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Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

“Ye are the salt of the earth…Ye are the light of the world.”

  • Matthew 5:13, 14

“That’s the job description of a Christian,” said my Sunday school teacher many years ago.  By this, he meant that Christians are called to be salt and light in a lost and dying world. 

Salt in the sense Jesus spoke of here meant “savory” or “flavorful.”  As John Gill put it,

This is to be understood of the disciples and apostles of Christ; who might be compared to “salt”, because of the savoury doctrines they preached; as all such are, which are agreeable to the Scriptures, and are of the evangelistic kind, which are full of Christ, serve to exalt him, and to magnify the grace of God; and are suitable to the experiences of the saints, and are according to godliness, and tend to promote it:  also because of their savoury lives and conversations; whereby they recommended, and gave sanction to the doctrines they preached, were examples to the saints, and checks upon wicked men.

In the Scriptures, “light” is often a reference to knowledge of the truth.  And that is the sense in which Jesus used it here.  Again, John Gill,

What the luminaries, the sun and moon, are in the heavens, with respect to corporal light, that the apostles were in the world with regard to spiritual light; carrying and spreading the light of the Gospel not only in Judea, but all over the world, which was in great darkness of ignorance and error; and through a divine blessing attending their ministry, many were turned from the darkness of Judaism and Gentilism, of sin and infidelity, to the marvellous light of divine grace. 

As Christians, are words out actions, even our thoughts, are to show Christ to our neighbor in a lost, dying and hopeless world. 

Doubtless, most Christians would agree with this assessment.  But how hard it can be to put into practice!

If I’m honest with myself and with you, I have to say that I don’t always do a very good job at this.  Perhaps you’re a bit like me, and look around you at the mess, the perfect babel of confusion our civilization has become and despair.  The forces of evil are overwhelming, and I cannot overcome them.  They have power, money, influence, and prestige in abundance.  What are my puny efforts in comparison to that?  And you can probably guess at some of the great discouragers I’m talking about.

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

“Is there any good news?” That was a text a friend sent me a few months back.  My answer to him was something like, “not really.”

As a Christian, I know full well that there is good news in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that all who believe in him are justified and accepted as righteous in the sight of God.  That promise never changes no matter what the headlines say.

But if we look strictly at the headlines concerning the events of the day, there has been very little good news at all for nearly a year and a half.  In truth, the bad news has been pouring in for a long time, but it seems to have gone next level since early 2020. 

The Covid hoax – I say hoax not in the sense that no one died of Covid-19, but in the sense that the wildly overstated danger of this disease was used to crush political, economic and religious liberty in what appears to be a world-wide orchestrated event to centralize power among the globalist elite – the BLM hoax – we’ve been lectured for what seems like forever that America is hopelessly racist and that racist police unfairly target black Americans, but there is little evidence to support these statements and much to contradict them; yes, black Americans have higher rates of incarceration than other groups but that is because of the uncomfortable fact that they commit a wildly disproportionate amount of violent crime – and the 2020 election hoax – we were told in no uncertain terms that the 2020 presidential election was the most secure in history, while at the same time anyone who pointed out glaring irregularities in the election was dismisses as a QAnon conspiracy theorist and deplatformed from social media – all worked together to make 2020 a uniquely depressing year for those of us who lover liberty and truth. 

And the knock-on effects of those hoaxes are still with us in 2021 and likely will continue to be with us in the foreseeable future. 

At the very least, these hoaxes are examples of false witness bearing, a violation of the ninth commandment.  Which law, although not formally committed to writing at the time of the events in Genesis 1-11, was nevertheless in effect. 

The three hoaxes listed above are certainly not the only hoaxes Americans are subjected to daily.  We must not omit the transgender hoax in which we taught to accept that men really can become women and women really can become men.  And if you don’t believe it, well, very bad things are in store for you.

And we’re not yet done with hoaxes.  As if all the above weren’t enough, now the major news networks are pushing UFO’s. It’s almost as if a there’s a concerted effort to distract people.

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

Smash the patriarchy.

That’s a common turn of phrase these days.  And those who use it fell fully justified in their doing so.

After all, it’s self-evident that patriarchy is an evil social construct from the benighted past that cannot be removed from society fast enough. For those slow to embrace the revolution, opprobrium, exclusion and possibly even violence await.    

Patriarchy, in the eyes of a doctrinaire feminist, is merely a social construct.  Feminists view man – a feminist likely would prefer a less “sexist” term such as humanity – as a blank slate whose thinking can be shaped in one way just as easily as in another.  In feminist thought, a matriarchy is just as natural as a patriarchy.  Traditional sex roles – man as primary breadwinner, wife as keeper at home – could be changed to a 50/50 partnership in all things, or even flipped on its head. 

Put another way, the historic relationship between men and women is merely a convention such as deciding which side of the road to drive on.  In America, we drive on the right side of the road.  In Great Britain, Australia, and Japan, they drive on the left side of the road.  It really doesn’t matter which side of the road you drive on.  The important thing is that every agrees which side. 

But in feminist thought, it’s not enough to say that patriarchy is a convention.  In feminist thought, patriarchy is oppression, a system designed by men to unfairly keep women from achieving their full potential.  Such an unjust system must be smashed. 

According to the article “Smash The Patriarchy: 8 Ways To Do It With Love And Compassion,” smashing the patriarchy, “refers to challenging the dominant social, political, cultural, and economic thoughts that value the idea of hegemonic, toxic masculinity over everything.” 

Feminists, it seems, have made a Baal out of smashing the patriarchy together with all it supposed toxic masculinity.  While King Jehu feigned to serve Baal much, the feminists have actually done so and reaped the rewards of their choice.

It’s not unusual to find articles talking about how much more unhappy and stressed out women are today compared with their mothers and grandmothers.  Unable to account for this phenomenon, the simultaneous success of women smashing the patriarchy and their increasing unhappiness, secular writers have taken to calling it “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.”   

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

In an article titled “Pope Francis Calls for Giving United Nations Organization ‘Real Teeth,’” the current occupant of the seat of Antichrist says that, “The twenty-first century is witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tend to prevail over the political.” 

That economic and financial sectors have throughout history have operated across national borders, and that the Bible in no way prohibits international trade, these things the Pope does not want you to think about.  These forces, the Pope tells us, in some undefined way “prevail over the political,” and this, we are to take on the Pope’s word, is a very bad thing that can be fixed only by ushering in an even bigger government, a world government run by the UN. 

So what does the Pope mean by “economic and financial sectors” prevailing over the political?  Given his authoritarian dislike of economic and political liberty, he likely means that, despite the best efforts of regulators to stamp out economic and political liberty, people, ordinary people, are still free to make voluntary economic decisions in their perceived best interests.  Liberty of this sort is deeply disturbing to globalist tyrants of all sorts, whether we’re talking about religious globalists such as the Popes of Rome – all of them, Francis included, are Antichrists who hate, loathe and despise Christ and his people whom he freed spiritually, politically and economically – or secular tyrants of the sort who run the UN, the World Economic Forum or any number of other globalist busybody organizations. 

There’s an old saying, if it doesn’t fit, get a bigger hammer.  The drive for world government is all about elite globalists such as the Pope getting a bigger hammer to beat the nations and peoples of the world into their mold, imposing on them by force the choices and behaviors the elite want them to exhibit, but which if left to themselves the people would not choose. “There’s just too much liberty out there,” is ever the cry of the tyrant. 

In times past, those who warned about a plot to impose world government on the nations of the earth were viewed as kooks.  “That’s conspiracy theory!” people would cry. 

But the push for world government, while it is a conspiracy in the proper sense of the term, is certainly no unsubstantiated rumor spread by fact challenged individuals.  It’s an open secret, possibly one of the worst kept secrets ever.  The Pope’s of Rome and other Vatican officials simply cannot stop themselves from openly longing for world government and constantly take the opportunity to tell everyone how wonderful their brave new world will be.

As Christians, we cannot endorse world government.  But how can I say this?  As Christians, we must always ground our ideas about politics and economics in the Scriptures.  So where in the Bible does is the matter of world government and individual nations ever brought up?  Is it brought up at all?  In short, yes.  The Bible has a stance on world government.  God opposes it.  Further, God endorses the idea of a system of nation states of the sort that came about as a result of the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, which concluded the Thirty Years War.     

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

“Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”  This quote, or some variant to it, has been attributed to several prominent people.  In searching for the origin of the quote, I found it credited to such notables as John Knox, William Tyndale, and Benjamin Franklin. Thomas Jefferson used “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God” on his personal seal.  Jefferson wanted to use this saying on the Seal of the United States

Whatever the origin of the quote, many Christians today are troubled by the notion that it is ever a Christian’s duty to resist tyranny.  Citing Paul’s injunction in Romans 13 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities,” they take Paul’s command to be, if not an absolute, at least something very close to it. 

The extent of the civil magistrate’s legitimate authority came to the surface in 2020 with the coming of the Covid 19 restrictions across much of the world.  These restrictions not only affected schools, universities, and businesses, but also churches.  Sincere Christians, when considering how to react to government restrictions, in particular government restrictions on church meetings, came to different conclusions.  Some believed it was the duty of Christians to obey every command of the various civil authorities that restricted, or outright prohibited, church meetings.  Others considered it a Christian duty to resist such edicts.  Because of these different views, as a follow up to last week’s post on the divine origin of civil government, it seemed good to me to say something about the relationship of civil government to the church.

To take the suspense out of things, I’ll tell you my view of the matter up front.  Christians are required to obey civil magistrates, but only in the Lord.  The civil magistrate, while a legitimate minister of God, has limited authority.  This was also John Calvin’s view.  He wrote,

The characteristic of a true sovereign is, to acknowledge that, in the administration of his kingdom, he is a minister of God. He who does not make his reign subservient to the divine glory, acts the part not of a king, but a robber. He, moreover, deceives himself who anticipates long prosperity to any kingdom which is not ruled by the sceptre of God, that is, by his divine word (Institutes, Prefatory Address).

Later in the Institutes, Calvin wrote,

We are subject to the men who rule over us, but subject only in the Lord. If they command anything against Him let us not pay the least regard to it, nor be moved by all the dignity which they possess as magistrates – a dignity to which no injury is done when it is subordinated to the special and truly supreme power of God (Book IV, Chapter 20.32).

It is the view of this author that the civil authority has no jurisdiction to regulate how Christian churches conduct their worship services, and that all such regulation represents overreach on the part of the civil magistrate. This is not to say that Christian ministers and Christians themselves are not subject to the governing authorities.  If Christians commit acts that are contrary to the law of God and the just civil laws of society, then they are justly punished by the civil magistrate.  But the regulation or prohibition of singing hymns, capacity limits due to Covid, or even outright prohibition on gathering on the Lord’s Day?  All such restrictions by the civil authorities are tyrannical and ought to be resisted by Christians everywhere.        

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

In the famous opening sentence of his Treatise on the Social Company, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in change.”   

While Rousseau’s social compact theory of government is not Christian, his observation that man is everywhere in chains certainly rings true.  We can see this in the history recorded for us in the Bible as well as from secular sources.  For that matter, we can see it simply reading the news of the day. 

Jesus himself noted the authoritarian nature of civil government in his response to the disciples’ arguing about who among them was the greatest.  Jesus responded to them,

The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves (Luke 22:25-26).

Note that the kings of the Gentiles do two things.  First, they exercise lordship.  The Greek verb translated “exercise lordship” can also mean “be the lord or master of.”  Perhaps another way of expressing the meaning of the Greek is to use the English expression “lord it over.”  We talk that way.  We say so and so is lording it over someone.  Certainly, that was true of the kings and emperors who governed during Jesus ministry.  They lorded it over their people.  What the kings of the earth wanted, they took, and there was little to stop them. 

The second thing these kings did was be called “benefactor.”  On one hand they oppressed their people, but on the other, they wanted to be known as men of generosity.  A modern example of this is Joseph Stalin, who, while being one of the most ruthless of the 20th century dictators used the title “Dear Father” among others. 

From Jesus response to his disciples, we clearly see that there is a large gap between the Biblical teaching about how government should operate – the idea that government is a servant to the people – and how it actually does operate.

But even more basic than the questions what should government do and how should it go about doing it is the question, why should one man obey another man? 

To answer these questions, we must turn to the Scriptures where we find the origin of civil government. 

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

April 15 of this month marked the 109th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.  In commemoration of the event, one of the YouTube channels I followed put out a multi-part series covering the events of the April 14 and 15 1912, the night of the sinking. 

One of the videos featured and interesting fact that I had heard about previously but had not appreciated its importance.  As part of the evacuation, Charles Lightoller, the Titanic’s second officer and senior surviving officer, opened the gangway door on D-Deck to help with the lowering of one of the lifeboats. As it turned out, the door was never used during the ship’s evacuation, and in the chaos, was forgotten and left open. This, as it turned out, was a significant oversight.

The D-Deck gangway door was about halfway up on the port (left) side of the ship and normally well above the waterline.  According to one article, it was the ‘front door’ for first class passengers boarding the ship.  But as Titanic settled, eventually the water made its way up to the door and started pouring in.  The way it was explained in the video, the area the gangway afforded to the advancing water was actually larger than the sum of area of the original punctures made by the iceberg on the starboard (right) side at the time of the collision.  With this additional route for water to enter the ship, the sinking of the Titanic rapidly accelerated.    

So just what does this bit of Titanic trivia have to do with today’s subject at hand, marriage?  I admit, the connection may not be immediately obvious, but hear me out.

The stated purpose of this series, going back to Part 1, is, “to apply the revealed history found in Genesis to the current moral, political, scientific and economic problems of our day, refuting the contemporary confusion and setting forth the mind of God on these issues.” 

This brings us to the subject of marriage. 

Back in the day, and we don’t have to go very far back for this, most Americans accepted the Biblical definition of marriage, whether they themselves were Christians. 

But all that has changed in recent years.  If recent polling is to be believed, a full seventy percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage.  As one measure of how things have changed, I recall that the State of Ohio amended its constitution in 2004 to specifically define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.  There was widespread public support for the amendment and the measure was adopted with little public outcry.  This was a mere seventeen years ago. 

The Ohio amendment and all other state-level prohibitions of same-sex marriage were overturned in 2015 by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, which originated right here in river city, my hometown of Cincinnati.  

To return to my earlier point about how the mistake of leaving the D-Deck gangway door open sped up the sinking of the Titanic, in like fashion, I believe, the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision sped up the sinking of the America’s ship of state, which already was well under way in 2015.  It’s not as if leaving the gangway door open is what sealed Titanic’s fate.  The ship was going to sink anyway based on the damage already done by the iceberg.  But leaving the door open sped things up.  The same with America.  American’s have been losing their liberties since the Progressive Era – I always thought it should be named the Regressive Era – so the process has been going on for well over a century at this point.  The loss of liberty was well underway even in 1912 when the Titanic sunk.  But the rate of our loss of liberty, almost imperceptible at first, has sped up greatly in recent years.  In my opinion, the Obergefell v. Hodges decision can be likened to the leaving open of the D-Deck gangway door.  We were well on our way to sinking before that, but same-sex marriage sped things up. 

I say this because it allowed evil to access new parts of our society that had remained untouched until that time.  Over the years, there was greater and greater acceptance of same-sex marriage, but the legal recognition of it has seemed to speed up, not only the rate of acceptance of same-sex marriage, but also other parts of the homosexual agenda such as the recognition of transgenders as the new Brahmins of  the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion movement. 

But despite what the wokesters would have you believe, there is a valid definition of marriage that is binding on all men and women for the very reason that it is God’s definition of marriage.  And God’s definition does not agree with the Supreme Court’s. 

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

“Words cannot express how I feel.”  Many of us have probably said this or something like it.  I know I have. 

But as common as it is to hear people say that words cannot express this or that, this is a mistake.  Words are entirely adequate to express all thoughts. 

One lesson in the adequacy of language is found right in Genesis 1, where we see God speak the heavens the earth and all that is in them into existence.  If words are adequate to bring about the creation of the universe, by implication words are certainly capable of expressing whatever occurs within the universe.  This seems like an obvious point, yet for those of us who live in the irrational and emotional 21st century, it’s a point that must be emphasized. 

And God said, Let there be light….

It was mentioned earlier in this series that the Westminster Shorter Catechism provides a brilliant definition of the work of creation.  Question 9 asks, “What is the work of creation?,” the answer being, “The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.” 

It was by the “word of his power” that God spoke the world into existence in Genesis.  That same expression “the word of his power” occurs in the New Testament, where the Author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is, at this very moment, “upholding all things by the word of his power.”  The term “the word of his power” sounds a bit unusual in English.  In his commentary on Hebrews, John Owen makes the point that one can change the order of the words from “the word of his power” to “the power of his word” with no difference in meaning.  Owen notes that one can even express the same idea by saying “his powerful word.”  Regardless of how one states the idea, in her Trinity ReviewLinguistics and the Bible,” Marla Perkins Bevin noted that one implication of Genesis 1:1-3 is, “that what God says happens.”

Language, Neither Evolved nor Created

Most of us are familiar with the Darwinian explanation of the origin of the various forms of life we see.  Sometimes called “molecules to man” evolution, Darwinism posits that all life has evolved over billions of years through a process called natural selection.

But while Darwinism’s influence in biology is well known, less well known is its influence in other fields of study.  Modern linguistics – linguistics is the analysis of language – use Darwinist assumptions when discussing the origin of language.       

In Wikipedia’s entry “Origin of Language,” we read that famed linguist Noam Chomsky holds that language arose from a single chance mutation in one individual about 100,000 years ago, and that the language faculty was installed in perfect or near-perfect form.  It’s almost as if Chomsky is saying that the ability to use language was installed into a specific individual as one would install a program onto a computer.  In this respect, Chomsky is closer to the truth than some of his linguist colleagues who hold that language developed slowly over time from animal grunts and squeals. 

According to Bevin,

Language was not created and did not evolve from animal grunts or mews. God eternally has language as part of His rationality. Human beings have language because it is part of the image of God. Thus, God’s use of language is an exemplar for human use of language, and it can be used to provide information about human language (“Linguistics and the Bible”).

Language is eternally part of God’s rationality, and men use language because by virtue of their rationality they are the image of God. Language is neither the result of evolution nor creation but precedes creation itself.  “When God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light, the word (and therefore the idea) chronologically and logically preceded the visible light. God’s idea of light and God’s language about light preceded visible light.”

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

On March 24, 2021, ABC News ran the headline “Rachel Levine confirmed by Senate, become highest ranking openly transgender official.“ 

It wasn’t many years ago that such a thing – the Senate confirmation of a transgendered person for high government office – would have been impossible.  But in 2021 America, Levine’s confirmation was inevitable. 

A month earlier, the conservative website Revolver ran an article correctly predicting Levine’s confirmation.  The piece stated that, “Rachel Levine’s imminent confirmation proves Transgenderism is America’s new state religion.   The article went on to note,

Fifty years ago, the cult of transgenderism didn’t even exist. Merely ten years ago, it was still so obscure most Americans knew nothing about it. But over the past decade, transgenderism has been accepted en masse by the centers of power in America, which are now imposing them on the whole country. The core parts of its doctrine are easy to list:

  • Physical sex and “gender identity” are completely unrelated to one another.
  • Being “cisgender” and “transgender” are equally ordinary.
  • Gender is “fluid” and there are far more genders than merely “male” and “female.” In fact, there may be infinite genders.
  • Gender roles are socially constructed, and there is no biological basis for behavioral differences between males and females.
  • Despite the above, a person can also innately know that they were assigned the “wrong” gender, even if this is based on their failure to conform to gender norms that are, supposedly, only social constructs.
  • A person can know he is transgender at any age. It is completely normal for teenagers, preteens, and even toddlers to become “transgender,” with potentially invasive treatments like puberty-blocking pills and even surgery.
  • A person has the right to choose their own pronouns, to demand that others “state their pronouns,” and to demand punishment when their pronouns are not respected.
  • Not only may a person change his name at any time, but it is “deadnaming” to use or even mention a prior name.

By this time, you may be wondering why, in a post about the Biblical account of the creation of man, I’m writing about transgenderism.  My reason for doing so stems from the stated purpose of this series.  As I wrote in Part 1, “It is my intention in this series to apply the revealed history found in Genesis to the current moral, political, scientific, and economic problems of our day, refuting the contemporary confusion and setting forth the mind of God on these issues.” 

Nowhere is the confusion of our age more evident than in the matter of transgenderism, and nowhere is the mind of God in more desperate need of application. 

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