Sometimes, I wish I lived in Middle Earth.
I want to be a hobbit. I want my chair by the fire, my elevensies, and my books.
I want to be a dwarf. I want to be unbudging, fierce, and loyal.
I want to be an ent. I want to live quietly, speak slowly, and act consciously.
But if I can't live in Middle Earth, I at least want to bring as much of it here as I can. Tolkien, writing after his experience in the Great War, fairly explodes with wisdom about good and evil. How could he not after what he witnessed in World War I? We are still in a war--and his wisdom is still explosive.
It would be silly for me to base any belief, no matter how sincerely held, on a work of fiction--and a fantasy work, moreover. But all things work together, including unrelated books, it seems, for our good.(I know; that was bad. But let's go with it, for now.) And just as I was coming to the end of my adventure in Middle Earth, I was beginning my adventure in Covenantal (or 'presuppositional') Apologetics.
Enter Revelation and Reason: New Essays in Reformed Apologetics, edited by K. Scott Oliphint and Lane G. Tipton, which turned out to be one amazing, mind-blowing ride.
Netted out, covenantal apologetics correctly explains that every human is in covenant with God (Genesis 1-2). Then the Fall happened, which meant a total fall in heart-mind-soul-strength (Genesis 3). The result, then, is that all humans are now knowing-but-suppressing (Romans 1), unless and until there is such a time when they are saved and restored to a right covenant relationship with God.
Bottom line: there are exactly two kinds of humans on this earth, covenant-breakers and covenant-keepers. There is no such thing as a middle category of people who are 'seekers.' There is no such thing as a man whose will and affections are fallen, but whose reason is intact. All men--ALL OF US--are either covenant-keepers who love God or covenant-breakers who hate God. That would not just include the terrorist or the criminal. That would also include the dear little old lady down the street, the milkman, and the guy running for political office.
Covenant-keepers are friends of God.
Covenant-breakers are weapons of the Enemy.
Yes, Virginia, it really is that simple.
Therefore, what justification can a covenant-keeper possibly offer for using a weapon of the Enemy? Michael Horton offers some wisdom here:
"Fear not, little flock, for it your Father's good will to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32) They had less trouble believing they were a little flock than we do. We're still fairly invested in the vanishing legacy of Christendom. Many of us can remember when the Church had considerable cultural and political clout. Now our solemn political pronouncements and moral sentiments are largely ignored. Yet once we are convicted that Jesus Christ has already secured our victory over Satan, death, and hell, we can take a deep breath and be the little flock that He has already redeemed, doing what He has called us to do. It is marvelously liberating no longer to imagine that we have to build or preserve a kingdom that Christ is not building in the first place. (Horton, Ordinary, 120)We in the West can be deceived into thinking that the survival God's Kingdom and God's people is directly tied to the survival of civilization. That is a big, fat lie. And that is to forget the history of our people. Civilization has not preserved the Remnant; God has. He has preserved His people under Pharaohs, Emperors, Kings, and Czars. He has preserved us from popes and imams and ideological despots. And when every last civilization (and cult and ideology and philosophy and pretension and argument) crumbles into oblivion, the Bride will still be standing. Why? Because it is our Father's good will to give us the kingdom.
Decades before Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California, verbalized it, Galadriel, Elf-Lady of Lothlorien, Middle Earth and Keeper of One of the Three Elven Rings, already knew it: it is marvelously liberating no longer to imagine that we have to build or preserve a kingdom that Christ is not building in the first place.
And because she knew it, she acted on it. She refused to use the Weapon of the Enemy.
And suddenly, she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken and a slender elf-woman clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad. "I pass the test," she said. "I will diminish and go into the West and remain Galadriel."
So, yeah, I want to be Bilbo or Gimli or Treebeard.
But I would really love to be Galadriel.
Here ends the tale of Galadriel and covenantal apologetics.