Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Smyrna singing

Sacred Harp Singing
Smyrna Baptist Church
Oak Flat Community
Rusk County, TX
Saturday October 4th.
More details at this link

Wall Street, Main Street and My Street

Concerning the proposed 700-billion dollar bailout, I heard both of the presidential candidates adopt some cute terminology about helping "Main Street" rather than "Wall Street". All the cute terminology aside, probably neither of them have a clue that most of us live on side streets and back roads, not "Main Street"!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Reflections on Frontier Blood

Frontier Blood: the Saga of the Parker Family. Jo Ella Powell Exley. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2001. $29.95, hard cover with dust jacket, 331 pages. ISBN 1-58544-136-8.

I recently completed this book on the Parker family by Jo Ella Powell Exley. She is also the author of Texas Tears and Texas Sunshine: Voices of Frontier Women.

From the cover
"The descendants of Elder John Parker were a strange and often brilliant family who may have changed the course of Texas and Western history. Their obsession with religion and their desire for land took them from Virginia to Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois, and finally Texas...Although the broad outlines of the stories of Cynthia Ann and Quanah are familiar, Jo Ella Powell Exley adds a new dimension by placing them in the context of the stubborn, strong, contentious Parker clan, who lived near and dealt with restive Indians across successive frontiers until history finally brought them to Texas, where their fate changed...Among the documents from which Exley draws are a short autobiography of Daniel Parker, Rachel Parker Plummer's two narratives of her Indian captivity, James Parker's account of his search for Rachel and the other captives, and several autobiographical accounts Quanah dictated to his friends."

I was impressed by the book. As the cover states, it sets the well-known stories of Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker "in the context of the stubborn, strong, contentious Parker clan..." Early in the book I would have liked to have seen more information on Elder John Parker, father of Daniel, James, Silas, Benjamin, et al. But probably such a record is sparse anyway. In the end I would have liked to have seen some information on the descendants of Daniel, James, Rachel, Cynthia Ann, and Quanah -- the five principle characters of the story. But we should understand that this mainly is a story of Cynthia Ann and Quanah, whose stories cover roughly half the book. So Exley reaches her objective -- to tell their stories in context of the broader Parker family.

Exley is better with western history than Baptist history, as far as I can tell. Early in the book she seems to confuse Separate Baptists with Free Will Baptists. She also gives the impression that Daniel Parker grew up in a preacher's home. But from what I've read so far, it seems to me that Daniel was probably a preacher as early as his father was, and possibly ordained before his father. I liked and was amused by the expressions Exley coined and/or used of Daniel -- the "practical mystic" and the "anti-missionary missionary" (both quite true if understood properly).

This book was winner of the 2002 Western Books Exhibition Award of Merit and the 2001 Summerfield G. Roberts Award. According to Publishers Weekly, "Vivid, unsparing accounts, much insight into the pioneer experience and the details of early interracial relations will make this book popular among devotees of the history of the American West."

I recommend the book -- great for the students of Texas and southwestern history; good for those interested in the Parker family and Baptists in East Texas. Better for that second purpose is Frontier Religion. These two will make a good companion set.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Singing cancelled

The Sacred Harp singing scheduled to be held at Waldrop Cemetery on Sept. 28th has been cancelled. The singing only has been cancelled. This does not apply to the cemetery homecoming.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Avenge Not

By Gilbert Beebe, 1856 (an excerpt)

"There are several good reasons why the saints should not attempt to avenge themselves, of which we will call the attention of our readers to a few:

1. Because we are forbidden to do so, not only in our text, but also in many other portions of the word. This, in the absence of all other considerations, is a sufficient reason. We cannot avenge ourselves, nor attempt to do so, without involving ourselves in an act of disobedience to our Lord and Master...
2..our incompetency to accurately estimate the amount of injury received, the criminality of the motive of the offender, and the amount of retribution due to the transgressor...
3..because to do so would be a usurpation of a prerogative which belongs only to the Lord...
4. Were we allowed to so avenge ourselves, such are our liabilities to err, we might severely injure those for whom Christ has died, without securing to ourselves anything more than the gratification of a vindictive and revengeful feeling of the flesh, which should rather be denied and crucified...
5. The relationship in which we stand to each other, as dearly beloved brethren, presents another good reason why we should not avenge ourselves. When Moses saw two of the Hebrews striving together, he reproved them, saying, "Sirs, ye are brethren, why do ye wrong one to another?"...
6. Aside from the wickedness of disobeying this command, if there were no law against it, should the saints attempt the administration of retributive justice, they would make wretched work, cause trouble for the saints, and make a thorny pillow to recline their own head upon..."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Should we vote?

The following is taken from pages 158 and 159 in a book called 1001 Questions and Answers on the Christian Life, Pathway Publishers, 1992. The preface states that the book was written by Mennonite bishop and author Daniel Kauffman in 1907. Copied as posted on Free Grace Fellowship forum, 17 September 2008


Should Christians vote in a government election?
No. Paul taught the Romans, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers." By voting, we become a part of the powers instead of being subject to them.

Could not much good be accomplished if all Christians turned out faithfully to vote?
Christians have no business in politics. To suppose so is human reasoning. Getting involved in politics is stepping out of the role to which God has called us. It is the same as saying, "Let us do evil that good may come of it" (Rom. 3:8).

What are some of the conflicts between politics and Christianity?
Most candidates run for office by exalting themselves, contrary to Christ's example (Matt. 20:27). Graft, corruption, and greed are nearly inseparable from politics. Nonresistance is impossible.

What should be our emphasis instead?
We should focus our energy on improving the testimony and example of the church. Jesus said we are the salt of the earth. We have enough to do to keep the church in order; let the world run the government.

But would it not show respect if we at least did as much as vote?
No, it would just show that we are confused about our calling. If we vote for a man and put him into office, will he think it is consistent when he needs help to defend the country, and we refuse?

Are we saying then that everyone who is in the government is condemned?
It is not in our place to judge; it is in our place to be faithful in our calling to build a better church.

Why can't we take part in both the affairs of the church and the government?
"No man can serve two masters" (Matt. 6:4); especially when their goals and rules of conduct are so opposite. We are dealing with two separate kingdoms. Jesus said to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight." (John 18:36). No doubt Jesus would say to us, "If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants vote."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lord, who in Thy perfect wisdom

Lord, who in Thy perfect wisdom
Times and seasons dost arrange,
Working out Thy changeless purpose
In a world of ceaseless change:
Thou didst form our ancient nation,
Guiding it through all the days,
To unfold in it Thy purpose
To Thy glory and Thy praise.

By Timothy Rees

Monday, September 22, 2008

Human Origin

A little girl asked her mother, "How did the human race appear?"

The mother answered, "God made Adam and Eve and they had children and so was all mankind made."

Two days later the girl asked her father the same question.

The father answered, "Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved."

The confused girl returned to her mother and said, "Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?"

The mother answered, "Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his."

-- as posted by Hoyt Sparks on the Predestinarian forum

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Heard on the radio

Back in May, I heard a comment on "Point of View" by Larry Bates of First American Monetary Consultants.

Bates said we often pick up an idea from the world system, slap a fish and a cross on it and call it Christian.

Quite true.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Business before church?

"No man or woman ought to live for business reasons in a place where they are denied the privileges of church fellowship." -- H. Boyce Taylor in December, 1922 in his "News and Truths" paper. [Note: In the context, Taylor was talking about going to a place for the purpose of making money/a living, and that place being without a true gospel church.]

Agree or disagree?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reflections on Frontier Religion

Frontier Religion: Elder Daniel Parker, His Religious and Political Life, by Dan B. Wimberly, Austin, TX: Eakin Press, 2002 $22.95

From the cover
"Imbibing the promise of Jeffersonian egalitarianism, some Americans in the early nineteenth century sought to gain positions of leadership in politics and religion. Born in 1781, Daniel Parker was such a leader. ...In 1834 he led a Baptist congregation into Texas, the church being formed en route from Illinois. This was the first organized Baptist church in Texas. In church polity and politics Parker advocated republicanism. Yet inconsistencies and controversies surrounded him."

About the Author
"Dan B. Wimberly is a native of Louisiana and a graduate of Louisiana College...Since 1996 he has taught history and political science at Bartlesville Wesleyan College."

Samuel R. Ligget, in his review of the book, wrote, "Dr. Wimberly does an excellent job of putting Daniel Parker's life into the context of the historical events of his time. He portrays Parker as a man shaped by his beliefs and his environment in both his political and religious life from his birth to his final years in Texas."

I just finished reading Frontier Religion, a story of the life of predestinarian Baptist Daniel Parker. What follows is not so much a review as reflections caused by reading the book.

The name 'Daniel Parker' still rings a bell with some East Texans, residents of Houston County, and Baptist historians. Parker is an important East Texas religious figure. Some knowledge of Daniel Parker and the Pilgrim Predestinarian Baptist Church will help East Texas Baptists understand more about themselves and their beginnings. (Isaac Reed and Union Church is another from whom we can learn about ourselves.)

J. M. Carroll declared that Daniel Parker's ministry "left a mighty empress on East Texas" – not only on the Primitive Baptists, but on the Missionary Baptists as well (A History of Texas Baptists). "There are but few ministers of the gospel, and a majority of them are anything but missionary in effort or sentiment." Levi Roberts continued by noting that many of the churches in East Texas were constituted by Daniel Parker "and kindred spirits, who thought it a crime to contribute to the support of the gospel or those who preached it." Despite his differences with Parker, Roberts says he knew him and "always considered him a good man, possessing a warm heart, a clear head and giant intellect..." (From The Banner and Pioneer, June 5, 1847). Missionary Baptists are obviously connected to Parker by leading preachers and churches that separated and came over from Parker's group (e.g. Shelby Countian William Brittain) and Bethel Baptist Church in Sabine County. But they are also connected by many lesser-known people and incidences (e.g. William Sparks, who left Parker's Hopewell Church for Reed's Union Church, both in Nacogdoches Co.). We often forget that as the Baptists developed in East Texas, there was a strand that stood somewhere in between the Primitive Baptist and Missionary Baptist – most of which churches eventually ended up in the Missionary Baptist camp. Union (now Old North) in Nacogdoches is considered the oldest continuous Missionary Baptist in Texas. Yet a look at the minutes of Sabine Association and Union Church declare that early on this church looked little like later Missionary Baptists, and the Sabine Association even declared against Missionary Baptists in a resolution. The great bulk of these non-Primitive, non-Missionary Baptists were at heart primitivists who believed in holding New Testament faith and order (but disagreed with the Primitive Baptists on that faith and order). In the very places this primitivism was strong, Landmarkism would later make impressive inroads among those who rejected the extreme predestinarianism, Two-seedism, authoritarianism and fractiousness of Daniel Parker. Among these Landmarkers there would continue an enduring strain of primitivism into the 1930s or so, rejecting seminaries and other such innovations. Even a few continued to practice washing the saints' feet. By the time I came along in the late 50s, it had become anemic -- often embraced by those who did not understand and could not articulate why they believed what they did about why new innovations shouldn't be accepted. This is my heritage and I am very much at home with it.

Interestingly, Daniel Parker's unique Two-Seed doctrine did not survive in his own church and association.

I highly recommend Frontier Religion. A copy of it is currently available from Amazon, but the $161.34 price tag seems a tad steep, even though it is out of print. A good companion book is Frontier Blood: The Saga of the Parker Family, by Jo Ella Powell Exley (at least it looks good; I have it, but haven't read it yet).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On His kind providence

Not from the dust affliction grows,
Nor troubles rise by chance;
Yet we are born to cares and woes--
A sad inheritance!

As sparks break out from burning coals,
And still are upwards borne,
So grief is rooted in our souls,
And man grows up to mourn.

Yet with my God I leave my cause
And trust his promised grace;
He rules me by his well-known laws
Of love and righteousness.

Not all the pains that e'er I bore
Shall spoil my future peace;
For death and hell can do no more
Than what my Father please.

Gadsby #465, Isaac Watts
Job 5:6-8 "Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Privileges of state rejected

The Church is not a building but a people.
The Church is not a denomination but God’s kingdom people. One of the biggest mistakes we make is to equate God’s kingdom with a particular denomination.
Church-growth is not brought about by Church power.
The trappings and privileges of state imperium are fundamentally rejected by the king whose kingdom is not of this world. He didn’t sit on a throne but crawled on hands and knees to wash disciples’ feet; he wasn’t crowned at some international state occasion but on a cross.
Building ‘Churches’ is not Church Planting.

From "oh the ironies! Darwin, Freud, Marx in church refurbs - but church planting is still key" on Quaerentia by Mark Meynell

Monday, September 15, 2008

From Zanchius' Absolute Predestination

As we here in East Texas dig ourselves out of our holes from whence Hurricane Ike has driven us, may we recognize that God holds the storms in His hands and they may only go where He directs.

Now, fresh from my hole and finding access to electricity, a few excerpts from Zanchius' book, which I read last month.

"Some seem to believe what God has done, He must do, as if there is some law superior to Him. 'Nay but,' says one, 'God's own attributes of goodness and justice, holiness and truth, are a law to Himself.' I answer, 'Amen, the Lord is holy in all His ways and righteous in all His works' (Psalm 145:17). He cannot be chargeable with injustice for disposing of His own as He will."

"The laws promulgated by Him are designed for the rule of our conduct, not of His." -- Jerome Zanchius

Augustine: "The commandment will tell thee, O man, what thou oughtest to have, reproof will show thee wherein thou art wanting, and praying will teach thee from whom thou must receive the supplies which thou wantest."

Augustine: "We must preach, we must reprove, we must pray, because they to whom grace is given will hear and act accordingly, though they to whom grace is not given will do neither."

"Conversion and salvation must, in the very nature of things, be wrought and effected either by ourselves alone, or by ourselves and God together, or solely by God Himself. The Pelagians were for the first. The Arminians are for the second. True believers are for the last, because the last hypotheses, and that only, is built on the strongest evidence of Scripture, reason and experience: it most effectually hides pride from man, and sets the crown of undivided praise upon the head, or rather casts it at the feet, of that glorious Triune God, who worketh all in all." -- Jerome Zanchius, p. 104

"When a converted person is assured, on one hand, that all whom God hath predestinated to eternal life shall infallibly enjoy that eternal life to which they are chosen, and, on the other hand, when he discerns the signs of election, not only in himself, but also in the rest of his fellow-believers, and concludes from thence (as in a judgment of charity he ought) that they are as really elected as himself, how must his heart glow with love to his Christians brethren! How feelingly will he sympathise with them in their distresses! How tenderly will he bear with their infirmities! How tenderly will he bear with infirmities How readily will he relieve the former, and how easily overlook the latter. Nothing will so effectually knit together the hearts of God's people in time as the belief of their having been written by name in one book of life from everlasting, and the unshaken confidence of their future exaltation to one and the same state of glory above will occasion the strongest cement of affection below." -- Jerome Zanchius pp. 111,112

"Himself is the causa causarum, the cause of all causes beside." -- Seneca

The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted by Jerome Zanchius

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sacred Harp -- Ringgold, Louisiana

Tomorrow, Lord willing, there will be a Sacred Harp singing in Ringgold, Louisiana tomorrow, Saturday the 13th. Ringgold should be east of the path of Hurricane Ike, and mostly get "thunderstorms". Please consider helping our small but excited group of singers. Bring BOTH the Cooper and Denson revisions of The Sacred Harp. We will sing from both.

Location: New Providence Primitive Baptist Church near Ringgold, LA
Date: Saturday September 13, 2008
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Books: 2006 Sacred Harp, Cooper Edition; 1991 Sacred Harp, Denson Edition

General area map
The New Providence church building is located on LA Highway 154, about one mile east of Ringgold, on the north side of the road. The singers in Ringgold recommend the motels in nearby Minden, LA, which is just off of Interstate 20.

Best Western 318.377.1001
Exacta Inn 318.377.3200
Holiday Inn Express 318.377.1111
Southern Inn 318.371.2880

Distance to Ringgold from:
Austin, TX - 303 miles
Birmingham, AL - 438 miles
Dallas, TX - 208 miles
Henderson, TX - 98 miles
Hot Springs, AR - 148 miles
Houston, TX - 215 miles
Jackson, MS - 177 miles
Minden, LA - 24 miles
New Orleans, LA - 250 miles
Shreveport, LA - 37 miles

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The troubles of Job

Job 1:21-22 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Did Satan initiate the troubles of Job? What was God's part in it? Can God be credited with work that Satan did? In Job 1:11 Satan says, "But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face." And then in verse 21 of all his loss Job says, "the LORD hath taken away," and the Bible says in this "Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." When we get to chapter two, of all this God says Satan "movedst me against him."

When Satan went "forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job," Job's wife told him to "curse God, and die." Rather Job replied, "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" Again the Bible says in this "did not Job sin with his lips."

Anyone care to explain how they see these verses?

Can we agree with all these statements?
1. Job SINNED NOT (in this).
2. GOD SINNED NOT (not in this, not ever).
3. All Satan does IS SIN.

If so, let us consider:
1. Job SINNED NOT, and he said God took away his children and his belongings (1:21-22), and also said that he received what happened at the hand of God (2:10). If Job sinned not in what he said, then God is in some way responsible for what happened. If God were not responsible, then Job would have sinned because that is what he said in both places.
2. GOD SINNED NOT, and he said to Satan "thou movedst me against him." (2:3) Since God sinned not in what He said, then Satan is in some way responsible for what happened.
3. All Satan does IS SIN. Yet the Scriptures attribute the calamitous events to both All-Holy and Righteous God and to all-sinful Satan. These are the same events -- death of his children, loss of his assets, and miserable boils from head to foot -- not different events. So there is some sense in which God can be responsible for the same events carried out by Satan, and yet Satan be guilty and God be righteous.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Old Baptist quotes (1)

"The average Baptist is a plain, straight thinking person. He may be a great scholar, or a hod carrier, but, in religion, he takes on the complexion and manners of the New Testament. He believes in simplicity. He likes plain preaching and simple worship. If the choir, by any machination of the devil, falls under the lead of any professional musician and is turned to singing tunes with the delirium tremens, the average Baptist is grieved, and solaces his soul by singing 'How Firm a Foundation' or 'Amazing Grace'...The average Baptist takes no stock of Easter, and the like, not that he does not believe in the resurrection; not that people may not observe days; but, like Paul, he is skittish of these extras and prefers the plain, old, level Jordan road, with a steady incline up, all the way till it reaches the city of God." -- J. B. Gambrell, from The Baptist Standard, May 1907

"What do you mean by praying that God will have mercy upon all men, and save them with an everlasting salvation, and then tell the congregation that God has done all He can to save them, and the matter rests with them, whether they will be saved or not?...if God has done all He can, why pray for Him do more? And if He has not done all He can, why tell the people He has?" -- William Gadsby

Monday, September 08, 2008

Thoughts from Jonah

Three Thoughts from Jonah
1. We must preach the preaching God bids us (1:2; 3:2). God does not change His mind and give Jonah a different message the second time around.
2. We must leave the results to God (3:5-10). Jonah did not tell the Ninevites how to avoid being overthrown, yet God performed a mighty work.
3. God's work does not depend upon the messenger. Jonah was a rebellious prophet -- prejudiced and unconcerned -- and was angry with the results. Yet God performed a mighty work in Nineveh. [P.S. this does not excuse us from being faithful]

The messenger did not like the people, did not want to go, went the other way, slept while running from God, was swallowed by a whale, had to be thrown up on site by a whale, preached the message, got mad when the people repented, wished he could die rather than see Nineveh delivered, and had more sympathy for his sorry little self having a shade than for thousands of people going down in destruction. God's work did not depend on the messenger. Jonah, in spite of all his ridiculous faults, preached the message God gave them.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Pactum Salutis

"Theologians sometimes refer to the eternal aspect of our salvation, in which the Father has, as it were, the leading role, together with the Son and the Spirit, as the pactum salutis—that pact, or covenant, of salvation in which there is a pretemporal, intra-Trinitarian foreordination of the salvation of God's people, as a part of God's decreeing all that comes to pass." -- From All of Grace by Alan D. Strange

Friday, September 05, 2008

Personal vs private

"Christianity is personal but not private." -- Mark Dever (Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches, p. 48)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The sorriest one running

From John Crowley on the predestinarian forum:

"Vote for the sorriest one running. Why ruin a good man?" -- John Skinner

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The advent of every national leader

With the closing of the Democratic Convention and the opening of the Republican one, the minds of many U.S. Americans are on "who will be the next President?" A time like this is an apt one to consider, "Does God cause or control the advent of every national leader?"

A Primitive Baptist elder, commenting on
a written exchange between J. H. Oliphant and Silas Durand, wrote: "...since God raised up Pharaoh in the days of Moses to be a participant in His deliverance of His chosen people from Egyptian bondage, the logical fallacy of 'parts to the whole' claims that God causes the advent of every national leader."

Many Baptists of all stripes, as well as others not Baptist, agree together that God does not control the advent of every leader. Is the belief that God controls the advent of every national leader based on one isolated incident (cf. Rom. 9:17)?

Did God raise up others besides Pharoah? Yes, He both raises up and puts down.

1 Samuel 16:1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
1 Kings 3:7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
1 Kings 14:14 Moreover the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now.
Ezra 1:2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Ezekiel 29:19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.
Daniel 5:24-28 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Does God raise up and put down not only "national" leaders, but "lesser" ones as well? Yes, He sent Joseph to Egypt, raised up Judges, made Esther queen of Medo-Persia, etc.

Gen 45:8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Judges 2:16 Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
Isaiah 22:19-21 And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.

Is there any Biblical principle that is broader than a few incidents of God raising up or putting down certain people? Yes, the most High God rules over the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will.

Jer. 27:5-6 I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.
Daniel 4:17,24-25 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men....This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
Daniel 4:31-32, 34-35 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will...And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
Daniel 5:18-21 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Who is the King of all the earth?

Psalm 47:7 For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
1 Tim 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hobby horses

"We tend to ride hobby-horses to the point that we are presenting a stilted view of truth. We tend to gravitate toward extremes and in an attempt to save face, we dig in to defend a position that is not Scriptural. Most controversies result from this dilemma." -- David Montgomery in Church Divisions