Christians in Parliament (3)

Jesus reminded the devil of the requirement for maintaining the kingdom grant: obedience. Prosperity is not a matter of power; it is a matter of covenantal obedience. His power over the stones was unquestioned. The devil did not suggest otherwise. In fact, the temptation rested on the presupposition that Jesus possessed such power. The nature of this temptation was an appeal to power. This was one more example of the power religion vs. the dominion religion. Jesus refused to invoke power rather than ethics.[1]

Almost inevitably in human history, the getting of power leads to the abuse of it. We don’t need to go to the conventional text-books of history to discover that: it’s in the Bible. Before David became king of Israel, he essentially had charge of hundreds of armed men.

On one occasion when a deputation from him to a wealthy landowner seeking assistance was offensively rejected, he very nearly abused his power, in a nasty display of vengeance (see I Samuel 25). The fact was he had military power, and only the intervention of a shrewd and wise woman in the person of Abigail, prevented him from murdering innocent people.

The abuse of power, and even the threat of it, is commonplace in the modern world. Some years ago, US Presidential candidates were being interviewed. The Republican candidate Ben Carson (purportedly a believer) had this to say years ago, about his views on defence:

… if we get defense wrong, nothing else matters, because we live in a hostile world. So you’re going to see our military capabilities improve quite substantially… Recognizing that we have a 14 percent decrease in people applying for our volunteer military. That’s going to hurt us badly in the long run.

You’re going to see us beef up our cyber capabilities substantially, you’re going to see us respond to people who attack us in a way that they will never forget.

You’re going to see much more proactive stance towards someone like Putin, you know, we’re going to be much more active throughout the whole Baltic basin area, Eastern Europe, we’re going to reestablish missile defense program, we’re going to have more than one or two armored brigades in that area. We’re gonna stand up to him, every place in the Middle East, we’re not gonna back down.[2]

Ben Carson doesn’t know it, but the Middle East is reeling from the abuse of power by the US, over generations. The last thing it needs is more US meddling and warmongering; more “armored brigades” in the area. The best thing for the US would be to leave the Middle East alone.

Pride in an individual’s heart is what leads to the abuse of power. This was Uzziah’s sin, when he foolishly entered the temple and tried to usurp to himself the role of a priest (II Chron.26:16-22). God judged him with leprosy.

There is one thing that can keep a political leader from the abuse of power: the law of God. When God instructed Israel concerning the legitimacy of it choosing a king, He gave specific conditions for this (see Deut.17:14-20). He commanded that when this man became king, he

Shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing the words of this law and these statutes, so that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen… (Deut.17:18-20).

This was the difference shown by Jesus when He was tempted by the devil. The scripture shows (Mat.4:1-11) that His first recourse was the law of God. In response to temptation, He quoted from Deuteronomy.

Power never corrupted anyone, but it surely reveals what’s in people. When corrupt people are given power, they very quickly manifest their true nature.

If a leader really wants to do people no harm, his first recourse should be the law of God. Why? Because it will be a restraining influence. It confronts any tendencies he has to think too highly of himself. The Bible promises,

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers (Ps.1:1-3).

Consider Joseph. He’d already shown he’d be faithful to God under pressure, and he never made expansive claims of his own abilities. When he was brought before Pharoah, who had heard he could interpret dreams, he immediately acknowledged, “…It is not in me; God will give Pharoah a favorable answer” (Gen.41:16).

Joseph knew he didn’t personally have the solutions to Pharoah’s difficulties. He was merely a communicator of God’s truth to Pharoah, which is just what every believer ought to be. He had to pass on some facts that God has shown him. As a result, Pharoah promoted him.

Conclusion:

You really want to serve God from political office? There’s nothing wrong with that. But there will be a lot wrong with that, if you don’t read the law of God, every day of your life, and obey it.

 

 

[1]Gary North, “Priorities and Dominion,” 2000, ch.1.

[2] Quoted in Laurence Vance, “Ben Carson: Welfare/Warfare Statist,” (www.lewrockwell.com), 20/10/2015.

The American Love Affair With War

Donald Trump’s recent assassination of Iranian Maj. General Qassem Soleimani was not an exceptional act of madness by a deranged president. It was instead the continuation of a long, unfortunate American tradition. Military aggressiveness has been a feature of U.S. foreign policy for a very long time.

As I detail in my book , Americans love to portray themselves as the “greatest,” the “good guys” in each of their nearly continuous foreign skirmishes. While it certainly appears to any disinterested observer that we are the initiator in most, if not all, of these conflicts, the official mantra is that we are never at fault. We are only defending ourselves, even if the opponent is smaller and weaker to a laughable degree, as it usually is.

Abraham Lincoln set so many horrific precedents, and his manipulation of events that resulted in the South technically firing the first shot at Fort Sumter, paved the way for false flags like “Remember the Maine” in 1898, the sinking of the Lusitania  which “forced” us to enter World War I, the “sneak” attack on Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin incident which is now universally acknowledged to have never happened, the “weapons of mass destruction” lie under Dubya Bush, and many other less obvious ones.

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Each time one of these false flags occurred, or stories demonizing the latest flavor of the month in some far-flung land appeared in our state-run media, the overwhelming majority of the American people swallowed the propaganda. H.L. Mencken defined it perfectly nearly a century ago when he said, “the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

In just the past few decades, this “endless series of hobgoblins” has included Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi,  Slobodan Milosevic, Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-un, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, and now Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani was that rarity; a bogeyman who literally came out of nowhere to be suddenly categorized as one of the world’s most dangerous characters. Who had even heard of him before he was assassinated by our forces? And how did he cause the “hundreds” of deaths of Americans which are now routinely attributed to him? Hundreds of Americans were killed in Iran by this guy? Are there even hundreds of Americans in Iran presently?

And, like all modern bogeymen, Soleimani has been described as a “bully.” Alex Jones, now a pathetic shell of what he once was, declared that we couldn’t keep letting Iran “push us around.” Exactly how has Iran ever “pushed us around?” And how do you describe an officer with a military that is only a fraction of ours, in size and power, as a “bully?” That is like Mike Tyson assaulting a kindergartner, claiming they “started it,” and thereafter castigating him as a “bully.”

We definitely “started it” with Iran with the 1953 overthrow of their democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. This was perhaps the CIA’s first foray into replacing elected officials in other countries with U.S. puppets. Patrice Lumumba of Congo would be assassinated in 1961, three days after the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic was gunned down six months later, and in 1973 Salvador Allende died of supposedly self-inflicted gunshot wounds during a coup d’état engineered by the CIA. There were others, but suffice to say it is beyond ludicrous to be outraged by the alleged (and totally imaginary) interference by the Russians in our 2016 presidential election.

In 1976, due to the revelations from the U.S. Senate hearings chaired by Frank Church, which first exposed the above plots, as well as the CIA/Mafia efforts to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro, to the public, Gerald Ford was pressured to sign an executive order stating: “No employee of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire in, political assassination.” Less than forty years later, “liberal” President Barack Obama would not only assassinate American citizen Anwar al Awlaki, who had not even been charged with any crime, he bragged about it publicly, and then killed his sixteen year old son the next month for good measure. Talk about impeachable offenses!

Well-meaning liberals still talk about the assassination attempts on Castro, and other American efforts which were successful, as if we “learned” something from that post-Watergate 1970s era. Many of these same people presumably voted for Obama and Hillary Clinton for president. Obama, as noted, bragged about assassinating an American citizen, and Hillary memorably gloated, “We came. We saw. He died.” Were they just appalled by assassination in their youth? They certainly seem to approve of it now.

When pre-Chelsea Bradley Manning exposed the shameful conduct of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the response on the part of most Americans wasn’t favorable. Public opinion polls don’t give us much confidence about America’s collective moral barometer. We just don’t like whistle blowers. Donald Trump’s pardon of Navy Seal Edward Gallagher demonstrates that both “liberal” and “conservative” leaders support the kind of behavior that was also exposed in all those leaked photos of smiling U.S. military men and women, posing next to dead corpses, and engaging in various forms of often sexually-themed torture of enemy prisoners.

Most of these travesties took place at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and were condemned by most of the world. The photos released to the public were shocking enough, but reporter Seymour Hersh has long alleged that American troops raped Iraqi children in front of their mothers. It’s hard to imagine a worse “war crime” than that, but many in this country would find a way to justify it. How else are we supposed to make them stop “hating our freedom?”

What we saw in those horrific photos of U.S. troop members, posing happily next to dead bodies or piles of naked male Iraqis, should have outraged the general public. Instead, a majority probably approved. The prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba came to represent all that’s true and just in America 2.0: torture, human rights abuses, all inflicted on “detainees” who are the modern manifestation of the northern citizens locked up by Lincoln during the Civil War for opposing his tyranny. Barack Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay, but once elected this promise became as empty as all those Donald Trump made about immigration and ending “all these senseless wars.”

The “liberal” mainstream media is noticeably silent on Trump’s assassination of Soleiamani. A commentator for NBC called it “the smart thing to do,” and absurdly maintained that “Whether most Americans knew it or not, Soleimani was already waging a shadow war with the West and its regional partners.” This “shadow war,” along with the mythical “sleeper cells” right-wingers have been warning about for decades, certainly was waged from the shadows, because no one provided the slightest evidence for it.

We remain the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons on another, when we dropped the bomb on an utterly defeated people, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That hasn’t stopped us from lecturing “rogue” nations like Iran, who our leaders assure us “can’t be trusted” with such deadly weapons. Israel, of course, has had an impressive nuclear program since the Kennedy administration, when JFK was engaged in a behind-the-scenes, increasingly vitriolic fight with then Israeli President David Ben-Gurion about it.

Our citizens love the military. Uncle Sam wants you. Plant those victory gardens. Buy those bonds. Support the troops. Thank you for your service. There was little public outcry when it was revealed that our government pays NFL teams to promote our military industrial complex during its games.

It’s easy for our leaders to support war. It’s always popular, and no one they love will be fighting in one. The $300 “rich man’s exemption” which was instituted during Lincoln’s war of northern aggression- yet another terrible precedent- still figuratively exists. It’s always been the sons (and now daughters, in yet another “advance”) of the poor and working class dying in the trenches, and firing off the missiles. The children of the wealthy are always safely ensconced at college, or getting Donald Trump-style deferments. That doesn’t stop them from developing into adult chicken hawks like Lindsay Graham, Dick Cheney and countless others, none of whom ever sniffed a battlefield but have never seen a war they don’t love.

Ambrose Bierce said that patriotism was the first refuge of a scoundrel. Nothing brings out the “USA! USA!” chants better than waving the flag. Just assure the masses that they’re always right, and the most generous, intelligent people in the world. Young Bill Clinton, fervent anti-war protester during the Vietnam War, the only war in our history that garnered any appreciable amount of public opposition, learned how to salute the troops as well as anyone else. Ronald Reagan, noted nonparticipant in WWII himself, started this ridiculous tradition of a civilian commander-in-chief saluting actual troops.

Our founders never intended for America to have a standing army. They certainly never envisioned a monstrosity like the military industrial complex and its nefarious intelligence agencies. But the public doesn’t seem to mind. Give them the pomp of a good flyover or cannon blast. Watch them tear up at staged reunions between soldiers and their young children. They used to call it bread and circuses.

There are no voices for peace with a large public platform, unless you count Tulsi Gabbard, who has her own questionable baggage. But there are millions willing to beat the war drums when ordered to do so. Mark Twain, who said so many memorable things, noted that “God created war so that Americans would learn geography.” So perhaps it does serve a constructive purpose, although Americans still seem woefully ignorant about geography (and pretty much everything else).

Sun Tzu, who wrote is still quoted widely by our sociopathic leaders in business and government. John F. Kennedy’s timeless 1963 commencement address at American University, where he advocated for peace as no other American president ever has, was probably the final nail in his coffin, on the other hand.

John Quincy Adams spoke for virtually every American leader during the revolutionary era when he said, “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Our leaders have constructed a foreign policy that does nothing else.

“They Shall Not Grow Old” is a Superb Antiwar Film

05/27/2019

 

I recently saw the documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, an account by English soldiers of their experiences in the Great War of 1914-1918. Culled from hundreds of hours of colorized actual wartime footage, it’s a beautiful and heart wrenching film. It’s also a superb antiwar film, simply through its graphic and accurate depiction of mass death and casualties across blood-soaked European battlefields.

Refreshingly, the film relies solely on audio transcripts from about 200 English soldiers who fought in World War I. There is no script, and no narration. The viewer simply hears the gravelly, aged voices of the soldiers themselves, never identified by name or rank. They are anonymous, but judging by the towns from which they hailed and the farm or factory jobs they left, most were enlisted men.

Though commissioned by the BBC, producer Sir Peter Robert Jackson has no political axe to grind. This is a story of men, of human beings and their oftentimes horrific experiences in perhaps the savagest of modern wars. It has little to say about particular battles, commanding officers, politicians, or any of the events surrounding the war. It stands apart from most war documentaries precisely because Jackson strenuously avoids any filter between the soldiers’ recollections and the viewer.

From the outset we see the naivete of young men, many no more than 15 or 16. They hear vague rumors about the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. They see activity in their small towns and villages, with soldiers bustling about setting up enlistment stations. They read newspaper reports about Germany threatening Europe, and feel both pressure and pride compelling them to join the war effort. Though the official enlistment age is 19, many of the taller boys lie and are readily accepted.

For almost all of them, signing up is simply the thing to do. They join the fight for their mates, for their families, and for the approval of the girls and older people in their towns. Still teenage boys, they have no capacity to imagine or justify what will come. Questions of politics and ideology, questions about just or unjust war, are simply outside of their thinking at the time. Joining the war, and defending England, are obviously the right thing to do.

Training is a scant six weeks.  A few older men in their 30s and 40s with military experience set up barracks and begin teaching basic formations and physical fitness. Quartermasters dole out ill-fitting uniforms and stiff boots, all fated to become rotted and waterlogged in trenches. Well-used Enfield rifles are issued, heavy and quite foreign to many of the boys who have never fired a gun. And after just a few weeks, the boys head off to the beaches, woods, and fields of France, Germany, Prussia, Belgium, and beyond—scarcely removed from their school boy or farm boy days. Anyone with a young teenager can imagine how their parents felt.

The battle scenes are gruesome, and intense. The film does not spare viewers. Dead and dismembered bodies feature frequently, but the sheer horror and bloodshed are moving rather than gratuitous. Humanity in wartime isn’t an abstraction, but the real and abject collection of flesh, bone, organs, blood, and tissue of the soldiers who were running beside you a moment ago. War is violence, and They Shall Not Grow Old never strays from reality.

Motorized military transport was less common then, and horses were ubiquitous. Officers in particular still relied on them. But the equines too are slaughtered, and some post-battle scenes show a staggering number of dead and injured horses, some still braying and flopping in misery.

Battlefield medicine and medical corps were rudimentary by today’s standards, and the fighting is often too intense or lengthy to allow for removal of dead and injured comrades. Many soldiers lie horrifically injured for hours or even days, writhing in pain and often bleeding to death before help could arrive. During lulls in fighting, the soldiers do the best they can to walk among the bodies and search for signs of breathing or movement, and in some terrible cases make the decision to shoot a suffering man who clearly won’t survive as an act of mercy. With the sheer number of dead, and the constant need to advance against the enemy, mass burials on the fly are commonplace. Chaplains do their best to hold brief services, with the ragtag survivors doffing their helmets and allowing themselves a moment of quiet.

Privation is as constant as the fighting. Troops eat when they can at the front, mostly bread and jam with a bit of bacon and hard tack biscuits in an English tin (an early version of today’s MREs). Many only weigh 10 stone. Coffee or tea is a luxury, requiring a heating fire. Oftentimes trenches fill with water, soaking their legs and leading to savage rot and infection in their lower extremities. Water borne diseases run rampant, shaving and haircuts become more and more difficult, and dental care is almost nonexistent—as made clear by the gray and jumbled grins the soldiers sometimes manage to flash for cameras. Rats and lice are constant companions in the trenches.

As German forces retreat, and victory becomes more likely, the English troops begin taking prisoners. This part of the film is especially hopeful, as it shows the common humanity between working class enlisted soldiers on both sides. German combatants (though sometimes not the hated machine gunners) who put their hands up and their rifles down are taken into impromptu custody and fed. The English soldiers recognize the Germans as boys just like them, though skinnier and provisioned more badly. Some captors speak German, some prisoners speak English. Cigarettes and coffee are spoken by all. The Germans are pitied, not hated. They all lament the damnable war, and talk about going home.

But going home is not so easy, and at the end of the film surviving soldiers recount their jarring experiences returning to their old lives. Though there has been rationing and hardship across England, their families and friends can’t relate to what they’ve been through. Ludwig von Mises experienced this too, upon return to Vienna from his time in the Austro-Hungarian army: only other soldiers could truly understand what they had seen and done. The economy in post-war England is wrecked, and many returning soldiers find their old jobs gone and their former employers less than sympathetic. There are no ticker tape parades to welcome them home and no GI bill to get them back on their feet. It’s hardly surprising many rebelled against the English class system during the interwar years, no longer content “down on the farm” as the famous song went.

Memorial Day observes and seeks to remember the wartime deaths of American soldiers. Observation, not celebration, differentiates it from Armistice Day (now Veteran’s Day). We should observe and memorialize death, but celebrate the end of war. Anyone who watches They Shall Not Grow Old will do both, and feel intense gratitude for the relative peace we enjoy today in the West.

The film invites all of us to reflect on the pettiness and minor irritations of our easy lives. It inspires us to recommit ourselves to peace, and to challenge those who advocate for endless US wars. Most of all, this great film will make you angry at the politicians and generals who sent those young boys off to slaughter 100 years ago.

Jeff Deist is president of the Mises Institute. He previously worked as chief of staff to Congressman Ron Paul, and as an attorney for private equity clients. Contact: emailtwitter.

The Beginnings of Christian Reform (38)

Christianity and Economics (2)

  1. Dominion by Subordination:

In 1920, Ludwig von Mises wrote the most important economics article in the 20th century. He argued that socialism is economically irrational. It is irrational because it does not allow the private ownership of property. This means that the capital markets cannot accurately price capital in terms of supply and demand. The planners’ pricing will be irrational. [1]

The second principle of a Biblical covenant is the principle of hierarchy-authority. Yes, God directly and personally controls His creation through His transcendence, but He has delegated to mankind the task of caring for the creation as a whole.

In order to do this, and to increase each individual’s productivity through co-operative effort, God established several hierarchical chains of command through which men are to exercise their God-given authority. These are the family, the church and State (ITE, p.23). When people function submissively and scripturally within these institutions, it is likely to lead to their increase and growth. Why? This is God’s way. He effectively says to everybody, “Do things My way, and I’ll look after you.” Jesus said in Mat.6:33, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Christian maturity increases when individual self-government under God’s law increases.

Multiple Hierarchies:                                                                                        

Because of the God-imposed principle of division of labour (I Cor.12) we need cooperation. This means within the church, but also with outsiders. Thus the economy is the primary means of cultural dominion: it enables Christians to enlist the skills and capital of those who do not agree with our first principles (ITE, p.24). Multiple hierarchies mean decentralisation, so that responsibility and power are spread around, which has always been desirable in history, to prevent tyranny and the abuse of power. Christians should always oppose central planning agencies for the economy.

The wise person understands that God has all authority. In submission to God, every person has legitimate delegated authority, which means he is to serve as a miniature judge, a representative of God’s supreme authority (I Cor.6:3). Everybody begins as a follower, and as we continue to show willingness to obey God, He may add responsibility and authority to us.

Each of God’s three lawfully ordained human governments-family, church and State-possesses God given authority in the field of economics, but the primary agency of economic authority is the family. The family is the primary agency of dominion, and dominion involves the extension of man’s authority over the various operations of the creation. What is evident, is that “the basis of any man’s rule over the creatures and resources of the earth is his humility and his willing obedience to a sovereign and all-knowing God.”  When Jesus promised that “the meek will inherit the earth” (Mat.5:5 KJV), He wasn’t promising anything for wimps. We are to be meek before God. Authority requires humility (ITE, p.26-27).

The best leaders, are those who have learnt how to follow. Within the Holy Trinity, there was and is, a chain of command. The Father sent the Son (Jn.8:29), and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit (Jn.16:7). Being a follower, does not make one inferior, for it is evident that Jesus was happy to do the will of His Father from His youth to His death. But obedience to superior authority is the testing ground for future responsibility and authority, which Jesus now has (Mat.28:18).

Family Property:                                                                                                      

The Bible teaches that property is primarily owned by families. God Himself is a family of three, and mankind is made in His image. Mankind reproduces itself and extends dominion over the creation through the most universal institutional unit, the family. God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply- a biological task to be performed within the bounds of the family covenant. Because the family is the primary agency of dominion, families are to be the primary owners of property. Marriage leads to stability, prosperity, and predictable moral behaviour. Without strong family units, a society will be far poorer, and in most cases, each individual within society would find himself with much less wealth.

The family is the first place where we learn dominion by subordination. The Bible gives us a hierarchy for the family. Husbands are to exercise godly, responsible dominion, taking responsibility for the actions of family members, as the head of their household. Wives are under the authority of their husbands. This does not make them morally inferior,[2] it merely is a practical outworking of the fact, that dominion requires service. Dominion requires subordination. Dominion is by covenant. Women can advance their status and authority by helping their husband and children. The family hierarchy which God has instituted trains children in the steps for successful dominion. Jesus continued in subjection to His earthly parents (Luke 2:51-52), and now the Bible describes Him as “the heir of all things” (Heb.1:2).

Hierarchies in relationships are an inescapable concept. The person who rejects the notion and runs away from it, cannot escape to a cave. It’s only a question of which hierarchy? This applies to the issue of debt. The Bible tells us, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave” (Prov.22:7). The notion of debt is one that ought to be carefully considered by the believer, as the Bible commands us, to “owe no man anything but love” (Ro.13:8).[3] One of the marks of the blessing of the Lord on an individual, a community or nation, was that “you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow” (Deut.28:12).

Because man outside of Christ tends to think short-term, and wants his goals immediately, he tells himself that the only way to get ahead is to borrow the money to gain the life-style he wants. This is a form of bondage. His economic state is a reflection of his spiritual state-his rebellion against God. When debt is engaged in on a massive scale, the debtors begin to put pressure on their political leaders to inflate the economy, as this makes their repayments easier. This suits them temporarily, but long-term inflation reduces community co-operation, and has many other undesirable consequences, and may result in the destruction of a currency.

Theft is Immoral:

Modern economic thought is humanistic to the core, whether conservative, libertarian, Keynesian, Marxist, or whatever. All schools of thought begin with the proposition that man is the measure of all things, and man’s mind is capable, apart from Biblical revelation to interpret the world correctly. This is why modern economic theory is in the process of disintegration.[4]

The third principle of a Biblical covenant is the principle of ethics-dominion. The basis of long-term authority is obedience to God’s law. This principle of dominion through moral obedience is related to economics in numerous ways, but nothing is clearer than the Bible’s prohibition against theft. The eighth commandment (Ex.20:15) prohibits theft. This unquestionably is the basis for the defence of the idea of private property (ITE, p.37).

The most important single example of theft that we have in the Bible is the theft by Adam and Eve of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3). The test of men’s responsibility under God was visibly a test of respect for another man’s property.

Satan came to them, and specifically to Eve, and tempted them to violate God’s Word. He said that they would not be punished as God had said, that they would not die on the date they ate of the tree. He also insinuated that God was being mean, and holding something back from them; He was monopolising the use of the tree; He was tight-fisted. Now was their chance to assert their rights as citizens of the Garden, to take what they wanted, to have real power. They’d find out that God wasn’t so Almighty, after all!

Adam and Eve found out the hard way that theft brings pain, and that Satan was a liar. God did judge them, throwing them out of the garden, and bringing them under a curse, which is still evident in the world. Yet, with judgment came the promise of a Saviour (Gen.3:15).

Theft comes in many forms, is always satanically motivated, and always results in judgment of some kind. God destroyed Ahab and Jezebel for stealing Naboth’s vineyard and killing him (I Kings 21), and He sets Himself against those today who introduce inheritance taxes, graduated income tax and those who want to confiscate wealth through policies of “re-distribution” or “social justice,” the policies of socialism. God will not be mocked.

Theft can also be in the form of an employee talking on the phone to friends, when he is on the job, chronically being a late-starter, taking long lunch breaks, or in pursuing his own interests in the boss’s time. It can be offering an employee a bonus if he gets work done in a specified time, but then failing to pay him. It is in advertising that a product will do a certain job, which it doesn’t. Essentially, the thief denies to someone else the right to pursue his own life in his own way (ITE, p.43). Theft is an assault, not just on an individual, but on civilisation.

In Summary:

  1. Men are responsible primarily to God.
  2. God is the only true central planner.
  3. The primary agency of economic planning is the family, as the primary owner of property.
  4. The primary agency of the family is the husband.
  5. Socialistic central planning is demonic; it is man’s attempt to replace God.
  6. Socialistic central planning requires a tyrannical elite.
  7. Individual responsibility requires individual initiative.
  8. Individual initiative requires personal liberty.
  9. Obedience to God is the basis for liberty.
  10. Reconciling differences requires a system of appeals courts (plural).
  11. Men are responsible (subordinate) to several human agencies.
  12. No one human institution is absolutely sovereign.
  13. Submission to authority is absolutely necessary. Man must serve someone.
  14. Leadership begins with “followership.”
  15. Man operating independently from God (autonomy) results in failure and defeat.
  16. Wealth flows towards those who accept personal responsibility for their actions.
  17. Responsible action requires a concept of law and ethics.
  18. Biblical law is the basis of responsible dominion.

 

 

[1] Gary North, his website (garynorth.com), 22/1/2009.

[2] Regardless of their position of subordination, many wives are ethically superior, and being women, have different insights than their husband. This means in their function as a “helper,” they have much to contribute. See Andrew McColl, “They Shall Become One,” ch.15-28, 2009.

[3] For more on this, see Ian Hodge, “Making Sense of Your Dollars,” 1995, section 14A.

[4] Gary North, “The Dominion Covenant,” 1987, back cover.

 

SHOULD CHRISTIANS ACCEPT THAT AN ANTI-CHRISTIAN ‘SECULARIZED SOCIETY’ IS INEVITABLE?

In an earlier article (“Christian Lawyer and Church Elder Says Christians Must ‘Surrender to Unbelievers at Every Level’”) I dealt with comments made by Carlos Chung who argued that “As soldiers of Christ, we are to surrender to unbelievers at every level.” Chung’s article appears on “The Master’s Seminary Blog.” If this is what seminarians are being taught, we are in big trouble.

While not addressing Chung’s article directly and agreeing with some of my comments, Michael Brown vehemently disagrees that Christians should surrender to the secularists:

As followers of Jesus, we are called to submit to the laws of the land and to honor those in authority. The New Testament is very clear on this (see especially Romans 13:1-7). It is also very clear that there are exceptions to this rule, namely, when the authorities require us to disobey the Lord (see Acts 5:40-42). In that case, with respect, we say, “We must obey God rather than man” (see Acts 4:18-205:29; to be perfectly clear, I’m speaking of non-violent resistance to the law.)

That time has come for parents in California.

In good conscience, they must say NO to the school authorities and YES to the Lord. It’s time to declare to the schools of California, “Quit using our children as pawns in the culture wars! Quit sexualizing our kids!”Pastor John MacArthur has stated that he “couldn’t care less about the culture wars.” I’m curious to know what he would say to Christian parents who attend his church about what type of anti-Christian education their children are getting and have been getting for decades in California and across the United States.

Available at American Vision

Education is part of the culture wars. In fact, it’s the driving force behind the culture wars. Whoever controls the schools rules the world.

Should Christian parents surrender their children to the educational establishment as “soldiers of Christ”? As a way of reminder, here’s what Chung wrote: “We are to surrender in public and in private, at the macro level and on the micro level, on a national scale and on a private scale. We are to surrender to every secular authority that is placed over us.”

I agree with Dr. Brown that Christian parents “must say NO to the school authorities and YES to the Lord.” They should do this by taking their children out of the government schools while they have the freedom to do so.

There is no way to avoid the culture wars. The answer, contrary to Chung, is not to surrender to the state government of California. Parents have a duty to protect their children from the pestilence of governmental and educational evil. They need to be proactive as our Christian forefathers were. Surrender is not an option.

In a previous article Chung wrote the following:

A secularized society is one that divorces itself from spiritual truths. It casts off what it perceives to be the foolishness of Scripture, and then each man begins to do that which is right in his own eyes. Over time, a secularized society will become increasingly hostile toward God and the people of God.

We have seen this progression in our own culture.

Available at American Vision

There was a time when God and Scripture were woven into the fabric of this nation. This is not to say that our nation was ever Christian, but if you look at the seminal documents that gave birth to this nation, you will find them replete with references not only to God, but Scripture. Today we live in a very different society.

Why do we live in “a different society” today? Because Christians have been told to surrender to the secular forces of the day and not to involve ourselves beyond personal spiritual piety.

John MacArthur wrote something very familiar in his book Why Government Can’t Save You, MacArthur opens the first chapter with a description of how things used to be:

There was a time when nearly everyone could name off all the Ten Commandments, but today most don’t know what the Ten Commandments are…. [T]ere was a time (not so many years ago), when respectable citizens uniformly disapproved of homosexuality, adultery, and divorce; believed sexual promiscuity was absolutely wrong; disdained cursing or obscene language; saw abortion as unthinkable; and automatically held public officials to high moral and ethical standards. But today many citizens, when polled on such issues, view them either as acceptable practices, civil rights, or inconsequential matters.1

Why was there “such a time”? Because Christians were actively engaged with their world long before the phrase “culture wars” was coined.

Can you imagine what our world be like if the views of Chung and MacArthur were prevalent 2000 years ago? Christians and non-Christians are living off the stored capital of past generations of Christians who did not surrender to secular forces. Chung even admits this: “if you look at the seminal documents that gave birth to this nation, you will find them replete with references not only to God, but Scripture.” What happened? Christians are being told not to vote and not to engage in the culture wars. I’m sure glad Chung’s views weren’t around when Christians applied their Christianity to the realm of politics when the United States were established.

Chung should spend some time reading Vishal Mangawaldi’s The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization.

Much of the problem of the above thinking is that the primary proponents of such views have an eschatology that’s out of whack. They are always claiming that we’re living on the precipice of history. Something called the “rapture” is always just around the corner.

We’re told that what we’re seeing in the world is a prophetic inevitability. MacArthur said the following in his short video on the Culture Wars:

I can’t get engaged in a culture war if you are just shifting around the furniture of the deck of the Titanic. This thing is going down, and it doesn’t matter how we arrange the moral furniture. What matters is that we have lives that impact eternity that bring people the gospel that saves them forever.

There you have it. All the stored moral capital built up over centuries didn’t mean a hill of beans because “this thing is going down.” How long have we been hearing the end-time mantra that Jesus is coming soon to rescue His church from a Great Tribulation?

William Edgar, a professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, recounts the time in the 1960s he spent studying in L’Abri, Switzerland, under the tutelage of Francis Schaeffer (1912–1984):

I can remember coming down the mountain from L’Abri and expecting the stock market to cave in, a priestly elite to take over American government, and enemies to poison the drinking water. I was almost disappointed when these things did not happen.2

Is Jesus Coming Soon?
Available at American Vision

Edgar speculates, with good reason, that it was Schaeffer’s “premillenarian eschatology,” a position shared by Chung and MacArthur, that negatively affected the way he saw and interpreted world events. One of Schaeffer’s last books, A Christian Manifesto, did not call for cultural transformation but civil disobedience as a stopgap measure to postpone an inevitable societal decline. “The fact remains that Dr. Schaeffer’s manifesto offers no prescriptions for a Christian society…. The same comment applies to all of Dr. Schaeffer’s writings: he does not spell out the Christian alternative. He knows that you ‘can’t fight something with nothing,’ but as a premillennialist, he does not expect to win the fight prior to the visible, bodily return of Jesus Christ to earth to establish His millennial kingdom.”3

Os Guinness writes that “dispensational premillennialism … has had unfortunate consequences on the Christian mind,” including reinforcing an already developing “anti-intellectualism” and a “general indifference to serious engagement with culture.”4

Tom Sine offers a startling example of the effect “prophetic inevitability” can have on some people:

“Do you realize if we start feeding hungry people things won’t get worse, and if things don’t get worse, Jesus won’t come?” interrupted a coed during a Futures Inter-term I recently conducted at a northwest Christian college. Her tone of voice and her serious expression revealed she was utterly sincere. And unfortunately I have discovered the coed’s question doesn’t reflect an isolated viewpoint. Rather, it betrays a widespread misunderstanding of biblical eschatology … that seems to permeate much contemporary Christian consciousness. I believe this misunderstanding of God’s intentions for the human future is seriously undermining the effectiveness of the people of God in carrying out his mission in a world of need…. The response of the (student) … reflects what I call the Great Escape View of the future. So much of the popular prophetic literature has focused our attention morbidly on the dire, the dreadful, and the destruction of all that is.5

Eschatological ideas have consequences, and many Christians are beginning to understand how those ideas have shaped the cultural landscape. A world always on the precipice of some great and inevitable apocalyptic event is not in need of redemption but only of escape. As one end-time speculator put it, “the world is a sinking Titanic ripe for judgment.”6 Any attempt at reformation would be futile and contrary to God’s unavoidable and predestined plan for Armageddon.

  1. John MacArthur, Why Government Can’t Save You: Alternative to Political Activism (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 2000), 3-4. []
  2. William Edgar, “Francis Schaeffer and the Public Square” in J. Budziszewski, Evangelicals in the Public Square: Four Formative Voices on Political Thought and Action (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 174. []
  3. Gary North and David Chilton, “Apologetics and Strategy,” in Tactics of Christian Resistance: A Symposium, ed. Gary North (Tyler Texas: Geneva Divinity School, 1983), 127–128. Emphasis in original. []
  4. Os Guinness, Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to do About It (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1994), 63–65. []
  5. Tom Sine, The Mustard Seed Conspiracy: You Can Make a Difference in Tomorrow’s Troubled World (Waco, TX: Word, 1981), 69. Emphasis added. []
  6. Jan Markell, “Kingdom Now: We’re Not Returning to Eden.” For a response, see Gary DeMar, “Is the World a Sinking Titanic?,” Biblical Worldview (May 2007), 4–6. []

The Beginnings of Christian Reform (37)

Christianity and Economics (1)

Note: Dr Gary North is probably the world’s foremost Christian economist. I have decided to use one of his 40 books, “Inherit The Earth” (190 pages, published in 1987), as the basis for these articles. The five parts utilise his first five chapter headings. Sections taken wholly from his book will be followed by the term (ITE).

Introduction:

The justification for an economic commentary on the Bible is based on the opening lines of Genesis. God created the world. It is now governed, and has always been governed, by His personal power and purpose. The world is sustained by God. Our world is providential. It reflects His orderly being. Our world is therefore coherent, and it is man’s responsibility, as a species, to discover the providential regularities of the universe, including man’s own being, and then use this knowledge in the tasks of subduing the earth to the glory of God.[1]

Today, the whole world is in rebellion against God in every area of life. This is just as true in the area of economics as it is in every area of life. Christians are called by God to exercise dominion (Gen.1:26-28) in every area of life. God has transferred the ownership of the world to Christians, just as He transferred it to Adam before Adam rebelled. We are now called to take possession of the world in terms of God’s covenantal principles, and by means of God’s sovereign grace.

We must prove ourselves ready to lead. We do this by following God now, before judgment begins. Obedience to God’s principles produces leadership. Disobedience to God’s principles produces His judgment: man’s disinheritance from God’s riches. (ITE, p.6-7)

In 1944, an Austrian economist living and teaching in Great Britain published a remarkable book, The Road to Serfdom. His name was F. A. Hayek…The book received little attention in Great Britain, but in that same year, the Readers Digest published a condensation of it. He sailed to the U. S. as an obscure economist; he arrived as a celebrity. It was The Road to Serfdom more than any other single publication, that launched the revival of free market economics in the English-speaking world. The book’s thesis was simple: it is impossible to preserve freedom under an economy that is run by the State. If the State can take your money, or the fruits of your labour, then it can leave you without the means of pursuing your own personal earthly goals. Democratic socialism is still socialism, he concluded, and voting rights alone will not preserve freedom if men are not allowed to keep most of the fruits of their labour, including intellectual labour. This argument created outrage among democratic socialists all over the world. But decade by decade, Hayek’s warning has begun to be taken seriously by a growing minority of scholars. His predictions about the failure of government economic planning have steadily come true.[2]

  1. God Owns the World:

Economics is subordinate to Biblically revealed religion. So is everything else. Private property is not an absolute principle. Neither is anything else. No arrangement or institution is absolute in history. Only the written word of God possesses unchangeable, comprehensive authority in history. No institution can legitimately claim total allegiance. Any institution that does so will fail. The more secular it is, the sooner it will fail. This is why the Communist Party failed, despite its extraordinary international expansion under Lenin and Stalin. It claimed total allegiance. It could not enforce this. One by one, the most eloquent of Communism’s disaffected former disciples recognized it as the god that had failed, decades before it visibly failed. [3]

The first principle of a Biblical covenant is the principle of transcendence: God’s absolute supremacy. God alone is the absolute ruler over the entire creation. God established the laws by which the creation operates, and He continually judges all the creation in terms of His law and His requirements (ITE, p.10). He created it; He owns it. It’s all His. The concepts of “yours” and “mine” are derived from His ownership of all things. Even these concepts are limited, because we are. We will not be here forever.

Managing God’s property requires stewardship, a concept strongly stressed in the scriptures. “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mystery of God” (I Cor.4:1). Managing God’s property implies performance standards of ownership, which the Bible gives us.

God is transcendent: He reigns supreme over everything, and is different to it. Ownership is ultimately a theocentric subject, because God is at the centre of the universe as its owner. Therefore, ownership is ultimately a religious concept, as God is the absolute owner of creation. We cannot discuss the responsibilities of ownership without discussing what God requires of men as owners of property (ITE, p.11).

The Bible says that God “upholds all things by the Word of His power” (Heb.1:3). So, He not only made it, but He sustains it in His Providence. History exists because of Jesus Christ.

Private Ownership:                                                                                                                 

There is no question that the Bible affirms the notion of private ownership. This is found in the Eighth Commandment, “You shall not steal” (Ex.20:15). The early church in Jerusalem practiced voluntary common ownership of goods. They had been warned by Jesus that Jerusalem would fall to the Romans (Luke 21), so they sold their goods while they still could, and shared their property. Only in Jerusalem did the church adopt this policy of shared property, for only Jerusalem was threatened with God’s prophesied destruction. What is clear is that there is no required system of socialist or communist ownership in God’s administration of things (ITE, p.13-14).

A free market is the best way to determine the value of anything. A free market economy functions as a giant auction, where the highest bid wins. You want it? You pay for it. Money and property entitle people to God-permitted privileges: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave” (Prov.22:7). Profit and loss standards help men discover the best use of the property and assets which God has given to them, and Biblical law gives us the proper rules of ownership and the administration of property.

The notion of ownership of goods entails with it, the idea of boundaries. The original boundary was in the garden, for “the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Gen.2:15). To “keep” means Adam had to keep the garden from somebody else. He was to maintain the garden under God’s delegated authority, as His appointed agent, from intruders. This, and the fact that the tree of knowledge was also off-limits to man, reminds us that God is the owner of all things. It is significant that after their failure, Adam, Eve and Satan were thrown out of the garden. Their failure to observe God’s property rights meant that God would no longer rely on their self-discipline to preserve His order; they were forcibly excluded by a cheribim with a flaming sword (Gen.3:23-24). God had reinforced His property rights as the owner of the garden.

This means that dominion relies on exclusion. God held Adam and Eve legally accountable for their actions in His garden, and they were also economically accountable. They no longer had the preferred piece of ground for growing their strawberries or grapes-they suffered loss. They had to “make do” with what was now available to them-cursed ground. This teaches us that disobedience leads to dispossession.

The concept of boundaries and exclusion has another aspect: marriage. The eighth commandment says “you shall not commit adultery” (Ex.20:14). Marriage is to be preserved. There is a “No Trespassing” sign at the bedroom door, and the church, the State and the family are to impose sanctions on those who commit adultery. The fact that socialists have always worked to reduce the power of the family, indicates that socialism (and the so-called “welfare State”) is inherently anti-Christian.

God has exclusive claims on the lives of all people; He made them. Yet He legally adopts His own people through Jesus Christ, giving us power to become His sons, while He excludes others from His inheritance. Once this adoption has taken place, Satan cannot challenge God’s legal claim as Father to His people. Only God has unlimited claims on people, but we have legitimate, limited claims on one another, as marriage partners (I Cor.7:4-5), as parents (Ex.20:12), as church members (Eph.5:21) and as citizens (Ro.13:1-7).

If God establishes His eternal claims of ownership over mankind, it should not surprise us that He also holds men responsible for the administration of His property (ITE, p.83). This is our training ground for dominion. The legal right to exclude others from a property, from marriage, and from a family means we can get on with the business of developing that person, family or asset to the glory of God. We are all called to be “Developers” of what God has given us (see Luke 19:11-27), so that “little” becomes “big” and “good” becomes “better.”  The idea of leaving money in a handkerchief long-term, is abhorrent to God.

In Summary:

  1. God is the supreme Creator.
  2. God is the absolute owner of all property.
  3. God declared that man should rule over (have dominion over) the other creatures of the earth.
  4. God gives man the responsibility of property management (stewardship before God).
  5. Ownership is a social function (stewardship before men).
  6. God has established standards for legal ownership.
  7. God has established laws for man’s management of God’s property.
  8. Biblical law reveals those standards.
  9. Man, unlike God, has limited knowledge.
  10. Profit and loss standards help men discover the best use of the property which God has entrusted to them.
  11. The free market economy is a giant auction.
  12. The normal rule of this giant auction is “high bid wins.”
  13. The middleman is the economic agent of consumers.
  14. Biblical law establishes the proper rules of ownership and administration of property.

 

[1] Gary North, “The Dominion Covenant,” 1987, p.8-9.

[2] Gary North, “Liberating Planet Earth,” 1987, p.2.

[3] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.54.

 

When Homosexuals Fire-Bombed A Pastor’s Home

By Gary DeMar, May 13, 2019

A video is making the rounds of a Pennsylvania State Representative, a Democrat, who was mocking and harassing an elderly woman who was praying in front of a Planned Parenthood “clinic.” State Rep. Brian Sims’ viral mocking of anti-abortion activists shows the boldness of some homosexual activists.

His initial video, posted to his Facebook page on April 18, shows the lawmaker approaching a woman and three girls outside the Planned Parenthood facility at 12th and Locust streets. He begins to scold them for praying outside the clinic, referring to them as “pseudo-Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here.” The Democrat also offered “$100 to anyone who will identify” the three girls, claiming he was raising money for Planned Parenthood. (Billy Penn)

When has someone who wants to stop women from killing their unborn babies become a “pseudo-Christian”? Sims knew he could do what he did because he knew there wouldn’t be a rebuke from the media or the Democrat Party. We should all be thankful for social media and alternative media for exposing him as a bully.

When it was learned that one of the two suspects in the STEM School attack in Highlands Ranch, Colorado was a 16-year-old transgender who is transitioning from woman to man and who hated Christians and Pres. Trump, most media outlets dropped the story.

“Isn’t it interesting how, just two days after the shooting in Colorado, the suspects have remained relatively unmentioned? This is a drastic departure from every other shooting. The mainstream media aren’t even trying to hide their blatant bias. If the facts don’t fit their narrative, they get left out — even if it’s a tragedy,” said Jon Miller, host of “The White House Brief.” (The Blaze)

What you are about to read is a little-known history of the gay rights movement. Very few people have ever heard this story.

Homosexual groups have thrown blood in church sanctuaries and fire-bombed the home of a San Francisco pastor because they did not like his politics. According to the homosexuals, they deserved to have their church doors locked and their ministers run out of town for the good of society.

It all started when Rev. Chuck McIlhenny, pastor the First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, started a church. In March 1978, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a law which stated that no one could be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. In August of that same year, the church learned that their organist, Kevin, was a practicing homosexual. The young man was approached by Rev. McIlhenny on the basis of Matthew 18:15-20. After several hours of fruitless debate over what the Bible said about homosexuality, Kevin was fired. Based on the anti-discrimination law, Kevin sued Chuck, the church, and the entire Presbytery consisting of ten other churches in northern California. And what was the response of the homosexual community?

The media attention stirred up a spiteful homosexual population in San Francisco. As a result of the news articles and radio interviews, we received obscene phone calls, dozens of threatening letters, pornographic materials mailed to us, and death-threats, some of which described the children in detail C their names, ages, what they looked like, where they attended school, and what sexually deviant acts were going to be performed on them before they killed the children. More than once we had to leave the city for safety.1

Through the legal efforts of John W. Whitehead, Chuck and his church won the first round of their legal battle. Here is some of the April 3, 1980 ruling from Judge John Ertola who argued that the church was “within its rights to fire its organist, who was an unrepentant homosexual”:

The framers of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights wrote the Free Exercise Clause to protect religious beliefs that may not be followed by the majority, to allow every person to obey his own conscience without interference from the government. Freedom of religion is so fundamental to American history that it must be preserved even at the expense of other rights which have become institutionalized by the democratic process.

How times and legal opinions have changed.

As a result of the favourable court ruling, the McIlhenny family “continued to be terrorized by death threats over the phone and through the mail.”2 Homosexual protestors attended Sunday morning worship services. Some defaced pew Bibles and psalters. Others would stand up, walk around, slam windows, and verbally protest while Chuck was speaking. Keep in mind that when homosexuals do not get their way, they riot.

Prior to controlling politics in San Francisco, homosexuals exerted their influence through intimidating violence. “On the night of 21 May 1979 hundreds of angry homosexuals stormed city hall, set fire to trash cans and parts of the building, set police cars on fire, broke windows, and injured scores of policemen” because they did not like a jury’s decision concerning the murder of a homosexual. (McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 81.))

Things got worse for the McIlhennys. Three years after the lawsuit, things heated up once again. Literally. Rocks, beer bottles, beer cans were thrown through the church windows on many occasions. Swastikas were carved in the church doors and drawn on our house. A window in our car was smashed out. Graffiti was spray-painted all over the church, house, and sidewalk. Anti-Christian, pro-homosexual leaflets were scattered around the neighbourhood calling us Nazis, bigots, anti-gay, etc.”3 Their children were once again threatened.

The daily threats and harassment continued for a full three years after the court decision. On three occasions the death threats were of such a serious nature that the McIlhennys flew their children down to Los Angeles to stay with relatives for protection. “Then on 31 May 1983 at 12:30 a.m., someone actually attempted to follow through with their threats to kill us.”4 In the alleyway next to their house, someone lit two cans of gasoline. Donna McIlhenny describes it this way:

The church and the house are right next door to each other, attached by a small alleyway. Our bedroom was right next to the alleyway. As I lay down, I was looking toward the alleyway window. I saw something flicker, and before I could even wonder what it was, a huge ball of fire roared up the alleyway wall and burst through the window into the bedroom, breaking the quarter inch pane of glass.5

God spared the McIlhenny family that night. The fireman on the scene told the McIlhennys, “The intent was to kill. It’s as if someone pointed a gun in your face and pulled the trigger . . . only, in this case, the gun misfired!”6 As of the writing of When the Wicked Seize a City in 1993, “nothing has been turned up by the police and fire department investigations as to who may have set the fire. No leads, no clues, and no person has ever been questioned!”7 The McIlhenny’s were attacked again on March 22, 1990.

Homosexuals are one of the most mean-spirited and violent groups in America when they do not get their way. Since they no longer fear God, they certainly do not fear man. When Governor Pete Wilson vetoed a homosexual rights bill in 1991, the homosexual community literally went wild. Homosexuals hounded Wilson at political events and showed their violent side in a pro-homosexual demonstration.

As the protestors reached the old state building where Pete Wilson maintains an office, “[a] break-away group of about 400 people suddenly ran toward the building, which was being protected by fewer than 20 San Francisco and State Police officers. Grabbing metal barricades, news racks and other objects, some among the 400 began smashing the $60,000, multi-colored, lead-glass entrance doors. . . . Others hurled missiles that shattered windows, then tossed large wads of paper and ignited flares inside. The resulting fires destroyed office equipment, including costly computers, before the blazes were extinguished.”8

The homosexual rioters did not care who they hurt so long as they got their way. The pro-homosexual establishment in San Francisco protected the rioters. “In spite of the fact that the gays had set fire to a government building, graffitied the new state office building one block away, threatened the lives of dozens of police and state employees, and caused $250,000 in damages, no arrests were made that evening.”9

At another protest gathering, Crystal Mason of ACT UP/San Francisco told the crowd, as reported in The San Francisco Sentinel, “Let violence speak. Why should we allow straight society to jam their justice down our throats?”10 The tables are now turned. Homosexuals have jammed their perverted view of justice and morality down our throats.

Through fear and intimidation, the homosexual community has beaten back the opposition. They no longer have to riot and bomb since they have friends in high places who have given in to their outrageous demands. But just below the surface of the genteel facade often displayed by homosexuals in movies and comic acts resides a dark and foreboding evil that will surface when the need arises. “All of this violence, vandalism and rage is to be expected from the gay community. One protestor’s placard said it well, ‘Gay Rights or Gay Riots.’ They have shown time and time again that if they don’t get their way, they will resort to any kind of civil disobedience that they consider necessary to achieve their goals. The gay political movement is not kind and gentle; if you oppose them, you can expect to have your life and family threatened, your job security threatened, your property vandalized, and your character vilified.”11

The following was written in 1991:

Chuck hesitates to predict the future. But if the outcome of the conflicts he has found himself embroiled in, as well as those facing America as a whole, is unclear, the stakes of the conflict are very clear. Those stakes, he claims, are nothing less than the life and death of our society. “The homosexual issue,” he says, “is a secondary issue. The real fundamental issue is a secular humanism which rejects Christ and the Scripture as the basis to society. And the ultimate end is always death–death to a society.”12

Where was the hue and outcry from the Christian community? I forgot. We’re not supposed to be involved in the Culture Wars. God’s law doesn’t apply. We live in the midst of two kingdoms where God’s Word only applies to the Church, and there’s even some debate about that.

  1. Chuck and Donna McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City(Lafayette, LA: Huntington House, 1993), 56-57.()
  2. McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 70.()
  3. McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 109.()
  4. McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 110.()
  5. McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 110.()
  6. McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 112.()
  7. McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 112.()
  8. “Eight face arrest in riot over rights veto,” San Francisco Examiner(October 10, 1991). Quoted in McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 217.()
  9. McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 217.()
  10. October 17, 1991. Quoted in McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 219.()
  11. McIlhenny, When the Wicked Seize a City, 221.()
  12. James Davison Hunter, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America(New York: Basic Books, 1991), 8.()

The Beginnings of Christian Reform (36)

Eschatology (3)

  1. Postmillennialism:

Introduction:

Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign

  Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,

 Anointed universal King; all power

I give thee, reign forever, and assume

Thy merits; under thee as Head Supreme

Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions I reduce:

All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide

In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell.

John Milton, Paradise Lost, [3.315-22]

The notion that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent (Gen.3:15) is not only theoretical, or merely legal and spiritual. It has already had massive ramifications in our world. Christians are rightly agreed that this refers to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, His substitutionary death on Calvary, and His resurrection. The serpent’s head, truly has been bruised.

Genesis 3:15 leads logically to the triumphant Messianic Psalms, and in particular, Psalm 2 and Psalm 110, which both refer to the triumph of the Son of God over His enemies. Psalm 2 twice refers to the “Son,” as being God’s Son, and that when Jesus asked His Father for His inheritance (which was the nations), His Father would surely give it to Him.

Psalm 110 explains this process more fully. Having undergone the process of becoming a baby in Mary’s womb, of living on the earth as a boy and then as a man, and being condemned to death, crucified and resurrected, Jesus had returned to heaven in His glorious ascension. He is then ushered into the presence of His Heavenly Father, Who gives Him a command: “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for your feet” (Ps.110:1).

The New Testament in numerous passages, confirms that this Psalm is referring to Jesus Himself. (See Acts 5:31; Eph.1:20-23; Heb.1:3; 12:2; I Pet.3:21-22). In fact, Psalm 110 is the most frequently quoted passage in the New Testament.

The apostle Paul, when teaching the Corinthians about the resurrection, indirectly quotes from Psalm 110:1, when he claims that “He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet” (I Cor.15:25). Clearly, a process is to take place on earth, whereby the enemies of God are to be subdued, before the return of Jesus to the earth. In the next verse, Paul indicates just how complete the subjection of Christ’s enemies would be, for “the last enemy that will be abolished is death.”

Kenneth Gentry has defined postmillennialism in this way:

Postmillennialism is that system of eschatology which understands the Messianic kingdom to have been founded upon the earth during the earthly ministry and through the redemptive labors of the Lord Jesus Christ in fulfillment of Old Testament prophetic expectation. The nature of that kingdom is essentially redemptive and spiritual and will exercise a transformational socio-cultural influence in history, as more and more people are converted to Christ. Postmillennialism confidently anticipates a time in earth history in which the gospel will have won the victory throughout the earth in fulfillment of the Great Commission. After an extended period of gospel prosperity, earth history will be drawn to a close by the personal, visible, bodily return of Jesus Christ (accompanied by a literal resurrection and a general judgment).[1]

Postmillennialists are as aware as any, that original sin has led to the depravity of the human race, and so are by no means confident about human affairs, when they are directed and fueled by ungodly, lawless people. “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it” (Jer.17:9). But they are hopeful, when godly people are serving to provide a powerful, leavening influence in the community, and thus becoming socially dominant.

Postmillennialism has been the historic, orthodox position of the church. Athanasius (c.305-373), who has been called “the Father of orthodoxy,” wrote

behold how the Saviour’s doctrine is everywhere increasing, while all idolatry and everything opposed to the faith of Christ is steadily dwindling, and losing power, and failing…now that the divine Appearing of the Word of God is come, the darkness of idols prevails no more, and all parts of the world in every direction are illumined by His teaching. [2]

Calvin, who was perhaps the most influencial of the leaders of the Reformation in terms of his theology, claimed that the kingdom would “have a yet greater triumph in history prior to the consummation [the Second Coming.]” [3]

Later in the 17th century, the great theologian John Owen (1616-1683) presented a summary of the triumph of Christ in the world:

1st.  Fulness of peace unto the gospel and professors thereof…

2dly. Purity and beauty of ordinances and gospel worship…

3dly. Multitudes of converts, many persons, yea nations…

4thly. The full casting out of all will-worship, and their attendant abominations…

5thly. Professed subjection of the nations throughout the whole world unto Jesus Christ…

6thly. A most glorious and dreadful breaking of all that rise in opposition to Him…[4]

Matthew Henry, one of the foremost Biblical commentators of the early eighteenth century, retained this sense of optimism about the future of Christ’s kingdom, before the Second Coming. Speaking of Daniel 2:44-45, he wrote that

 [Christ’s] kingdom…shall be victorious over all opposition…the kingdom of Christ shall wear out all other kingdoms, shall outlive them, and flourish when they are sunk with their own weight, and so wasted that their place knows them no more.

Commenting on Isaiah 9:1-7, he said that Christ’s kingdom

shall be an increasing government. It shall be multiplied, the bounds of his kingdom shall be more and more enlarged, and many shall be added to it daily…and [it] will come to perfection at last.[5]

What we believe and think, always impacts on our behaviour. If we believe that the future of the church and the world before the coming of Jesus Christ will be one of steady deterioration, our efforts to see Reformation accomplished according to His gospel will be half-hearted at best. We will respond as some have already vlaimed, “why polish the brass on a sinking ship?”

But with a legitimate sense of Biblical optimism, our attitude can be markedly different. Confident in the power of God working in the world and through His people, Christians must be prepared to culturally influence the civilisations we are part of. This is what we were called to do, from the beginning.

If we abandon the world to the devil, the devil who has been dethroned will seize the opportunity to regain his power, and this has happened ever again when Christians have been lulled to sleep by a false pietism, which is in effect, quietism. We need to recover the robust and expectant faith of the original evangelicals, whose missionary enthusiasm was accompanied by an outpouring of humanitarian and social reform. We need to recover the postmillennial vision of the church on the march, without succumbing to any kind of utopianism or false romanticism.[6]

From the beginning man was called to rule, not to be ruled, to have dominion, not to merely be a subject. Apart from God, this is impossible. But under God, man has a mandate to reconstruct all things, and the power of God to do it. [7]Can we settle for anything less?

Every man and institution needs an orientation towards the future that is confident and positive. This does not have to be a promise of ease and comfort, without conflict: the scripture emphatically warns us that “…through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). But for a person to be without this confident expectation regarding their future, and the future of the kingdom of God, is to deprive them of the essential attribute of hope, which will empower and motivate them for years to come.

Conclusion:

Amillennialism and premillennial dispensationalism, because of their hermeneutical, theological and eschatological shortcomings, fail to give their adherents any confidence concerning the future for themselves and for their families, as members of the church and citizens of their community. This is a crucial problem.

The promise of the postmillennial perspective however, is that there will be (according to the scriptures) victory for the people of God on earth, leading to the triumph of the kingdom of God.

The language of the Great Commission is world-embracing; and it has back of it the authority and power of One who said: ‘all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations.’ The duty of the church is to address herself to the achieving of this task in anticipation of her Lord’s coming, and not to expect Him to call her away to glory before her task is accomplished.[8]

Christ Shall have Dominion

(Based on Psalm 72)

Christ shall have dominion over land and sea;

Earth’s remotest regions shall His Empire be;

They that wilds inhabit shall their worship bring,

Kings shall render tribute, nations serve our King.

 

When the needy seek Him He will mercy show;

Yea, the weak and helpless shall His pity know;

He will surely save them from oppression’s might

For their lives are precious in His holy sight.

 

Ever and forever shall his Name endure,

Long as suns continue It shall stand secure

And in Him forever all men shall be blest

And all nations hail Him King of Kings confessed.

 

Unto God Almighty joyful Zion sings;

He alone is glorious, doing wondrous things.

Evermore, ye people, bless His glorious Name;

His eternal glory through the earth proclaim.

 

 

     [1] Kenneth Gentry, (Ed.) “Thine is the Kingdom: Studies in the Postmillennial Hope,” 2003, p.25.

     [2] Quoted in Gary DeMar, “The Reduction of Christianity,” 1990, p.233.

   [3] ibid, p.237.

   [4] DeMar, p.239.

[5] ibid, p.243.

[6] D. Bloesch, “Essentials of Evangelical Theology,” 1979, quoted in Sandlin, p.47.

[7] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.799.

      [8] Allis, O. T., “Foreword,” in Campbell, R., “Israel and the New Covenant,” 1981, p.ix.

 

The Beginnings of Christian Reform (35)

Eschatology (2)

  1. The Different Views on Eschatology:

People act out of what they believe (II Cor.4:13). Just as differing world-views have implications for human behaviour, the common eschatological views held in the Church, also have behavioural implications for believers.

1.Amillenialism:

Amillenialism is based around an interpretation of Revelation 20:1-7. It is the view espoused by Augustine, Luther, and the Roman Catholic Church, and it teaches that there will not be “any earthly time of godly peace and prosperity either before the second Advent (as postmillennialists assert), or after the second Advent (as premillennialists assert).” [1]Amillennialists claim to believe the Bible, but assert that Christ’s victory is a “spiritual” one only; that “the kingdom prophecies of the Old Testament are fulfilled in the church, the deceased saints now in heaven, or the eternal state.” [2]

One leading amillennial theologian, Hoekema, describes his beliefs well:

Amillennialists interpret the millennium mentioned in Revelation 20:4-6 as describing the present reign of the souls of deceased believers with Christ in heaven. They understand the binding of Satan mentioned in the first three verses of this chapter as being in effect during the entire period between the first and second comings of Christ, though ending shortly before Christ’s return. They teach that Christ will return after this.

Amillennialists further hold that the kingdom of God is now present in the world as the victorious Christ is ruling His people by His Word and Spirit, though they also look forward to a future, glorious, and perfect kingdom on the new earth in the life to come. Despite the fact that Christ has won a decisive victory over sin and evil, the kingdom of evil will continue to exist alongside of the kingdom of God until the end of the world.

Although we are already enjoying many eschatological blessings at the present time (inaugurated eschatology), we look forward to a climactic series of future events associated with the Second Coming of Christ which will usher in the final state (future eschatology). The so-called ‘signs of the times’ have been present in the world from the time of Christ’s first coming, but they will come to a more intensified, final manifestation just before His Second Coming. The amillennialist therefore expects the bringing of the gospel to all nations and the conversion of the fullness of Israel to be completed before Christ’s return. He also looks for an intensified form of tribulation and apostasy as well as for the appearance of a personal antichrist before the Second Coming.[3]

Amillennialism effectively spiritualises the promises of God, for in denying that they are earthly, they must be applicable to another world or time. The Bible tells us that “the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains…” (Ps.24:1), but in amillennial thinking, “the victorious, symbolic language of the Old Testament must be interpreted mainly to refer to victory in the church or in eternity.”[4]

Amillennialism, centred as it is on an interpretation of a section of the most symbolic book of the Bible, leaves the believer with nothing to claim, expect or hope for in this life, other than the decline of the church and its influence in the world.

Amillennialism holds that the major area of growth and power is in Satan’s kingdom, because the world is seen as progressively falling away to Satan, the church’s trials and tribulations increasing, and the end of the world finding the church lonely and sorely beset. There is no such thing as a millennium or a triumph of Christ and His kingdom in history…the Christian must retreat from the world of action in the realisation that there is no hope for this world, no world-wide victory of Christ’s cause, nor world peace or righteousness. The law of God is irrelevant, because there is no plan of conquest, no plan of triumph in Christ’s Name or power. At best, God’s law is a plan for private morality, not for men and nations, in their every respect.[5]

  1. Premillennial Dispensationalism:

Ryrie, one leading dispensational theologian of the twentieth century, defines dispensationalism in the following manner:

Premillennialists [sc., dispensationalists] believe that theirs is the historic faith of the Church. Holding to a literal interpretation of the scripture, they believe that the promises made to Abraham and David are unconditional and have had or will have a literal fulfillment. In no sense have these promises made to Israel been abrogated or fulfilled by the Church, which is a distinct body in this age having promises and a destiny different from Israel’s. At the close of this age, premillennialists believe that Christ will return for His Church, meeting her in the air (this is not the Second Coming of Christ), which event, called the rapture or translation, will usher in a seven-year period of tribulation on the earth. After this, the Lord will return to the earth (this is the Second Coming of Christ) to establish His kingdom on the earth for a thousand years, during which time the promises to Israel will be fulfilled.[6]

Hermeneutical errors:

Perhaps surprisingly, though dispensationalism is viewed as an eschatological perspective, it is based on a number of important hermeneutical assumptions. The first of these is an apparent determination to view Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 as texts that relate to the second coming of Christ. But this is a mistake. Why? Because internal evidence shows that this cannot be the case. Let me explain:

Our Lord, in many passages in the gospels, clearly expressed his displeasure and anger towards the generation of His era. The adjectives He employed are instructive; “sinful” (Mk.8:38), “evil and adulterous” (Mat.12:39, 45), “unbelieving and perverted” (Mat.17:17; Luke 9:41) and “wicked and adulterous” (Mat.16:4 KJV).

In another passage, Jesus warned of a coming judgment, that “the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world [may be] charged against this generation” (Luke 11:50). In the next verse, for emphasis, He added: “Yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.” After the ascension Peter, as he closed his Pentecostal sermon, reflected Jesus’ repeated condemnations, when he declared that his hearers needed to “be saved from this perverse generation!” (Acts 2:40)

We can see that when Jesus and Peter use the term, “this generation,” they were always referring to the generation alive at the time.

Turning to Luke 21, we see that Jesus makes a number of predictions, three of which we will examine: a) “…there will not be left one stone upon another [of the temple stones] that will not be torn down” (v.6). b) “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognise that her desolation is near” (v.20). c) “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place” (v.32). These points are essentially repeated in Matthew and Mark’s gospels, though both use the term “tribulation” (Mat.24:21; Mk.13:19). Furthermore, the three writers make clear that the circumstances they are referring to relate to “this generation” (Mat.24:34; Mk.13:30; Luke 21:32).

What do we know occurred historically? Because of Israel’s persistent rebellion, the Roman armies came and destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70, and the temple was destroyed. Every person still in the city was either executed, or taken away as a slave. This represented God’s judgment on Israel and Jerusalem: His “days of vengeance” [7] (Luke 21:22) for her evil rebellion against Him, which culminated in the murder of His Son (Mat.26:59; 27:1; Acts 7:52).[8]

Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 are not therefore, referring to the second coming of Jesus. They are chapters warning the disciples of His coming visitation in the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

The second hermeneutical error of the premillenialist, is the view that there is a distinction between Israel and the church. “The New Testament church is seen as a separate entity from the Old Testament church (Acts 7:38), having separate promises and a separate calling.”[9] If this is the case, the church has not replaced Israel as the people of God. But Jesus’ comment on this to the Jews was very clear: “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it” (Mat.21:42).

Five further points need to be made in relation to this.[10]

  1. a) There is only one olive tree of God’s redemptive blessing, indicating one people of God (Ro.11:13-24).[11]

The fatness and grace and benefit that the Gentiles derive is the same fatness and grace and benefit the ethnic Jews were designed to derive, but forfeited by their unbelief and disobedience. The wild branches of the new covenant, multinational and multiracial church, have replaced the natural branches of ethnic, national Israel as the single people of God…This passage [Ro.11] does not teach that there is a distinction between Israel and the church. Rather it teaches that the church has become in God’s plan what Israel once was: God’s sovereignly elected, specially loved people who are the recipients of His covenantal dealings. The New Covenant church, having replaced ethnic Israel, is the covenant people of God. [12]

  1. b) Jew and Gentile are both Abraham’s seed if they are united to Christ (Gal.3:29), and therefore entitled to the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant (Gal.3:16).

Most Christians would agree that the Abrahamic covenant is a leading aspect of the Old Testament. It involved glorious promises to Abraham, about him and his seed. These were chiefly, a relationship, a land, a seed (posterity) and a blessing to other nations. The first three are seen in Gen.17:7-8, and the fourth is found in the first mention of the Abrahamic covenant, Gen.12:2-3. This covenant and its provisions repeatedly appears in the Old Testament.

Dispensationalists tend to assume that the Abrahamic covenant made by God with him and his seed is limited to the physical seed of ethnic Israel. But Gentiles could become members of the Abrahamic covenant, even from the beginning (see Gen.17:12-13). The issue was one of religion, not race, which is one of the errors the Jews made in their controversies with Jesus. When they claimed that “Abraham is our father” (Jn.8:39), Jesus immediately challenged them on that very point. He questioned this fact, saying, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.” He refuted the notion that being a physical descendent of Abraham was any guarantee, and then indicted them with a stunning accusation, which should have smashed any confidence they should have had, in their Abrahamic genealogy: “You are of your father the devil” (Jn.8:44).

Galatians 3 makes abundantly clear that the seed of Abraham toward which the Old Testament pointed is Jesus Christ (v.16). Just as Christ is identified as the true heir of David’s throne in the Davidic covenant (Acts 2:25-36) so He is identified as the true seed of the Abrahamic covenant. The point of Galatians 3 is that the Abrahamic covenant is not primarily racial, but religious…Just as David’s physical seed to whom the throne of Israel was promised (II Sam.7) prefigured and pointed to the true royal seed, Christ (Acts 2:29-36) so Abraham’s physical seed to whom the glorious covenant pledges of relationship, land, seed and blessing were given prefigured and pointed to the true Abrahamic seed, Christ.[13]

Who is the “Israel of God”?

The believer must let the New Testament interpret the Old. Paul teaches that to be “excluded from Christ” means also, exclusion from “the commonwealth of Israel,” and “the covenants of promise” (Eph.2:12).

Ethnic Israel traces its racial and religious lineage to Abraham; but according to Jesus and Paul, Abraham is father only to those who by faith belong to Christ, whether Jew or Gentile. In Galatians 6, Paul excludes people whose confidence is physical; in their circumcision: “for neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God” (Gal.6:15-16).

Clearly, “the Israel of God,” could be nobody but believers in Christ, irrespective of their racial background. The Abrahamic covenant cuts across all racial barriers. God has united converted Jews and Gentiles into His covenant plan, tearing down the racial barrier between them. Christians are the true seed of Abraham.

  1. c) The New Testament teaches that the New Covenant is fulfilled in the present age (Jer.31:31-34; Ezek.36:22-28; Luke 22:20: Heb.8:7-13; II Cor.3:6):

The Old Testament promises concerning the New Covenant explicitly refer to Israel and the Jews. But we must refer to all of the Bible to discover God’s teaching on any subject. Furthermore, we have to read the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament, a later (though certainly not more accurate or superior) revelation. The New Testament is no more authoritative than the Old Testament, and it does not give a higher ethical or instructional standard than the Old Testament; but the New Testament often gives a more complete picture of God’s will than the Old Testament. This is the case with the New Covenant. It is a prime example of how we need to let the New Testament interpret the Old Testament.[14]

It is clear from Jesus’ institution of communion at the Last Supper (Luke 22:20), that this was the fulfilment of the New Covenant. Now, He has defined (or redefined) who will be its recipients. In several parables, He had already taught that God intended to suspend His dealings with an unbelieving and rebellious Israel, and turn to believing Gentiles (Mat.20:1-16; 21:28-45; 22:1-14; 23:24-39). The fact that the New Covenant included all of the people of God (that is, believing Jews and Gentiles) is clear, because the covenant meal was regularly celebrated by the Christian churches (I Cor.11:20-34).

Furthermore, we can see from Paul’s ministry, that he considered himself to be a minister of the New Covenant (II Cor.3:6). Twice, Jeremiah 31 (which refers to the New Covenant) is quoted in the book of Hebrews (8:7-13; 10:12-18), and it is Jesus’ shedding of blood through His sacrificial death which is clearly the critical factor. By linking the new covenant promise with the death of Christ, the New Testament indicates that the new covenant recipients are the members of Christ’s church-both believing Jew and Gentile. The new covenant church has replaced old covenant Israel in the plan of God.

  1. d) The New Testament teaches that the re-building of David’s tabernacle is fulfilled in this age, through the inclusion of the Gentiles in God’s covenant plan (Amos 9:11-12; Acts 15:13-21).

At the Jerusalem Council, Peter had explained to the disciples that (much to his surprise) he had been shown a divine vision explaining God’s intention to minister to the Gentiles, and had witnessed first-hand their conversion in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10:44-48). James then made reference to God’s promise in Amos 9:11-12, and translated “nations” as “Gentiles” (Acts 15:17). What was he doing? He was applying the promise of God in the book of Amos, to his present day. As a result, James’ verdict was that the Gentiles did not need to become Jews and be circumcised to be included among the people of God.

To James’ way of thinking, the re-building of David’s tabernacle which was occurring in the apostolic age was drawing into the Christian fold numerous Gentiles, just as Amos had predicted…God was dismantling the physical house of David precisely while He was rebuilding the true house of David. The Davidic covenant is fulfilled in the new covenant church…The new covenant church must have become the replacement of national, ethnic Israel, entitled to all the promises (and subject to all the punishments) of old covenant ethnic Israel. [15]

  1. e) The New Testament calls believing Jews “true Jews” (Ro.2:28-29):

The most obvious evidence that the new covenant church has replaced old covenant Israel as the people of God appears in those passages where members of the church (of whatever race) are identified as true Jews. [16]

Jesus had warned the Jews that they had no warrant for trusting in the fact that they could trace their lineage back to Abraham. “If you are Abraham’s children,” He said, “do the works of Abraham” (Jn.8:39). Jesus is alluding to the fact that there are natural seed, and there are spiritual seed, and physical lineage is not enough. If it was enough, God would be a racist, indifferent to the attitudes and behaviour of people. This important issue is made clear by Paul in Romans 9:8: “It is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.”

It is the circumcision of the heart not the flesh, that is important to God. This is the message ethnic Israel rejected (Luke 20:16), and it meant that all that Israel was trusting in, would be a false foundation. All who trust in Christ alone, the new covenant church, have replaced unbelieving, rebellious, old covenant ethnic Israel as the true Israel.[17] “The Israel of God” (Gal.6:16), the new covenant church is not racially based, and excludes any who do not love Jesus Christ.

Amillennialism and Premillennial Dispensationalism – a Conclusion:

Certainly each of the millennial views presented above has characteristic features that are different enough to distinguish them. These differences are of no small consequence. Yet one thing unifies these millennial views: overall pessimism regarding the hope for Christian civilization in present history. Such pessimism is a fundamentally important matter when men attempt to develop and promote a Christian worldview.[18]

Amillennialism and premillennial dispensationalism have a number of things in common.[19]

  1. a) Both regard attempts to build a Christian society or to further Christian reconstruction as either futile or wrong.
  2. b) Both limit the responsibility of the believer to soul-saving. Scripture is stripped of its total message and reduced to a soul-saving manual.
  3. c) Neither pays much attention to the creation mandate (Gen.1:26-28), and may even deny it. The notion that man is to exercise dominion in the earth, that He is to “do business with this until I come back” (Luke 19:13) at the command of Jesus is essentially ignored.
  4. d) Amillennialism and premillennialism are antinomian. They do not recognise God’s law as God’s plan for dominion, for godly authority and rule in every area of life.
  5. e) They are both guilty of implicit Manichaeanism; that is, of surrendering the material world to Satan, while the spiritual world is reserved for God.
  6. f) Since the world is surrendered to Satan, the church becomes a convent: a retreat from the horrible world around us. Under the influence of these two millennial views, Protestantism has turned the whole church into a retreat from the world. Nothing is said of establishing the reign and rule of Christ in every aspect of life, thought and action.
  7. g) Both these views effectively suggest that the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden was a defeat for God, and that Christ’s restoration is only towards to a heavenly goal, not to a life of authority and dominion in this life. The amillennialist and premillennialist push the prospect of Christ’s victory back beyond the time of the second coming. In their perspective, He has to come back before His people have any hope of victory in the world.

It is obvious that the church’s testimony particularly in the last century, has been muted, confused and divided. This is not because “the world is getting darker;” the darkness in the world has been a reflection of the darkness in the heart of the church.

Because the church has believed foolish, unscriptural notions about what Christ has done, and it has believed there is no prospect of victory for His people in the world (other than through the Second Coming), this has had massive implications. The church has believed that we are only here to “snatch brands from the burning,” and that “you don’t polish the brass on a sinking ship:” the spectacular decline of the world in the twentieth century has been a logical result. It is we, the church which has failed.

Virtually all amillennialists and premillennialists defend natural law theory and political pluralism, while attacking theonomy. They see God’s people as cultural losers in history. The most they hope for is a cultural stalemate. They prefer to live meekly and impotently inside cultural ghettos rather than fight a cultural war in the name of Christ. They do not believe they can win; therefore, they deny the basis of fighting in such a war, namely, a uniquely biblical judicial alternative to humanistic law. They deny the legitimacy of Bible-revealed judicial standards that would make possible an explicitly Christian social order during the era of the church. Their antinomian social ethics is a corollary to their pessimistic view of the church’s future. God has granted them their desire: they live at the mercy of their enemies who control the various social orders of our day. But the walls of their ghettos have huge holes in them: public schools, television, movies, rock music, and all the rest of humanism’s lures.[20]

[1] Sandlin, ibid, p.23.

[2] ibid., p.23.

[3] Hoekema, “Bible and the Future,” p. 174.

[4] Sandlin, p.26.

[5] Rousas J. Rushdoony, “God’s Plan for Victory,” 1977, p.8-9.

[6] Charles C. Ryrie, “The Basis of the Premillennial Faith,” 1953, p. 12.

[7] See David Chilton, “Days of Vengeance,” 1987.

[8] For a Jewish historian’s eyewitness account of this, see Josephus’ works, in David Chilton, “Paradise Restored,” 1994, Appendix B.

[9] Sandlin, p.7.

[10] I am grateful for Andrew Sandlin’s insights here, see above, p.8-17.

[11] Fuller, D., and Poythress, V., quoted in Sandlin, p.8.

[12] Sandlin, p.8-9.

[13] Sandlin, p.11.

[14] Sandlin, p.13.

[15] Sandlin, p.15.

[16] Sandlin, p.16.

[17] The scripture makes it clear that there are glorious promises to ethnic Israel (Ro.9-11), but these are still contingent upon Israel’s acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

[18] Gentry, K., “He Shall Have Dominion,” 1992, p.64.

[19] I am indebted to R. J. Rushdoony (“God’s Plan for Victory,” 1977, p.9-12) for the following insights.

 

 

      [20] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.63.

 

A Tale Of Two Revolutions

By Gary DeMar, May 9, 2019

The storming of the Bastille was a catalyst for what became known as the Reign of Terror. “French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from left-wing political groups and the masses on the streets.” How bad was it?

Internally, popular sentiments radicalized the Revolution significantly, culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins and virtual dictatorship by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror from 1793 until 1794 during which between 16,000 and 40,000 people were killed.

Did you get that? Between 16,000 and 40,000 French citizens were killed for a better France. Consider the following:

Ordered by the king [Louis XVI] to surrender, more than 600 Swiss guards were savagely murdered. The mobs ripped them to shreds and mutilated their corpses. “Women, lost to all sense of shame,” said one surviving witness, “were committing the most indecent mutilations on the dead bodies from which they tore pieces of flesh and carried them off in triumph.” Children played kickball with the guards’ heads. Every living thing in the Tuileries [royal palace in Paris] was butchered or thrown from the windows by the hooligans. Women were raped before being hacked to death.

The Jacobin club . . . demanded that the piles of rotting, defiled corpses surrounding the Tuileries be left to putrefy in the street for days afterward as a warning to the people of the power of the extreme left.

This bestial attack, it was later decreed, would be celebrated every year as “the festival of the unity and indivisibility of the republic.” It would be as if families across America delighted in the annual TV special “A Manson Family Christmas.”1

As revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat declared, “Let the blood of the traitors flow! That is the only way to save the country.” Sounds like some anti-Trumpers from the Democrat Party.

The storming of the Bastille, now a national holiday in France, led to the deaths of 300,000 people. It is often compared to America’s War for Independence. Festivities and official ceremonies are held all over France. It is also celebrated in Belgium, Hungary, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and in more than 50 cities across the United States.

John Kerry described the French Revolution as democracy in action. Bloody revolutions must be a good thing if they are celebrated with such fervor and delight.

The murdering mobs that attacked the nearly empty Bastille (at the time of the siege there were only seven non-political prisoners confined there) believed their actions were for a better France, similar to what today’s political revolutionaries and Islamic terrorists have in mind.

Today’s Leftist revolutionaries have more in common with the French Revolution than they do with Independence Day and the founding of the United States.

The following 1793 Thanksgiving Proclamation from Josiah Bartlett, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Governor of New Hampshire (1729-1795), will give you some idea what the difference was between the French Revolution and the founding of the United States of America:

Let us entreat the Father of Mercies, to continue us the blessings we now enjoy, and bestow upon us all further needed favors.

That it would please Him still to have these United States under His Holy protection and guidance – that He would inspire those who have the management of all our public affairs with all that wisdom, prudence and integrity that is necessary to the faithful discharge of their important trusts, that all their determinations may tend to promote the real happiness and prosperity of this great and rising Republic, and that all people may be disposed to afflict in carrying such determinations into effect.

That it would please God to over-rule the tumults and confusions among the nations, in such a manner as shall subserve to His own Glory and the best good and happiness of mankind, and that in His own due time, He would calm the angry passions of the contending nations and say to them, peace, be still.

That God would be pleased to look down with an eye of compassion upon the whole human race, and dispel those clouds of ignorance, superstition and bigotry that overspread so great a part of the world, and that the knowledge of and reverential love and regard to the One God and Father, of all, and a true benevolence and good will to their fellow men, may pervade the hearts, and influence the lives of all mankind, and all Nations, Languages and Tongues be brought to join in singing, Glory to God in the highest, on Earth Peace and good will to men.

Like us today, our nation’s founders were not perfect. Wrongs needed to be rectified. As always, this question arises: By what standard? There is no longer a fixed moral standard.

The George Washington High School mural depicts our nation’s history warts and all. The Bible does the same thing. Instead of making us uncomfortable, we should learn from the mistakes and sins of the past.

— Gary DeMar

The following article was written by Dr. Jerry Newcombe.

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Could a contrast between the American Revolution and the French Revolution be relevant to today’s conflicts? I think so. The attempt to demote historic icons like George Washington is a case in point.

George Washington grew up as a gentleman farmer in Virginia and was a fourth-generation slave-owner. But by the end of his life, he had decided slavery was immoral and so at his death, he freed his slaves and made provision for them.

But in our day — where the alleged “right to not be offended” often seems to trump the constitutional right to free speech — some are calling for images of George Washington to be torn down, like statues of Confederates.

The dailywire.com reports on how “George Washington High School” in Northern California is contemplating tearing down two 1930’s panels featuring George Washington because the pair of murals allegedly “traumatizes students and community members.”

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This is in San Francisco, so the outcome seems likely.

How long will our historical iconoclasm last? The cultural Marxists are working overtime to cut Americans off from our history.

I believe that despite his flaws, including being a slave-owner, there are many heroic aspects of our first president. Dr. Peter Lillback and I wrote, George Washington’s Sacred Fire, which puts all this in context. Recently we discussed Washington and slavery.

Our founders fought the American Revolution, led by Washington, so that we could enjoy our God-given rights. Though slow in coming, recognition of those God-given rights eventually gave the slaves their freedom. What is happening in the culture wars today is a revival of the French Revolution, which waged war against God.

France in 1789 fought against injustice, even in the church; but their godless “cure” ended up being worse than the disease. The French Revolution was anti-God and pro-tyranny — leading to death in the streets. The American Revolution was pro-God and pro-freedom.

America’s founders mentioned God four times in the Declaration of Independence. They identified King George III’s tyranny as illegitimate — because he was violating our God-given rights. The founders, with a firm reliance on the Lord, laid down “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour” in support for their declaration as a new nation.

When George Washington first read the Declaration to his troops, one of his first acts was to hire Christian chaplain throughout the army. He felt that if they were to win this war, it would only be with God’s help.

And he and the other colonists felt that God did help. To paraphrase Washington in his First Inaugural Address, no people should be more grateful to the Lord than we Americans because God aided us at every step to become an independent nation.

Consider a few further contrasts between the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

Our framers signed the Constitution in “the year of our Lord” 1787. The French Revolutionaries got rid of the Christian calendar, and so they declared 1791 as Year 1 of their new non-Christian calendar.

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The French Revolutionaries desecrated Notre Dame Cathedral, disallowing Christian worship there and placed a half-naked woman on the altar, calling her “Reason,” whom they worshiped.

In contrast, our founders hired Christian chaplains for the military and also for the House and Senate. Since there weren’t enough church buildings in Washington, D. C., they held Christian worship services in the Capitol building. Presidents Jefferson and Madison attended those services.

The French Revolution eventually consumed its own. Since then, France has had 17 different governments, while the U.S. still lives under one — the Constitution.

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I predict that today’s social justice warriors, who are consuming our past heroes, will one day be consumed by future revolutionaries. Future generations could look back at us and say things like: “You had 4D sonograms documenting the humanity of the unborn and yet you allowed millions of abortions on demand?” or “Science has documented genuine differences between men and women, yet you allowed boys who claimed to be girls to compete and dominate in sports, winning valuable scholarships?”

Every generation has its flaws and blind spots. Our generation has yet to recognize its own.

Slavery was evil. Thank God for those strong Christians who defeated it. Thank God for William Wilberforce’s Christian anti-slavery crusade, which took him about five decades to complete. That crusade inspired abolition here in America. Interestingly, in his day, Wilberforce was sometimes called “the George Washington of Humanity.” Both men worked hard to liberate others.

Slavery has plagued humanity from the beginning of time and can even be found in some places today, places where the gospel of Christ has no sway.

Too bad the children of the French Revolution are rising up today to cut us off from our past heroes. There is a reason Washington continues to be a hero to millions. Enough with the historical revisionism.