Covenantal Succession … Covenantal Nurture

It is the assumption of Scripture that infants are genuine members of the covenant.  That is the reason why in the text before us this morning parents are commanded to nurture their children in terms of Christian covenantal thinking.

There is no debate on that point when we consider the Old Testament. All concede that Circumcision was the sign and seal that indicated membership in the Covenant. It is only in the New Testament where we begin to find widespread and sometimes heated disagreement that NT infants, just as their OT counterparts, are to be branded with a brand that indicates that they are genuine members of the covenant. In the NT, so the reasoning goes of those who go their own way on this matter, infants are not members upon birth, of the covenant.

Of course, if those who demur with us on this point are correct this means that one of the purposes of Jesus death and resurrection was to the end that infants of covenant parents would be expelled from a covenant in which they had previously been a party too before the death and resurrection of our Lord Christ.  This is an odd way to think about a “New and Better” covenant.

Covenant succession merely holds that God’s general way of collecting the Church is via His gathering into the Church the children of His children.

Causes of the decline of Covenant succession

1.) Social Contract theory as applied to the Church

According to this understanding of social order theory long established in the Enlightenment West, each person is by nature an independent locale of sovereign self-authority,  having full legal capacity to act on their own behalf and so not subject to the authority of another. In this theory, each atomized individual is absolutely equal to every other atomized individual and so by sovereign “right” authorized to act upon his own determination.

With this theory, man’s natural liberty was held as being the privilege to do whatever he wanted to do.  In this theory man himself determines what shall be given up in order to live in civil society. Man, as the individual sovereign is everywhere supreme.

Well, you can see how this social contract theory, when adopted by the Church would lead to the idea that it is the individual man himself who does or does not consent to belong to this community of faith.

Whether as pertaining to a broader social order or as pertaining to the Church an objection must be raised to this theory that we believe has had such a baleful influence upon both the social orders of men and upon the Church of Jesus Christ.  Men have never existed as sovereign atomized individuals using their own sovereign free will to determine whether they will or will not be a party to a social contract or to being claimed by God in Baptism. Instead, men are born as members of peoples, as well as Churches as ordained by Him. So, just as men do not choose their own civic obligation but are born to it so men who are born to believing parents do not choose their belonging to the Church but are ordained by God to that end.

2.) Revivalistic Assumptions vs. Scriptural Assumptions

With the first great awakening as followed by the 2nd great awakening, the emphasis as it relates to speaking about conversion moved from the covenantal nurture of children in the covenant to having a dramatic personal emotional experiential encounter with Jesus.

Louis Bevins Schenk in his book on “The Presbyterian Doctrine of Covenant Succession writes,

“The presumption of regeneration in the case of children of the covenant, based upon the covenant promises, was largely displaced by the Church’s practice of recognizing as Christians only those who gave ‘credible evidence,” satisfactory to themselves of regeneration.”

This is the conversion mindset in which most of our churches think today. From evangelism programs like “Romans Road,” “Evangelism Explosion,” or the “Four Spiritual laws,” this is the contemporary Church’s understanding of how conversion occurs. Before this time the whole idea of “altar calls” that have become famous with Charles Finney, D. L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham would have been a curious phenomenon.

However, while never denying that God deals with some people like this — particularly those who come to Christ as adults — this isn’t the model that we find emphasized in Scripture as it pertains to covenant children. In Scripture, the parents are to lay hold of God’s promises that God will be God to us and to our children for a thousand generations and then are to train their children up in the faith in light of God’s promises. In this model, the whole idea of a dramatic conversion experience slips away in favor of covenantal nurture.

3.) Datable Conversionism vs. Covenant Succession Conversionism

Consistent with what was just mentioned the whole ascendancy of a datable conversion became the be all end all for much of the Church. The idea is that “every Christian knows the day they were ‘born again.'” This stands in contrast to the idea of covenantal succession where God

4.) The failure of Covenantal Nurture

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Too often the cash value of baptism to many who are party to the contemporary Church is that they have kept their religious responsibility to their children. They have had them Baptized.

This is why the form distinctly says, in the charge we just read that parents

“must, therefore, use the sacrament for the purpose that God intended and not out of custom or superstition.”

While we are of the persuasion that in Baptism God has placed His claim upon us we are not of the persuasion that Baptism entered into apart from covenantal nurturing laid upon us as parents guarantee our child is right with God.

Listen to the 19th century Southern Theologian R. L. Dabney on this point,

The instrumentalities of the family are chosen and ordained of God as the most efficient of all means of grace—more truly and efficaciously means of saving grace than all the other ordinances of the church. To family piety are given the best promises of the gospel,.. How, then, should a wise God do otherwise than consecrate the Christian family, and ordain that the believing parents shall sanctify the children? Hence, the very foundation of all parental fidelity to children’s souls is to be laid in the conscientious, solemn, and hearty adoption of the very duties and promises which God seals in the covenant of infant baptism. It is pleasing to think that many Christians who refuse the sacrament do, with a happy inconsistency, embrace the duties and seek the blessing. But God gives all his people the truths and promises, along with the edifying seal. Let us hold fast to both.

~ R.L. Dabney

So, if we are to return to a time where covenantal succession is again the norm in our families and in our churches and among our people we must once again practice covenantal nurture. We must teach our children the Scriptures. We must catechize our children. We must anticipate and answer their objections before they have those objections that we know will arise. As we are teaching our children God’s judgments, statutes, and laws we must point out to them how the culture and too often the visible Church wars against those judgments, statutes, and laws. We must introduce our children to systematic thinking because there is nothing non-systemic and non-systematic in the thinking of God. We must dip and saturate our children in a Christian Worldview that they will see non-Christian worldviews as strange, exotic and ugly.  As parents, we must love them, and not provoke them. We must live out before them the majesty of God’s grace that has redeemed us for the sake of the finished work of Christ alone.

Some areas to keep an eye on in order to practice covenantal nurture,

a.) Protect your children from the culture,

Media

The media is a messaging machine and that messaging is seldom based on a Christian world and life view. As such children need not be exposed to Media until they are far far older and have the ability, as coming from covenantal nurturing, to identify and sniff out the false theology behind the false messaging.

Neil Postman in his now classic work warning against the danger of modern Media wrote,

“But it is much later in the game now, and ignorance of the score is inexcusable. To be unaware that a technology comes equipped with a program for social change, to maintain that technology is neutral, to make the assumption that technology is always a friend to culture is, at this late hour, stupidity plain and simple.”

If we are going to practice covenantal nurture in hope of covenantal succession we must understand that technology is, as a rule, no friend of Covenantal succession.

Public Schools

“I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.” ― Martin Luther

I am as sure as I am of the fact of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social, nihilistic 4. ethics, individual, social, and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen.

Dr. A.A. Hodge

b.) Protect your children from unexamined friendships

From the youngest of ages, it is your role to be the portal that all must pass through in order to get to your children.  You must be aware that other children of other families may not share the same Christian confession that you own. This means you must be sharp to watch out that friendships are not cemented with those who will, perhaps quite apart from malicious intent, challenge the truths that you are seeking to instill within your children from Scripture. You are seeking to nurture and disciple your children in the Christian faith. If you allow your children large swaths of “playtime” with other children — even other children from Christian homes of a different confessional stripe — you are courting a bad result in your efforts of covenantal nurture.

The Message of Covenantal nurturing

The message to our children that we must start with in terms of covenantal nurturing is that God provided Christ as the one who would fulfill all the law’s obligations as laid upon the sinful children of Adam and who would give to those same children the righteousness of Jesus Christ to those who would in faith rest in Christ’s righteousness alone as their acceptability to God.

The covenantal nurturing message to our children is that God is at war with unbelieving man and has reconciled Himself to unbelieving man by the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is only by the reconciling work of Jesus Christ in His work on the Cross whereby we and they can have peace and blessing with and from God.

We must nurture our children in the way of a faith that rests in Christ’s work alone in Justification but then also teaches them that in Sanctification their faith is to work as they turn to the law and to the testimonies for God’s word on how they shall live as Christians.

We must remind our baptized children that God’s claim is upon them and so they are to grow in the Christian faith. Our challenge is not that they might decide to become Christian but that they would know God’s eternal claim upon them and become what they have already been freely declared to be in Baptism.

We must nurture them to learning of God’s character. His Sovereignty, His Justice, His Wisdom, His Holiness, His Goodness, His Mercy, and His Grace.

We must nurture them to trust in God’s Word and God’s promises as opposed to their experiences, emotions, and mystical revelations. We must nurture them what it means to be a kind and caring people while at the same time warning them against the dangers of a suicidal altruism.

We must nurture them in the ways of taking godly dominion to every area the sovereign God calls them and of the great truth of our postmillennial hope.

We must nurture them in the truth that repentance is a life long project. But then that even our repentance needs repenting over. We must model before them a humility that seeks to shed every ounce of that ugly sin of self-righteousness. We must demonstrate to them what it means to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought and to consider not only our needs but the needs of others. We must pray that they will see us on our knees praying for Wisdom and that they will hear us honestly attest ourselves to as being not yet wise.

God grants us His grace for what parent could possibly think themselves sufficient unto such a calling?

But God is Faithful and being faithful we anticipate that even in all our failures with our children He will be to our seed and their seed the God who calls them to Himself.

Funeral Service Rev. Anthony Lombardi

Call To Attention  — John 11:25-26 — Rev. Bryan Church

Invocation 

* Scripture Reading

Psalm 39:4-8

 II Corinthians 1:3-7 
Psalm 46:1-3 
I Corinthians 15:12-20

Congregational Hymn — To God Be the Glory

Eulogy — Rev. Anthony Lombardi

In the Baptist tradition it is common to have a “time for testimonies.” In my 18 months in attending South Lewiston Baptist this was a characteristic part of the evening service. During Testimony time it was typical to hear from the voices of God’s people how God had shown himself faithful to them in the nitty gritty of their daily lives.

This is Dad’s testimony as to his conversion as he dictated it to Mom a few years ago.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

I came to know Christ as my personal savior between 16 & 17 years of age. I was invited by a friend to Sunday School at 1stBaptist Church on Staten Island. As a result of attending thatSunday School my life was transformed. I had been afraid of death but as a result of John 3:16 being explained to us over four weeks gradually that Scripture found root in my heart in Sunday School and my fear of death went away.

Later I was invited by that same friend who invited me to Church to watch his water baptism by immersion.

During the service we sang the hymn “At the Cross.”

Alas and did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sovereign Die
Would he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I

Well might the sun in darkness hide
and shut his glories in
When Christ the mighty maker died
For man the creature’s sin

At the cross
At the cross
When I first saw the light
And the burden of my heart fell away
It was there by faith
I received my sight
And now I am happy all the day”

That service impressed me so that I wanted to be baptized also.

I met with the Pastor expressing my desire for Baptism.

The Pastor asked me why I wanted to be baptized

I replied, “Because I have put my faith in Jesus Christ”

After this meeting, I then met with the Church deacons and again I was asked

“Why do you want to be baptized.”

And again I answered

“Because I have put my faith in Jesus Christ”

But actually I was hiding behind the fact that I saw my friend baptized and I wanted to follow his example.

They approved of me as a candidate for baptism.

Over a period of time, I found my life was transformed.

My language was cleaned up without awareness.
There was peace and joy in my heart that I never knew before
I found that I no longer feared death
They hymn “at the cross” became a reality, I found myself singing it constantly.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree
Amazing pity, Grace unknown
And love beyond degree

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe
Here Lord, I give myself away
Tis all that I can do

At the cross
At the cross
When I first saw the light
And the burden of my heart fell away
It was there by faith
I received my sight
And now I am happy all the day”

That was Dad’s testimony.

As a minister speaking at a minister’s funeral allow me to make a few observations.

Rev. Lombardi was given by God the talent of being a people person. Not all ministers have that talent. Dad had the ability to strike up a conversation with a wooden statue and in his conversations, he would soon be challenging his conversation partner about whether or not he or she had trusted Christ.

Dad’s way with people was convincing because it was genuine. He liked people. And people liked him. One time when taking him to some kind of appointment in Brunswick we were sitting at a light. Suddenly I noticed a driver in the car sitting on my side waving frantically. I rolled down the window only to find that the chap just wanted to say hello to Rev. Lombardi and have a bit of a chat there at the busy intersection.

Dad had a desire for missions that went at least as far back as his time at Houghton College. While going through his old yearbooks I find people mentioning his vision for missions in their written comments in the yearbooks.

Rev. Lombardi’s Gospel was simple but a simple Gospel should not be confused with a Gospel that is simplistic. The Gospel, it is said, should be shallow enough for a child to play in and yet deep enough that an elephant can swim in. Dad’s strength was setting forth the Gospel in a way that people could grasp.

And in that Dad was faithful to what God had called him. He was a faithful servant to God’s people in the various churches he served. He was a faithful servant to the residents at the Nursing home. And now, because of Christ’s faithfulness to His promises Dad has heard the “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter now into your Master’s rest.”

Much more might be said in the way of eulogy but my challenge would be for you to look around at the people seated next to you. You and His work here and this place at South Lewiston Baptist are and ever will be Rev. Lombardi’s eulogy.

St. Paul could write something similar to what I am trying to get at. St. Paul wrote to the small Corinthian Church,

2You yourselves are our letter,inscribed on our hearts, known and read by everyone.3It is clear that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.…

People of God you are Rev. Lombardi’s eulogy, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.

I can think of no words that would surpass that eulogy.

Congregational Hymn — At The Cross

Homily — Rev. Anthony Lombardi

As many here are already familiar, Rev. Lombardi’s had a passion for making Jesus Christ known. This was seen not only in his personal evangelism habits but also in his leadership in the Church in terms of an unstinting support of Gospel Missions and Christian Missionaries.

And so it seems proper to round of this gathering to speak once more of the Gospel that so animated the life of Rev. Lombardi … of Dad. It is both proper and consistent with his wishes.

The Christian Gospel is a good news announcement of the tidings of salvation. In understanding that salvation announced is the understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, as we consider salvation let us spend just a few minutes unpacking this idea of salvation.

When the Christian faith speaks of salvation it assumes that there is a peril from which man needs to be saved. So we ask,

What is that peril … that danger from which man needs to be saved?

A few answers might be offered but if we are going to speak of the primary danger from which man needs to be saved the Christian faith offers the answer … God.

We know this because it stands written,

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.”

And

“God is angry with the wicked all the time”

And

“Fear only Him who can cast body and soul into Hell.”

And again,

Be wise O ye Kings, kiss the Son, lest he be angry and ye perish in the way

And again,

God will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.

So when Christians speak of the Gospel — this salvation — we are committed to the fact, because of God’s revelation, that what man needs to be primarily saved from is the fulsome and unrelenting opposition of God. This just opposition of God is explained by man’s sinful, errant and twisted nature and desire to de-god God and en-God Himself as God.  Man is a hopelessly self-centered and self-aggrandizing being who forever wants to center around which all others orbit.

This opposition of God is explained by God’s perfect moral perfection as that Holiness is opposed to man’s total imperfection which issues in this self-orientation.

It is true that we also have need to be saved from our sin, saved from ourselves, and saved from the devil, but the primary reality we need to be saved from is God Himself. When man is saved from God all his other needs of salvation are met at the same time.

So, we are saved from God but then the question arises….

Who is it that saves us from God’s determined opposition?

And the answer to that is it is God who saves us from God.

We know this because it stands written,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…”

And again,

“God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself”

And again,

“God sent His son … to be the reconciliation for our sins.”

Here we begin the wonder of the Christian message. A Holy and Righteous God having a just and legal case against self-centered and guilty man determines that as man can never save himself from God’s prescribed death penalty for sin God Himself will take upon Himself in the 2nd person of the Trinity the penalty for sin. Jesus Christ the eternal God-Man bears God’s wrath in His crucifixion so that those called by God are delivered from God’s studied and certain opposition.

As it stands written,

“He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

And again,

“For Christ also hath suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.”

And again,

“For Christ, when we were of no strength, died for the ungodly.”

You see those who are saved are saved from God by God.

In Christ God, Himself by Himself answers our greatest need of finding a way to relieve our guilt, forgive our sin, and extinguish our misery. God, out of great compassion and love has done all the saving and now He commands all men everywhere to repent. He speaks to men today, “Now is the appointed time of salvation.”

In being saved from God to God, God in Christ by paying the legal penalty against sin turns away the Father’s just wrath and God is satisfied so that men knowing the just anger of God against they and their sin can legally sue for peace.

Well, we have answered the questions of “Whom are we saved from,” and “Whom are we saved by.” Now we go on to answer who are we saved to and who are we saved for.

And the pattern continues. Just as we are saved from God and by God so we are saved to God.

It stands written,

“He hath delivered from the power of Darkness and hath translated us to the Kingdom of His dear Son.”

And again,

“We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And again it stands written,

“You were … without Christ … and were strangers from the covenants of promise, and had no hope and were without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, ye which were once far off, are made near by the blood of Christ.”

This salvation is to God. Because of Christ standing in our place to be the one who bears our penalty we are restored to God. God’s favor is upon us and His face is always turned towards us in acceptance. God who was only a judge to those who opposed Him is now a Father to those who sue for peace offering as their plea Christ’s finished work on the Cross in their place. We have been saved so that no one can bring a charge against God’s elect. We have been saved so that now nothing can separate us from the love of God. We have been saved so that we are more than conquerors. We who have been saved know both the smile and the applause of Heaven because we have, due to God as the sole cause, sheltered ourselves in the safety of Christ and His work in our stead.

Finally, in terms of this Gospel we note that as we are saved from God, by God, to God, we are also saved for God.

We know this because it stands written,

“You are not your own, you were bought with a price.”

And again,

“Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.”

The chief end of man is to glorify God and fully enjoy Him forever.

God saves us for His own glory and the passion of our lives is to live for Him as He instructs us in His Word. We have been saved for God and so it is to God’s speech that we turn to know answer the question, “How shall we then live.”

In God’s Law-Word we find a guide to life. God’s authoritative law-word teaches us how to live for Him…. indeed, living for Him is the very reason why we have been saved.

So, because we have been saved for Him, and because we know what it is that pleases Him because it is revealed in His word we are a people who champion His cause as consistent with the Scripture.

My earliest memory of Rev. Lombardi ties into this point. Jane received a newspaper clipping in the mail. There with it was a photo of Rev. Lombardi and a group of Christians picketing a movie theater which was featuring a film that was blasphemous of Christ. Because He was saved for God to champion his glory he knew he was duty bound to protest a piece of art that dishonored God.

Those who are saved for God are intent of championing His cause and His authoritative Law-Word in every avenue of life. God’s saved people understand that there is no area where Christ does not point to and say…. “MINE.” God’s saved people, being saved for God are intent on teaching the nations to observe all things that Christ has commanded with the purpose of seeing that the nations of this world become the nations of our God. Being saved for God then means that the Gospel is a conquering word that opposes the wickedness found in a fallen world while all the time inviting those who oppose Christ to come and taste and see that it is better to be a friend of Christ than His enemy.

There you have the Gospel of salvation. It is an announcement that we have been saved from God, by God, to God, for God. The Gospel centers on God providing a substitute in Jesus Christ who as the God-Man in His death on the Cross pays the legal penalty that we owe and so heals the wound that man inflicted on himself and on the Cosmos. The Gospel makes all things new so that its effect, where it blossoms, is to bring the recreation of God so that where there was once conflict of interests between men there now resides a harmony of interests. The Gospel ensures that this present wicked age is being and will be rolled back by the heavenly age to come, so that the Dominion of God rules over the affairs of men. The Gospel builds the Kingdom so that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

It all sounds very strange to the ears of Modern man in a postmodern age.

The blood of God spilled to pay the legal penalty justly pronounced upon guilty and so condemned man and mankind?

So many find this good news … this Gospel to be either too fanciful or to objectionable. Yet despite those objections, it is this Gospel of salvation which has built the greatest civilization which has ever existed. It is this Gospel which once knitted generations of beautiful Christian families together over the centuries so that they shared a common Christian faith and a common Christian ethic. It is this Gospel that built Churches that were as glorious as the Gospel it proclaimed so that God’s people could be an engine for God’s dominion.

And it is this Gospel that took an Italian immigrant’s son who like us all bore Adam’s blemishes and shaped him and crafted him to be God’s minister unto his family and God’s minister unto his people in Lewiston Maine.

To God be the Glory.

Congregational Hymn — At The Cross

Closing Prayer / Lord’s Prayer

Doxology — Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow 

Benediction / Dismissal – Jude 24-25  — Rev. Bryan Church

Dr. Fancis Nigel Lee’s Apologetic For Biblical Nationalism

Of course, there is to be contact between the nations, but not supranational miscegenation or slow genocide. National seclusion is wrong, but even a supranational ecumenical movement can be guilty of seclusion! For as Dooyeweerd remarks:

“The history of the building of the tower of Babel, viewed in the light of the cultural commandment of Genesis 1, shows that seclusion and isolation in cultural development is contrary to the Divine ordinance. Cultural expansion, the spread of humanity over the surface of the earth in the differentiation of the cultural groups, and the cultural contact between these groups, have been set as a task to mankind.”114

And again: “In the removal of the rigid walls of isolation, historical development moves in the line of cultural integration. The latter has its counterpart in the process of an increasing differentiation. This process of cultural integration and differentiation should be sharply distinguished from the leveling tendencies which in our days threaten to penetrate the so-called under-developed cultures with secularized factors of Western civilization.”115

In spite of a slight amount of marginal intermixing and still less of intermarriage with other stocks, God preserved the Israelitic nation and its culture (and land and language) up to the advent of Christ.116 Neither did Christ destroy nationality but sought to preserve it and to cleanse it from sin and to perfect it. And this involved at least two things: His mandate to improve international relations, but also to sanctify national life to His glory. Christ insisted on His followers improving international relations. And this they were to do by loving their neighbors as themselves,117 yes, by loving even their hostile Samaritan neighbors.11”

Also, they were to pray for their enemies,119 even for their Roman conquerors,120 and, after Christ’s death and ascension, to go into all the world and teach all the nations, as commanded in Christ’s Great Commission.121 Yet they were also to sanctify national life and to promote specifically the national welfare. Jesus Himself clearly taught the necessity of the Israelitic believers’ ministering first to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,”122 and that it was not meet to take the Israelitic “children’s bread and cast it” to other nations.123 Nor should Samaritans be encouraged to inundate the temple of the Jews in Jerusalem, but rather worship God in their own temple in their own land, for “God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit,”124 that is, in one and the same spirit and not necessarily in one and the same international or supranational geographical locality. And, having assured His followers that nations would still be in existence on the future Day of Judgment,125 and that many would then come from the east and west into the kingdom of heaven,12~ He told His followers to go into all the world, and disciple all the nations121 (as nations!), beginning amongst their own nation in
Jerusalem, but going forth thence even into the hostile territory of “Samaria, and into the uttermost parts of the earth.”127

Shortly after that, the risen Christ poured out His Spirit on the day of Pentecost, causing the disciples to speak of the wonderful works of God in every then known language for the benefit of those Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Cappadocians, Pontians, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Libyans, Cyrenians, Romans, Cretans, Arabians, etc., who were then in Jerusalem for the feast. Far from suggesting the future creation of a one-world nation with a one-world language, this important event certainly suggests the sanctification of the then existing nationalities to the service of God, inasmuch as “devout men, out of every nation under heaven” there heard the Gospel “every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born.”128

Nor did the Christians later lose their nationality. Even amongst the early Israelitic Christians, the Greek-speaking Israelites maintained their group consciousness vis-a-vis the Hebrew-speaking Israelites.129 Paul became a Roman to the Romans solely so that he might save some,130 but in spite of this he still remained an Israelite,131 spoke always to the Jews
first and then to the Greeks,132 and loved his people so much that he was prepared to sacrifice himself in their stead, as it were.l33 At the same time. he emphasized that in Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew nor barbarian nor Scythian,134 and that as the nations of the world were progressively more and more won for Christ,135 and as Christians of each nation prayed for their kings and those in authority so that Christian men may lead a quiet and peaceable life and so that all men may be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth,136” national and international relations would improve, in spite of all temporary setbacks, as the Gospel runs its course through the world of nations.137

The Cretians may be liars, evil beasts, slow bellies; the Corinthians may be factious and passionate; the Galatians may be foolish; the Thessalonians lazy; and the Israelites blinded;138 but the day is coming when Christ shall be all in all.139

For “in the last days it shall come to pass that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”140 And in the new Jerusalem on the new earth, “the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. . . – And they shall bring~thc glory and honor of the nations into it.”141

Dr. Fancis Nigel Lee
Communist Eschatology — pg. 770-772

Dabney and McAtee On Equality

“Again: we have all heard the famous maxim: ‘All men are created equal.’ There are two species of equality of British freedom, whose watchword is: ‘Every Englishman is equal before the law.’ It does not mean that the peasant is equal to the peer in the list of his particular franchises — these are different. But the peasant has the same right to his narrower franchises as the peer has to his wider. The same law protects both, on the same fundamental principles of justice. The maxim, in this sense, does not assert that nature has made men literally equal in strength, in sex, in capacity of mind, in virtue, in fortitude, in health. Hence it holds that a true and equitable equality must distribute different grades of franchise to these different beings, according to their capacities to use them. It does not hold that the child justly wields the same set of privileges as the father. It does not believe that the woman has, for instance, the same ‘inalienable’ right to sing bass and wear a beard with her husband. But this maxim, after leaving Providence to distribute to different classes of mankind the several allotments of privilege they have capacity to improve aright, claims for the protection of all the common sanction of justice and the golden rule.
 
Then, there is the equality of the Jacobin: a very different thing, which teaches that mechanical sameness of function, franchise, and privilege, in each detail, is a right, ‘inalienable,’ ‘natural,’ and ‘self-evident.’ That whatever particular franchise is enjoyed by the highest citizen, must also be attainable by the lowest: or these sacred institutions are outraged. The question between these is a question in philosophy: not a very easy one, if we may judge by the frequency which thinking men confuse the two together. Let us see what practical fruits this confusion to two abstract theories has borne.
 
One crop of those fruits might have been seen in Paris a century ago. ‘The Reign of Terror,’ was established. The guillotine stood before the Thuilleries ‘en permavence.’ The gutters ran daily with blood. The prisons, filled by vile delators with thousands of the noblest and best , were emptied by the ‘Septembrigans,’ through wholesale massacre. To have belonged to a privileged class was the sufficient crime. To assert the privilege of any class, in church or state, was treason. This was the logical result of the philosophy.
 
We pass over to America in 1865, and we see the second harvest of death from this same philosophy. If the Jacobin equality is that which intuition teaches to be ‘inalienable,’ then it was inconsistent that the Africans, though pagans, aliens, lately savage, and utterly unfit to wield the higher franchise of civic life without ruining society and themselves, should be ‘held to service or labor’ under other citizens. It was iniquity that they should be denied any franchise attainable by any other citizen. As this was ‘self-evident,’ and the equality ‘inalienable,’ no constitutions, laws, or covenants could be legitimate the difference between African and American. But they all became null and void in attempting to do so. Yea, God himself was quite roundly notified, that he had better not legitimate it, or he would be repudiated also! And when some eight millions were unable to see this Jacobin logic so, a quarter of a million of them were killed, their homes desolated, and half a continent clad in ruin!”
 
Robert L. Dabney — D.D.

Secular Discussions — pg. 291-293

Equality, per Dabney, in a Christian Worldview, is particular, applied to all people in their particularity wherein God has created and placed them, while in the Jacobin worldview equality is universal and so works to the end of denial God’s distinctions. In my estimation, the Jacobin variant of equality arises out of the conviction of the Jacobin that man and God are equal. From that premise blooms their conviction that all other distinctions must be eliminated in the name of and in pursuit of Jacobin equality.

One thing is certain that the flattening out of all distinctions and differences in the name of equality if it does not begin with man’s conviction that God and man are equal, will certainly end with God and man being seen as equal.  In a world where, in the name of equality, the distinctions between men and women are sacrificed, the distinctions between the disabled and the healthy are pretended not to be relevant, and the distinction between people groups denied it is inevitable that the distinction between God and man should be negated.

Dabney didn’t live to see what this doctrine of egalitarianism did to Russia and China. Where the 18th century French Revolution and the 19th century American Revolution murdered their hundred of thousands, the 20th-century egalitarian Revolutions murdered their ten’s of millions.

It is my conviction that the church’s errant embrace of some version of Jacobin egalitarianism is to our generation what the Church’s errant embrace of Justification by works was to the Magisterial Reformers. In 2016 the embrace of God ordained distinctions is the article by which the Church stands or falls. Just as in the 16th century the Church’s future depended upon following Scripture and getting Justification by faith alone correct, so in the 21st century the Church’s future depends upon following Scripture and getting the embrace of God ordained distinctions correct. Failure in getting this right will result in the amalgamation of Christianity with all other faith systems into a mono-religious faith system. Failure in getting this right means the destruction of the Biblical family. Failure in getting this right means the equalizing of God and man.

A great deal is at stake. May the Lord Christ grant us grace to fight.

 

The PCA and Resolution 43

“The first and fatal charm of national repentance, therefore, is the encouragement it gives us to turn from the bitter task of repenting our own sins to the congenial one of bewailing – but, first, of denouncing – the conduct of others.”

C. S. Lewis

In their 2016 General Assembly the Presbyterian Church of America passed resolution 43 by a overwhelming majority of 861 to 123. This resolution offered up corporate repentance for racial actions they were corporately involved in prior to their formation in 1972 and for racial actions they were corporately involved in after their formation.

The wonder of this document is the general assumption and declaration of sin with no corresponding detailed names of proofs that can be attached to the general assumption and declaration of sin. By making such a declaration of sin of one’s Fathers one doesn’t have to give due process to the dead. One doesn’t have to put together a court where the accused can face their accusers. One doesn’t have to convince a jury of their Father’s sins when one just assumes and declares their sins. One doesn’t have to come up with concrete proof for concrete cases against concrete Fathers. No, all one has to do is just give a general condemnation of one’s Fathers.

It strikes me that the the current PCA is condemning as “sin” those sins that the Founders of the PCA cited as reasons to leave the denomination they were previously associated with. If this is so the current PCA then can be regarded as the anti-PCA, at least as measured by their Father’s intent for the denomination they were creating. According to the current PCA it is hard to see how the current PCA doesn’t consider the Founding PCA as being in sin for leaving the PCUS given that the Founding PCA’s reasons for separation are now repudiated by the current PCA’s standards. As we will see in this post it is possible that the current PCA is most directly repudiating the particular founders John Edwards Richards and H. Morton Smith.

So what I’m going to do here is interweave the stated reasons that some of the Founders gave for leaving the PCUS with the most recent Resolution 43 as passed by the current PCA by a vote of 826 – 123. Finally, I will add some quotes from men and organizations from the past who have agreed with what the PCA is calling for here.

Now it may be the case that a reader may agree with the old PCA or it may be that they agree with the new PCA but regardless who is agreed with we can at least conclude that the denomination is on a different trajectory from when it was formed.

I.) Resolution 43 — PCA General Assembly 2016

A.) Therefore be it resolved, that the 44th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America does recognize, confess, condemn and repent of corporate and historical sins, including those committed during the Civil Rights era, and continuing racial sins of ourselves and our fathers such as the segregation of worshipers by race; the exclusion of persons from Church membership on the basis of race; the exclusion of churches, or elders, from membership in the Presbyteries on the basis of race; the teaching that the Bible sanctions racial segregation and discourages inter-racial marriage;

B.) Where PCA Founders Disagreed with the 2016 PCA

1.) Causes of Separation in 1973 (PCA separates from PCUS) by one of the PCA Founders, Dr. John Edwards Richards,

  • a.) The Socialist, who declares all men are equal.  Therefore there must be a great leveling of humanity and oneness of privilege and possession.
  • b.) The Racial Amalgamationist, who preaches that the various races should be merged into one race and differences erased in oneness.
  • c.) The Communist, who would have one mass of humanity coerced into oneness by a totalitarian state and guided exclusively by Marxist philosophy.
  • d.) The Internationalist, who insists on co-existence between all peoples and nations that they be as one regardless of ideology or history.

    And again from Richards,

    e.) “The vast majority of good thinking people prefer to associate with, and intermarry with, people of their respective race; this is part of the God-given inclination to honor and uphold the distinctiveness of separate races. But there are many false prophets of oneness, and many shallow stooges, who seek to force the amalgamation of the races.”

    2.) This time from Dr. H. Morton Smith — One of the Founders of the PCA

    “If from this we may conclude that ethnic pluriformity is the revealed will of God for the human race in its present situation, it is highly questionable whether the Christian can have part in any program that would seek to erase all ethnic distinctions. That such distinctions may be crossed over by individuals may be granted, but it is at least questionable whether a program designed to wipe out such differences on a mass scale should be endorsed by the Christian. It is this line of argument that the average Christian segregationist uses to back his view. He fears that the real goal of the integrationist is the intermarriage of the races, and therefore the breakdown of the distinctions between them. Many who would be willing to integrate at various lesser levels refuse to do so, simply because they feel that such will inevitably lead to intermarriage of the races, which they consider to be morally wrong.”

    H. Morton Smith — A Founder of the PCA
    Christianity Race & Segregation

    Comment

    Now one group that does agree with the PCA are those found among the Marxists. That they agree with the PCA’s insistence that the bible does not sanction racial segregation and that they agree with the PCA that inter-racial marriage is Biblical is seen by examining these quotes,

    C.) Writers or Organizations Who Agree With the 2016 PCA Resolution 43

    1.) Frederick Engles

    Question — ‎”What will be the attitude of communism to existing nationalities?

    The nationalities of the peoples associating themselves in accordance with the principle of community will be compelled to mingle with each other as a result of this association and hereby to dissolve themselves, just as the various estate and class distinctions must disappear through the abolition of their basis, private property.”

    ~ Frederick Engels in “The Principles of Communism”, 1847

    2.) Karl Marx

    And this time from Marx who agrees with the PCA

    “Even the natural differences within species, like racial differences…, can and must be done away with historically.”
     
    K. Marx’s Collected Works V:103,
     
    As cited in S.F. Bloom’s The World of Nations: A
    Study of the National Implications in the Work of Karl Marx, Columbia University Press, New York, 1941, pp. 11 & 15-19:

    3.) Nikita Krushchev

    “Full-scale Communist construction constitutes a new stage in the development of national relations in the U.S.S.R., in which the nations will draw still closer together until complete unity is achieved…. However, the obliteration of national distinctions and especially of language distinctions is a considerably longer process than the obliteration of class distinctions.”

     

    Comment

    Now if the current PCA is indeed going after Richards and Smith, one of whom is still living, then let these men have their day in court. Let charges be brought against them and let them be tried and face their accusers. In Richard’s case let any trial be done posthumously. Prove that what these Founders — Dr. Richards and Dr. Smith  held — was sin. Prove their statements in error. Don’t just make declarations. Offer up proof and as you offer up proof make sure you don’t take up league with the Marxists.

    II.) Resolution 43 — PCA General Assembly 2016

    A.) the participation in and defense of white supremacist organizations; and the failure to live out the gospel imperative that “love does no wrong to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10); and

    B.) Where PCA Founders Disagree with the Current PCA

1.) Dr. H. Morton Smith 

“it may be said that the principle of segregation as such is not necessarily sinful in and of itself.”

H. Morton Smith — A Founder of the PCA
Some thoughts by a Southern White Christian:  The Racial Problem Facing America

2.) This time from Dr. John Edwards Richards

“No human can measure the anguish of personality that goes on within the children of miscegenation… Let those who would erase the racial diversity of God’s creation beware lest the consequence of their evil be visited upon their children.”

John Edwards Richards
One of the founders of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)

C.) Some writers that agree with the PCA’s interpretation that love means do no wrong to a neighbor are found among the Socialists,

1.) Vladimir Lenin

“The aim of socialism is not only to abolish the present division of mankind into small states and end all national isolation; not only to bring the nations closer together, but to merge them….”

Vladimir Lenin
The Rights of Nations to Self Determination — pg. 76

2.) Vladimir Lenin

“… Just as mankind can achieve the abolition of classes only by passing through the dictatorship of the proletariat, so mankind can achieve the inevitable merging of nations only by passing through the transition period of complete liberation of all oppressed nations, i.e., their right to secede. “

There are other “Resolveds” in Resolution 43 but they are more and less a repeat of the type that has already been quoted here.

In the end, how does the PCA and the Christian community in general deal with the fact that they seem to be advocating a policy that lines up rather nicely with the Marxist agenda from its beginning? Those of us who are concerned with the egalitarian revolutionary thrust found in Marxism and seemingly on display by the PCA and other denominations only want an answer on how they intend to stand against the great heresy of Marxism? How does the integrationist’s call to “love”  avoid being the Marxist call of hate that finds a bleeding of all things into a revolutionary egalitarian uniformity?

I close here by quoting Dr. H. Morton Smith. 

“The reason that so many see a Communist influence in the present movement is that the goal seems to be the same as that of the Marxist philosophy, namely, the leveling of all to a common uniformity. Even if the American Negro movement has not been started or backed by the Communist Party at first, it certainly plays into the hands of the Communists, especially when civil disobedience (Black Lives Matter — BLMc) can be encouraged, and the law and order of a city, state, or nation threatened. Enough of this disorder, and the Communists or some other tyrants may be able to step into the situation and seize control of our nation”

Certainly if there is a danger in a philosophy that demands too much segregation so there is a danger in a philosophy that demands too much integration. Yet, all we seem to hear from the modern denominations is siren calls about “racism,” “xenophobia,” “homophobia,” “bigotry” and “sexism,” and the siren calls seem to have the collected effect of pushing us ever further towards the socialist dream of a New World Order where we can imagine that there are no countries, and no religion too. A New World Order where there are no races, no genders, and no distinctions.

From Dr. Abraham Kuyper, to Dr. Francis Nigel Lee, to Dr. Geerhardus Vos and countless others there have been warnings against an amalgamation that would be destructive to all peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations and yet the Church seemingly keeps pushing that agenda, taking no heed to those of us who are pointing at and screaming about the original intent of the Christ haters named Engels, Marx, Stalin, Lenin, Khrushchev, and countless other Revolutionaries who have always imagined there is no heaven.

Will anyone ever listen to our warnings or answer our concerns that are born out of love for Christ and His Church and not out of hatred for anybody except for those who would pull down Christ or assault His Bride?