Dividuals finds this revealing bit of history:
[Tony] Benn’s mother, Margaret Wedgwood Benn (née Holmes, 1897–1991), was a theologian, feminist and the founder President of the Congregational Federation. She was a member of the League of the Church Militant, which was the predecessor of theMovement for the Ordination of Women; in 1925, she was rebuked by Randall Davidson, the Archbishop of Canterbury, for advocating the ordination of women. His mother’s theology had a profound influence on Benn, as she taught him that the stories in the Bible were based around the struggle between the prophets and the kings and that he ought in his life to support the prophets over the kings, who had power, as the prophets taught righteousness.
This. Is. Perfect.
I mean, perfect as an example. It is not even about what the actual political ideas or issues are: it is simply that prophets should defeat kings and rule over them, because prophets are righteous and kings are not. Leftism/liberalism in a nutshell. It is not about ideas. It is about one side, the righteous one, ruling over the other.
Every side necessarily thinks justice is on its side, but I agree that self-righteousness does seem to be a distinct trait of Leftism.
I dislike prophets, even the ones in the Bible. As I once wrote at the Orthosphere
In other words, prophets are the ones who get to contradict Moses…in fact everybody says that the Old Testament has contradictions, but they’re not bothered by it because they have a rule for resolving them: prophets trump Moses.
I do have a problem with this, not least because Benedict’s rationalizations for Isaiah et al are so close to those used by sodomy advocates in the Church today…
In some ways the Prophets do anticipate Jesus, but in others the path to Christ is quicker directly through Moses. A big message of the prophet Ezekiel is personal responsibility–God doesn’t punish people for their ancestors’ sins, and he doesn’t impute anybody’s righteousness to anybody else. But the point of Christianity is that mankind is punished for the sin of our first parents, and our redemption comes not from our own righteousness but from Jesus Christ’s imputed to us. To understand this, one is better off starting from Exodus’ punishment of children “to the third and fourth generation”; Ezekiel is something one must get over. Similarly, everybody likes to admire Isaiah for the scorn he pours out on sacrifice-offering Israelites, saying that God wants justice and good works instead. How spiritual! How enlightened! But the point of Christianity is that we’re not saved by good works, but by a substitutionary sacrifice, and to understand the economy of sacrifice, one is better off reading Leviticus.
More could be said to question this idea of progression in the Old Testament. It seems clear to me that the Mosaic books have a better sense of symbolism, of spiritual realities apprehended in images rather than intellectual abstractions. Compare the rich symbolism of the first chapter of Genesis to Ezekiel making a spectacle of himself swinging his sword at his beard clippings…
I prefer a horizontal view of the Old Testament. Both law and prophets point to the New Testament, both from a roughly equal distance…Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets but could also be said to overcome them, both to an equal degree. Observance of the Law and prophetic alienation are both obsolete in the New Covenant. One might say that the Law and prophets form a thesis and antithesis, with Christianity as the synthesis that harmonizes them and supplies what is missing from both.
In fact, I was not being entirely honest in that post. I disagree with the standard idea that the prophets are spiritually superior to the Mosaic/priestly part of the Old Testament, not because I think the two are actually of equal value, but because I think priestly religion is superior and prophesy is a spiritual deformation. Christianity fulfills priesthood by building the Church around a perfect sacrifice. It abolishes prophesy by eliminating the incompletenesses of the Old Covenant which were the only justification for prophetic alienation.
Now, if a “prophetic” role just means speaking God’s law to an errant world, no one could object to it. Officially, that’s what the Church’s “prophetic” role is supposed to mean. But notice that this is not how the word is used. A priest who thinks he is being prophetic is always up to some sort of mischief. Nobody calls the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage “prophetic” although that fits the definition better than anything the Church says on immigration, health care, or the death penalty, issues where prelates just regurgitate the positions of the Leftist establishment. One is reminded of the irony of using a narrow definition of “conservatism” to call defenders of Soviet communism “conservatives”. People tried to do it, but it was always obvious that this was a mistake; it came from using a definition that didn’t correspond to the word’s “real” meaning.
Kings rule. They maintain the order of the social world. Priests sanctify the world. They put the order of the world in a context of eternity. Prophets are destructive. They make a conflict between the natural, human world and the supernatural realm. At best, they are symptoms of problems for kings and priests to solve.
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