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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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God Is The Source Of Liberty

From its very beginning, the secular- progressive left has regarded God and religion (especially Christianity) as an impediment to its elitist-fascist agenda. Dennis Prager offers the following explanation of why this has occurred:

Since the inception of the United States (and, indeed, before it in colonial America), liberty, i.e., personal freedom, has been linked to God.

America was founded on the belief that God is the source of liberty. That is why the inscription on the Liberty Bell is from the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 25): “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

The Declaration of Independence also asserts this link: All men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Because the Creator of the world is the source of our freedom, no state, no human being, no government may take it away. If the state were the source of liberty, then obviously the state could take it away.

Both reason and American values therefore make these claims:

1. The more important the state is, the less the liberty.

2. The more important God is, the smaller the state.

3. Therefore, the more important God is, the more liberty there is.

A proof of the validity of these assertions is that as this country — the country, not the government — becomes more secular, it becomes less free, just as has happened in other Western countries. . . .

So, too, every totalitarian state except Muslim ones (because a religious government is the Muslim ideal) seeks to abolish religion. Stalin, for example, murdered virtually every member of the clergy, and came close to destroying all religion, in the Soviet Union. He understood that a totalitarian state cannot allow a competing allegiance. . . .

This is largely what the current culture war — actually a non-violent civil war — is about. The left seeks an ever-expanding state with, by definition, ever-expanding powers. And a fundamental aspect of that program is the removal of God and religion from as much of American life as possible. . . .

To use a Civil War simile, the secular Fort Sumter took place in 1962, when the United States Supreme Court (Engel v. Vitale) overthrew the decision of the highest court of New York State, and ruled that the following prayer, said in New York State schools, violated the Constitution:

“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.”

Few rational, let alone religious, Americans believed that this non-denominational prayer, which no school child had to recite, violated the American Constitution. The purpose of the ruling was to impose secularism on America.

Read more here. . . .

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The Infinite Abyss

Augustine

Quoting Augustine:

“There once was in man a true happiness of which now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present. But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself.”

If Men Were Angels

Secretary of State James Madison, who won Marb...

James Madison

Quoting James Madison, Federalist No. 51, 1788:

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”

Keeping To The Pure Doctrine Of The Gospel

John Calvin

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1)

As Christians, we must never forget the terrible Fall by which Adam and we, together with all humanity, sinned and became entangled with the lies and deceits of Satan. The glory of Jesus Christ was totally unknown to us. But God has now taken us from this dark abyss. Therefore, we must resolve to have a firm and constant faith that will no longer be shaken like a reed in the wind. Our faith must be firmly rooted in the gospel and grounded upon the invincible power of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we fail to remain steadfast in these teachings, we are deserting the mighty fortress that keeps us safe. John Calvin writes:

[We see here that the Galatians] were making the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ altogether void, by believing that man can merit and acquire his own justification before God, and make himself acceptable in God’s service. When these deceivers introduced this particular error of keeping to the ‘former shadows’, it led the Galatians to believe that they were presenting God with meritorious service. Yet, our salvation must be free, or Jesus Christ is no longer anything. We call it free salvation simply because it is given to us by God, and we come to him to be fed, with nothing but a hungry desire for what we are lacking. We should approach God as miserable beggars, if we would be justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. For if we imagine that we have one drop of merit, we will not be motivated to come to him. One of the learned ancients said, and not without reason, that we cannot receive the salvation offered to us in our Lord Jesus Christ unless we can first erase the memory of all our merits, and acknowledge that we are only full of wretchedness. Paul, therefore, was completely justified in saying that the Galatians had fallen away from Jesus Christ and from God the Father.

However, there was another problem: they had been deluded into believing what others desired them to believe. They had been subjected to a slavish bondage, which robbed them of the peace of conscience that they ought to have had in the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, together with the reconciliation we have through his sacrificial death and passion, we must also be set free from the rigors of the law to which we were once in bondage. To explain this you know that it says in the law that all those who do not fulfill what God commands to the last letter will be accursed (Deut. 27:26). Yet it is impossible for us to reach such perfection. Therefore, it was necessary for our Lord Jesus Christ to obtain our liberty, and to free us from the yoke of the law, which we are unable to bear, as it says in the fifteenth chapter of Acts (Acts 15:10).

We have now seen, in effect, why Paul accuses the Galatians of rebelling, and why he calls them traitors to God and to our Lord Jesus Christ: they had robbed him of the loyalty that they had promised. By this, we too are being admonished to keep to the pure and simple doctrine of the gospel, without straying in one direction or another. For it is not enough to have the name and title of Christians, or to bear the mark of baptism: we must continue steadfast in the doctrine of the gospel. As we have said before, our Lord Jesus Christ cannot deny himself. He can only be known in the way he has been revealed to us by God the Father, our own various conceptions of him being irrelevant. The gospel shows us why he came, his office, the benefits that we receive from him and the strength that he gives us. If we do not have the pure and simple doctrine which our Lord Jesus Christ has revealed, we have nothing at all, but if we have been taught it, let us hold on to it to the very end. If we draw back, even just a little, it is nothing short of unfaithfulness. (“On Perverting The Gospel Of Christ”)

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