If evangelicalism needs the Republican Party to remain successful, then it has been nothing more than a religious special interest group. If someone believes losing a cultural war, or having a president appoint a liberal justice to the Supreme Court, or a shake up in the GOP somehow signals the end of Christianity in the US, then they have lost their way.
Ben might be best described as an old school player in a modern era. On second base, or in right field, or wherever he is placed, there is the heart of a ten year old. That ubiquitous kid on a given Saturday morning somewhere in Middle America. He is a purist and a throwback to a golden age of baseball.
You will attract people with gnarled and rancorous dispositions. Brawlers. Sword drawn zealots ready to throw themselves on an edge over the smallest disagreement. Often, it’s not us but those who come behind us and take our opinions to the next level who do the most damage.
Hope is conspicuous in captivity. There’s no place for it in prison because hope forbids a person to accept their condition. And, you must come to terms with your condition to survive captivity. Strangely, in prison, hope leads to despair because hope has nowhere to focus and gets stuck in a loop. The sooner one gives up and stops trying to escape, the quicker despair will give way to meaninglessness. Only then will a prisoner accept their condition. Only the hopeless make good prisoners.
So goes the standard explanation of John’s First Epistle. I’ve heard it explained this way so often over the years I’ve assumed (without a question) that it’s the only possible explanation, or valid angle on the letter. The epistle is put forward as a sort of salvific “disc assessment.” It’s an assurance quiz applied to John’s audience. Score high and you can have assurance. Score poorly and you’ve no basis for it. Some would go so far as to say the letter is specifically designed to create doubt in the lives of false believers within the church