Thursday, August 17, 2006

Negotiate This

On September 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich, Germany after having agreed to the so-called Munich Pact the day before with Adolf Hitler. He arrived home a hero, as most of the nation believed that he had singlehandedly averted a European war with his deft diplomacy; in fact, Chamberlain got off the plane at Heathrow Airport waving a piece of paper containing the text of the pact and the crowd responded with massive cheering.

Later that day, standing before the Prime Minister’s house at 10 Downing Street in London, Neville Chamberlain read the agreement and made a short remark in a speech that would go down in history. Here is what Chamberlain said on that day:

(reading from the paper) We, the German Fuhrer and Chancellor and the British Prime Minister have had a further meeting today and are agreed in recognizing that the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for our two countries and for Europe.We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again. We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference, and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe. (looking up at the assembled crowd) My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.

The rest, as they say, is ruins and carnage.

Yesterday I read an interview of former president Jimmy Carter with a German magazine, and then I caught myself thinking about it again today during my daughter's soccer practice. Between reading a thick biography of Joseph Stalin, sitting on a lawn chair on the grass in the breezy shade, stretching out, moving in and out between sleep, and watching soccer drills, the whole problem with our former president fleshed itself out behind my eyelids. In this interview with Spiegel, the German magazine, President Carter took advantage of the low favorability ratings of President Bush to rip him to the foreign media. My memory of Mr. Carter is a high school one. But that prep school memory is not a good one. I never felt more unsafe than when he was president. I felt the most threatened in my entire lifetime. His presidency was one misstep and blunder after another. And yet he was the great negotiator, Mr. Camp David, and anyone can see what good it's done. Of course, his one term in office was marked especially by the hostage crisis in Iran, which went on and on until Ronald Reagan became president and the hostages were freed. President Carter could negotiate the shirt right off his own back. But this is what he said to Spiegel:

The fundamentalists believe they have a unique relationship with God, and that they and their ideas are God's ideas and God's premises on the particular issue. Therefore, by definition since they are speaking for God anyone who disagrees with them is inherently wrong. And the next step is: Those who disagree with them are inherently inferior, and in extreme cases -- as is the case with some fundamentalists around the world -- it makes your opponents sub-humans, so that their lives are not significant. Another thing is that a fundamentalist can't bring himself or herself to negotiate with people who disagree with them because the negotiating process itself is an indication of implied equality.


What is the problem that manifested itself on the practice soccer field? He doesn't recognize the sin nature in man. That was the downfall with Mr. Chamberlain and it is the ignorance of Mr. Carter. Jimmy Carter goes into every negotiation thinking his enemies are inherently good. On the other hand, these fundamentalists he talks about---he would probably categorize me as one and he means it, of course, in a derogatory fashion---do see the enemies, their foes as not able to tell the truth. They have some discernment Mr. Carter missed with his liberal theology about the nature of man. Men are sinners. They are depraved. Without regeneration, they can't get it done. Jimmy Carter thinks they can all pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get something talked out. They don't understand talk. They don't understand anything except the end of a rifle barrel or the under side of a bomber.

All men were created equal, but all cultures are not equal. The ones who have been blessed from reading and listening to the Word of God have something greater about them. They are superior. They are not really inherently better than other people, but they are better because of the impact that the Bible has had on their minds and hearts. You can negotiate and negotiate with other societies who do not respect God's Word and you can't count on them negotiating in good faith. They don't have the capacity. Until Mr. Carter and others of his ilk, like a Mr. Chamberlain, for instance, come to some kind realization of this truth, that all men are sinners by nature, they will keep blundering and bumbling along history's path, ruining many, many things for everyone else with their good intentions.

Now go home and get a nice quiet sleep.

11 comments:

Bill H. said...

Great post! You have a knack for history and original languages.

Jerry Bouey said...

The fundamentalists believe they have a unique relationship with God, and that they and their ideas are God's ideas and God's premises on the particular issue. Therefore, by definition since they are speaking for God anyone who disagrees with them is inherently wrong. And the next step is: Those who disagree with them are inherently inferior, and in extreme cases -- as is the case with some fundamentalists around the world -- it makes your opponents sub-humans, so that their lives are not significant.

Is he equating Biblical fundamentalism with fundamentalist terrorists (aka muslims)? No wonder the world is rejecting Biblical Christianity in favour of some ecumenical soup! It will be so easy for Mr. Antichrist to step on the scene and say, "Look at all those Jews and Christians who are stuck on their literal interpretations of the Bible and looking for some Heavenly Messiah to return - let's just wipe them all out. The world will be a better place once the rest of them are gone." Of course, the church-age Christians would already have been raptured, but the devil and his henchmen will be doing all the can to remove any that come to Christ after that point in time too. And this current world mentality will be in accordance with the way the man of sin will one day want the rest of the world to think.

Cathy McNabb said...

That is funny how you felt unsafe with President Carter, I had the same feeling with President Reagan. Especially, when he made the dumb comment to the press, by accident, that we were sending at Nuke over to USSR. It was funny and nothing to joke about.

Kate said...

History was never my strong point. But the closer we get to the rapture, I hear and read so much which has happened to get us there. This was an excellent blog today, Brother.

Old slewfoot knows his time is short. As Bro. Jerry said, "And this current world mentality will be in accordance with the way the man of sin will one day want the rest of the world to think."

Matthew Brasel said...

Q. How can we appease Satan? How can we appease Megalomaniacs? How can we appease the Marxists?

A. By talking to them (in a soothing nice voice) while they devour us.


It is interesting in Daniel how he and Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah handled them selves in the situations they found themselves in and how their understanding given to them by GOD made them superior to the other young men. Even in the environments that were hostile towards GOD and His people Daniel was recognized as the person to go to for wisdom and understanding.

Juan Carlos Asmat said...

I was also reminded of the life of Joseph, how in his situation; he was also superior to all the others because of His fear in the everlasting God.
I do believe that many people think that they can negotiate in good faith with God about heaven because with many people that I have talked to about salvation have said something like: "God is a loving God and He will not condenm me to hell" or "I think that I am a good person since I do my best to be good to my neighboors"

Anonymous said...

"Has the enemy come and swept away the trophies of rememberance of God's good hand on you? Focus on what has been achieved, not on what has not". Charles Swindoll

While I have many thoughts of my own on this post (most of which you would not appreciate) I do applaud your "political honesty".
Someone wiser than you and I said...."A wise man never debates politics, religion or family physicians" I believe that gentleman was Dwight Eisenhower.

ILA

Kent Brandenburg said...

ILA,
We celebrate the greatest generation for fighting, but the poet and philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Shall we not repeat the mistakes of the past by learning. That's what I'm asking. I did catch the "quotations" around "political courage," meaning that it isn't that courageous. I wasn't attempting to be courageous. Thanks though.:)

Anonymous said...

Pastor, it was "political HONESTY" not courage....I would never spoof or challange your courage or honesty! Quite the opposite...I applaud both.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said "Half a man"s wisdom goes with his courage". You are lacking in neither.

ILA

Kent Brandenburg said...

ILA, someone in person at church corrected my "politicall courage"/"political honesty" misquote. I appreciate the correction. I thought it was tongue-in-cheek because I didn't think it any big thing; probably a point-of-view my blog audience has come to expect, among others.

Jason Hodge said...

Cathy,

You said:

That is funny how you felt unsafe with President Carter, I had the same feeling with President Reagan. Especially, when he made the dumb comment to the press, by accident, that we were sending at Nuke over to USSR. It was funny and nothing to joke about.


I don't know who you've been reading, but Ronald Reagan personified Pastor Brandenburg's central point (at least when looking outward). He called the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire". He pointed out that theirs was a house of cards built upon lies. He saw that their own press about their strength, stability and superior motives were all lies when the media had been favorably reporting on the soviets since the 50's.

It was Ronald Reagan who bombed Gadaffi and silenced terrorism world-wide for 5 years! Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada to rescue just a hand full of American students held hostage.

I, for one, would take Ronald Reagan over every president since him! He recognized evil for what it was and responded by stoping Soviet expansion, opposing them covertly, overtly, militarily, economically and idealogically.

Ronald Reagan was a man in a day of boys. Much of the reason we are worried about terrorists blowing up 200 people at a time instead of nuclear annihilation killing 200 million is because Ronald Reagan was a man.

Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, is a traitor by every definition of the word. But whatever makes you feel safe, I guess.