A post-election reminder: King Jesus still reigns

5 11 2008

Daniel 2:20-21

“Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings.”

 

Isaiah 40:15-17

“Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.”

 

Proverbs 8:14-16

“Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.”





Are the Vandals at the gate?

31 10 2008

[The following thought-provoking essay was written by a friend of mine, whose grasp of both doctrine and history always make me sit up and pay attention when he offers a viewpoint. Here are his thoughts on the upcoming election and his reasons for casting his vote for John McCain. As always, your thoughts and feedback are welcome.]

 

…The new dark age may already be upon us.   As an amateur historian, I am often impressed by observing that cultures and civilizations often meet their demise suddenly and (to them at least) unexpectedly.  Alexander and fall of Darius’ great Persian empire, Attila and his sweeties (Huns), the Vandals before the gates of Hippo (quick Augustine write a book explaining all this), the Byzantines and the Arab Muslim invasion (conquering from Iran to Spain in a century), Lindisfarne and the Vikings (it helps to have some berserkers),  the Mongols and the Khwaresmian Empire (just look it up – I like the part where the Mongols drank the blood of their horses from their flanks), Montezuma (a lot of good your revenge did you) and Cortez,  Hitler and his 1000 year Reich, Bill Maz (using hidden vigorish, not to mention the green weenie) and the 1960’s Yankees — are a few of the many examples in history when the world suddenly changes.  And the nice life of the losers ends.

 

Americans always presume that their comfortable lives will continue as things have for years.   History (and Scripture) teaches otherwise.  With the ascension of Obama, Pelosi and Reid’s supermajority will all that change?   With the most radical Socialist government since 1932, will we descend into a new dark age?  Will our speech be silenced?   Will preaching the Gospel be a hate crime as it is in Canada?  Will our guns be confiscated?   Will our children be required to go to government schools for indoctrination?  Will all the evils of paganism be forced upon us?  Will the economy crash?  Will we experience what Augustine and the monks of Lindisfarne experienced, the loss of civilization itself?

 

Is America doomed?  Europe is already doomed — with Europe’s welfare states dying both economically and demographically (quick, name the most common boy’s name in Belgium?  In Amsterdam?  In Malmo Sweden?  What is the fifth most popular name in the United Kingdom?  If you said Mohammad, give yourself a free beer!).  Europe, with a birth rate of 1.4 or less, is losing population.  It is tough to support the welfare system without kids!  European Muslims, with a birth rate of 3.5, are doubling in population.   Soon, Shria law will rule in Europe and America will stand alone.  And stand alone with what?  Obama?!   Am I wrong?   Well, check back with me at the end of Obama’s presidency in 8 years – if I don’t have a more bushy beard and 3 more wives, then I was wrong.

 

OK, so maybe I am over reacting.  Maybe things won’t be so bad.  Maybe only a few more thousands of babies a year will be aborted than under Bush (and what’s a couple of punctured heads to get upset about), maybe only a few more guns (like shotguns) will be outlawed.  Maybe the new Supremes will only seem to look like Janet Reno, maybe it will be good if our daughters are in the draft, maybe only normal homosexuals (like Patrick Elias) will be able to get married at Manchester RP, maybe I will like to belong to a union this time.  We can all adapt to that. 

 

So yep, I am voting for McCain.  I know many conservative Christians are sitting this one out with some waiting for the worst to happen so America and the Republicans can learn their lesson.  Except it took over 1000 years for western civilization to come out of the dark ages.  Augustine’s Hippo never recovered.  The problem was, Augustine’s Rome voted for Obama or stayed home or voted for the Constitution candidate (these guys felt good about themselves when the Ostrogoths wacked off their heads).

 

Certainly our refuge is in the Lord and His provision in Christ.  We must be like Habakkuk and live by faith (Hab 2:4) though the Chaldeans come.  But if Habakkuk had the vote, what would he have done (WWHD?)?





The “Todd Factor”

17 09 2008

              

Media coverage of the 2008 presidential race has spotlighted, as it traditionally does, the spouses of the Republican and Democratic contenders for the Oval Office – our country’s potential First Ladies. What is striking in this election cycle is the copious amount of attention being given to the spouse of Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin – Alaska’s “First Dude,” Todd Palin. Even in 1984, when Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro as the first female V.P. running mate in U.S. history, there was nothing to equal the media obsession currently raging around Todd Palin. Can anyone remember Ms. Ferraro’s husband’s name? (It was John Zaccaro). But times have changed.

Consider the current race. Have you seen any special reports or news features focusing on Jill Biden, the wife of Democratic V.P. candidate Joe Biden? Me neither. And why not? Well, quite frankly, it’s just not news. If Senator Obama wins in November, Jill Biden will be nothing more than the wife of the Vice President – not a position that generally draws much attention. Even if the election sets the stage for Biden to mount a Presidential campaign of his own in four or eight years, Jill would simply join the ranks of First Ladies. And make no mistake. The current focus on Todd Palin has nothing to do with his relationship to a potential Vice President and everything to do with his relationship to a potential President of the United States.

So why all the to-do about Todd? You might chalk some of it up to novelty, but that doesn’t fully explain the current phenomenon. Remember John Zaccarro? Me neither. Things are different in 2008 than they were in 1984. We have experienced a full-blown cultural shift. Todd Palin represents the consummation of this radical transformation. It’s not so much about a woman’s rise to power. It is also, and perhaps even more-so, about a man’s recession to the background. Feminism is not about gender equality – it is about role reversal – the subordination of man to woman. That’s what makes Sarah and Todd Palin so important to the feminist agenda. Here is Todd Palin – by all accounts a rugged, masculine, man’s man – a commercial fisherman, outdoorsman, and entreprenuer – and he is willing to assume the role of the fawning, adoring, supportive “help-meet” to his wife as she stands poised to assume the office of the second most powerful leader of the free world. Should she parley that role into a successful Presidential bid in 2012 or 2016, the conquest will be complete.

This is not about “conservative” versus “liberal” politics. Governor Palin is known as a political conservative. She is pro-life, pro-second amendment, anti-big government, pro-domestic oil drilling. Yet, as a member of the group, Feminists for Life, she exposes the socially liberal ideology which has ultimately brought her to where she is today. Even the name of the organization rings of contradiction. Feminism has long been the champion of the pro-abortion cause. But Sarah Palin represents a new breed of feminist – which sees no contradiction between espousing and defending “conservative values” while at the same time advancing a liberal social agenda that undermines the traditional family.

Now, I am fully aware that the advocacy of traditional role distinctions between men and women is labeled as “sexist” by the popular culture. Dr. Voddie Baucham was branded with that label by a supposedly “neutral” news anchor when he recently defended those views in an interview on CNN. Yet, for the Christian, truth is not defined by popular culture, but by the Word of God which stands forever. This is the crisis facing our nation at this crucial stage of history, and this is what is at stake in the current presidential race. It’s about questioning and discarding the plain statements of the Bible, which is God’s own Word, in favor of our own preferred lifestyles and choices. Has God really said that woman was created to be the helper of man? Has God really said that woman is not to exercise authority over man? Has God really said that one of the marks of a nation in decline is that it has women in positions of leadership? Has God really said that a wife should be a keeper of her home? Has God really said that a woman who dedicates herself to the role of wife and mother will find great reward in this high and noble calling? It really comes down to a question of Biblical authority. Whose word is the supreme guide? God’s or mine? This is always where Satan draws the lines of battle. Don’t believe me? A 24 year old blogger named Michelle from San Francisco summed it up this way:

“Christianity is overwhelming proof of the prevalence of sexism in a America AND the most powerful force perpetuating it. Churches are still denying jobs to people based on their sex! How is this acceptable in a country where that is illegal for every other type of organization?? Patterson is obviously a nutjob, but please consider that ALL Christians (75% of Americans) look to the Bible for guidance. The Bible that says:

1. God is a male
2. Man came first and Woman was created from a derivative of man
3. Woman brought sin into the world
4. Men did everything that was ever significant short of the “virgin” birth (I am sure if men could give birth they would have been credited for this accomplishment too).

A LOT of old writings are sexist but still valued for their scientific, literary, or otherwise academic value. You could make that same argument for the bible – that we can look past the sexism and extract the value. But the difference between the bible and those books is that 75% of Americans don’t look to those books for moral guidance. They don’t use those books to back alogical political decisions. They don’t claim those books are written by God, or that they are instruction manuals for how to live our lives. They don’t read those books to their kids at bedtime.”

There it is. If you believe such outlandish things: that God is male; that He created man first and woman as a helper to man; that Eve sinned first; that God has established distinct and particular roles for men and women – you, my friend, are guilty of sexism! If you plan to propagate such antiquarian notions, I hope you’re ready to be marginalized, villified, ridiculed and dismissed as a right-wing nut job. Now that evangelicals are flocking to support Sarah Palin because of her political conservatism, those who hold to Biblical views on the distinction of roles between men and women in the church and society will find themselves on the radical fringe indeed.

When it finally does become illegal for churches to deny the job of pastor to women because of their sex, evangelicals will have only themselves to blame for not recognizing the subtle erosion of Biblical truth because it came packaged in the form of a capable and winsome leader and her smiling and supportive husband.





Voddie Baucham is my hero!

11 09 2008

Check out this clip from CNN in which pastor Voddie Baucham is grilled on the question of the role of women in the church and society. He is even called a sexist by the “neutral” female anchor. But this faithful brother stands his ground and represents the truth as a good and faithful servant. Would that God might be pleased to raise up many more godly ministers like this!

Of course, you can bet that CNN did its research on Rev. Baucham before inviting him to represent the religious right on this segment. This is exactly the kind of thing the world will use to portray conservative Christians as backward and out of touch. We need to pray that God will honor those who uphold His Word without compromise and spare our nation from its headlong plunge into judgment.





McCain/Palin: Time to pause and reflect…

4 09 2008

Mark Twain once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” While conservatives and evangelicals are tripping over one another to jump on the McCain/Palin bandwagon, I’ve had this nagging feeling that usually comes along with a “too good to be true” sales pitch. There are serious questions raised by the prospect of a McCain/Palin administration which, it seems to me, those who hold to the infallible authority of the Bible need to stop and consider, before rushing with the crowd to anoint the new saviors of the republic. Other authors have addressed some of these questions much more competently than I could, so here are some links to articles that I hope you will read with an open mind and an open Bible…

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in these articles and essays are those of the respective authors. You may not, and probably will not, agree with all that they have to say. But the points and questions raised in these selections are worthy of consideration and ought not to be casually dismissed.]

A Letter of Encouragement to Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin from a Sister in the Lord and the Wife of a Christian Pastor, by Rebecca B. Morecraft

Did McCain Make a Pro-family VP Pick?, by Voddie Baucham

Should Christians Support a Woman for the Office of Civil Magistrate?, by William Einwechter

Women’s Rights Women, by Robert Lewis Dabney





Crimes of Philanthropy

19 08 2008

If this phrase appear to any reader paradoxical, a very little reflection will convince him that it is only so in appearance. For, the greatest organized wrongs which the civilized world has seen perpetrated in modern times, upon the well-being of mankind, have been committed under the amiable name of humanity. No despotic government now avows the ruthless purpose of self-aggrandizement and of the gratification of hatred and the lust for power; but its pretense is always the good of society, and the welfare of the governed. The wars of the ‘Holy Alliance,’ which drenched Europe in blood at the beginning of this century were all undertaken nominally for the peace and liberties of Europe. No demagogue confesses, in popular governments, the greedy ambition or avarice which proves to be his secret motive: but he seeks only the good of the ‘dear people,’ while he betrays them into mischievous anarchy or legislative attrocities.” –Robert Lewis Dabney, 1886

A dear friend of mine just returned from a ten day mission trip to Siberia. What he witnessed there were the inevitable results of the failed experiment of Communism, and the continued policies of Socialism that have literally laid waste the beautiful Russian landscape. He visited a small rural village that once boasted some of the richest and most fertile farmland in the region. The government, however, on the misguided principle that no people should be allowed to excel in benefits beyond their neighbors, razed the village, scraped the fertile soil from the fields and shipped it hundreds of miles away to a less fertile area, and relocated the population to another spot eight miles distant from their former home, where they now live in abject poverty. Their supply of potable drinking water must be brought to their village by making eight mile trips to the artesian well that once supplied their needs in their previous habitat. Such are the inevitable results of the misguided policies of wealth redistribution in the name of equal opportunity.

My friend described Russia as “a third world country with a first world military.” While the Russian Orthodox Church is the officially sanctioned religion, most of the people are animistic, setting up shrines and offering sacrifices to appease the local spirits, like the man who tacked a ribbon to a tree and left his water bottles in tribute before proceeding on the seven hour hike out of the mountains.

Democracy is not the answer to such problems. Western civilization is what it is because of the legacy of the Gospel. Let us pray for the advance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the extension of His Kingdom into every corner of the earth where the demonic forces of tyranny continue to hold men captive to superstition and oppression. And, while we’re at it, let’s pray that God will be pleased to revive our own land and spare us from the crimes of philanthropy.





Of two evils, choose neither

18 08 2008

 

[This is a re-print of an article I wrote several years ago that was published in The Christian Statesman. I submit it for your consideration as the 2008 presidential race kicks into full gear. As always, your comments are welcome.]

For Whom May Christians Vote?

by Douglas W. Comin

The Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (Chapter 23, paragraph 15) says, “The Christian, when such action involves no disloyalty to Christ, ought to be involved in the selection of and to vote for civil rulers who fear God, love truth and justice, hate evil, and are publicly committed to scriptural principles of civil government.”

This is a fairly strict set of criteria by which to evaluate a candidate for civil office. There have been few, if any, viable candidates for political office in the past generation who would have passed muster according to the plain meaning of these words. They do not refer to a man who simply professes to be a Christian, but one who is self-consciously and openly committed to godly civil government as defined in the Bible.

Some would argue that the difficulty of the question of Christian suffrage is heightened by the fact that the Scriptures were written during times when the kind of selection process in which we find ourselves engaged was virtually unknown. Throughout the historical scope of scripture, civil rulers were not voted into office by democratic process. This fact makes it hard to find any explicit biblical guidance for our practice within the framework of a modern democratic republic.

Yet in Israel, elders were to be selected from among the people, and there were clear criteria by which they were to be judged. “Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders . . .” (Exodus 18:21)

In later times, Israel would be ruled by a king, “like the other nations,” but these guidelines were given by God and they are a sure standard of the character of God-honoring leaders. Anyone who was not known among the people as an able, truthful, just, and God-fearing man was not to be appointed to the exercise of civil government.

Again, some would argue that these guidelines were rightly given to Israel as a true theocracy, but they cannot be made to apply within the context of a nation which does not self-consciously follow God and which has abolished religious tests for its civil leaders in its constitution (Article VI, section 3). Yet for the Christian, the Bible supersedes any document of human origin. A civil leader is always bound by God’s word to apply its principles in his personal practice without placing the will of men over and above the clear commandments of God. The abolishment of religious tests for civil office in the constitution is a tragic sin, as is that same document’s failure to acknowledge Christ as the Mediatorial King and Head of the nation.

But just as its failure to acknowledge Christ’s Kingship does not dethrone Him, neither does its abolition of religious tests cancel the fact that God would have His people to set rulers over themselves who are godly and upright men.

Can a Christian cast his vote, then, for a candidate who does not meet the biblical criteria defined in Exodus 18:21 and echoed in the Reformed Presbyterian Testimony? What if none of the candidates pass the Scriptural test? Should the Christian choose between the “lesser of two evils”? Here is the real difficulty. Let me make a couple of suggestions.

First, the principle of representation must be rightly understood. An elected official is a representative, but of what? He is not, first and foremost, a representative of the people’s desires. This is a man-centered view. The God-centered view sees the magistrate as a “minister of God” who represents God’s authority over the people. He is an agent of God to bring blessing upon the righteous and judgment upon the ungodly. While God can bring blessing to His people even through the agency of an ungodly ruler, such as Cyrus who was called “the Lord’s anointed,” He is not honored when His people willingly appoint rulers who are known to be covenant-breakers.

If we understand the representative nature of civil government to be man-centered, then we are justified in choosing between the lesser of two evils based upon which of them will most consistently meet our personal agenda for the nation. But if the representative nature of civil government is God-centered, then we cannot possibly be justified in electing an official who hates God.

Second, the sovereignty of God must be truly appreciated. While we must take seriously our responsibility as citizens of the nation, including our responsibility to vote, God is sovereign over all nations. Part of our problem with this question arises from the idea that we must save our nation from evil. If two candidates are running for office, one of whom is a militant atheist who has publicly demonstrated his opposition to God’s law, and the other is a political conservative who makes no profession of faith in Christ, but seems to favor “traditional family values,” should Christians vote for the latter in order to save the nation from the scourge of the former? Neither is known among the people to fear God, hate evil, and love truth and justice. Should the Christian cast his vote for a man who clearly falls short of God’s absolute standard of godly civil leadership for the sake of comparatively less evil?

To answer these questions in the affirmative is, in a sense, to argue that the individual Christian, rather than God, must determine the destiny of the nation. The lack of any biblically qualified candidates for civil office is, in and of itself, a judgment of God. Should the Church ignore God’s warnings, bypass the directives of His word, and make a decision based upon situational ethics in order to temporarily stay His hand of judgment from the land? God’s judgments are often redemptive. Man’s decisions, when they stray from the clear teaching of God’s word, never are.