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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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Earthquakes And Prophecy

Gary DeMar

Gary DeMar writes:

For decades now, modern-day prophecy writers have been claiming that the increase and severity of earthquakes are sure indicators that we’re living in the “last days” and the “rapture” is near. It happened when an earthquake hit Haiti January 12, 2010. The latest earthquake that sent a tsunami to Japan has already revved up current end-time speculation. Tim LaHaye, the best-selling co-author of the Left Behind series of Bible prophecy novels had this to say …

Continue reading. . . .

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God Has Confirmed Our Liberty

Magna charta cum statutis angliae (Great Chart...

Magna Carta

Many of the great historic documents of law and liberty are inseparable from the influence of Christianity. The Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights are two important examples of this influence. Gary DeMar writes:

If your children study medieval history, or history of England, make the effort to open their textbook on the chapter concerning Magna Carta and read what it says about the origins of Magna Carta. Whether the textbook is a Christian or a non-Christian textbook, you will learn that (1) in the early 13th century there was an evil king of England named John, (2) his barons rose in rebellion against him, and (3) in 1215 the barons forced King John to sign a document known as Magna Carta where his power over his barons was limited by law, and the barons’ privileges and freedoms were established and protected. . . .

While certain details in the picture the textbooks reveal are correct, the above picture about the history and the origins of Magna Carta is incorrect. It is a typical example of what scholars call “historical revisionism”—re-writing history by historians, teachers, authors, and politicians to fit a specific modern agenda, or to comply with specific modern view of the history of mankind. . . . The historical truth is that Magna Carta was not drafted by the barons, the barons didn’t initiate it at all, and that the Carta had a completely different ideological origin and political and legal intent than what our modern historians presume. Far from being a generally political or legal document, the Carta was a Christian document first, and then everything else.

The falsity of the above historical narrative is revealed by a simple reading of the opening lines of the Carta itself:

“John, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his officials and loyal subjects, greeting.

“Know that before God, for the health of our soul and those of our ancestors and heirs, to the honor of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom, at the advice of our reverend fathers Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and cardinal of the holy Roman Church, Henry archbishop of Dublin, William bishop of London, Peter bishop of Winchester, Jocelin bishop of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh bishop of Lincoln, Walter Bishop of Worcester, William bishop of Coventry, Benedict bishop of Rochester, Master Pandulf subdeacon and member of the papal household, Brother Aymeric. . . .”

Note carefully: The Magna Carta doesn’t start with barons, and doesn’t start with individual liberties. It doesn’t start with political considerations, and it doesn’t start with the issue of who holds what power. Magna Carta starts as a religious document, concerned with the “health of the soul” of the King, and with the “honor of God,” and with the “exaltation of the Holy Church.” In addition to that, the King acknowledges that the “advice” for signing the Carta comes from the bishops first, and then from the barons.

As if this was not enough, the main text of the Great Charter starts with the most forgotten clause that is very seldom quoted by modern historians:

“First, that we have granted to God, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired.”

The question here is: If the signing of the Magna Carta was a conflict between the King and the barons, as the history textbooks tell us, then why does it start with a solemn clause to defend the liberties of the church? Why were the barons so concerned with the inviolability of the rights of the church rather than with their own rights?

Continue reading this entire article. . . .

Whatever Happened To The Young, Restless, And Reformed?

The Reformed Church changed the world by the obedience of teaching the nations and building the Kingdom of God. They believed they were God’s chosen vessels to manifest God’s Sovereignty over the cultures of men by building a new civilization. Puritan thought was rich in its interest of exerting God’s sovereignty over the kingdoms of this world. But, how has this great Reformed legacy worked out in today’s world? Gary DeMar writes:

Four years ago, Christianity Today ran an article, Young, Restless, Reformed.” In it, the author Collin Hansen covered a phenomenon that has been around for the last decade: The return of many young Christians to the Reformed doctrines. He interviewed quite a few pastors and young church members who came out of Charismatic and “seeker-sensitive” churches, who now embrace the doctrines of Calvinism. Hansen saw this return as a less-advertised, but much larger and more pervasive phenomenon than the “emergent church” or the “seeker-sensitive church.” He believed the comeback of “Calvinism” was “shaking up the church.” He pointed to the popularity of the old Puritan authors among the “new Reformed,” and especially among the young. The old-fashioned Puritanism of the 17th and the 18th centuries seemed to be the ideological fuel behind this Calvinist comeback. Many of the Puritans’ works were being reprinted because of the renewed interest in them. A professor at Gordon-Conwell even said he suspected “young evangelicals gravitate toward the Puritans looking for deeper historic roots and models for high-commitment Christianity.”

This was highly encouraging. Everything good the Western world has today – the concepts of liberty, rule of law, superior work ethic, charitable organizations, entrepreneurial spirit, thrift and long-term investment, etc. – it owes it to the Reformed theology and those who applied it in practice. When the time came for liberty to be defended throughout the Western world, and especially in America, it was Reformed and Puritan preachers who encouraged populations to defend their freedom under God, and it was Reformed and Puritan laymen who first manned the battle stations against oppression. And it was Reformed and Puritan leaders who worked to build the West to a just and prosperous society, and to spread the ideas of liberty to the rest of the world; everyone else followed their example. So, if Collin Hansen was right in his assessment of the pervasiveness of this Calvinist comeback, then we had back again the historically proven solution to America’s descent into socialism, paganism, political turmoil and economic recession.

But whatever hopes one could derive from that Calvinist comeback that Hansen saw, they would have been completely extinguished in our experience of the last two years. In a time when our society is struggling to preserve everything America once proudly stood for – everything that the Puritans handed down to us through the generations – these “new Reformed” of Hansen failed to materialize when their influence was most necessary. Since 2008, in our intense cultural wars against those who want to subvert America, the churches declared as “Reformed” by Hansen are nowhere to be seen.

Continue reading. . . .

Facts Do Have A Moral Context

Many American Christians have accepted the view that the Gospel has absolutely nothing to do with the secular, but only with eternal life. They see secular institutions as neutral territory, having no influence on the heart’s personal relationship with God. One state institution that is particularly perceived in this way is the public school system. Gary DeMar provides us with the following insights:

Many Christians claim a form of factual neutrality where some subjects (e.g., science, medicine, technology, geography, politics, mathematics) can be taught without any regard to religious presuppositions since “facts speak for themselves.” This is most evident in education where a self-conscious sacred-secular divide is maintained and supported by Christians. Ninety percent of Christian parents send their children to government schools. Since these parents believe that math is math and history is history, the religious stuff can be made up at church. . . .

Knowledge of what works in the field of medicine still leaves doctors, for example, with decisions relating to abortion and euthanasia. An abortionist can be an expert in the way he performs an abortion. He has honed this “skill” through scientific study of the created order (general revelation). But is it right and just to use this knowledge in the destruction of pre‑born babies? Where does one go to find out? Dr. Jack Kevorkian designed a “suicide machine” that was efficient, effective, and painless, three criteria to consider in the practice of modern medicine. But was what he did right and just? This is the real issue. Procedures that were designed as part of the healing craft are now being used to destroy life. There is no doubt that abortionists and doctors like Kavorkian are skilled practitioners of their respective crafts, but that’s not enough. . . .

The humanists understand the importance of education in creating worldview shifts and control, so why don’t Christians? Charles Francis Potter, who founded the First Humanist Society of New York in 1929 and signed the first Humanist Manifesto in 1933, made no secret of the purpose of the American public schools:

“Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”

Read more here. . . .

Should A Christian Put Up A Christmas Tree?

christmas-treeQuoting Gary DeMar:

Have you ever met a Christian who refused to display a Christmas tree in his house because he believed it to be a pagan tradition? I have. The use of the trees does have pagan roots, but Gary DeMar shares with us here why it is OK to display them:

Just because pagans might have used trees to worship their gods does not mean that we can’t use them to teach us something about God who has given us the “indescribable gift” of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 9:15). The Christmas tree is an evergreen that reminds us that we have “eternal life” in Jesus Christ (John 6:40). The shape of the tree reminds us that we are “born from above” (John 3:3). The needles on the branches remind us that Jesus was “pierced through for our transgression” (Isa. 53:5). The lights hung on the tree remind us that Jesus is “the light of the world” (John 8:12) and through Him we are to be “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). The objects we hang on the tree remind us that “every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17).

Instead of condemning the setting up of the Christmas tree as some practice brought into our homes from the pagan cold, it should remind us that God promises us “the right to the tree of life” (Rev. 22:14). If the Bible tells us “to go to the ant . . . to observe her ways and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6), certainly we can learn similar things from God’s other good creations, even trees.

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