R.I.P. No.1

Everything is falling into place. It can’t be long now. Ezekiel says that fire and brimstone will be rained upon the enemies of God’s people. That must mean they’ll be destroyed by nuclear weapons…Gog the nation that will lead all of the other powers of darkness against Israel, will come out of the north…Gog must be Russia…now that Russia has set itself against God…it fits the description of Gog perfectly.

Vox Day, Theodore Beale and The Spiritual Side of Killing Palestinians

The Dark Window introduces me to Vox Day (thanks!), Southern Baptist and Christian libertarian. However, as with a number of other Christian libertarians we’ve come across lately, the word “libertarian” is here being used in a rather odd way. As The Dark Window quotes him:

It’s pretty clear to me that one of the most destructive forces in our society has been women’s suffrage. Women consistently and reliably turn towards government as a solution for perceived problems, which creates more intractable problems, which then is used to justify more government intervention. This process is unlikely to stop until the entire edifice collapses of its own weight.

The answer, therefore, is to ban women from voting. Previously, Vox Day has outlined his Middle East peace plan:

The Israeli government must announce to the world a unilateral ceasefire, balanced by the deadly promise that for every Israeli soldier killed, 25 Palestinian police will die. For every civilian, 100 non-combatant Palestinian adults will be slain, and for every child, 1000 adults…In a fallen world, violence does solve some problems, and at times extreme violence is required.

So who is he? According to his website

He is a member of the SFWA [Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America], Mensa and the Southern Baptist Convention, and has been down with Madden [?] since 1992. His weekly column is syndicated nationally by Universal Press Syndicate.

His biggest claim to fame as Vox Day, however, is as contributor to WorldNetDaily. But for one so willing to stand tall and say what must be said (while looking incredibly “tough”), his site tells us nothing about who he actually is.

Luckily, Unscrewing the Inscrutable (which provided that quote about Israel/Palestine) has gathered a number of links that demonstrate that Vox Day is actually Theodore Beale, author of a computer game and a couple of fantasy novels published by Pocket Books. Beale’s father Robert, who developed a highly successful computer business, founded the Christian Coalition in Minnesota and sits on WorldNetDaily‘s board.

A website devoted to Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy features an interview with Vox Day/Beale, where he talks about his former atheism and conversion back to Christianity. He also informs us:

I’m now a Southern Baptist, albeit one heavily influenced by the warfare theology taught by Dr. Greg Boyd, to whom [Beale’s novel] “The World in Shadow” is dedicated. I’m a member of New Beginnings Baptist Church, and I also have strong ties to Woodland Hills Church, where Dr. Boyd teaches.

Greg Boyd’s Christus Victor Ministries explains warfare theology further:

The warfare worldview is based on the conviction that our world is engaged in a cosmic war between a myriad of agents, both human and angelic, that have aligned themselves with either God or Satan. We believe this worldview best reflects the response to evil depicted throughout the Bible. For example, Jesus unequivocally opposed evils such as disease, demonization, and even natural disaster (i.e. Jesus rebuked the storm) as originating in the wills of Satan, fallen angels, and sinful people, rather than of God.

What’s more:

Greg Boyd and counselor, Al Larson have designed an innovative approach to personal transformation and counseling called Theosynergistic Neuro-Transformation (TNT). This approach has proven remarkably effective in helping people overcome psychological and spiritual disorders such as phobias, addictions, and traumatic experiences. Christus Victor Ministries has teamed up with Dynamics of Growth, Inc. (Al Larson) to promote this novel approach to personal transformation and counseling.

Boyd has degrees from Minnesota University, Yale and the Princeton Theological Seminary, and promotes “open view” theism, in which the future is not determined. The future is open, and will unfold according to how he and humans fight against Satan. Two of his books are entitled God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict and Satan and the Problem of Evil: Constructing a Trinitarian Warfare Theodicy. However, although broadly conservative, he’s no stickler: according to his church’s website,

The people who make up Woodland Hills Church have various theological perspectives and diverse backgrounds. As Greg (our Senior Pastor) says, ‘We agree on enough to get the job done.’ That’s our policy. We do not exclude anyone on the basis of a different view on baptism, gifts of the spirit, predestination vs. freewill or any other matter of honest theological disagreement among members of the Church.’

Also, Vox Day should note:

We affirm that ministerial authority is based upon a person’s character, calling and giftedness, not his or her gender.

Boyd’s views, however, are controversial. In 1999 his teaching that the future is “open” and not known by God (shared by Clark Pinnock and John Sanders) was opposed in debate by John Piper. But against this, his dramatic views on spiritual warfare are attractive. According to C Peter Wagner (quoted here):

God at War raises the current discussion of spiritual warfare to a new and unanticipated level of scholarly investigation. I am ecstatic with the integrity with which Gregory Boyd develops his convincing argument for a biblical warfare worldview. This is an extremely important work for all who wish to advance God’s kingdom today.

The IVP (InterVarsity Press) website that advertises Boyd’s books bids us to “check out the Eternal Warriors website for a computer game based on the ideas from Boyd’s book God at War.” And whose website would that be? Yep, it’s Theodore Beale’s – where there is no mention of his Vox Day alter ego and where his portrait photo has a rather different haircut.

Vox Day’s regular church, the New Beginnings Baptist Church, does not appear to have a website, but its pastor, Ian Bethel, can be seen here.

UPDATE (7 June): More Vox Pox today.