of our Country's laws are acceptable to God.

This new dogmatism (dogma being the epiphany of Revelation and subsequent preservation) we are not to question comes from the very people who mock us for accepting the authority of God in the first place. A God they claim to be myth and reject in their own lives. We are, under this new Inquisition, to be judged by a subjective ignorance born of the uninitiated in whom the Holy Spirit has no home and therefore sojourns not. The Christian knows that without Godly understanding (Isa 11:1- etc), one is in a state of natural man and thereby repeating the same errors as endless generations before them.

Epistemology: We have sound historic and doctrinal reason to reject these fallacies:

Sometime prior to the fourth century an anonymous author penned an apologetic known as the Epistle to Diognetus. The relevant themes in this letter with which we concern ourselves are Christian faith and manner in the world. It presents a bit of a problem for our friends who think they understand what sojourning actually is and believe they have ‘evolved’ in intellect and society.
"Every foreign country is to them as their native land, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry as do all; they beget children; but they do not commit abortion. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are the citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all. They are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil-spoken of and yet are justified. They are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign a reason for their hatred.”

So just who is this ‘sojourner?’

We Christians are told to accept illegals as sojourners all the while being treated as illegals in our own country. Throughout today’s world Christians are ostracized, marginalized, sued, slandered threatened, and often killed by those who say our book says we should be accepting of others. Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world today and yet we accept not just our own as Christians, but people of all cultures and races. Why? Because that old ‘book’ the Bible says we are all "of one blood" and all one in Christ. Our detractors want to impose their dogma on us while using our tax dollars to fund the government as a proxy for their compassion.

The student of the Bible knows the OT foreshadows the New and understands the concept of dispensation and covenant. She knows the Bible is not an amalgam of isolated rules but rather a coherent revelation on living towards an ultimate end- being acceptable to God. The Christian interprets the Scriptures in context and indeed this novel Leftist Dogma has no historical context. The idea that sojourning can be twisted into a convenient political agenda in such a way as abrogating the articles of the Decalogue is no more logical than believing a local municipal ordinance can abrogate the U.S. Constitution. Attempting to present such fallacious and fantastic ‘doctrine’ only makes those attempting it foolish in the eyes of anyone with reasonable familiarity. The attempt to displace true doctrine with such nonsense is to treat us as illegals in our own religion- an act condemning the perpetrator as both superficial and hypocritical. The sojourner, just as many doctrines, has both a literal as well as allegorical sense. Not only do they misconstrue the literal sense, in this case the greater sense is lost on them as well, a loss that may well condemn them for their effort.

Consider some facts about the sojourner in the sense of the Old prefiguring the New Testament. Whether today, or ages past, the sojourner is not one who willfully violates the law while expecting material handouts from the host. The sojourner is here for a season because he is not of this ‘country.’ In a greater sense the sojourner is not of this world, but of another. Such a sojourner is “not without honor except in their own land” (Mark 6:4). He has not come to stay, but is journeying towards a Kingdom which is not of this world and yet is visible in this world. Dare they see this Kingdom is Christ’s Church? Just as Diognetus explains centuries ago, the true sojourner, whether the coming King or his subject, seek a Kingdom not fully manifest. Sojourning as it were, for a season and estranged in the land he lives.

'He is to the world what the soul is to the body, in the world but not of the world, a light to that world just as the soul enlivens and enlightens the flesh. Bodies have many members and the soul enlivens them all and the soul is in the body but not the body. Christians dwell in the world and are not of the world. The world hates the Christian and the blood of martyrs, the seedbed of the Church, proves this both today and historically. The body hates and is in constant war with the soul because the soul aspires to a higher state of being than the flesh, which is weak and fleeting in nature, unable to reach such a state on it’s own.

The greater sense is that the flesh represents the world, and the world hates the Christian striving to perfect his soul and subjugate his flesh as he sojourns here for a season in preparation for a higher state of holiness that the world cannot attain. Reproved, the flesh hates the soul and hinders it yet the soul loves the flesh, all of it's members, and tempers it towards perfection, just as the Christian loves those who hate him or her while working to elevate natural man to a higher state.'

“But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him
who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.”

So the moral of the story is beware the people who decry the Christian for not showing compassion to those who break our laws as they are the same people who do all in their power to make us strangers in our own land. Compassion aimed at those they will never bear the burden of personally- theoretical persons if you will, all the while subjecting real neighbors to un-vetted criminals and diseases long unknown in this country. Persons who will rely on State welfare and entitlements and vote for those offering the handouts.

These same ideologues that redefine the sojourner to fit their political agenda attack our Church and culture by redefining marriage, inventing genders, suing florists and bakers for not accepting the new dogma, the Inquisitors that sue towns for displaying crosses and Nativity scenes. They demand our unalienable 1st Amendment right to religious freedom be silenced in the town square and exiled into private practice. They mock and scorn us for adherence to that 'old book’ written by ‘primitive patriarchal misogynists’ and then, as the double-minded are want to do, they cite those very patriarchs out of context to drag us down to their worldly level!

The truth is that this moral equivalency conflating a sojourner with illegal immigration also throws the precepts of God into contradiction. The idea that willfully breaking the law, and at the same time, demanding hospitality is preposterous. It is especially so, when having broken our laws of immigration with impunity, to commit more crimes emboldened by our Inquisitors willingness to aid and abet the criminal behavior. This is the compassion we are to imbibe?

The sojourner doesn't break down the door or scale the wall of the host like a common thief; he knocks in humility and allows the host to answer generosity and with grace or accepts rejection as the case may be. Yet this is exactly as our self appointed Inquisitors would have it- judging sinful things as good and good things as sinful because they are of the world and without Light, and in so doing absurdly redefine sin itself as compassion.

The precepts of the Kingdom to which Christians aspire preclude the true sojourner from violating authority and demanding welfare in the City of God.

“And Jesus answering said unto them,
Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.
And they marveled at him”.
St. Mark 12:17

There is a Gatekeeper in this City and a standard of character and conduct that determines either entry or rejection. There is no entitlement for sustenance, but rather the Bread of Heaven to quicken one for immortality.

“There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: [no] sojourner of the priest,
or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.”
Leviticus  22:10

Setting Scripture against Scripture is an evil enterprise and not binding on us. Buying into such distortions is to be blindly led by the blind- falling into a ditch of hypocrisy. Such will clamor at the Gate of Hospitality but their cloaking and deceit may well be their turning away. The reward for evil at the Gate of the Kingdom is the hearing of the words "I know you not.”

Let us continue our sojourning together in truth.

John Dixon
St. Athanasius Anglican

Sources and excerpt:  Joseph Cullen Ayer. "A Source book for Ancient Church History"

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