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 King and His Kingdom (parts 2-4)

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The King and His Kingdom

 

Used by permission by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

http://alliancenet.org/

PART TWO

 

The Application of the Mediatorial Kingdom “And He rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:28b)

From Part II forward, the Kingdom discussed is the mediatorial Kingdom as defined in Part 1.

How does this Doctrine of the Mediatorial Kingship and Kingdom of Christ apply to:

The Individual (chosen of God)

The Family (basic unit of the Church)

The Church The Church—Civil Government Relationship

The Business and Life Walk

The Mediatorial Kingdom and The Individual

 

When we begin with the Kingdom in the life of the Individual, we find that this is the plan and program that Christ builds down into the mind and life purpose of every soul who comes to know Him as Savior and Lord. It is this way of thinking that is that outline of Christian life which He can look forward to growing up into. When Christ saves a soul, He builds His particular life purpose down into that person’s life—His particular reason for dying on the Cross for that particular person. And that soul begins growing up into that purpose, through the three stages of kingdom development, that Christ described in Mark 5; 1) the blade stage, 2) the green ear stage, and finally 3) the full corn in the ear stage. He can grow up to realize that he’s been called by the King who is now His Lord and that he’s not been saved just to get his own soul out of Hell and into Heaven, but to be Christ’s witness on Christ’s earth so long as Christ chooses to leave him there. He has been saved to be a witness to others who do not yet know Christ as King and then to help them to grow up into spiritual maturity just as Jesus taught His disciples to “think” Kingdom and grow up into it. In the same way, the Apostle Paul taught Timothy not to be satisfied with just becoming a Christian, or even leading someone else to Christ, but to work and plan and pray two spiritual generations, beyond that to see a “faithful man” reaching “others also”. That is “kingdom-thinking” and an essential factor in Jesus’ long-range Kingdom plan for the evangelization of His world. That is true “apostolic succession” and an essential factor in glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

The Mediatorial Kingdom and The Family

 

When we begin with the kingdom in the family, we find that Christ has also built this kingdom plan down into the “mind” or purpose of the Family. So that the man and woman, bridegroom and bride, who are thinking with the mind of Christ will know that their marriage and family are not just for the purpose of developing a new level of romantic “love” nor just for the purpose of the propagation of the family name, but that they would be a two-person demonstration of the salvation relationship that exists between any soul who comes to know Christ as Savior and Lord and the Savior Himself. So that, as the world sees the way He, as the bridegroom, lays down his life for his bride-wife, they would begin to understand what was involved in Christ (as the bridegroom and King) laying down His life for His Bride (i.e. the church whose every soul comes to know Him as Savior and King). And as the world sees how she submits her whole life to her husband and puts herself into his hands without reservation, the world begins to understand what would be involved in surrendering without reservation to Christ, as Savior and Lord. The two of them will be a two-person demonstration of the salvation relationship. When this kind of kingdom-thinking or “mind” is the foundation and long-range plan for the family, then that family will grow up into spiritual maturity. “Father” will be more than just the oldest male member in the family. He will represent the Father in Heaven and he will pray for his family the way Job prayed for his children. Mother will “remind” them all of the place called Heaven and of what Christ wants His Church to be. The children will understand “grace” because they see and receive the grace and acceptance and purposefulness that is being demonstrated by both father and mother on a horizontal level and they will understand confession and forgiveness because they see it being demonstrated in the day to day relationships and conversations between a father and mother who begin with the Kingdom and Kingship of Jesus Christ. And Paul’s prayers for the family of Philemon, Apphia and Archippus will apply (i.e. “that the communication of your faith may become effectual in every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus,” (Philemon, verse 6). Other believers will say, ‘every time I think of you and your home, I just thank God’, and the extent of that family ministry will carry on beyond the four generations described by Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:2, from grandparents to parents to children and grandchildren to the end of time—wherever they may travel throughout His world.

The Mediatorial Kingdom and the Church

 

When we begin with the Kingdom, in our thinking and planning for the church, there have been those who, by accident, oversight, or by design, would limit the doctrine of the Kingdom to the church, saying that the Kingdom is the church or the church is the Kingdom. The Kingdom includes, as we have seen, far more than the church. But Christ intends that the (redemptive) origin and purpose of His Kingdom, rising as it does out of His work of atonement on the Cross, will determine the origin and purpose and message of His Church. The (spiritual) nature of His Kingdom will provide the standard of spirituality for His Church in all her “services,” especially her worship services, and that the (unlimited) extent of His Kingdom will be the “mission vision” for His Church. It is not that the Church defines and determines what the Kingdom is, but rather that the Kingdom determines and defines what the Church is, and what she will become. The Kingdom is that overarching dome, of which the Church is a reflection. Just as it is never the blue of the lake that determines the blue of the sky, but always the blue of the sky that determines the blue of the lake; so then it is the pattern of the Kingdom that determines the origin and redemptive purpose of every church; and the spiritual nature of the Kingdom that determines the standards of spirituality in all the “services” of the church; and the (unlimited) extent of Christ’s kingdom that determines the mission vision of each church.

I Will Build My Church

 

When Jesus, the Christ, made that remarkable promise, “I will build my Church”, over 2000 years ago, He had in mind a clearly-defined plan, a plan that He continues to implement throughout His world today. In Exodus 25:40, He had commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle according to “the pattern” which He had shown to him on the Mount. Throughout the Old Testament years, He led Israel and “the church in the wilderness” into the promised land. Now in the four gospels, He explains His Kingdom and His Plan for His Church in more detail and shows the relationship between His Kingdom and His church.

It is important to see how Christ begins in Matthew 6 with the command to “seek first the kingdom”, and then ten chapters later in Matthew 16:18 makes that remarkable promise “I will build My Church”. In Matthew 16:16-17, Christ first praises Peter with the highest commendation for making the kind of confession “thou art the Christ, the son of the Living God”, which is the rock of confession in every generation, upon which Christ’s promise to build His church is founded. When Christ proceeds to tell us about how He must be crucified in order to do this church building, and Peter begins to rebuke Him; saying in effect that he will find some easier way to do Christ’s work, Christ rebukes Peter with his sternest condemnation, calling Him Satan and saying the same thing to Peter that He had said to Satan on the Mount of Temptation. In effect, Christ is saying here to Peter and to all of us: Your responsibility is to “seek the kingdom”. I will build My church and when I do it My way then the very gates of Hell will not be able to hold out against it. You must learn to do My work , My way.

The Very Purpose of His Kingdom has been built down into His Church by the Lord Himself.

When we begin with the Kingdom, then the origin and purpose of the Kingdom become the origin and purpose of the Church. Both Kingdom and Church have arisen out of God’s sovereign will and redemptive purpose which is motivated by love to save souls. Once that decision had been made, then Christ was appointed and “became obedient unto death, even the death on the Cross, wherefore God also highly exalted Him” and gave Him the Kingdom (Philippians 2:5-11). Now He, in turn, builds His Church as a very important part of His Kingdom. Just as it was the primary and ultimate purpose of His Kingdom to glorify God, honor Christ Himself, and make it possible for Him to apply the benefits of redemption to His people and also meet their continuing needs for growing up into spiritual maturity, so now, these become the primary and ultimate purpose of His Church. Both Kingdom and Church are controlled and empowered by Christ and both are primarily concerned with the application of that redemption which He has worked out on the Cross. The Kingdom is not limited to the Church, but in these respects, they are the same.

There is a great difference between this and the idea that the Church originated in the minds of people as a voluntary spontaneous association who call themselves together in order to meet their own spiritual and social needs. This is Christ calling together His people, and ultimately it is not so much for man’s benefit as it is for God’s glory.

When we look at the Church beginning with the Kingdom, then there is a functional mission purpose that becomes very important. The Church becomes less “ours” and more “His”— not so much the place to which we come to add to our numbers and preserve ourselves, as it is the place to which He brings us, equips us, and sends us on to multiply into more congregations to evangelize His world.

On the one hand, there is a difference between the purpose Christ has built into an individual and a family and the purpose He has built down into His Church. Even a casual review of the works (erga) that Christ was reviewing in each of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, will show that He has assigned a particular ministry to a particular congregation. On the other hand, all churches have certain things in common and when we review them, beginning with the Kingdom, there is less emphasis on drawing distinctions and more emphasis on ultimate purpose and mission. Beginning with the Kingdom brings less emphasis on what one church “has”, that another “does not have” and more emphasis on what Christ has designed and called all of us to do to the Glory of God.

The spiritual nature of His Church also has been “built” down into her by her Lord

 

Christ has also “built” the spiritual nature of His Kingdom down into His Church in such a way that the spirituality of the Kingdom provides a basis or standard for evaluating the spirituality of a particular congregation. Some churches are almost more dead than alive. They sing dead and pray dead and give and think dead. Others are “alive” in Christ and their services on earth can be seen as a kind of choir rehearsal for Heaven. That spirituality is also one practical basis for the Church’s independence of the power or control of all other organizations such as the civil government. Because she is a spiritual organization, she is not dependent on the State for her establishment or continuing existence. Her foundation is Christ alone. And because Christ has built her to be a spiritual organization, she is subject to Him alone. He is her only head and she is subject to Him as God has said, just as any person’s physical body is subject to the head. So the spiritual nature of Christ’s Kingdom built downward into His Church, provides the basis for 1) the spirituality of a church and especially the standard of spirituality for her worship services; 2) her independence to all other organizations and influences; and 3) her subjection to Christ alone. Also, as we shall see in a later section, this spiritual nature provides one basis for a healthy working relationship between Church and civil government.

The spiritual nature of the Church not only provides protection for Christ’s Church against the attacks of other organizations, like the civil government, from outside the Church but it also protects her against the attacks of the organizations from within the Church herself. It is clear in the records of history that the Church has been seduced or raped as often by those “legitimate” church boards (colleges, cardinals, assemblies, synods) that operate from within as she has been seduced and raped by emperors, kings, judges and other legislative bodies working from without. Whether it be hierarchical, congregational or Presbyterian form of church government, Christ has prescribed a form of church government simply because edification requires order and order requires government. The moment men begin to forget that their authority within His Church is not legislative but solely ministerial (the administration of the Word He has legislated), then they are usurping Christ’s authority within His Church. He never has permitted that and He never will. Whatever form of church government causes us to know that the Church is more “his” and less “ours” is what He was demanding and promising when He said that day to Peter, and to all the rest of us, “I will build My Church”.

When Christ built the unlimitedness of His Kingdom downward into His Church, He was establishing her unity, her universality, and her perpetuity. Today, we tend to think of unlimitedness in terms of the dimension of space but when we apply unlimitedness to the dimension of time, it means there never was a time when Christ was not a King with a Kingdom and there never will be. In the dimensions of space it means there is no “place” on the face of Christ’s world (or in outer space either, if we ever find souls in outer space), where we should not expect to find Him building His Church and using believers to do it. We catch a glimpse of the unity, universality, and perpetuity of His Church in that Passover-communion table stretching clear back into the Garden of Eden where we see Abel, the first man into Heaven, and then moving forward to include Job and Abraham and Isaac and Moses and the Prophets, all of them, looking forward through the Passover to the coming of the Messiah; and then, in the very center of that long table, Jesus the Messiah and His disciples; and then, Luther and Calvin and all the rest of the saints since then sitting at that same table looking back to the same Messiah/Christ to whom the Old Testaments saints looked forward. There never has been salvation in any other and never will be. All over His world! And universe from the beginning of time! His Kingdom will continue to grow and extend to the end of time and then on into eternity! And so will His church!

By building the specifications of His Kingdom downward into His Church, He provides his standards for:

1           Her purpose

2           Her spirituality

3           Her independence of all outward control

4           Her subjection to Himself alone

5           Her unity

6           Her universality

7           Her perpetuity

All this then translates into the order and program of His Church as she makes progress through time toward bringing His world into conformity to the regnum Christi totum. This doctrine of the unlimitedness of Christ’s Kingdom projected downward into the mission vision of His Church promises to develop a strongly united, universally expanding, perpetually existing Church which will one day confront the State in such a way as to require their working together. But what is the relationship between Christ’s Kingdom-Kingship and the civil government?

The Mediatorial Kingdom and The Civil Government

 

Everything Christ has been teaching us about His Kingdom provides reasons which imply that He is also Lord of civil government:

•   His being invested with the mediatorial dominion in no way supposes His abrogation of any of His Rights of Dominion as God.

  • His moral qualifications to rule over all things and especially “all flesh” would imply that such a vastly important thing as civil government would not be exempted from his mediatorial rule.
  • And without such power over nations, Christ would be seriously handicapped in overruling the rebellions of men in order to bring about that time when “the kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15).

This doctrine of the unlimitedness of Christ’s Dominion gives us every reason to believe that Jesus Christ is now King and Lord over all nations’ civil governments as well as Lord of the individual, the family, and the church.

But more important than reasons and implications such as these are the specific statements from the following Scripture. The commands of Scripture, e.g. Psalm 2, as quoted in Acts 4:25,13:33, Hebrews 1:4, 5:5 and Revelation 2:27. The Prophecies of Scripture; e.g. Psalm 47:2, 3, 8, 9; Psalm 72; Isaiah 49:22-23; 60:11, 12, 16; Ezekiel 45:17; Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 11:15; 21:24,26: And such designations in Scripture wherein the Mediator is addressed as “Governor among the nations” (Psalm 22:28); “higher than the Kings of the earth” (Psalm 89:27); “King of nations” (Jeremiah 10:6-7); “King of Kings” (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). All of these assert Christ’s actual Lordship over civil government. To ascribe such titles to Him if they were not true, would be to mock Him.

We may summarize Christ’s Lordship over civil government under 8 topics, the eight things Christ does for civil government. These are followed up by 4 responses civil government can make to Christ’s Lordship:

1           The very origin of civil government is in the Hands of Christ. Of the Church, He has said “I will build my Church”. There is, however, a difference between the origin of the Church and the origin of civil government because He says—“civil government is an ordinance of man” and “the powers that be are ordained of (by) God”. This means that the God of nature has put the desire into man for a voluntary social compact. Civil government originated with God morally not less than providentially. God not only permitted it, He caused it and since, as we have seen earlier, the matters of Providence have also been put into the hands of Christ, then He is, as Mediator, the one who instituted and constituted civil government. It can never be the ordinance of man in any sense in which it is not ordained by God.

2           It is Christ who continues to oversee the affairs of civil government. Throughout the history of the Old and New Testaments, we see him influencing the counsels of statesmen and the prowess of armies to set some up and take others down, in order to accomplish His redemptive purposes.

3           Christ issues those commands through His Word which direct civil rulers in promoting the public good, restraining evil, administering laws with justice, promoting and protecting His Church and doing all this in such a way that it will promote the plans and holy name of the Mediator.

4           It is Christ who overrules the rebellions of those who oppose Him.

5           It is Christ who executes the judgments of God on those rulers and people who refuse to be guided by His moral law.

6          It is Christ who also works through civil government to disseminate the Gospel throughout His world. As King of Kings, He authorizes those whom He has commissioned to enter and evangelize any nation on earth. So it is not only what He does for them and to them, it is also what He does through them that proves His Lordship over nations. He is Lord of “common” grace.

7           Christ works through civil government in such a way as to gather together and protect and promote His Church. Because of the character of nations as they now are, there could be no hope for the Church if it were not for the fact that Christ is Lord of the civil government as well as Lord of the Church.

8           Christ promises to bring about an entire change (reformation) in the character and constitution of the nations of the world and in Isaiah 9, He adds this promise, “the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform it”.

In all these eight ways, Christ, as King, asserts His Lordship over His civil government, working through them to carry out the purposes of His Kingdom Plan. Conversely, at each of these points, civil government is thrust more and more up into the light and plan of Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom. One practical result of all this is that men are thus confronted in civil government, as well as in church with the mediatorial authority and plan of Christ. This is something more than Theocratic, it is Christocratic. Christ’s authority in the civil government becomes as absolute as it is in the Church. Everything here points to civil government being an ordinance of God—a moral ordinance, a divine institution. This is a very high doctrine of civil government.

Now what response can a nation make to Christ and His Lordship in civil government? There are at least four responses civil government can make to Christ’s Lordship:

1           The Glory of Christ, her King, can and will be the chief end or highest purpose of the State. It is just not enough to be satisfied with the promotion of domestic tranquility, peace, social order, happiness among men or the patriotic good of our own community. Everything the civil government does, every constitution and law and treaty she writes, every home and foreign policy she makes, every appointment she makes, must be reviewed with an eye to the excellency of her Lord. Even indifference or neglect of this can be seen as an insult, dishonoring to the King. This tends to equate civil government with what is commonly known as moral government. It means that the best interests of God, government, and men are one. Government is intended to do more than guard, defend, and protect the civil rights and properties of her citizens, it is also intended to hold together moral and political truth.

2           The Law of Christ can and will be the rule of conduct. Since God has commanded His people in Old Testament times to use His Laws and Precepts as the basis for their governing and civil government, then less could not be expected of those of us in New Testament times who have access to the whole of God’s Revelation in Scripture. This means then that the State, by virtue of being an instrument of Christ, a moral ordinance, is not just limited to such grounds as common consent, protection of property, or physical needs as a basis for her laws. But she can, and therefore should, go on directly to God’s moral law in the Scriptures as the best basis for all her laws. Those who break those laws would be, disciplined not only because of what they have done against man, but also because of what they have done against God. In both legislation and the restraint of irreligion, the most important thing would be, what is most honoring for Christ as the Lord of Civil Government.

3           The standards that Christ demonstrated in His own character as King will be the base for evaluating or electing men for office in civil government. Using Christ’s character as the basis for our evaluation of the character of those seeking our vote, we would want to see in their lives:

• His kind of dignity or respectability

• His kind of “near relationship” to us

• His kind of knowledge and wisdom

• His kind of power—ability to get things done

• His kind of moral purity

• His kind of compassion

• His kind of authority

Throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God has defined and described these character qualities as essential prerequisites for one who will be both “a terror to evil” and “a minister of God for good”. And because of Christ’s Lordship over Civil Government, Christians, in voting, are bound to rule out choice based on passion, prejudice or party and subject their choice to the character standards and policies found in God’s Word. Yes, the franchise is a civil right, but it is to be exercised to the will and honor of Christ. This does not mean that non-Christians will ipso facto cease to be magistrates but it does mean that in a nation that has received God’s revealed will, it is unfitting, even dishonoring to Christ to elect to office those who have rejected Him. At the same time, Christians who are elected to office need to remember that they are not just the servants of their constituencies, but are “the ministers of God” and regulate both their public and private conduct accordingly.

4. The authority of magistrates and the submission of Christian citizens in any nation which has access to the Gospel is dependent on these standards. Power and obedience in this nation does not arise out of either slavish fear of “my constituency” or from selfish motives but from love and respect for the Redeemer-King. It will include a respectful kind of fear, well doing, paying of taxes and customs, and giving of honor, as described in Romans 13. Disobedience become disobedience to Christ.

At this point, it becomes necessary to make a distinction between “power” and “authority”. God has invested people with democratic power in political matters and those people have the right to exercise that power. This is moral power as distinguished from physical-strength kind of power. It is the power to organize their own social relationships, agree on constitutions and laws, and to elect and invest certain individuals to rule over them. This is just the basis for the secular state. But we are going beyond this when we make a distinction between this kind of power, and the kind of authority which Christ as King has given to a Christian magistrate. Both moral power and moral authority come from God. But the moral power comes immediately from God as a natural thing. The moral authority comes mediately as an added thing. And there are two essential prerequisites for a person’s getting the right or title to this moral authority:

1           A moral capacity, i.e. he must have some age of maturity and a sound mind; and

2           A moral ability, which is not necessary for him to have moral power, but is necessary for him to have moral authority. For example, a man who is of age and a sound mind may have demonstrated his moral inability to rule his own children. And yet his (terrible) moral power over those children cannot be denied. Such a man cannot be said to have moral authority. And since God has not given such a man any such authority, then Christian citizens who desire to honor Christ as Lord of civil government should not attempt to give him any such moral authority by electing or appointing him to rule over them. It may not be the responsibility of a Christian citizen to investigate the moral authority of the man who makes his shoes, but before electing a man to rule over him, he must examine carefully his natural, moral, and spiritual qualifications by evaluating his qualifications against the very character of Christ the King of all civil governments.

Beginning with the Kingdom lays a foundation for the development of Christian influences in civil government and the purpose, nature, and extent of civil government. It provides a Kingdom-based initiative for the further study of church and civil government relationships, that would be honoring to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The Kingdom and the Business and Life Walk

 

When we begin with the Kingdom in Christian Life, then we can see how surely some men are “called” into business just as directly as others are “called” to be pastors or missionaries. Those men will see a relationship between whatever they do or produce or build, and Jesus’ reason for dying for them on the Cross. The purpose or reason for their business will be directly related to the purpose of Christ’s Kingdom. The spirituality of Christ’s Kingdom will permeate the very character of their personnel and corporation and the honesty, integrity and dependability of their services and products. They will be as successful as was Job and Abraham and Joseph and Solomon and Lydia. The unlimitedness of the extent of Christ’s Kingdom will unlock the entreprenurial creativity and initiative of owners and employees. Their attitude toward the wealth of the world and their control of that portion of it which the King entrusts to their stewardship will be directly related to the fact that in one sense they do not “own” anything. Everything they “have” belongs to the King Himself and is to be managed by them as stewards of the Lord in such a way as is useful to Him in His building of His Kingdom.

Christ’s promise is the promise of the King Himself and these men who have been “called” into business have learned that when they seek first the Kingdom of God in their business, then all these other things will be added unto them. No man who has learned to do that has ever been known to “fail”.

PART THREE The Conclusion of the Matter

 

“Therefore since we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Hebrews 12:18)

Beginning with the King and His Mediatorial Kingdom does make a difference in the Christian walk.

The Individual Soul who comes to know God in the person of Jesus Christ discovers that the One who gave His life for him on the Cross is the King with all this Kingdom. Lordship takes on new reality. He has been “saved” or called, not just to get out of Hell, but to be a witness to this King so long as the Lord chooses to leave him on His earth, and then on into eternity. Something of the mind and purpose of Christ begins to “renew” his mind so that he thinks with the mind of Christ (Romans 12:1-2). He becomes a “spiritual” man with a sense of responsibility (vision) for what Christ, His King, is doing all over his world. He becomes a friend of Christ, not just a servant in His Family. He will have a redemptive purpose for living, a spiritual nature, and a world vision. He will see a relationship between his occupation or work and Jesus’ reason for dying for him on the cross.

The Family who learns to begin with the Kingdom will know and rejoice in the fact that their family relationships are not a do-it-yourself work. But “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1a) and that, as a matter of fact, the Lord is building their family and that the King who formed the first family in the Garden of Eden has also formed them into His family. He designed the father to be the demonstration or illustration of Christ’s kind of self-sacrificing love and the mother to be the demonstration of the submission of any soul to Christ as Savior, and all the family to demonstrate the spirituality of Christ’s Kingdom and the children, from generation to generation, to demonstrate the unendingness of Christ’s Kingdom. So Christ the King designs and directs the family to explain and demonstrate the redemptive purpose, the spiritual nature and the unending extent of His eternal Kingdom. It will keep on multiplying to the end of time.

The Church who learns to begin with the Kingdom will be a family of families. She will recognize that Christ is not only Her only King and Lord, but that He is Her beloved Bridegroom and She will be very jealous for all His Crown Rights and Royal Prerogatives. She will want His purposes and plan to be the purpose and plan for everything She does. Since He is a reaching God who is always reaching out to evangelize, She will want to be a reaching church. Since He is an equipping and sending God, She will want to be an equipping and sending Church. She will reflect the nature of His Kingdom by the way she worships Him and the way she maintains her independence of all other controls and Her submission to Him alone as Her only King and Head. Her very unity, universality and perpetuity will be reflections of the spiritual nature of His Kingdom. Her growth and multiplication will be a reflection of the unlimitedness of the Kingdom and of Her King.

The Civil Government who would learn to begin with the Kingdom would find a God-given basis for working and for working together with the church. This would be more than a faith-based initiative, it would be a Kingdom-based initiative.  W. E. Gladstone (Prime Minister of England) had made a careful study of Church-State relationships in the light of Christ’s Kingdom and published a book titled The State in Its Relationship to the Church. His opponents condemned him for making a political blunder that almost cost him his political life (his election). They condemned him for believing that the State revolved around the Church. They insisted that churches came and went–revolving around the State.

They might have said the same thing about any one of the social units we have been looking at. Some individuals, dictators or emperors or even church leaders, have thought that everything and everyone else revolved around them. Some others have insisted that everything and everyone else; church, state, and individual must revolve around the family. Others have insisted that everything else, including the family must be sacrificed for the church. Pastors have sacrificed their children and family life “for” the church and some have chosen celibacy instead of family life.

The doctrine of the Kingship and Mediatorial Kingdom of Jesus Christ provides God’s answer to all this imbalance. The proper relationship between church and civil government and all these other social units rests on three foundations.

1. This doctrine of the Kingdom and Kingship of Jesus Christ “beginning with the Kingdom” provides ample basis for Church- State relationship. The spirituality of Christ’s mediatorial dominion has been built down into the very nature of the Church in such a way as to provide a basis for resolving Church- civil government conflicts and the continuing close cooperation of the two. It is also the basis for the assurance that the Church will continue to remain independent of the control of the civil government and subject to Christ alone as her only King and Head and it will prohibit the Church from ever dominating the civil government. The unlimitedness or universality of Christ’s mediatorial dominion has also been built down into the very nature of the Church in such a way that the powerful principles of a multiplying ministry of the Gospel of Jesus are sending a closely unified, universally expanding, perpetually existing Church, moving throughout the world. It will, one day, require a coming to terms between Church and civil government.

In all this, the basic essential difference between Church and civil government will continue to be preserved. They are different insofar as their immediate origin, their immediate ends and their forms of administration are concerned. They are particularly different in their means of operation, their attitude toward their subject citizens or members, and the character or results of their work. But having said all this, the fact is that the origin of both is in the hands of Christ. His Word is the ultimate rule and standard for both. His Glory is the ultimate objective for both. Both are subject to Him, whether they know and want it or not. Both are subject to Him as King and distinction does not mandate hostility. Things can be diverse without being adverse. The Church-civil government relationship can be a practical working out of the spirituality of Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom. It is a reflection of the relationship between the regnum Christi and the regna mundi. There is a clear, sharp distinction, but that does not mandate a further separation of the two. In fact, it is the distinction which makes the “separation” of Church and civil government unnecessary. It is actually because of their differences as well as their similarities that the two are designed to work together to the glory of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom. The fact which is seen so clearly in history that “help” given by the State to the Church has been misused, does not mean that it must always necessarily be misused to “secularize” and corrupt the Church, or otherwise blend and confuse Church and civil government anymore than it means that civil governments, by virtue of having suffered in history, especially the medieval years, from the encroachments of the Church, no longer have need for the Church. Both Church and civil government are ordinances of God and the fact that Christ has been made Lord of both, guarantees that the necessary distinctions can/will be preserved when they form a right Church-civil government relationship. It is the overarching dome of Christ’s unlimited Kingdom and in particular His moral Lordship over nations that provides the grand basis for the alliance of Church and civil government, as well as the motive for bringing these two historically unruly persons together. They are two different moral provinces but they are under the same King as separate departments of one vast moral empire. Ptolemy may have initiated the idea of the overarching dome of the kingdom, but he found it in the Scriptures.

2. The second foundation for this Church-civil government alliance is to be found in the Scriptures. God’s Word authorizes these kinds of working relationships. In the New Testament, God defines the magistrate as the “minister of God” who is a “terror to evil”, so he must necessarily be concerned with the suppression of irreligion and the discouragement of offenses against religion. And as the minister of God for good, he must necessarily be concerned with the promotion of the true religion. The important thing is that God put no restriction on either of the two words “evil” or “good”. That is God’s New Testament definition of a magistrate, and the Old Testament provides three kinds of God-approved examples of this principle.

A.) In the pre-Jewish patriarchal economy, Melchisidek demonstrated a combination of sacred and civil things which were pleasing to God.

B.) During the Mosaic economy, the Jewish kings demonstrated a combination of things civil and sacred which were pleasing to God.

C.) The Gentile princes, such as Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, who made contributions to the work of the Church helped to destroy the idea that such civil government support was purely Jewish, and therefore without God’s approval for any other dispensation. Scripture, when not limited to either Old or New Testaments, authorizes an alliance that produces a good working relationship between Church and civil government.

3. The third foundation for a good Church-civil government relationship is just to review again what the civil government can do for the Church (faith) and what the Church (faith) can do for the civil government. The civil government, on the one hand, can do more than just restrain irreligion and protect the work of Christ and His Church. She can carry out Her own part in that work by making Her own profession of faith in Christ and pledging Her loyalty to Him. She can demonstrate His standards of character and conduct in her magistrates and laws. She can contribute to the extension of the special work of His Kingdom through the exercise of Her official or diplomatic influences.

On the other hand, true faith, as taught by the Church is a very important factor in the establishment of that kind of a sound political economy which is most honoring to Christ and most conducive to the progress of His Kingdom and the welfare of her citizens. She teaches magistrates that they are “vice-regents” of Christ with real authority from Him and directly responsible to Christ as well as to men, for putting down all selfish temptations to dominate or tolerate, legislate, administrate, or judge in any way that will run counter to His revealed law. She teaches the citizens the value of true liberty and the real source of it—which results from their knowledge of the true faith. The Church teaches the citizens of the State to restrain natural tendencies toward anarchical licentiousness and indifference which are dishonoring to the Lord of the State and detrimental to the efficiency of civil government. The Church, as the teacher of true faith is also directly concerned with the natural wealth of the nation and, to some extent, responsible for securing new industry through the development of habits of honesty, industry, creativity and thrift without at the same time actually becoming involved in that industry or acquiring that wealth for herself. She is involved in the prevention of indulgence, waste, and poverty, and the establishment of the real “moral” prosperity of the nation. History and current events show that when this is neglected whole civilizations and nations have collapsed. The Church can use the means peculiar to her own nature to reach (far beyond where the State can go) into the very hearts and consciences of men to promote the cause of peace and go to the very sources of lawlessness, profligacy, and impiety, to points that lie far beyond the scope of civil law and its physical means. Beginning with the Kingdom does make a difference.

4. But what does Christ mean when he directs us to “think Kingdom”? In Philippians 2:5-11, God says it this way, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” and in Romans 12:1-2, he calls it being “transformed by the renewing of your mind”. In Philippians 2, God continues to give us a detailed outline of the steps of incarnation, the thought processes of the Messiah in leaving Heaven to come to earth to that last step when “He became obedient unto death even the death of the Cross, wherefore God also hath mightily exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father”. That is the description of the Father’s appointment of the Son to His Mediatorial Kingdom and His statement of the extent of it. Now He says, in effect, I want you to think with the mind of Christ—the way He thought (and still does think) about leaving Heaven to come to earth to face death and then to receive this Mediatorial Kingdom. I want you to have that kind of love. To think Kingdom is a process. In Romans 12:1-2, God said, “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”.

From the time of conversion, perhaps before that, God begins breathing through His inspired Word, His Kingdom Plan for each particular soul that He redeems—not only the general redemptive purpose and spiritual nature and unlimited mission vision of His Kingdom, but also the particular application of it all for that particular soul—His particular reason and life purpose for dying for that particular soul on the Cross. And the obedient soul will grow up into every day of that Life Plan.

That can be called “thinking Kingdom”. Understanding the redemptive purpose, the spiritual origin and the unlimited extent of Christ’s Kingdom can sometimes help us to recognize where Christ will be leading us next—his next “development” in our life. Then seeking His Kingdom may mean that we will begin praying; asking him to show us more about his atonement; about greater spiritual maturity in working with others; and for more mission vision and understanding of what He is doing in other parts of His world. It was that kind of prayer and desire that He put into our hearts as a family that sent us to drive around the whole world in 1974-1975. That mission was directly related to this doctrine of the unlimited extent of Christ’s Kingdom. We came back with a new sense of responsibility for what He is doing all over His world.

What does God mean when He promises to “give you the Kingdom”. (Luke 12:32)?

He means what He had kept explaining privately over and over again to his disciples—His long-range Kingdom plans for His world and how they will keep on working after He leaves them; what He was saying in John 15:15, “hereforth, I call you not servants (slaves) but friends, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth, but I have called you friends for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you.” This Kingdom will be yours—it is yours now.

PART FOUR

 

The Author’s Personal testimony

 

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy (2:1-2)

Allow me to step back for a moment to personalize all of this in the form of a personal testimony that the King might use to make someone reading it to be sure of his/her own relationship to the King. Let me be the “individual” that the King is bringing into His Kingdom and building down into my own life something of the redemptive purpose, the spiritual nature and the unlimited extent of His Kingdom.

I realize now that He is the King who loved me in a manner wondrous and divine, who caused me to be born in 1925. He took my Mother to be with Himself when I was just three years old. He put it into the heart of my Father to give me away to his sister, a maiden lady and schoolteacher who loved me and taught me to memorize God’s Word (especially Psalm 19, wherein God speaks so precisely about how the “line” of the sun, the moon and the stars speak without words, in every language all over the world). As King, He had put me into the U.S. Navy (1942-1946) and made me the Acting Navigator on board that aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Petrof Bay, where those stars and their timing made the difference between life and death. He kept me alive and then brought me to the point of knowing that things were not “right” between Himself and myself. I did not think or talk or live the way He did. There were big differences between us, and there was nothing I could do to make things right between us. At that juncture, He caused me to remember and to know what I had learned as a boy, that He Himself had come down to earth in the form of Jesus Christ and deliberately given His life on that Cross at the other end of the Mediterranean Sea in order to make things “right” between us—if I would but trust in Him. He put it into my heart to trust in Him and I did.

It was 1948. He began “breathing” the facts about His Kingdom down into my heart/life through the study of His Word. He sent me through three years of seminary, and then directly on to graduate school to begin study of the doctrine of His Kingdom (1948-1953).

In 1953, He brought me back to the United States and called, ordained and installed me to be Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bloomington Indiana, home of Indiana University (40,000 students and 40,000 citizens), where He sent two friends who began to show me how to apply and communicate what He had been teaching me about His Kingdom—how to do His work His way. He then called me back to University (1960-1963) to study more of His Kingdom and then brought me to Indianapolis where He wanted to use me in His building of Second Reformed Presbyterian Church. In the last 40 years, He has allowed me to be involved in the lives of a dozen or more other pastors who can do everything I can do, but better than I can do it. He lets me be close enough to His Church “building” to see Him build six other churches (and three or more developing) and twelve more men working to become pastors.

Readers: In Philippians 2:8-11 (NKJ), “. . . and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.” Since this is the will of the Father for the Son, then why not join Him in that express purpose for your own life, that is the exalting of Jesus in all that you are, know, and do, in a prayer of personal commitment.

Father, whatever it was You committed Yourself to by highly exalting Your son Jesus, a name above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in Heaven and of those below the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. To Your glory, Dear Father, I hereby now commit myself to full obedience of this command and make this the ultimate purpose of my life in Your Kingdom. Amen.

In 1948, after a four-year stint (1942-1946) in the U.S. Navy as Navigator and Division Officer in the South Pacific and Atlantic theatres, Dr. Roy Blackwood obtained his Bachelors degree in Chemistry from Geneva College in Ohio. Also in 1948, he married his wife Margie with whom he has three children. Roy obtained a graduate degree from RP Seminary in 1953 and became Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bloomington Indiana. In 1961, Roy and his family moved to Scotland where he received a Doctorate in The History of Theology from New College, University of Edinburgh. Dr. Blackwood became Senior Pastor of the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana in 1966 where he serves to this day.

http://alliancenet.org/

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http://www.allianceradio.org/EternityArticles/KingandKingdom.pdf

I was born a Calvinist. LOL.

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One of my most memorable days was over thirty years ago when I was told my Pastor Joseph Gwynn was a Calvinist. I figured I had better find out what kind of cult I was getting involved with because I had heard that anything that ended with an ism (Calvinism) was a non-Christian cult such as Buddhism  Hinduism, Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism, etc. I figured I had better find out so that I didn’t get caught up in something that would have me passing out flowers at the local airport. LOL.  So I set up an appointment with him and asked him what this “ism” was. He very patiently explained to me who John Calvin was and that there was a counsel called the Synod of Dordt back along time ago. They had a theological debate to respond to some people called Arminians (Remonstrants).

He patiently explained to me the points of teaching called TULIP or the FIVE POINTS of Calvinism.

T (total depravity)

U (unconditional election)

L (limited atonement)

I (irresistible grace)

P (perseverance of the saints)

I had already read the Bible from Cover to Cover having been discipled by the Navigator Ministry. After he explained the FIVE POINTS of Calvinism to me I just looked at him and said, “Well that is what the Bible says.”  I had read that in John 15:16, Romans 9, and Ephesians 1. I already understood that from my initial reading of St. John and had experienced it per my conversion. I found out I wasn’t born again as an Arminian theologically. I was born again as a Calvinist. It was easy for me. The Bible Tells Me So.

The applications that God has given me have been insurmountable for the kingdom of darkness.  Sure I fall and sin but God is my Keeper.  These truths greatly encouraged my evangelism and strengthened my witnessing power as I learned and saw God calling people and saving them.  He is working.  He is building His Church!  It greatly increased my confidence in God’s grace knowing He purposefully loved me and has saved me.  It gave me great confidence in knowing that God is totally in Control of every thing and that even the trials I face He orchestrated for His Glory and my benefit.  Even the worst of heart aches were for those purposes.  I was meant to endure as Christ did and that God would complete my life and keep me no matter what.  He loved me!  He is the Author and Finisher of my faith.

Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

I can’t imagine serving a God who would not love me enough to keep me and conform me to what I was created to be!  Conformed to the image of Christ!  What a great Gospel and great God we have.

Anyways, Joe was kind of taken back by my response. He then gave me my first theological book I had ever read that day and I devoured it.  I haven’t turned back!
 http://www.amazon.com/Five-Points-Calvinism-Defended-Documented/dp/0875528279

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He has been my Papa in the Faith ever since.  I love you Joe Gwynn for all God has given me through you.  The best is yet to come.  We get to see Jesus and put on renewed immortality some day.

From Samuel Rutherford’s letters concerning the passing of children.

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I know the language is tough but it is from the 17th Century Scottish Pastor Samuel Rutherford who bore the burdens of his parish deeply in his heart. I take comfort in his insight. His ability to comfort came at a cost.  He knew what it was to suffer loss and experience much pain and sorrow.  He also knew that our Children are not ours fully as they are God’s.

You can read a biography that I wrote about him here.

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/samuel-rutherford/

Here are a few small portions of The Letters of Samuel Rutherford to comfort the afflicted upon the loss of life on this side….

‘Take no heavier lift of your children, than your Lord alloweth; give them room beside your heart, but not in the yolk of your heart, where Christ should be; for then they are your idols, not your *bairns. If your Lord take any of them home to his house before the storm come on, take it well, the owner of the orchard may take down two or three apples off his own trees, before midsummer, and *ere they get the harvest sun; and it would not be seemly that his servant, the gardener, should chide him for it. Let our Lord pluck his own fruit at any season he pleaseth; they are not lost to you, they are laid up so well, as that they are coffered in heaven, where our Lord’s best jewels lie.’

‘The child hath but changed a bed in the garden, and is planted up higher, nearer the sun, where he shall thrive better than in this out-field moor ground’

‘Go on and faint not, something of yours is in heaven, beside the flesh of your exalted Saviour, and ye go on after your own.’

‘He (she) is not lost to you who is found to Christ. If he (she) hath casten his bloom and flower, the bloom is fallen in heaven in Christ’s lap; and as he (she) was lent awhile to time, so is he now given to eternity, which will take yourself; and the difference of your shipping and his (hers) to heaven and Christ’s shore, the land of life, is only in some few years, which weareth every day shorter, and some short and soon reckoned summers will give you a meeting with him.’

*bairn [bɛən (Scot) bern]
n
Scot and northern English a child
[Old English bearn; related to bearm lap, Old Norse, Old High German barn child]

*ere [ɛə]
conj & prep
a poetic word for before
[Old English ǣr; related to Old Norse ār early, Gothic airis earlier, Old High German ēr earlier, Greek eri early]

(2Co 1:2) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(2Co 1:3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

(2Co 1:4) who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

(2Co 1:5) For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

(2Co 1:6) If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

(2Co 1:7) Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

My perceived Testimony of Christ’s work in my life.

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My name is Randy Martin Snyder. I was named Randy because my mother liked the television cowboy Randolph Scott and my middle name is a family pass me down from my mother’s side of the family. I was raised in a very loving family. My Mother and Dad were excellent parents and always affirming, accepting, but right in discipline. They were considered the cool parents of the neighborhood. My Mom and Dad were always involved with whatever activity my Sister and I were involved in. My Dad was also a race car driver and all around sports guy. So the guys thought he was the greatest.

I grew up going fishing, hunting, or going to sporting events on Saturday and to the Drag Race Track on Sundays instead of Church. I only knew of one or possibly two families in my neighborhood that actually went to Church nominally. I did think about God growing up but I had very little knowledge about God.

I remember when I was very young I had an epiphany about my mortality and realized that my parents were going to die someday and it drove me to tears since I was so in love with them. My Dad came upon me in my distress and tried to calm my fears by telling me that if we stay good people we will always be together after death because we will go to heaven. That still didn’t help a whole lot but it did guide me in some of my theological understanding for the next years.

By the time I got to my mid-teen years, I realized that I was not a good person. My Dad had left my Mom for another woman. I actually caught him cheating. That was devastating. I had been involved with drugs, alcohol, and crimes that I am too embarrassed to speak about. I was on a very self-destructive course of life. Just weeks before turning 18 years of age I had stolen a car and passed out at the wheel sending it through the other side of a six lane interstate. I awoke with a Policeman asking me if I was okay.

I ended up going into the United States Navy so that I could pay restitution and fulfill my obligations for my crime. I was pretty fortunate that I was still considered a juvenile. My punishment would have been much more severe had I been 18.

After joining the Navy I endured boot camp and the training I needed to go through for doing my job as a mechanic on fighter jets. I was still heavily involved with drugs and alcohol but was ever growing tired of all the heartache and sorrow it brought. Some things transpired that caused me to ask my mother to send me a Living Bible that she had been trying to get me to read for some time. My roommates were members of the KKK and asked me to join.  I refused and I felt very threatened.  I sensed I might even lose my life over this because I was introduced to guys who were seeking a carrier in the Navy and I could hurt them with knowledge of their associations.  At the same time I had been contemplating my mortality during this time also and all the fortunate things that had happened to me. I figured if I continued on the path I was on I was going to run out of fortune. I did believe in God and figured that He was going to run out of patience with me someday. After all, I had a few close friends who were dead already. Why should I be allowed to continue to live?

I read through the four Gospels in a few weeks. The book of Matthew exposed my sinful heart. It wasn’t just the actions of my life that condemned me. I discovered it was the attitudes of my heart that brought me into conflict with God.

(Mat 5:21) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
(Mat 5:22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca (You’re Worthless), shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

The next one really hit home because adultery was a sin that tore my family apart and it was a very painful thing in my life.

(Mat 5:27) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
(Mat 5:28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

That portion of scripture exposed a major problem in my life. My heart. My inclinations, desires, and attitudes were sinful and disobedient to God.

The book of Mark showed me the Compassion of Christ. The book of Luke showed me the wonderful healer. But the Book of John revealed the most wonderful thing to me. It revealed to me who Jesus was.

When I was young we had five channels to watch on the television. Today we have hundreds. The three major networks were CBS, ABC, and NBC. We also had a local channel and a UHF (Ultra High Frequency) channel. Back in those days we celebrated holidays and centered our seasonal times around a Church Calendar. We had Easter Break instead of Spring Break. There was Christmas Vacation instead of Winter Break. During those holiday seasons they played religious programs on television like the Ten Commandments, The Robe, The King of Kings, and a few others. My parents always watched them. One in particular was very important to me. It was Cecil B. Demille’s movie ‘The Ten Commandments’. During one point of the movie Moses, who is God’s Prophet, goes up to see a sight he finds miraculous. It is a bush that is on fire but is not being consumed. A voice speaks to him out of the burning bush and it is God proclaiming that He is the God of Moses’ past ancestors. Moses asked this God what His name was. God replied back by telling Moses that “I AM” is His name. There are a lot of things God reveals by his many descriptive names, but that is another topic.

To allow you to understand why the book of John is so wonderful to me I will have to back up a bit. When I was going to school for my Naval training at Millington, Tennessee I was approached by a street preacher. He tried to tell me that Jesus Christ was God manifest as a man and that He loved me. I just thought he was a nut job. I could not understand what he was telling me because I reasoned that I am not my Dad and my Dad is not me. I was having problems also with the concept that God loved mankind by giving his Son to die for the sins of the World. My Dad cast me and my family off for the love of another woman. He sacrificed us for the love of another and I just couldn’t see the good in any of that. So I perceived Christianity was a terrible religion. Especially if God made his son pay for my sin. That didnt sound like good to me.  But I sure did admire Jesus for his good words and the good life he lived exposing man’s shortcomings.  I also liked how Jesus was a friend to sinners and rebuffed religious people.  At the same time He expected people to be like himself, good.  I wanted that goodness.

By the time I got to the book of John I was growing more convinced about how good Jesus was and how good God was and wanted us to be. I started to see that my understanding about God was a bit out of kilter. I also started questioning what it meant to be the Son of God because of this passage.

John 5:17-18
But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

I knew I was never going to be equal with God.  Because of this I started realizing God was truthful, good, and just. My perceptions were faulty also. When I got through the eighth Chapter of John my life was totally turned around. I read…

The Living Bible
(John 8:53) So you are greater than our father Abraham, who died? Who do you think you are?
(John 8:54) Then Jesus told them this: “If I am merely boasting about Myself, it doesn’t count. But it is My Father—and you claim Him as your God—who is saying these glorious things about Me.
(John 8:55) But you do not even know Him. I do. If I said other-wise, I would be as great a liar as you! But it is true—I know Him and fully obey Him.
(John 8:56) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day. He knew I was coming and was glad.”
(John 8:57) The Jewish leaders: “You aren’t even 50 years old—sure, you’ve seen Abraham!”
(John 8:58) Jesus: “The absolute truth is that I was in existence before Abraham was ever born!”

I had realized that my whole conception about God was incorrect and that my understanding about God was wrong. My understanding about God was based upon my understanding and relationship with my Dad. By the time I got done reading John 8:58 I realized that Jesus was the God who said his name was “I AM” to Moses.  Jesus was the God who talked to Moses out of the burning bush. The Living Bible is not a translation of the Bible. It is what they call a paraphrase. A paraphrase is an over simplistic explanation of what someone wrote instead of translating what was truly said or written.  The real rendering of John 8:58 quotes Jesus as saying, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” I realized that the almighty God loved me and sacrificed Himself for me. I realized that God loved me and paid the price for my sin. He was my rescuer. I started to understand that God was Three persons in one being. This teaching is called the Trinity. I learned that God loved me as a Father and would never cast me off. He paid the highest price of all. He gave Himself. What love!

I have to admit at this time that my mother played a big part in my coming to Christ. After my Dad left home she sacrificed and tolerated me when I did nothing but hurt her. She never gave up on me. She prayed and tried to point me to Christ. She did her best to exhibit the same love of God that St. John had revealed to me.

During that few weeks of reading the four Gospels I had prayed and asked God to forgive me for all of my wretchedness. I asked him to help me know him. I asked Him what he wanted me to do now that I had come to understand and know who He was. Shortly after that I met another sailor (Tom Irwin) who lived across the hall from me in the barracks. He was carrying a Bible so we struck up a conversation and the next thing I knew was that I was attending a Bible Study with a bunch of guys who belonged to a group called the Navigators. Tom Perkins was the Navigator Staff member for the base and he took a wonderful interest in me. He taught me how to memorize scripture and how to share my faith and the gospel message through an illustrative diagram called the Bridge Illustration. He also hooked me up with a Navy Officer in my squadron named Bernie Vanosdall to mentor me. But the thing that helped me the most I believe was the deep friendships I had developed with a few other guys in my squadron and the Navigator group. Joe Carr, Ron Crook, and Tim Carraro were and still are a few of my best friends. Joe was a solid Christian and Tim was a Roman Catholic who I witnessed to and led to Christ during my first Cruise to the Med and Ron Crook was just a guy who I dearly loved and could identify with. Those friendships meant and still mean the world to me. We were closer than brothers.

Two very important things happened to me when I met Christ. I learned what the Gospel is. The Gospel was something I truly didn’t understand till I started reading the Bible. I thought men had to be good to go to heaven. I learned there is no person good enough to go to heaven. I learned we are all sinners and even if we just break one of God’s commandments that they are all so closely associated that breaking one is breaking them all.

(Rom 3:10) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
(Rom 3:11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
(Rom 3:12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
(Rom 3:23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

(Jas 2:10) For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
(Jas 2:11) For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

So if we were all sinners and come up short , I wondered what could the remedy be? I learned that we can’t be good enough to go to heaven. We can’t be good enough to have a relationship with God. We can’t perfectly obey the law enough since we are sinful. God is too pure and Holy to accept fallen mankind. That is why He planned on and became a man and died on the cross.

St. Paul knew this and wrote…
(Gal 2:21) I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Since we cannot earn our salvation or deserve a right relationship with God by our own effort, how is it that we can come to have what we need? I learned it is by faith in a person of Jesus Christ and believing in what he did for me and everyone who will believe the good news. It is a free gift we must receive at His invitation for us to come to Him.

(Mat 11:28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(Mat 11:29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
(Mat 11:30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Listen to what Saint Paul wrote about how we can’t earn salvation or reconciliation with God because we are good enough.

(Eph 2:8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
(Eph 2:9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
(Eph 2:10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

(Tit 3:5) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
(Tit 3:6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
(Tit 3:7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

It is a gift that must be received by faith. It is just like any relationship we have.

(John 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
(John 1:13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

(Rev 3:19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
(Rev 3:20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

When God awakens our hearts and causes us to be made alive in spirit again (born again) he calls for us to receive him and come to him freely for our salvation and reconciliation to God. He paid a very high price to redeem us from our fallen state because He loves us.

The second thing I learned was that God didn’t leave us in a state where we had no power or hope for change. God has provided a means and life so that we may mature and grow up. Just like life on this earth with my parents, God is loving and caring and wants to see us grow up in His care under His Parental guidance. He has also provided us with hope through His written word even when we struggle with sin. We can know that he loves us and bares with us as a Father who pities his children..

Tom Perkins the Navigator Leadership missionary to us Sailors had me memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13.

(1Co 10:13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I learned to become accountable for my sin. My sin was my fault. and I needed to trust God for the way out. At the same time I also learned that I would struggle. Romans Chapter 7 revealed a lot of this struggle so I knew I wouldn’t be perfect. I learned to struggle with my sinful inclinations and desires. God had done something in me. He gave me a desire for His goodness which is something I needed. I have learned to love better. I am still learning it and growing in it. Even 30 years later. I have learned to care about my fellow man better and put others concerns before mine. I am learning to be more like Christ. It has been a long process and I am still learning how to overcome things and sin that I allowed into my life long ago. I am growing to be more Christ like as St. Paul admonished.

(Php 2:1) If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
(Php 2:2) Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
(Php 2:3) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
(Php 2:4) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
(Php 2:5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
(Php 2:6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
(Php 2:7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
(Php 2:8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
(Php 2:9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
(Php 2:10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
(Php 2:11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I am still growing and hopefully learning what St. Paul learned. I pray we all may learn it and experience this love and abundant life while pressing on to know and grow in His goodness. I try not to let the past weigh me down as I keep looking on with a future hope.

(Php 3:7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
(Php 3:8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
(Php 3:9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
(Php 3:10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
(Php 3:11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
(Php 3:12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
(Php 3:13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
(Php 3:14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

(Joh 10:9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
(Joh 10:10) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
(Joh 10:11) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

May you find Christ and His goodness. I plead with everyone to call me to account and to be reconciled to God. That way we help keep each other in the way of Love and shine forth God’s glory.

For a quick Gospel Presentation please click on this.

http://evangelismexplosion.org/resources/online-tracts/english/

A word about Second Reformed Presbyterian Church.

I have found that Church membership has been very important to the Christian life. I have discussed this with others who have fears of belonging to a local Church. Some people have been hurt and seen things done that ought not be done by Christians. I admit to having done and seeing things that shouldn’t have been done. I understand those fears having been a member of a few different Churches.

After I was discharged from my enlistment in the Navy I came back home and found I was without the encouragement of my Christian friends. I started to struggle with obeying God and doing what is right. I was like the amber of a fire that popped and flew out of the fire pit. I started to lose my heat and cool off. I also knew God intended for me to be in fellowship but I was neglecting it. Fortunately I started to find some fellowship.

(Heb 10:24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
(Heb 10:25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

I just didn’t know where to turn or where to attend Church since I really didn’t have a Church background here at home. The Church I did have some attachment to preached a different Gospel and believed that our works had something to do with our Justification before God.  (justification means being right or being made righteous before God)  Which I have exhibited above is not the gospel of our Lord or the scriptures.  Our Sanctification (or holiness) has to do with our relationship with God as Christians and does depend upon our obedience.

In the mid to late 80’s I found and became a member of 2nd Reformed Presbyterian Church because of a few friends and their association with the Navigators. I had a wonderful experience of growth and discipleship there. I developed some friendships that have been ongoing for 25 years. I ended up transferring membership to a Baptist Church for many years during my marriage. The Church I transferred to is and was a wonderful Church for my young family.

As things progressed in life I went through a divorce after 12 years of marriage. I am grateful for my church membership and the care the Eldership of that Church had for my family. They literally kept my soul and protected all of my family. Submission to my Elders and Church Leadership was very important. It protected my family and gave us care we needed when I got really sick. I found myself in hard times and obeyed my Elders even when what they were saying seemed hard. I listened to them even when I didn’t think they understood my situation. In the end God proved true in that He gives grace to the humble. He protected me and my kids when the divorce was thrust upon us. I ended up raising my Sons full time.

We visited 2nd Reformed Presbyterian Church a few times through the years. Dr. Blackwood (now Emeritus Pastor) sat down with my Son Daniel when he was in Jr. High School and Dr. Blackwood shared his testimony based on Christ and Psalm 19 with my son’s Daniel and Samuel.  Roy’s testimony impacted greatly them at that time. A few years later we asked if we could return back to Second Reformed Presbyterian Church. We were welcomed back with arms opened wide.

The accountability and love that we receive from our Pastors, Elders, and friends are such a blessing. Pastor Rich and James have both been to my house numerous times as friends. My Elders visit me as friends. My friends come by and it is just like the old days when I use to go visiting with my Grandparents. We didn’t just sit around the house in those days. My family actually would go visiting their friends while us kids got together and played.

The encouragement we receive and are able to give at 2nd RP is the best I have experienced in my 30 some years of knowing God. No one is on a witch hunt to point out where we need to grow but we are encouraged to see what God wants us to see and respond to God’s word. We are encouraged to be doers of the Word and not just hearers.

The one thing that is most important to the Church God has built at 2nd Reformed Presbyterian Church is that Christ is the King. He is a loving gracious King. And we are all supposed to be fitted into the body of Christ for the benefit of His Kingdom. And it is worldwide. It isn’t just a Kingdom that focuses on a local congregation.

I would encourage everyone to come by for a visit. Especially if you want to see what Jesus is doing in the World today. After Andrew (St. Peter’s brother) and another disciple of John the Baptist heard Jesus speak they lingered after him. Jesus noticing it turned and asked them what they were seeking. Andrew asked him where he was staying. Jesus just turned to him and said, “Come and see.” That small invite and conversation changed Andrew for the rest of his life. If you want to see where Jesus is dwelling and what he is doing in His world as King, come by and get to know us. Christ dwells in the midst of our Congregation as He is the King of our hearts and souls. Wherever He has planted His Church He dwells in their midst. Come and See.

(Mat 18:20) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Samuel Rutherford

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This is a short biography that I did for Dr. Roy Blackwood’s last History Class at 2nd Reformed Presbyterian Church. I wanted to do this since Samuel Rutherford is my youngest son’s namesake, Samuel Rutherford Snyder. May he and my other two children inherit the same heart for the Lord their namesakes had.

Born in 1600 in the village of Nisbet, Samuel Rutherford was born to a well to do Scottish farmer and his wife. He had two brothers George and James. All three of the boys received the best education the times could afford. Upon seeing the talents and ability of Samuel, his parents decided to send him to the University of Edinburgh in 1617 where he completed a Master of Arts degree in 1621. 

Samuel was not yet converted to Christ when he graduated from the University. In fact, he stated that his home town of Nisbet was a place where Christ’s name was scarcely spoken. 1624 is the year that is recognized to be the year of his Conversion. It was not a long drawn out process for him apparently. He describes his salvation in this way. “Oh ,But Christ hath a saving eye! Salvation is in His eyelids! When He first looked on me, I was saved; it cost Him but a look to make hell quit of me.”1

After two years of theological training he was called to a new parish, Anwoth of Galloway. Samuel Rutherford was the Parish’s first Pastor. Pastor Rutherford was very laborious, it has been noted by another Pastor that he seemed to always be praying, preaching, visiting the sick, catechizing, and writing or studying. He saw little fruit of his ministry at first but the Lord enlarged the people’s hearts toward him as he had a deep affection for them. Christ was all-loving to Samuel Rutherford. The Lord gave Samuel great ability to show the beauty and love of Christ for His people.

Rutherford also suffered loss during his early ministry at Anwoth. Both his children died in infancy in 1629 and his wife Euphum took ill. She died after 13 months of illness. He was placed in a school of affliction that made him a tenderhearted, compassionate, and faithful Pastor to a people who suffered much of the same brokenness. In his brokenness and sorrow, he learned the consolation of God and was able to lead others to the Man of Sorrows whom was also acquainted with Grief, the Lord of Glory.

Samuel Rutherford also loved God’s book. It revealed the person he desired to know more than anything else in life. It revealed Jesus Christ, truth, salvation, and a peaceful comfort, which was immeasurable to Samuel. He was a man of God’s book. He ordered his life by the love that revealed this God.

Samuel lived during a time when true revival was going on. The Reformation was that time of Revival. But the Reformation was also a time of trouble, trials, and persecution. In Samuel Rutherford’s love for the truth he started writing theologically. In 1636 he wrote a book that exposed the errors of arminianism. Arminianism is a belief that man is capable of coming to Christ without mans need to overcome spiritual deadness. This teaching says that man is the chooser of his own destiny despite what God wills or does. By exposing this false teaching Samuel exposed the bad teachings of a very prominent Archbishop of King Charles I.

Archbishop Laud was King Charles I right hand man and he had no sympathy for the Reformers, Presbyterians, nor the Covenanters of Scotland. Under the authority of Archbishop Laud, Bishop Thomas Sydserff, the Bishop of Galloway, summoned Samuel Rutherford to face charges of non-conformity.

In England the King was pronounced as head of the Church. This was very unbiblical as Christ is the only King over His Church. The King appointed how the worship was to be done and whom should lead the congregations. Most of the men the King placed in positions of authority in the Church could not tell you the differences between the Old and New Testament. They did not know the Ten Commandments, Lord’s prayer, nor the four gospels. Yet these men were placed in the Churches as Pastors. The King was violating his boundaries and he was ruining the Church Christ loved and died for. If someone didn’t recognize the King’s authority over Christ’s Church he was considered a non-conformist and faced charges of treason.

At the trial Samuel Rutherford was sentenced to banishment from being a Pastor and Preacher. He was commanded to leave the area and live in exile in Aberdeen. While he was banished he didn’t stop having a Pastor’s heart. He started communicating with the members of his congregation by writing letters. They are some of the most comforting letters full of God’s expressed love and counsel. The reason they are so good is because Samuel Rutherford was a man who loved God’s book. Those letters are full of wisdom and encouragement because they express what God wrote to His Church. After Samuel’s death those letters were gathered up and made into a book. The ‘Letters Of Samuel Rutherford’ are published by Banner of Truth Trust to this day.

During his banishment the Church in Scotland was still striving to reform from the influences placed upon it during the time the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings were prominent. It was also striving against the King who wanted to be in power over the Church in Christ’s stead. In 1637 the King (Charles I) tried to enforce the Five Articles of Perth which his father (James VI) introduced. The Five articles were a step backwards for the church in that they provided a way for kneeling during communion, private baptisms, private communion, confirmation by bishops, and observance of holy days. These were steps to reintroduce some of the Roman doctrines and to bring the power of the King back over the church.

The King sensed that he needed to reintroduce and enforce the Articles or his hold over the Northern part of his Kingdom would be weak. King Charles I then enforced Archbishop Laud’s new liturgy upon the Church. This enraged the Scots so much that it became a riotous situation. The result of his enforcement of the Articles and Laud’s new liturgy backfired on the King.

The Presbyterian Scotsmen decided to answer the King by way of Covenant. The Scots were a Covenanting people. Covenanting was a personal way to declare ones spiritual intent and resolve before a Covenanting God. They did this in the presence of each other very often. In February of 1638 the National Covenant was written up on deer skin and signed by men of all backgrounds. It was based upon the Kings Covenant of 1581, which was the beginning of the Covenanting Church and the breaking of the bondage which Rome had placed upon the people. The Kings Covenant emphasized Scotland’s loyalty to King James VI but would not tolerate any moves toward Roman Catholicism. The signing of the National Covenant brought a great revival and binding of the hearts of the Scotsmen to one another and a great recognition of Christ as King over all things for the Church.

The National Covenant was read and signed at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh. It repudiated popery, forms of worship that were alien to God’s written Word, and it confirmed Reformation principles that the signers adhered themselves to in both civil and church matters. Copies were distributed throughout the land for all to sign. It appears that Samuel Rutherford had not yet returned home from Aberdeen till June of that year so he could not have been one of the initial signers.

After 22 months in Aberdeen, Samuel Rutherford decided to risk his return. So he was received back into his Parish only to be summoned by the General Assembly a short time after to become a Professor of Divinity at St. Mary’s College in St. Andrews. He agreed only as long as he got to share the pulpit and preach on the Sabbath. He was so burdened for people that for him to stay silent and absent from the pulpit just wore on him physically and mentally. Being away from his flock at Anwoth caused him to worry for their souls. Not capable of feeding his flock face to face worried him so much. It was a pain he never forgot. He referred to his Sabbaths while in exile as ‘Dumb Sabbaths’. I can only imagine what that meant.

His time spent at St. Mary’s was very active and beneficial to the Kingdom. He lectured on theology, Hebrew, and Church History. He shared the pulpit with Robert Blair at St. Andrews. He also played a prominent role in the General Assembly.

In 1640, shortly after his arrival at St. Andrews, Samuel Rutherford remarried after having been a widower for ten years. He married a woman of remarkable Christian Character named Jean McMath. The Lord brought him a help meet to heal up the scars that wounds leave behind.

After the signing of the National Covenant a great revival in the Church started to appear. Along with that also came the Bishop’s Wars. King Charles I made many unsuccessful attempts to overthrow the Covenanters. During this period of time Parliament and the Royalists grew at odds. A Civil War ensued which brought Parliament and the Covenanters together against the Royalists. This resulted in what is known as the Solemn League and Covenant.

In the signing of this Covenant it was pledged by its adherents to promote a uniformity in church confessions, church government, and in the order of worship between the English and Scots. In order to do this an Assembly of Divines (clergymen) was convened which included Episcopalians (Hierarchical), Independents (Congregationalists), Erastians (who believe in states primacy over the Church), and Presbyterians. Their job was to work out a careful definitive confession of faith and practice on behalf of the English and Scottish Churches. This Assembly was the infamous Westminster Assembly. The Westminster Divine’s took four years to produce one of the best systematic theologies of the Bible set in the form of a Confession of Faith. It also produced a Directory of Worship and the Larger and Smaller Catechisms, which are still being used today.

Samuel Rutherford was one of six Scottish commissioners to go to London. Samuel Rutherford, Robert Baille, Alexander Henderson, and George Gillispie were the first four commissioners sent from Scotland. Samuel went full steam into his work with unabated zeal to oversee the Presbyterian form of government established in the English Church. He wanted to see the scriptural form of Presbyterianism government to replace the hierarchical form of episcopacy. The episcopal form had threatened the Church of Scotland so much that it needed to be done away with.

During his time in London he produced a trilogy to combat those opposed to Presbyterian system. To Rutherford the glory and honour of Christ was purely bound up in the nature and worship of Christ’s Church. So he worked hard at debating and setting up the right teaching of those doctrines. Even though Samuel was strong in his opinions he was generous in complementing those who differed from him at the Assembly. Rutherford also worked diligently at producing a catechism. He is given credit for producing much of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Life for Rutherford was still full of trials during this time. The civil war was still in progress, he lost a very close friend and two of his children from his recent marriage died during this time. He remained steadfast in understanding that the Lord owned life and could do as he pleased. He waxed poetically upon those situations of trial, with prose of how the Lord picked his roses and lilies as he saw fit. When they were just buds or in full bloom, the gracious Lord never wasted a thing. They were his flowers and he could pluck them up whenever he chose.

In 1647 Samuel returned home. The King and Royalists had been defeated in the civil war. Peace seemed to be coming. But more trials were on their way. By the mid 50’s Samuel had become weaker and sick. He felt like his passage to the next world was coming. He so longed for this final passage. He lived for the next life. He wanted to see the one whom loved him face to face. Rutherford lived life believing that this world was a training ground where Christ’s children were being prepared for their eternal home with Him.

During this time of slow degenerating health the King of England was restored back into power. He had deceived the nobles of Scotland by signing the Solemn League and Covenant pretending that he endorsed the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Vengeance was in the heart of the King against the Covenanters. Shortly after the King’s signing of the Solemn League and Covenant the Marquis of Argyll placed the crown back upon the Kings head. Immediately following this event the King’s deceptive nature was revealed and the Marquis of Argyll was imprisoned in the tower of London only to be executed in May of 1661.

Civil war ensued again and Samuel Rutherford was a marked man. In 1644 he published his famous work ‘Lex Rex’, the Law and the Prince. This book excited a lot of people and enraged the King. It was not original in thought but pointedly called upon the King to recognize that God was the only one who had absolute authority. The book strongly advocated obedience to Kings and authorities but the King who perverted Justice and oppressed the rights of his subjects must be restrained and in some instances removed from power. Lex Rex is one of the best defenses of constitutional democracy. The King condemned the book and copies were collected up and burned outside of St. Mary’s college where Rutherford had taught.

Not content with just the burning of the book the King set his sights on Samuel Rutherford. But he was already dying. When the Kings men arrived with a summons to arrest Rutherford for treason he was unable to go. He told them, “that I have a summons already from a superior Judge and judicatory and I behove to answer my first summons, Ere your day arrives I shall be were few kings and great folks come.”

Samuel Rutherford died with his friends around him on March 30, 1661. His only surviving daughter Agnes was by his side. He commended her care to the Lord and joyed in the fact that he was about to see his Redeemer and be with him forever.

This reveals Samuel Rutherford’s heart in the matter.
“Our fair morning is at hand, the day star is near the rising, and we are not many miles from home; what does it matter if we are ill-treated in the smoky inns of this miserable life? How soon a few years will pass and this life’s lease be expired. We are not to stay here, and we will be dearly welcome to him to whom we go. O happy soul forever! Jesus Christ is the end of your journey; there is no fear, you may look death in the face with joy.” – Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness of Christ 

Samuel Rutherford lived like a saint and sojourner in this world. He lived like Abraham the father of all who are in Covenant with God. He died in faith having not seen the final fruit of his desire. Nevertheless, he knew the builder and King who was doing the work. He trusted in King Jesus. He lived, died, and lives evermore as one who built upon the foundation of the Master Builder’s work. He loved God’s book because God spoke to him through it. He was a man of the Bible, recognizing and extoling the King of kings.

(Heb 11:8) By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

(Heb 11:9) By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

(Heb 11:10) For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God….

…(Heb 11:13) These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

(Heb 11:14) For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

(Heb 11:15) And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

(Heb 11:16) But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

References used
Samuel Rutherford and his friends by Faith Cook Banner Of Truth Trust
Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology IVP