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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Human Nature And Democracies

constitution_quill_penFrom: The Desk of Dr. Archie Jones

Neither the Framers nor the Ratifiers of our Constitution wanted to make the new national government a democracy. They were, overwhelmingly, republican, not “democratic,” political thinkers. And with plenty of good reasons, for they were not ignorant of the Bible, the nature of man, or the performance of various kinds of civil government in history.

Strictly speaking, democracy is a form of civil government ruled directly by the votes of a majority. Democracy is based on the notion that all men are equal. The vote of the wisest, most learned, most experienced, most intelligent, most godly man counts no more than that of the man with the opposite of all of these qualifications. . . .

The Bible certainly does not present democracy-majority rule-as the best, or even a good, form of civil government. Majorities, like minorities, are composed of sinful men. Moreover, they are likely to be composed of men who have worldly worldviews, short-run interests, and ungodly motivations. All men are not equal in the ways most important for good civil government, and majorities are prone to being manipulated by a more intelligent minority or a popular individual. The best form of civil government, which God gave to His people after they were settled in the Promised Land, was a republic-with both aristocratic and federal elements as well as republican ones-not a democracy. But the majority of the people rejected that republic in favor of a monarchy-though God through Samuel warned them it would become tyrannical (1 Samuel 8).

The Framers and Ratifiers of our Constitution were familiar with-and agreed with-the biblical assessment of human nature and with the biblical record of civil governments, popular governments and majorities-as their forefathers had been. Moreover, the vast majority of the Framers and Ratifiers were Bible-believing Christians-not rationalists, Deists, or adherents of any other religion. They were men of a culture shaped by Christianity in general and Protestant Christianity in particular, a culture whose political thought was dominated by Christianity; whose political writers cited the Bible as authoritative far more than they cited any other book, and cited conservative Protestant and Roman Catholic political authors as authoritative far more than they cited either ancient or modern non-Christian writers; and whose leading legal textbook, Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, pointed men to Scripture as the highest standard and revelation of law.

Read the entire article here. . . .

Our greatest need

“If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior.”

(D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation)

Elementary Thoughts: Remembering – Part 5

principalOn a winter morning, in the middle of the school year, an elementary school assistant principal sat listening to a conversation between an investigator from the local Department of Protective services and two children. The girl, a second grader, and her younger brother, a kindergartner, talked very freely about their mom and stepfather. As they talked, they were always holding each other’s hand or touching in some way. They appeared to be very close to one another. In fact, as she observed them more closely around the school on later occasions, they seemed to cling to each other whenever they had the opportunity.

A neighbor had reported this family for failing to provide sufficient care and supervision for these children. The neighbor had been concerned that the parents often left the boy and girl alone for long periods of time. Frequently, the brother and sister would come home from school in the afternoons and find themselves locked out of the apartment. They would often remain outside until late in the evening. Sometimes neighbors would invite them in because of the winter cold. The two were never sure when someone would be home.

The neighbors had also heard loud violent fights coming from the children’s apartment. One or both adults would then leave and often stay away for the entire night. Again, the brother and sister would find themselves alone and unsure concerning the whereabouts of their parents. They had heard their mom accuse their stepfather of having a girl friend. They knew that their mother often stayed with another man. When their parents had fights and left home, they thought that each of them might be staying with these friends.

The children would wake up the next morning to an empty house. They would dress themselves and prepare to go to school. It would be late that afternoon, hours after the school day had ended, before they would see their parents again and find out if last evening’s problems had been temporarily resolved or if tonight would be a replay of the last.

As the lady from Protective Services gently questioned these children, the assistant principal continued to be struck by the way these little ones literally clung to one another. As they talked, they were always holding hands or touching. When asked about their biological father, the little boy responded that they didn’t see him anymore. When asked why, the little girl said that their father had remarried and his new wife didn’t like them. Even though their father only lived thirty miles away, the last time they had seen him was a year ago. On that occasion they had heard their dad arguing with his “new wife” late in the evening. The kids were supposed to be asleep in the bedroom, but they weren’t. They heard their dad’s “new wife” tell him that if he ever brought those two brats back to her house again that she would leave and not come back. The brother and sister had not been invited back since then.

Liberty And Tyranny

libertyandtyrannyQuoting Mark Levin:

“The Modern Liberal believes in the supremacy of the state, thereby rejecting the principles of the Declaration and the order of the civil society, in whole or part. For the Modern Liberal, the individual’s imperfection and personal pursuits impede the objective of a utopian state. In this, Modern Liberalism promotes what French historian Alexis de Tocqueville described as a soft tyranny, which becomes increasingly more oppressive, potentially leading to a hard tyranny (some form of totalitarianism). As the word ‘liberal’ is, in its classical meaning, the opposite of authoritarian, it is more accurate, therefore, to characterize the Modern Liberal as a Statist. … The Statist … knows that despite his successful usurpations, enough citizens are still skeptical and even distrustful of politicians and government that he cannot force his will all at once. Thus he marches in incremental steps, adjusting his pace as circumstances dictate. Today his pace is more rapid, for resistance has slowed. …”

Consumer Mentality In The Church

consumer-church-pictQuoting Bing Davis:

In the life of most evangelical churches these days, about once in every 5 years, the church hangs out a sign that essentially says “Single church seeks pastor.” In the case of pastoral staff other than the lead or senior pastor, that period of time sinks to as low as 18 months. Some denominations have longer spans, some, much shorter. In any case, there seems to be a revolving door, or pulpit, in many Bible-believing churches these days.

Why is this? What can we do to make these intervals longer, at least? Let’s take the first question first, something of a novel concept. I attribute most of these rapid transitions to one of two main reasons; either the consumer mentality of most Christians chase good men away from a pulpit OR some of those pulpiteers allow themselves to be lured away by a bigger church, better location, or some other personal reason. Even more alarming is the number of pastors leaving the pastorate every year, but we will talk about that at another time.

What is the consumer mentality demonstrated by many Christians? Christians look for the “best experience” in church these days, just like they look for the best shopping experience in various stores, or the best TV show, or the best product…and this is the kicker…FOR THEM. In other words, there is no real objective assessment of what a church is doing in comparison to what the Bible prescribes or proscribes. Modern Christians have allowed their affinity for this church or that to become thoroughly post-modern in that they look for “what is best for them.” You have young children? Church A must be for you because their children’s ministry programs are wonderful and keep your kids occupied and happy consistently. You have youth-group aged children? Then Church B is best for you because they have the best youth pastor in town, hot and cold running pizza, and a gym in which to hide most of the youth mess, er, uh experience, yeah, that’s it, youth experience. Parents do NOT have to worry about talking about sticky spiritual matters with their children, the youth guy will do that.

There no longer seem to be people who are willing to assess how a church carries out the ministries of Word, Prayer and Sacrament, the ministries given it explicitly in Scripture. The really bad news is that most churches have trained their people to do just what they are doing, which is looking at everything BUT the ministry of Word, Prayer and Sacrament. . . .

Continue reading. . . .

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