All That Requires Speech Will Influence

https://www.npr.org/2018/05/01/607181437/on-fire-for-gods-work-how-scott-pruitts-faith-drives-his-politics?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20180502

Everyone has a worldview. Christian or secular atheist, both come at issues with a core set of beliefs (clearly defined or culturally assumed, they exist) that inform them in their decision making processes. If a person’s work is to shape and govern a nation’s law, he should do so from his own genuine conviction, be they religious or not. The Christian should not limit Christ’s Lordship to his personal life, never challenging the laws established by unbelieving world-views. Engage the presuppositions, debate the standards for each law, challenge the consistency of truth claims…doing so requires speech, and speech will influence.

As a Christian, I believe Jesus Christ is the uncreated Maker of heaven and earth and is currently the Lord of the nations forevermore. God has revealed himself to man in nature through His creation, sent His Son to earth to redeem a people for Himself, and has spoken to His creatures in scripture; a core message in scripture is that everyone is accountable to Him. God is perfectly holy, loving, just and unchanging. Such core beliefs drive my worldview. Where God has spoken, I’m to obey and encourage others that obedience to God is a good and holy thing, however culturally offensive that may be. Since I trust in God’s goodness, I bow the knee to his revelation regarding life, marriage, and sexual morality. If I truly believe God’s design is good not just for me but for everyone who would follow after him, I ought to plead with others to do the same…I’m actually commanded to.

When it comes to faith and politics, there are helpful distinctions in scripture that Christians ought to remember when treading these waters. For instance, those in the church are to judge members from within the church according to the standards Christ has redeemed those members into. A Christian cannot expect an unbeliever to desire to bend the knee to Christ, indeed scripture says an unbeliever cannot truly follow Christ unless he be born again. We are to expect obedience from those who claim the name of Christ, but call those who do not to the faith once for all handed down to the saints.

There is no forcing someone into Christianity in scripture, the only way in is through God’s sovereign grace. God has commanded obedience to the nations yet grants it to His church alone. The church is called to proclaim repentance and faith in Christ alone to every person in every culture; the church and all her members are subordinate to the law of Christ before the laws of men. If by God’s common grace political power can be influenced such that it aligns more with God’s created order and His revelation, then his blessing is upon that land. History and scripture is a good teacher however that such blessings are temporary; man loves darkness and God withdraws his blessings from the land that spurns him. I’m convinced by scripture that no culture this side of judgement day will fully honor God in their government, for unbelievers are naturally opposed to His reign. For the Christian, the law of Christ commands obedience to the rulers of the land until those laws violate obedience to scripture. The inevitable result historically is persecution against those who do not compromise their Christian convictions.

How is a man, who’s conscience is held captive by God’s revelation, to withhold his speech on any given subject in any given theater of vocation or practice? Even in political office? Does not the secular atheist also have passionate convictions, creeds, and presuppositions by which they argue their position and derive their agenda? I say we must allow them both have their place in government, in school, in sport, in society. Let’s not send our representatives or our children into an echo chamber. Seems to me that Christians have by and large allowed the secular worldview go unchallenged for too long; this article sparks some hope for those of us who bow the knee to Christ and trust wholly in His goodness.

The Lord of the Living & the Dead

“For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. ” Rom 14.9;esv

“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Rev 1.17-18;esv

“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” Rom 6.9;esv

Do you consider yourself greatfully dead? Dead or alive, born again or dead in sin, you have a Lord. Willing to accept that truth or not doesn’t change the reality. Death has a conqueror to whom it has given over authority and all who are going to the grave will answer to Him who holds the keys. Think not that your Lord is some dark lord. Granted, your father may indeed be Satan, but he is God’s Satan and there is no escaping the righteous judgment of Christ the Lord of lords and King of kings to whom all must give an account.

The love of the Lord should not be overlooked, it is His blood that screams to our sinful souls. It is on our account He went to the cross. May we truly find in His grace the gift of sorrow for our sins and in that sorrow, new birth. We all start out dead in our sins but by God’s grace we don’t all die dead. To die well is to die as one who has been made alive in Christ.

Jesus calls out even now to those dead in their sin, turn from them, believe upon Him and know life eternal. You must be born again. In Him is fullness of Joy and freedom. He is a good and faithful Lord.

The Righteousness of Christ

What does Habakkuk mean when he says, “The righteous will live by his faith” (2:4)? How does Paul use this verse in Romans 1:17?

The first half of Habakkuk 2:4 addresses the posture of an unrighteous soul; It speaks of it: “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him.” His soul being puffed up, and the second phrase describing that soul not being upright within is establishing the unregenerate status of this soul. It is proud, thinking itself highly capable but in reality condemned. In typical Hebrew poetic fashion, a parallelism is employed that contrasts this negative with a positive to bring greater clarity; namely, the 2nd half of verse 4 which defines what it means to be upright in God’s sight. The opposite of pride is the meekness of faith. Faith is what the righteous, what the upright soul lives by…not in a puffed-up-self-made posture, but in humility.

Paul uses this verse to wage war against the idea of works righteousness, against the idea that a soul can be upright before God apart from faith in Christ. Paul’s usage in Roman’s 1:17 is paramount to his entire letter to the Romans as he labors to teach why not all Israel received Christ and why the gentiles are coming in. Faith alone reveals God’s righteousness. Not puffed up pride, or good works, but faith in Christ which produces humility and leads to truly good works. So Paul teaches the church to live by faith, living in it in an all encompassing way, thus ever warning the brothers to beware of those walking in pride, or of the temptation to think they can be righteous apart from Christ.

The Love of God

The love of God is so pure, so rich, and so high. It is unmatched. The love for the untouchable, the slave, the sick and hurting is His love. He also loves truth, so much it shows passionately in sharp rebuke to those who are slack with it. Slack not with truth my soul; love and care for the lost and hurting; fervently fend off the wolves in the loving shepherding of His sheep. Grant me love, grace and truth of which You are so very full of. 

Christ’s Kingdom Economy 

In the economy of God’s kingdom the greatest among its inhabitants are decidedly the least. The weakest among them are to be glad because they are ideal candidates in whom God’s glory will be shown; and they get to taste of His power and strength as He works it in them. The ammasing of things is resisted and joyful giving is pursued which brings an altogether different kind of treasure. 

If a teaching has us believing our best life now is found in earthly success, health, riches, prestige, prosperity, security, etc. then it is not a teaching representing the Christian kingdom of God described in the Bible. It must be rejected. How many claiming Christianity while spewing such garbage is almost hard to believe. God protect us from the many wolves teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach!

The poor in spirit will see God, the humble and meek will be blessed and receive grace. The mourners will be comforted. Those who love God do not love the world system and what it offers – no, they will be despised by it. The world hated Christ and it will hate His ambassadors. 

Be strong and courageous. Be bold and gentle. Proclaim truth and do not compromise. Shine light in the darkness. Make good use of the law which drives sinners to the gospel. Amen. 

A Much Needed Contrast

Everything looks clearer when there is a proper contrast. I often think back to the point at which I first believed in Christ and the joy that came in the knowing that the God of the Bible had chosen to save me from my sins. The joy that overwhelmed me was so extravagant, so deep that its hard to describe.  It was so elevated because it came to me directly after the moment the darkness of my sin was exposed to me.  The contrast that gave way to the clarity was the bright holiness of my Savior and the filthy corruption of my rebellious heart.  He is pure, I am not – yet He led me to repent and showed me great grace and love which turned my sorrow into laughter!

Where there is darkness God still creates out of nothing. What great joy there is in the free gift of Salvation given to sinner’s through Christ Jesus. One cannot earn it. One cannot deserve it. How magnificent it is to realize the Bible is true revelation from God and can be trusted. It is good news that God grants new hearts, new ears and new eyes to sinful mankind.

The joy of the salvation that the one true God grants to men cannot be known if the call to repentance is not preached or received. The good news of the gospel of God’s grace shines most brightly against the dark reality of humankind’s depravity and inability to keep God’s perfect law.

Calvinist Crowd Campaign

UPDATE

Les Lanphere, a fellow brother in Christ I know through the Facebook group the Reformed Pub, is seeking crowd funding support on Kickstarter to produce a professional documentary on Calvinism. So far the support pledged toward his 35k goal has been incredible as he has already surpassed his goal with 20+ days left in his campaign. He is now seeking to hit “stretch” goals which will further enhance the reach and quality of this film. It’s been an exciting ride in the pub as we’ve all watched this campaign soar; this project is going to happen!


Anyone who enjoys the reformed teaching available from the likes of Michael  Horton, Voddie Baucham, or James R. White will be pleased to know these men among others have agreed to participate in this documentary. The list of notable participating reformed elders, teachers and Doctors is growing as the campaign continues to gain steam. The current list of notable guests that will be a part of the film are as follows:

  • Kevin Deyoung
  • Ligon Duncan
  • Michael Horton
  • Tim Challies
  • Carl Trueman
  • Voddie Baucham
  • James R. White
  • R. Scott Clark
  • Joe Thorn

As you can see, this documentary will be an awesome opportunity to ask key questions of those most able to shed light upon what Calvinists actually believe. As Les puts it on his Kickstarter page, the film will be “seeking to explain Calvinism, celebrate its recent resurgence, and answer the question ‘what’s next'”.

No doubt there is an organic resurgence of Calvinism among the youth in today’s church. I’ve experienced the unexpected call to doctrinal purity and I surprisingly found myself finding the same passion in the pen of Calvin and other great theologians upon whose shoulders we stand.

The comfort learning the doctrines of grace brought to me was not controversial, it was a blessing from the Holy Spirit.

Among the Christian community I’ve learned that the title Calvinist can be perceived as either a compliment or an insult depending upon the nature and tradition of the church where that title is being thrown around. Being both informed and gracious should keep most of us out of that latter group. This film comes at a timely state where clarity on the subject of Calvinism is welcomed – I pray we in the reformed camp and our brothers and sisters outside of it can see how important it is for us all to remain teachable while we also all can show our combined support to this project.

Click the link below and join in the effort to support this film.
 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1832273783/calvinist-documentary-film

 

 

Roaring Hills & Rain

The fact that God thought to sometimes mix in the rumble of thunder with rain storms is an awesome thing. Sitting in my study, on the 2nd floor of an old Dutch colonial type house, the thunder can sometimes feel as though it penetrates right into my chest. It’s like these old walls don’t even try to smother the sound as it enters into the room. Especially late at night when nothing else can be heard except the rain dripping outside or the occasional car passing by on the very wet road near my house. 

I was quickly brought outside of my self as I stopped and listened to the noise as it cracked the night sky and flooded over all the surrounding hills. The trees get no break, they’ve no insulation – they are completely exposed and they almost seem to amplify the effect. How far each wave of thunder reaches is incredible and I’m brought to thoughts of how small I am and how God’s powerful creation obeys and displays his rule; a rule that is beyond man’s capacity and which must be utterly terrifying to those who do not know the Sustainer of all things. 

The God of creation is terribly powerful indeed and I see that on display in such storms. Yet I also note that this natural order reveals that He also provides the rain through such awesome demonstrations of might. It is very much the case scripturally that the God of the Bible is revealed as one who brings salvation through judgement. It isn’t any wonder that the created order can be heard singing this tune also. A man may be struck with the fear of death at the horrid noise of thunder and raise his fist to the sky while at the same time another man raises praise for the life the rain of that same storm brings to his crop. 

While the storm parallel isn’t exact, the narrative fits: Christ who bore God’s wrath at the cross suffered terribly while at the same time completely gained salvation for His people. One can look at the cross and see only unnecessary violence and another can believe upon the Son, confess their sin and be brought to their knees in utter worship of the one who conquered death. The latter group rejoice to know that their Savior is also sovereign over such noisy affairs as thunder storms. The fear of the Lord trumps and subdues any fear common to humanity. Trust in Him and find rest. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.