Saturday, November 29, 2008

Divine purpose and causality

Speaking of his trials, Job says, "But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him." (Job 23:13-14)

Talking of all God's wondrous works...remembering the "marvellous works that he hath done," the Psalmist writes--

Psalm 105:17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
Psalm 105:25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

The brothers of Joseph acted of their own sinful nature. When Joseph says of his brothers "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive," he is clearly talking about the same thing, not two different events. What is the antecedent of "it"? God either meant it or He didn't. Joseph says He did. If any of us say otherwise, we say differently than God's word. The best explanation is neither that God caused their actions nor that He simply knew in advance what they would do. It is that their evil, meant by them as evil, He chose to bring about good. Joseph would not have been in Egypt to deliver the sons of Jacob if they had not sold him in slavery (as well the rest of the chain of events were God's Providence that put him in the exact place at the exact time). God chose that it be so. It would not be some other way.

God is good in His means as well as in His ends. Was the brothers selling Joseph into slavery not part of God's means? Certainly he might have theoretically gotten to Egypt any number of ways. But he did not. Neither does the Bible indicate that God meant that he get there some other way. Did God wait to see what choice the brothers would make and go from there, in time? Or did He purpose from eternity what He would do?

When speaking of God there is always some element that certain things that are wrong for us according to His precepts, are not wrong for God. For example, God (as sovereign and creator) may take life/kill where we may not. Examples of this abound in the Scriptures. And there are a few times God is portrayed as "causing" something that might "seem" sinful (but is not). As Gordon Clark writes, "The Jews ought not to have demanded Christ's crucifixion. It was contrary to the moral law. But God decreed Christ's death from the foundation of the world." Or, attributing David's numbering of Israel to both God and the Devil. Or, for example, the lying of the lying prophets in I Kings 22 is attributed to the will and definitive affirmation of God.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Did God just permit Jesus to be crucified?

"Given the six appearances of this Greek word in the New Testament, there can be no Biblical basis on which to claim that divine predestination is passive, equivalent to divine omniscience, rather than in some way causative or at least controlling. The most literal meaning of the two Greek words that make up this word is “pro,” beforehand, and “orizo,” the Greek root for our English word “horizon.” With this basic concept of the word we may safely view God’s involvement in our salvation as eternal and causative. We may also view His involvement in the events surrounding the crucifixion of our Lord as prohibitive, not causative." -- From Joseph R. Holder's Word Study on Proorizo


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Loud anthems of thanks

This following hymn has been for years a popular one verse song in our Sacred Harp book, with the tune 'Old Hundred'. Here are the rest of the verses.

O come, loud anthems let us sing,
Loud thanks to our almighty King;
For we our voices high should raise,
When our salvation's Rock we praise.

Into His presence let us haste,
To thank Him for His favors past;
To Him address, in joyful songs,
The praise that to His Name belongs.

The depths of earth are in His hand,
Her secret wealth at His command;
The strength of hills that reach the skies,
Subjected to His empire lies.

O let us to His courts repair,
And bow with adoration there;
Down on our knees, devoutly all,
Before the Lord, our Maker, fall.

From Tate and Brady's New Version of the Psalms, 1696.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Lord of harvest

Sing to the Lord of harvest,
Sing songs of love and praise;
With joyful hearts and voices
Your Hallelujahs raise.
By Him the rolling seasons
In fruitful order move;
Sing to the Lord of harvest,
A joyous song of love.

By Him the clouds drop fatness,
The deserts bloom and spring,
The hills leap up in gladness,
The valleys laugh and sing.
He filleth with His fullness
All things with large increase,
He crowns the year with goodness,
With plenty and with peace.

-- John Samuel Bewley Monsell, Hymns of Love and Praise, 2nd edition, 1866

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Pilgrim

The Pilgrim. Heb. xi. 13-16

Amidst ten thousand dangers,
Which everywhere abound,
The pilgrims and the strangers
Alone secure are found;
For on their Lord they’re waiting,
They seek him night and day;
His aid they’re supplicating
In his appointed way.

By Rozzel, 292 in Gadsby's Hymn Book

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tamar and Onan

This will probably be controversial, somewhat of an adult subject, and to some extent a companion to an earlier post.

Genesis 38:6-10 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.

Onan’s sin is not that traditionally attributed to him ("onanism" is an English term for masturbation). The Old Testament phrase “he went in unto her” clearly denoted sexual intercourse. Onan abused the occasion to enjoy the pleasure of his deceased brother's wife, but disdained his obligation to raise up an heir in his brother's name.

Compare other uses of the phrase:
Gen. 16:4 - And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
Gen. 29:23 - And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
Gen. 30:4 - And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.
Gen. 38:2 - And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
(See also Judges 16:1; Ruth 4:13; II Sam. 12:24, 16:22; Ezekiel 23:44)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vanity of the world

The world's esteem is but a bribe,
To buy their peace you sell your own;
The slave of a vain-glorious tribe,
Who hate you while they make you known.

The Joy that vain amusements give,
O! sad conclusion that it brings!
The honey of a crowded hive,
Defended by a thousand stings.

'Tis thus the world rewards the fools
That live upon her treach'rous smiles;
She leads them, blindfold, by her rules,
And ruins all whom she beguiles.

-- From "Vanity of the world" by William Cowper

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Still amazing

"Amazing, isn’t it? How the Lord came to us and paid for every breach, every failure – nailing them to the tree because of His everlasting, unchangeable, unconditional love for His own." -- Leon King, Alaska on the predestinarian listserve, 20 Jan 2008

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

John Newton

Friday, November 21, 2008

Secret Societies

There was a time when many Baptists disapproved of Secret Societies. For example, Old North Baptist Church (formerly called Union) of Nacogdoches, Texas once removed members for joining the Masons, etc. It is the oldest church in Texas now affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. This idea has disappeared among the majority of Baptists (assuming it ever was a majority idea; I don't know). It is still held by Primitive Baptists, Old Regular Baptists and some other Baptist groups. The following writing by W. M. Mitchell unfolds the Primitive Baptist view.

"First—The man of God is thoroughly furnished by the Scriptures unto all good works; and the church of Christ , being complete in Him in doctrine and order, as well as in every spiritual gift, they cannot need the aid of any society formed by man as a help to the beauty and perfection of her organic structure. The church of God is spoken of by inspired writers as the “perfection of beauty,” “the joy of the whole earth,” “the city of the Great King...” It would, therefore, be degrading to the principle and profession of her members for any of them to mar her beauty, or defile their garments by uniting with, or conforming to, any of the institutions, doctrines or commandments of men, not authorized by the Scriptures.

"Second—Christ, the Head of the church, ever taught openly, and in secret said nothing; and He commanded His apostles to proclaim His gospel upon the house-tops or publicly to the world. Secrecy, therefore, is inconsistent with the nature and principle of the Christian religion, and with the character of the organized church as “the light of the world,” or as “a city set on a hill, whose light can not be hid.”—Mat. 5:14 .

Third—”Secrecy” is inconsistent with gospel order: as each member of a secret society takes a solemn oath to keep certain things secret from his brethren in the church who are not members of such society, and the church is thereby deprived of her right to judge of the conduct and order of her members as required in I Cor. 5:12.

"Fourth—Christian and church fellowship is the strongest bond of communion and fellowship that can possibly exist: even requiring, if need be, to forsake father and mother, wife and children, with every earthly tie and interest, to maintain that fellowship that will honor Christ and glorify God in our body and spirit, which belong to God. The relation in the church is so near that the members are said to be “members one of another.”—Rom. 12:5. As such, therefore, they are entitled to the strongest confidence and closest communion—such as no other society can ever claim without usurpation. Whatever may be said as to the good or evil of secret societies, one thing is certain and can not be denied except by infidels: That “he that doeth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved;” and, on the other hand, “He that doeth truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God. “—John 3:20.

"Fifth—In uniting with a secret, oath-bound society, a church member takes upon himself, voluntarily, a solemn obligation to do or not to do some unknown thing—which thing is a profound secret from both church and state—and the oath, whatever it binds upon the member, is a voluntary oath, not required by church or state. There are, therefore, certain good reasons for believing that such voluntary oath is in direct violation of the command of Christ to His disciples to “Swear not at all: but let your communication be, Yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. “—Mat. 5:37. No oath of office, nor as a witness is required in the church of Christ but, to the contrary, is positively forbidden to her members; as the bond of union and fellowship is so regulated by principles of honesty and justice, which God has written in the heart of each subject of His gospel kingdom, that to require a further obligation by an oath would be to deny that these holy principles are written in the heart and place the church of Christ on a level, or beneath, a mere human institution.

"Sixth —No member of any gospel church has the right, according to the law of Christ, to become a self-constituted judge of his own conduct, nor of the conduct of any other member. But is has frequently been the case that when one unites with any secret, oath-bound society, and his conduct in that particular is called in question by the church, he generally seeks to shield himself, not by openly telling what he has sworn to do or not to do, but by saying: “There is no harm in it.” And he seems to think the church ought to be satisfied with this simple declaration, and take his judgment and decision in his own case as final. If a church should proceed in this manner in other matters where there are charges and complaints against members, and he satisfied to let the censured member decide his own case, it would destroy everything like gospel discipline and make each member a proper judge of his own case.

"Seventh—Another objection to Primitive Baptists uniting with these secret, oath-bound societies is, from the fact, that while some of them claim to be promoters of morality, benevolence and charity, they carefully guard against all liability to acts of charity by utterly refusing membership to any man who is properly a subject of charitable contributions. Charity is an ever living and abiding principle—being even greater than faith or hope. It is the bond of perfectness in the church, by which all things are to be done. To voluntarily, therefore, bind ourselves by an oath to keep out of our fraternal love and fellowship all proper subjects upon which to manifest and bestow our deeds of charity, would seem to us like a violation of the principles of either morality, benevolence or charity. The poor in spirit whom the Lord Jesus Christ has blessed, and who ate entitled to all the privileges and ordinances of the gospel kingdom, can not obtain membership in any well-regulated Masonic Lodge upon his morality, nor piety, if he is a poor pauper; or if he is blind, or deaf and dumb; or if he has but one arm, or but one leg; or in any way crippled or maimed for life—unable to walk or support himself. He may be a real object of charitable assistance, yet, if we are correctly informed, he would be rejected because of these very things which render him a real and proper subject of charity. Is it right for a Baptist of the Primitive faith and order to take such a solemn obligation to reject such from fellowship? Is it according to any principle of gospel order?

"Eight—is believed by many that when a member of the true church of Christ unites with any of these worldly institutions, that he thereby violates the command of God to “be not conformed to this world.”—Rom. 12:2. When members have thus become ensnared, they can only be relieved by obeying the command of God to “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”—2 Cor. 6:17, 18. What a precious promise to erring Christians.

"These institutions certainly are of the world—adapted to the views and business interests of the world; and as the world will hear and love its own, it will foster, nourish, cherish and love any professed Baptist who will be identified with these institutions, better than one who does not, though he may have denied his religious faith to unite with them."
- From "Equal Rights & Secret Societies" by Elder W.M. Mitchell in The Gospel Messenger, March 1882

Thursday, November 20, 2008

God knows everything

God knows everything. He is perfect in knowledge. His understanding is infinite.
1 John 3:19-20 , Job 37:16, Psalms 147:5

Psalms 33:13-15, Proverbs 15:3
Matthew 10:29

God has always known everything that will ever happen.
Acts 15:16-18
Isaiah 46:9-10

The whole plan of the ages and each man's part in it has been known to God from all eternity.
Ephesians 1:9-12 , Isaiah 46:10
Hebrews 4:13

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A man and a fly

The Natural Man

As I was putting together this bulletin, a housefly landed on an article I was copying, walked around a bit, and then flew over to my Bible. I watched as the little creature moved over the page from here to there in "fits and starts." I suppose it was looking for something to eat, some morsel, some crumb to sustain it for its brief existence. It didn't stay long. After moving over just about an entire page and finding nothing to fulfill its hunger, it took wing and went elsewhere. That fly is like natural man. Man, as he is born, has EXACTLY as much ability to understand scripture as that fly. He, in his search to sustain his existence, may happen upon the Bible for a time, he may move across the pages, even stop here and there, but soon will fly away as empty as when he arrived. The feast of fat things that is the Word of God is not food for natural man any more than it is for the fly. It is FOOD, but food for the spiritual man, the man whom God has made alive by the new birth. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Cor. 2:14). "But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (I Cor. 2:9-10). -- By Tim James (This article appeared in the bulletin of Fairmont Grace Church, Sylacauga, AL)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Repentance at the cross

HYMN 106 C. M. Repentance at the cross.

O, if my soul were formed for woe,
How would I vent my sighs!
Repentance should like rivers flow
From both my streaming eyes.

'Twas for my sins my dearest Lord
Hung on the cursed tree,
And groaned away a dying life
For thee, my soul, for thee.

O, how I hate those lusts of mine
That crucified my God!
Those sins that pierced and nailed his flesh
Fast to the fatal wood!

Whilst, with a melting, broken heart,
My murdered Lord I view,
I'll raise revenge against my sins,
And slay the murd'rers too.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Book II, 1707

Monday, November 17, 2008

Absolute Predestination and Means

"Absolute predestination does not set aside, nor render superfluous the use of preaching, exhortation, etc. We prove from the examples of Christ Himself and His apostles, who all taught and insisted upon the article of predestination, and yet took every opportunity of preaching to sinners and enforced their ministry with proper rebukes and exhortations as occasion required. Though they showed unanswerably that salvation is the free gift of God and lies entirely at His sovereign disposal, that men can of themselves do nothing spiritually good, and that it is God who of His own pleasure works in them both to will and to do, yet they did not neglect to address their auditors as beings possessed of reason and conscience, nor omitted to remind them of their duties as such; but showed them their sin and danger by nature, and laid before them the appointed way and method of salvation as exhibited in the Gospel.

"Our Savior Himself expressly, and in the end, assures us that no man can come to Him except the Father draw him, and yet He says, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor.’ Peter told the Jews that they had fulfilled ‘the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,’ in putting the Messiah to death (Acts 2:21), and yet sharply rebukes them for it. Paul declares, ‘It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth,’ and yet exhorts the Corinthians so to run to obtain the prize. He assures us that ‘we know not what to pray for as we ought,’ (Romans 8:26), and yet directs us to ‘pray without ceasing,’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He avers that the foundation or decree of the Lord standeth sure, (2 Timothy 2:19) and yet cautions him who ‘thinks he stands, to take heed lest he fall,’ (1 Corinthians 10:12). James, in like manner says that ‘every good and perfect gift cometh down from above,’ and yet exhorts those who want wisdom to ask of God.

"So, then all these being means whereby the elect are frequently enlightened into the knowledge of Christ, and by which they are, after they have believed through grace, built up in Him, and are means of their perseverance in grace to the end. These are so far from being vain and insignificant that they are highly useful and necessary, and answer many valuable and important ends, without in the least shaking the doctrine of predestination in particular or the analogy of faith in general."
-- Jerome Zanchius- 1516-1590

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Whole congregation a choir

"Sacred Harp...songs turn the whole congregation into a choir, proclaiming their devotion in forthright, wide-open, vibrato-free chords with drones and inner counterpoint that hark back to Renaissance music." -- "Blues From Dylan, and Heartaches From the 1920s" in the Playlist column by John Pareles of the New York Times, October 12, 2008, p. AR26

Friday, November 14, 2008

Free Grace

1 – Ye children of God, by grace in His Son,
Redeemed by His blood, and with Him made one;
This union with wonder and rapture be seen,
Which nothing shall sunder, without or within.

2 – This pardon, this peace, which none can destroy,
This treasure of grace, this heavenly joy.
The worthless may crave it, it always comes free;
The vilest may have it, ‘twas given to me.

3- ‘Tis not for good deeds, good tempers, nor frames;
From grace it proceeds, and all is the Lamb’s;
No goodness, no fitness, expects He from us;
This I can well witness, for none could be worse.

4- Sick sinner, expect no balm but Christ’s blood;
Thine own works reject, the bad and the good;
None ever miscarry that on Him rely,
Though filthy as Mary, Manasseh, or I.

Joseph Hart, #221, Gadsby's Selection of Hymns for Public Worship.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tennessee Baptist Historical Society

The Tennessee Baptist Historical Society now has a web presence. Check out their page by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lost and Found

If a man says he knows he is saved, we may ask him whether or not he ever knew he was lost; and if not, how can he know that he is saved? He might as well say he had been cured when he had never felt sickness.

"Oh beware of trust ill founded;
‘Tis but fancied faith at most---
To be cured before you’re wounded,
To be saved before you’re lost."

There must be a throwing down before there can be a building up; a plucking up (of the weeds) before a planting of good corn (Jeremiah 31:28). So before a man can know the value of the Redeemer he must know he is, or has been in bondage.

By John Gadsby, copied from Shreveport Grace Church Bulletin, June 8, 2008

No longer by the people

The "Governator" of California indicates he wants to be The Terminator of the concept "by the people". He sent a message to California and its Supreme Court that he doesn't believe the people of California have a right to amend their Constitution.

Homosexuals and same-sex marriage advocates justify their argument to the world by framing it in terms of "equal rights". In Connecticut civil unions give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples (without the status of being married). Yet activists there were not satisfied until their civil unions were called "marriage". Such action implies to me that more than the same legal rights is desired.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Latin terms we use

Ad hoc is a Latin term meaning "for this purpose".
Ad hominem is a Latin term meaning "to the man".
Ad infinitum is the Latin for "to infinity."
Amicus curiae is the Latin for "a friend of the court."
Bona Fide means "in good faith."
Caveat Emptor: "Let the buy beware.":
Circa: Approximately. Used with dates, also abbreviated ca.
Confer: Compare. Usually abbreviated cf., often used in footnotes, indicates to compare the present passage or statement with the one referenced.
Cum laude: "With praise."
De facto means "in fact."
De jure means "based in law."
De novo means "anew."
Erratum/errata: Literally, "error/errors," this term in fact refers to the corrections included in a paper or book after it is published to correct minor errors in the text.
Ergo: Therefore. E.g., "Cogito, ergo sum" - I think, therefore I am.
Et al. : Abbreviation of et alia, meaning "and others." For instance, used to indicate an unstated list of contributing authors following the main one or ones.
Et cetera: And so forth. Usually abbreviated etc.
Ex cathedra means "from the [bishop's] chair."
Ex Officio: "by right of office." Often used when someone holds one position by virtue of holding another.
Exempli gratia: "For example." Usually abbreviated to ‘e.g.’ and often confused with ‘i.e.’ Example: "Many real numbers cannot be expressed as a ratio of integers, e.g., the square root of two."
Flagrante Delicto: A legal term used to indicate that a criminal has been caught in the act of committing an offense (cf. corpus delicti). The colloquial “caught red-handed” or “caught in the act” are English equivalents.
Ibid.: This is the term (short for ibidem) used to provide an endnote or footnote citation or reference for a source that was cited in the preceding endnote or footnote. To find the ibid. source, one has to look at the reference right before it, and so ibid. serves a similar purpose to ditto marks.
Id est: Literally, "that is." Usually abbreviated ‘i.e.’ and often confused with ‘e.g.’ Example: "She won the race, i.e., she crossed the finish line first." The decision whether to use ‘i.e.,’ or ‘e.g.’ should be based on whether "that is" or "for example" would be used if written out in the sentence.
In toto: Entirely.
Ipso Facto: "by the fact itself"
In situ means "in place."
Non Sequitur: It does not follow. Often used as a debating term.
Per Diem: "Per day."
Post Mortem: "After death" - an autopsy.
Prima Facie: "On its first appearance," or "by first instance."
Pro Bono: "for the public good." Usually used of free representation by lawyers
Persona non grata is Latin for a person who is not welcome.
Prima facie means on its first appearance.
Pro forma is the Latin for "as a matter of form."
Pro rata is the Latin for "according to the amount calculated."
Pro tempore or pro tem is the Latin for "for the time (being)."
Quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D.) is the Latin for "that which was to be demonstrated."
Quod vide: Usually abbreviated q.v., this is a scholarly way of directing the reader to a reference.
Quasi: In some manner or to some degree. Similar to the prefix "semi."
Reductio ad absurdum is the Latin for "reduction to absurdity."
Requiescat in Pace or R.I.P. means "let him rest in peace."
Rigor mortis is the Latin for "stiffness of death."
Sine Qua Non: "Without which it could not be" ("but for"). It refers to an indispensable and essential action, condition, or ingredient.
Sub poena comes from the Latin for "under punishment." A subpoena is "a command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony upon a certain matter."
Sui generis is the Latin for "of one's own kind" or "peculiar".
Summa cum laude is the Latin for "with highest praise."
Tabula Rasa is the Latin for "scraped tablet."
Verbatim: Word-for-word. Indicates a precise transmission of a phrase, discussion, or text.
Vice Versa: The other way around.
Videlicet : Usually abbreviated viz., this is translated as "namely."

Based on Wikipedia and other internet resources.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A little Greek and Hebrew

I once wrote an article for the Baptist Waymark titled "What's wrong with the Greek?" I don't remember exactly what all I wrote, but the idea was to urge caution in using the Greek language/New Testament to develop theologies, positions, ideas, etc. At the risk of appearing ignorant, and perhaps even contradictory, I think this is a good maxim to follow -- if you can't find it in the English, it's probably not in the Greek; don't build a theory on it. [If Spanish, French, German, etc. is your native language, place that in the place of "English" in the previous sentence].

Many people recommend using the Greek to get those little nuances and fine points that we might not get in English. And that is not unreasonable. One problem is this -- 98% of us probably don't know enough about the Greek language to get the little "nuances" and "nuggets," and in fact probably confuse ourselves as much as we help ourselves. There are some real Greek language scholars out there, but most of us (including pastors who have studied languages in seminaries and universities) are not really scholars. We know enough to get into trouble, but often not enough to get out of it! A friend on the BaptistBoard once wrote, "I always wince when I hear a preacher 'explain' the Greek or Hebrew because I don't know if he's a dime-store translator or a scholar." Exegetical Fallacies by D. A. Carson should be an eye-opener to anyone who will read it with an open mind. I end by saying that I don't discourage studying and using the Greek language, just urge that we use caution. The same thoughts could be said relative to the Hebrew language as well.

Note: I now remember what I wrote, since I have found it and posted it HERE.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pray for rulers

I Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

To whom -- God, though not specifially mentioned by name in verses 1 and 2, is understood as the one to whom we pray.
For whom -- Men in general and leaders in particular.
To what end -- That we Christians may lead a quiet, peaceable, godly honest life.

It is the duty of civil government to preserve peace and quiet, and protect the people that dwell under its rule.
It is the duty of saints to live lawfully and peaceably under the government they are providentially placed.
"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." (Prov. 21:1) Our prayer acknowledges the sovereignty of God and hopes that He might bring them that are in authority to the knowledge of the truth, or at least so dispose their hearts favorably that God's saints might live peaceably and worship God under their rulership.

But if this does not providentially come to pass, yet we must seek first the kingdom of God.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Altogether Lovely by Mike McInnis

“His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.” -- Song of Solomon 5:16

HE is altogether lovely to them:

In HIS person as the SON of GOD. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Because HE first loved us. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

Because HE demonstrated that love by the sacrifice of HIMSELF. “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)

Because HE continues a present work in HIS people. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

Because they see in HIM their only hope of acceptance with the FATHER. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Rom 5:9-11)

Because HE is coming back to receive HIS own. “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev 22:20)

Excerpt from Grace Gazette Vol. 6 Issue 43, by Michael A. McInnis

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Relationship of Christians and Government


God is sovereign King of Kings
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.

Christians are under and uniquely part of God’s Kingdom.
Colossians 1:12-13 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
John 17:15-16 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

God’s Kingdom is spiritual, not of this world.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Christians are responsible first to God.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Acts 5:27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Human government/governments are ordained by God.
Romans 13:1-6 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.

Details of the relationship between Christians and government

1. Christians ought to obey the law.
Romans 13:1-6 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. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
2. Christians should pay tribute/taxes.
Matthew 22:17-21 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. [Sometimes we are guilty of wanting the services without having the taxes.]
3. Christians ought to pray for those in authority.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
4. Christians ought to honor those in authority.
1 Peter 2: 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
5. Christians ought to use freedom to do good, and so lead others to glorify God.
1 Peter 2:11-17 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
6. Christians’ first allegiance is to God. The government's power ends when it restricts freedom to worship God and to proclaim their faith in Jesus.
Acts 4:18-20 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Worthwhile quote

This statement by David Barton is worth thinking about. He said "last night's election was not a destination, but rather one stop on a lifelong journey..."

And in important news...

The new mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky is Lucy Lou, a red & white border collie who has lived her whole life there. She easily outdistanced Toby the Springer Spaniel, Travis the cat, and Higgins the jackass.

New President-elect

Barack Obama is the new president-elect of the United States. The election of the first African-American President is historic, and certainly symbolic of the equality of African-Americans in the United States. Eventually, his being the first African-American President will become the stuff of trivia. His real merit will be judged on how he actually fulfills the role of President based on the U.S. Constitution (Article 2).

We often speak and write in generalities and with technical inaccuracies. Yesterday Barack Obama won the popular vote, easily securing the number of electors necessary to be elected President. In the technical sense he will not be elected President until the electors do so on December 15. This is certainly expected, based on their election by popular vote. He will become President of the United States on January 20, 2009.

I Timothy 2:1-2: I exhort therefore, made for...all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

In a little different spirit...

I Timothy 2:1-2: I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Bob Barr said

Asked for his response concerning being a spoiler just taking from the main parties, presidential candidate Bob Barr said, "the main parties certainly deserve it." He further pointed out that if you want to waste a vote, then vote Republican or Democrat -- because that guarantees nothing of any substance will change.
(From interview with Rosemary Church of CNN.)

How to vote

On this US election day we can take an issue to help understand how the national parties line up. Today's issue -- dope-smoking.

Socialist Party -- advocates public ownership of all drugs, collects all the dope, redistributes and smokes it according to government policy.
Republican Party -- bans dope-smoking while abusing prescription medication.
Prohibition Party -- do I really have to explain this one?
Libertarian Party -- wants to be left alone, whether to smoke or not smoke dope.
Green Party -- sympathizes with the dope-smoker, but is afraid the smoke will harm the environment.
Democratic Party -- develops programs for the poor to be able to smoke dope at someone else's expense.
Constitution Party -- believes the States should decide whether to smoke or not smoke dope.

Perhaps you are still undecided how to vote. I hope this helps!

Monday, November 03, 2008

A peculiar people

"...what could be odder than the creator of the universe washing people’s feet, telling us we will find riches in poverty, life in death, power in meekness, and that ultimate glory and truth will be hidden from the wisest but revealed to little children? This is indeed an odd kingdom we followers of Christ live in.
"A peculiarity of this kingdom is that God has decided that through us, his church, blind beggars that we are, 'the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.' (Eph. 3:10-11)."

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I wonder...

...why Bob Barr should not be the only presidential candidate on the ballot in Texas? Both Republicans and Democrats missed the August 26 deadline to file.

Surely there is some "conspiracy" that favors the two-party system so that the same rules don't apply to them. Shame, shame.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Old Baptist quotes (3)

"Pigmies can minister to the urbane and courteous. Only strong men can brave the destitute nooks, where darkness reigns." -- Walter M. Lee in A Century of Growth in Dodge County, Georgia, 1923, p. 10