A National Divorce.

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I was sent an email that snopes.com says is somewhat messed up but I couldn’t argue with the logic of the second part of it.  It seems our Nation is divorcing God.  Some believe we did that when our Constitution didn’t acknowledge His Kingship over this Country.  I am not so sure I hold to that extreme position but in a previous discussion I was told that my ideas and morals (which I know were foundational in this Country) are outdated and that we live in a different era. I had decried how homosexuality was perverse on facebook and to my amazement I found out that my Bible and my morals are now considered perversion according to one of my liberal friends.

So when I read the message below I thought it was applicable. The basis for why we do what we do culturally as a Nation has a foundation. Remove that foundation and we will have no reason for what we do or why we do the things we do.  We obviously have been taking these things for granted every day, week, month, and year. The following comment illustrates where we are headed in my estimation if we don’t experience a revival of truth and love for God in our Nation. .

Here is a portion of the email that I found fascinating with some changes and editing that I have done.  It was supposedly compiled from Governor Lepage’s comments which Snopes disputes.

THE LAW IS THE LAW!

“THE LAW IS THE LAW So “if” the US government determines that it is against the law for the words “under God” to be on our money, then, so be it.

And “if” that same government decides that the “Ten Commandments” are not to be used in or on a government installation, then, so be it.

I say, “so be it,” because I would like to be a law abiding US citizen

I say, “so be it,” because I would like to think that smarter people than I are in positions to make good decisions.

I would like to think that those people have the American public’s best interests at heart.

BUT,

Since we can’t pray to God, can’t Trust in God and cannot post His Commandments in Government buildings, I don’t believe Government (Federal, State and Local) and its employees should participate in Easter and Christmas celebrations which honor the God that our government is eliminating from many facets of American life.

I’d like my mail delivered on Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas, Good Friday, Thanksgiving & Easter. After all they are just another day.

I’d like the” US Supreme Court to be in session on Christmas, Good Friday, Thanksgiving & Easter as well as Sundays.” After all they are just another day.

I’d like the Senate and the House of Representatives to not have to worry about getting home for the “Christmas Break.” After all it’s just another day.

I’m thinking a lot of my taxpayer dollars could be saved, if all government offices & services would work on Christmas, Good Friday & Easter at normal hourly pay. It shouldn’t cost any overtime since those days would be just like any other day of the week to a government that is trying to be “politically correct.”

In fact….I think our government should work on Sundays with normal pay (AFTER ALL, It was initially set aside for worshiping God) because, AFTER ALL, our government will end up saying it is just ANOTHER DAY.

:(

Eight years ago I wouldn’t have thought it possible that marriage could be redefined and homosexuality sanctioned by our Nations law makers. Twenty years ago it was unthinkable in my mind.  So maybe a 7 day work week isn’t that far off.  The Blue Laws are being removed state by state and we are seeking a better economy, aren’t we?  What better way to get more work done than remove those pesky religious days for the sake of productivity. Think I am off base on this one?  I was obviously off base thinking that homosexuality wouldn’t be sanctioned in America.  I worked 7 days a week 12 hours a day when I was at sea in the U. S. Navy.  I guess time will tell.

As a sidenote please know that I don’t hate homosexuals.  I do believe that homosexual sin is more of an abomination according to the scriptures than other kinds of sin.  I also know that all men are capable of repentance and being redeemed by Messiah the Prince if He is willing to set them free.  And He knows how to save sinners and reconcile them to God.

Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

.Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

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The Expository Genius of John Calvin

This was an interview with Steven Lawson. William F. Hill Jr. discussed today’s preaching in light of Calvin’s Expository methods with Steven Lawson the author of a book by the same title. It is both biographical and reveals Calvin’s method of preaching.

One man who believed, Percy Scruggs.

Video made by Kingdom Pictures

http://www.kingdompictures.com/

Russ Pulliam

One unassuming man made a difference in Dodge City

The neighborhood was becoming known as Dodge City, and Percy Scruggs was living in it.

A volunteer with the Boy Scouts, Scruggs knew the area around 23rd Street and College Avenue desperately needed help.

He died last week after suffering about 15 years from Alzheimer’s disease. But his life shows how one concerned person can have considerable impact on a neighborhood, through prayer and the help of friends.

Back in the 1970s, crime was soaring out of control in the Near-Northside area bounded by Pennsylvania Street, the Monon railroad tracks, 22nd Street and Fall Creek. Drug abuse was spreading. Older homes were subdivided into apartments and sometimes abandoned by absentee landlords. The “Dodge City” nickname came from an increase in shootings.

On paper, Scruggs did not seem to have the necessary credentials to spark a neighborhood renewal.

As an African American from Alabama, he did not have the educational opportunities or literacy skills for government grants and social service agencies. He did not speak standard English and could be hard to understand.

But he cared for his neighborhood and started working with young people. He found a building at 23rd and Guilford, calling it the Community Outreach Center.

In terms of natural capacities and training, he was not a great orator. Yet on Saturday mornings a group of inner-city pastors gathered with him at the outreach center for a Bible study, not on how to preach but on how to put the Bible into practice.

He never talked about diversity or racial reconciliation. But he practiced it, bringing together blacks and whites in a common cause to help a neighborhood.

He might not have seemed well organized on paper. But he could crowd 50 to 75 teenagers into the old building and assign his volunteers, one to a Bible class here, another to a tutoring session somewhere else and a couple more for a Young Life club upstairs.

Late in the 1980s tragedy struck in the form of Alzheimer’s disease, and he began to lose his memory and awareness of surroundings. In later years, he could just recall our names and Bible verses he had memorized.

Yet as he was suffering the loss of his normal life, his vision for the neighborhood came to life.

Then a Lilly executive, Mitch Daniels and others started Oaks Academy nearby, in the old public school at 24th and Park. It offers a classical Christian education with racial reconciliation and scholarships for neighborhood children.

Around the same time and place, the city developed an aggressive home ownership effort, Fall Creek Place. Crime has dropped rapidly, as new homes have been built on vacant lots. Another group started the Jireh sports ministry, offering gymnastics and recreational opportunities for young people.

More recently, Chris and Mary Provence met in the neighborhood, married and developed a grass-roots home ownership effort called Rebuilding the Walls. Similar to Habitat for Humanity, the program targets very low-income families for ownership opportunities. One of the first homeowners, Danielle Bouquette, had been in the Bible studies and other activities at the center that Scruggs ran 20 years earlier.

Percy Scruggs can’t be credited for all these initiatives, but he prayed to God in heaven and asked for renovation of a neighborhood. The answer has been a remarkable “yes” that would be hard to explain in purely human terms.

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Russell Pulliam is my Elder and associate editor of The Star. Contact him via e-mail at russell.pulliam@indystar.com.

The importance of the Church in Sovereign Grace

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(Isa 54:13) And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

This passage and commentary was brought to my attention as I am discussing the Covenant of Grace with a wonderful acquaintance and Pastoral father in the faith. I gleaned a bit more from it than some would possibly as I took note how important of a role Calvin placed upon the Church as our mother from whom we are conceived.

As John Calvin (a 16th Century Pastor) noted, “If they are her children, they must then have been conceived in her womb and nourished by her, first “with milk, and next with solid food,”…”for the Spirit does not teach any but those who submit to the ministry of the Church.”

Calvinism is much more than the five points. Calvin rightly attributes the role the Church has and its importance which is a far cry from most of our Evangelicalism now days in my estimation. May we all see the beauty of the Bride as she is ordained and adorned for her role as a mother. May God’s grace be evident in her and may we pursue her as a child hangs to its mother in need of nourishment.

Calvin’s Commentary Isaiah 54:13
13. For all thy childrenI consider that the copulative v (vau,) “and,” here, as in many other passages, denotes for; and hence we may easily conclude that Isaiah spoke not of doctrine, but of men, of which the spiritual building of the Church is reared. It is by doctrine, indeed, that the Church is built; but, the building of it is effected by assembling men together, and reducing them to a state of obedience to God. The difference then between Paul and Isaiah is this, that Paul makes those “precious stones” relate to doctrine, and Isaiah makes them relate to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are bestowed on men, in order that the Church may be built of them. It is proper to observe the diversity of gifts with which the Lord adorns his Church; for all are not “emeralds,” and all are not “carbuncles,” but the Lord assigns to everyone his rank according’ to his own pleasure. (Ephesians 4:11)

Taught by Jehovah. It deserves attention, that all that belongs to the ornament of the Church, proceeds from no other source than from the grace of God; for if we are “carbuncles” and “sapphires” in consequence of our being taught by the Lord, it follows that this does not proceed from nature. Now there are two ways in which the Lord teaches us; by external preaching, and by the secret revelation of the Holy Spirit. What kind of teaching the Prophet means is explained by Christ, when he quotes this passage; and therefore we ought not to seek a better interpreter. “It is written in the prophets,” says he, “All shall be taught by God. Every man who hath heard and learned from the Father cometh to me.” (John 6:45) If this passage were to be understood as relating to external preaching, the conclusion which Christ draws from it would not be well founded; for it does not follow, “The Gospel is preached, and therefore all believe.” Many oppose, others openly scorn, and others are hypocrites. Those only “who have been foreordained to life” (Acts 13:48) are sincerely teachable, and are entitled to be ranked among the disciples. The Gospel is preached indiscriminately to the elect and the reprobate; but the elect alone come to Christ, because they have been “taught by God,” and therefore to them the Prophet undoubtedly refers.

This makes it evident in what way we become living and precious stones for building the temple of God. It is when the Lord has formed and polished us by his Spirit, and has added to the external preaching of the word the internal efficacy of the Spirit. Hence we learn how great is the depravity of the human mind, which cannot be bent and formed anew, unless the Lord move it by the power and efficacy of his Spirit. Isaiah has connected both modes of teaching, the internal and the external; for he gives the appellation of “children of the Church” to those who are “taught by the Lord.” If they are her children, they must then have been conceived in her womb and nourished by her, first “with milk, and next with solid food,” as Paul says, (1 Corinthians 3:2till they “grow up and arrive at manhood.” (Ephesians 4:13)

Thus the external administration of the word is necessary if we wish to be disciples; and this shows the extreme madness of fanatics, who abuse this passage for the purpose of overturning the preaching of the word and the ministry which the Church enjoys; for they cannot be “the children” of the Church, if they do not allow themselves to be educated in her. In vain will they boast of secret revelations; for the Spirit does not teach any but those who submit to the ministry of the Church, and consequently they are the disciples of the devil, and not of God, who reject the order which he has appointed; for we see that these two things, “Children of the Church” and “Taught by God,” are united in such a manner that they cannot be God’s disciples who refuse to be taught in the Church. They ought likewise to be properly distinguished, as Isaiah also distinguishes them, that we may not apply to men what ought to be ascribed to the efficacy of the Spirit; but at the same time they ought to be joined together, so that we may know that in this matter God chooses to employ the agency of men.

Besides, we are taught by this passage that the calling of God is efficacious in the elect. Augustine examines this passage judiciously, and applies it skillfully against the Pelagians, who extolled man’s freewill in opposition to the grace of God. They appeared, indeed, to ascribe something to the grace of God, but in such a manner that, when they brought it forward, they gave to it an inferior place to man’s freewill; just as the Papists do, who assert that any person can either receive or reject it. “But” (says Augustine) “all shall be taught by God. Now, God’s disciples are efficaciously taught, and follow his calling.” He likewise adds that passage of John’s Gospel which we have quoted. This shows clearly that it is not from free choice made by man, and which is capable of being bent in either direction, that it proceeds.

From these words it ought also to be observed how highly the Lord values his doctrine, by means of which he admits us into his building, so that we become “pearls, sapphires, and carbuncles;” for they who wish to build the Church by rejecting the doctrine of the word, build a hog’s sty, and not the Church of God. We see also what opinion we ought to form about implicit faith, about which the Papists yelp, who wish men to become fools, that they may suffer themselves to be imposed upon; for, since we must be taught by God, it is not reasonable that we should resemble beasts.

It may be asked, were not the prophets also, and the patriarchs, and other believers under the Law, taught by God? They undoubtedly were; but here the Prophet spoke by comparison, because there is a more abundant revelation in Christ, and the Lord hath spoken so plainly as to give a public manifestation that he is the teacher of the Church, and also to gain many disciples. This passage agrees with one in the Prophet Jeremiah. “Everyone shall not teach his neighbor, nor a man his brother; for all shall know me from the least even to the greatest, saith Jehovah.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

Accordingly, if in ancient times it was necessary that all the children of God should be disciples of the Holy Spirit, much more in the present day, seeing that this prediction relates strictly to the kingdom of Christ.

And great peace. By the word “peace” he denotes happiness, that is, all prosperity. And hence we may infer what is the true happiness of men. It is, when God enlightens our understandings, so that we embrace the salvation which has been revealed to us in Christ; for, so long as we are destitute of that knowledge, we are at the greatest possible distance from happiness; because even God’s blessings, till they are sanctified by faith, become a curse to us

Samuel Rutherford and Natural Law Question for Dr. Guy Richard

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Dr. Guy Richard,
If you wouldn’t mind answering a quick question for me I would appreciate it. It might not be simple or be easy to answer shortly nor quickly.

I moderate the Puritanboard.com. One of the Administrators on the Puritanboard Chris Coldwell and I were discussing Samuel Rutherford and Natural Law. We were looking at some of his thoughts on Natural Law in Lex Rex when and I found a quote from his Disputation Against Pretended Liberty that I considered to be his more definitive thought on the subject.

As I worked my way through examining Lex Rex he doesn’t ever seem to specifically define Natural Law but he does reference it and prove it is a Law in man by reason for preservation as I sum it up. In his book Disputations he writes what I would consider a more precise definition.

CHAP. I.
Of Conscience and its nature.
“Of this intellectual Treasure-house, we are to know these. 1. That in the inner Cabinet, the natural habit of Moral principles lodgeth, the Register of the common notions left in us by nature, the Ancient Records and Chronicles which were in Adam’s time, the Law of Nature of two volumes, one of the first Table, that there is a God, that he createth and governeth all things, that there is but one God, infinitely good, more just rewarding the Evil and the good; and of the second Table, as to love our Parents, obey Superiors, to hurt no man, the acts of humanity; All these are written in the soul, in deep letters, yet the Ink is dim and old, and therefore this light is like the Moon swimming through watery clouds, often under a shadow, and yet still in the firmament. Caligula, and others, under a cloud, denied there was any God, yet when the cloud was over, the light broke out of prison, and granted, a God there must be; strong winds do blow out a Torch in the night, and will blow in the same light again; and that there be other seeds, though come from a far land, and not growing out of the ground, as the former, is clear, for Christ scattereth some Gospel-truths in this Chalmer; as John 7.28. Then cried Jesus in the Temple; as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and whence I am. John 15.24. But now they have both seen, and hated both me and my Father.”

Now I don’t think his work in Lex Rex is in any way in conflict with his later work but it does seem he puts a more precise definition of what Natural Law is in Disputation. He also seems to indicate that Natural Law emanates from the moral law that was originally written on man’s heart and it consists of two tables. That would seem to indicate to me that he directly would logically link the Decalogue and this Law of Nature together.

We are discussing this in relation to Coffey’s book (which I have never read and don’t have) that Chris is quoting for me and how Rutherford might have seen a difference of application concerning the 1st Table from Natural Law for heathen kings vs. Christian kings (or whatever various form of Government he might be addressing).

I guess my question would be threefold. Is Rutherford’s definition more precise in Disputations than Lex Rex because he is addressing a different group or persons? Or am I reading too much into the definition of Disputation? Does he consider Natural Law to be fully revealing of the Decalogue? I understand you are the expert.

Thanks for your consideration,

Dr. Richard’s Reply

Randy,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your email. But thank you for contacting me. I always enjoy talking about Rutherford. I feel like he is my mentor and close personal friend in many ways, as much time as we have spent together!

Regarding your questions, let me first say that the passage you found in Pretended Liberty is a very good representation of what Rutherford believed regarding natural law. He clearly believed that the whole of the ten commandments were written upon the hearts of all men “in deep letters.” But, apart from Christ and apart from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, “the ink is dim and old, and therefore this light is like the Moon swimming through watery clouds, often under a shadow, and yet still in the firmament.” Natural law is real. There is no such thing as an atheist, no one who ought to be able to plead ”not guilty” to breaking any of the 10 commandments. It is ”still in the firmament.” But it is oftentimes ”under a shadow.”

How this applies in the case of a person living within England or Scotland (or any other “Christian” nation) will be different many times than in the case of a “heathen” who does not have the same “Christian influences” around him/her. The one who lives within a Christian nation will have certain Christian influences (i.e., God’s Word, Christians themselves, the church, civil laws derived from the Christian ethic, etc). These things would serve to reinforce natural law in the case of the one living in a “Christian nation.” But the heathen would not have these influences. All he/she would have is natural law, which is the ten commandments written upon his/her heart “in deep letters” but with “ink [that] is dim and old” and “often under a shadow.”

I’m not sure whether or not that answers your questions. Feel free to email back if you’d like further clarification on anything.

Thanks again for contacting me. Blessings on your continued study!

Guy

Dr. Guy M. Richard

First Presbyterian Church

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Dr. Guy Richard’s publications.  http://www.fpcgulfport.org/dr-guy-richard-s-publications

 

Just a quick question Dr. Richard,

Would it be okay to quote your response to my questions?  I will not use private messages without permission of the author in any way unless I am given permission.  It is matter of ethics and loyalty.  If not that is just fine.  I totally understand.

Randy,

I’d prefer that you not publish them in print form. But if you would like to use them on line or something like that, that would be fine with me.

G