Lund University economist Andreas Bergh explains how Sweden has managed to increase economic productivity by becoming increasingly capitalistic. Bergh says that despite popular mythology, Sweden is not a socialist success story.
Elias Boudinot served as President of Congress and signed the Peace Treaty of Paris to end the War for Independence. He was a framer of the Bill of Rights and respondent to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason with The Age of Revelation. He also called on Congress to begin each morning with prayer:
“Let us enter on this important business under the idea that we are Christians on whom the eyes of the world are now turned… [L]et us earnestly call and beseech Him, for Christ’s sake, to preside in our councils. . . . We can only depend on the all powerful influence of the Spirit of God, Whose Divine aid and assistance it becomes us as a Christian people most devoutly to implore. Therefore I move that some minister of the Gospel be requested to attend this Congress every morning . . . in order to open the meeting with prayer.”
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Imagine the following scenario: At church this Sunday, while reviewing the list of announcements and upcoming events for your church, your pastor added, “Oh, and don’t forget: on Sundays we have our regular target practice. Make sure to bring your rifles. Make sure to bring your pieces to church.”
Absurd, right? Not so. It used to be the American way. For example, a 1631 law in Virginia required citizens to own firearms, to engage in practice with them, and to do so publicly on holy days. It demanded that the people “bring their pieces to the church.” Somewhere along the line we have lost this mindset. Today the ideas of church and arms are assumed to be at odds, as if loving your neighbor has nothing to do with the preservation and defense of life and property.
What is the most Scriptural and edifying way to preach gospel invitations to sinners? God and Christ are never exalted more than when full weight is laid on the free omnipotence of the mercy from which salvation flows. It looks, indeed, as if the old Reformed preachers of the gospel are the only people whose position allows them to do justice to the free offer of Christ to sinners. According to J. I. Packer:
The old gospel of [John] Owen, first of all, contains no less full and free an offer of salvation than its modern counterpart. It presents ample grounds of faith (the sufficiency of Christ, and the promise of God), and cogent motives to faith (the sinner’s need, and the Creator’s command, which is also the Redeemer’s invitation). The new gospel gains nothing here by asserting universal redemption. The old gospel, certainly, has no room for the cheap sentimentalizing which turns God’s free mercy to sinners into a constitutional soft heartedness on His part which we can take for granted; nor will it countenance the degrading presentation of Christ as the baffled Savior, balked in what he hoped to do by human unbelief; nor will it indulge in maudlin appeals to the unconverted to let Christ save them out of pity for His disappointment. The pitiable Savior and the pathetic God of modern pulpits are unknown to the old gospel. The old gospel tells men that they need God, but not that God needs them (a modern falsehood); it does not exhort them to pity Christ, but announces that Christ has pitied them, though pity was the last thing they deserved. It never loses sight of the Divine majesty and sovereign power of the Christ whom it proclaims, but rejects flatly all representations of Him which would obscure His free omnipotence.
Does this mean, however, that the preacher of the old gospel is inhibited or confined in offering Christ to men and inviting them to receive Him? Not at all. In actual fact, just because he recognizes that Divine mercy is sovereign and free, he is in a position to make far more of the offer of Christ in his preaching than is the expositor of the new gospel; for this offer is itself a far more wonderful thing on his principles than it can ever be in the eyes of those who regard love to all sinners as a necessity of God’s nature, and therefore a matter of course. To think that the holy Creator, who never needed man for His happiness and might justly have banished our fallen race for ever without mercy, should actually have chosen to redeem some of them! And that His own Son was willing to undergo death and descend into hell to save them! And that now from His throne He should speak to ungodly men as He does in the words of the gospel, urging upon them the command to repent and believe in the form of a compassionate invitation to pity themselves and choose life! These thoughts are the focal points round which the preaching of the old gospel revolves. It is all wonderful, just because none of it can be taken for granted. But perhaps the most wonderful thing of all – the holiest spot in all the holy ground of gospel truth – is the free invitation which “the Lord Christ” (as Owen loves to call Him) issues repeatedly to guilty sinners to come to Him and find rest for their souls. It is the glory of these invitations that it is an omnipotent King who gives them, just as it is a chief part of the glory of the enthroned Christ that He condescends still to utter them. And it is the glory of the gospel ministry that the preacher goes to men as Christ’s ambassador, charged to deliver the King’s invitation personally to every sinner present and to summon them all to turn and live. (From Packer’s Introductory Essay to John Owen’s “Death of Death” published by the Banner of Truth Trust)
There was nothing in the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, or the ratification process of the federal Constitution that created a national (rather than a federal) government.
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