Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reader Question about killing and bloodshed in my books

I had a communication from a reader who read all my Mr Pipes series than started in on the Crown & Covenant Trilogy and the Faith & Freedom Trilogy. They seem to have recently discovered that I am a Calvinist and have perhaps been helped to conclude that that is not a good thing, as they understand things. They are dear folks who asked a question about why I justify killing in my books on the basis of the ones being killed being non-elect anyway. Needless to say, I was flummoxed at their question, and when I asked them to be more specific about what passage I could possibly have written that could have given that impression, they either could not or chose not to be specific. In any event, here is my reply to them.

Thanks for your candor,
I can assure you there is nothing stealth or covert about my writing. I,
like a vast host of heroes throughout church history and to the
present--from Augustine to Packer, Sproul, Piper, Mohler, Storms, Driscol,
Bridges, Keller, Tripp(s), MacArthur, Joni--list is too long, believe that
were it not for the electing mercy of God I would be forever lost in my
sins. I believe that God saves sinners. I agree with my hero CH Spurgeon
that Calvinism is a nick name. The real name is simply the gospel of
justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

I'm sad to think that you came to the conclusions you have come to about my
books communicating that it is good to kill the non-elect. That is never
stated or implied, because I don't believe that. Period. I agree with Calvin
who said, "That as I do not know who are the number of God's elect, I want
to make every man I meet a sharer in my peace." Remember Corporal Boig in
Rebel's Keep, a Royalist, an enemy, who Sandy M'Kethe risked his life to

I do, however, write historical fiction about times in history when there
was war and battles. And Christians did fight in those battles, and had to
seek wisdom from the Word of God to know when it was time to kill (I'm sure
you would agree that there's lots of killing and blood in the Bible too,
isn't there). Christians today face that same dilemma in war. We always have
faced it.

I wonder if what you are referring to is Sandy M'Kethe's instruction to his
sons--recall how reluctant he is, how anguished he is about finally coming
to the place where he and his sons are forced to restrain the evil of wicked
men? I have him instruct his sons in the degrees of punishment the Bible
often speaks about (Jesus own words: "Some will be beaten with many stripes
and some with few," and "It will be more tolerable for some than for
others." All of which and much more, teaches the perfect justice of God in
eternal punishment of the wicked). But nowhere does he presume to be
motivated to kill because the enemy is not elect. He is motivated to kill to
protect the innocent, and to restrain evil--all good things God commands his
people to do when they must. Your wording makes it sound like he takes a
devil-may-care attitude toward killing because the ones they're killing are
just non-elect after all so it doesn't matter. That is  clearly not my
meaning. That would defy everything I have written. When the wicked die or
are killed in their persistant wickedness, they have proven to be, yes,
non-elect. They will be forever punished in hell for their rebellion against
God and his will and ways.

But never in my books do I portray any character rationalizing killing by
because they know that the enemy is non-elect. This would be a significant
misrepresentation of my writing. Every time killing must be done, I portray
it as done with the greatest reluctance, and never as justified because a
character has presumed to know the mind of the Lord, his eternal decree to
pour out his grace on unworthy sinners, to rescue broken and lost rebels
through the redemption purchased by Christ for those sinners, solely
according to the good pleasure of God's will.

I hope this clarifies what my objective is. And I hope you will continue
reading my books. I appreciate you asking these questions, and hope my
answer has helped. I have not always been a Calvinist, and am one by the
unmerited mercy of a sovereign God who rescued my in his Beloved Son,
through no merit or worthiness of my own in the slightest degree. I am ever
a debtor to grace alone. I found reading, meditating, and memorizing
Scripture that particularly address election and predestination some of the
most humbling, and worshipful exercises in my devotional life with Christ.
Ephesians 1:3-11 ever remains a bulwark that points me away from myself and
to the Lord Jesus who paid it all, not most of it, but all of it, "It is
finished," were his dying words, not mostly finished. Praise be to him for
his grace. Do keep in touch.

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