The Banner

“We’re no longer going to be united by the Form of Subscription binding us to the confessions. We’re only going to be united by subscription to The Banner.”

Heard from a Calvin Theological Seminary Professor
At the Christian Reformed 2008 Synod

I’m somewhat confident that this was said tongue in cheek. I am also somewhat confident that it was a case of half in jest all in earnest.

Personally, I think this is already true to a large extent. As doctrinal preaching continues to be in decline in all American Churches including the Christian Reformed Church that which binds the CRC denominational membership together is the one thing that they have in common and that one thing they have in common, denominationally speaking is The Banner.

I am fairly confident that one reason why the decision was made to send The Banner free to the home of all CRC members was that it might serve as a kind of touchstone for its membership. If The Banner is the one thing in the denomination that everyone reads then The Banner becomes a kind of literary glue holding the denomination together while serving at the same time as an ideological information guide on what to believe.

This is disconcerting. In the nearly 14 years I have been associated with the Christian Reformed Church The Banner has been a publication that reflects the mainline liberal influence in the denomination. A denomination, thus united by subscription to The Banner will be a denomination that is characterized by the pursuit of a politically correct multi-cultural agenda. Anybody who disagrees with The Banner will certainly be free to do so, but because The Banner is serving as that which glues the denomination together the person who disagrees with The Banner will automatically be seen as the one out of step with the denominational consensus.

Ever since I’ve pastored a CRC church people would tell me that I shouldn’t worry over what The Banner reports because, after all, that’s just The Banner. I thought they were wrong before and I think they are wrong now. The Banner is monumentally significant in the life of the CRC and the sooner everybody realizes that the sooner people might be more concerned about what does and doesn’t get printed in The Banner.

Where Is The Battle Fiercest?

“The battlefield where the devil has amassed his greatest forces and is thrusting his deadliest armies is the surrender of our national sovereignty and independence, and the creation of global government. And it is our own political and corporate leaders that are facilitating this chicanery. Furthermore, by refusing to oppose this surrender, our Christian leaders are complicit as well.”

Chuck Baldwin
Presidential Candidate — Constitution Party

Though I will vote for Mr. Baldwin in November this statement is utterly false. Make no mistake, National sovereignty and independence are crucial but they are not where old slewfoot is gathering his deadliest armies. Old slewfoot understands that National sovereignty and independence will drop into his lap like over-ripe fruit if he uses his deadliest armies to attack the sovereignty and independence of God.

America’s incremental loss of National sovereignty and independence is because of a increasing surrender to the armies of General Slewfoot of the notion of God’s absolute sovereignty and independence. If Candidate Baldwin desires to rescue America’s sovereignty and independence he must see that where the battle rages hottest in that contest is in pulpit’s throughout America. When the Church surrenders a sovereign and independent God it is only a matter of time until the people in the wider culture surrender their National sovereignty and independence. If we will not bow to God’s eternal sovereignty and independence it will only be a matter of time until we surrender our independence in order to bow to the temporal sovereignty of some usurper.

America was founded as a nation by a people who understood God’s absolute sovereignty and independence. The colonialists shook off attempts at English sovereignty going into battle with battle cries like, “no King but King Jesus.” Their descendants, having lost their Father’s sense of God’s sovereignty and independence, will inevitably come under the dominion of some tyrant’s sovereignty.

Candidate Baldwin will never win in the worthy cause of restoring a sense of National sovereignty and independence if the nation is in the spiritual bondage that comes from denying God’s absolute sovereignty and independence. The Battle therefore is not hottest on the score of National sovereignty and independence. That is just a brushfire skirmish. Where the real Battle rages and where Satan is attacking with his fiercest serpentine army is America’s pulpits. The reason National sovereignty and independence is such an issue is that the American clergy have given up on God’s total and absolute sovereignty and independence. They will not be rallied to oppose globalism until they are rallied to oppose the encroachments in the Church against God’s sovereignty.

I applaud Candidate Baldwin’s fight against globalism and I join him in it but I realize that the fight against globalism (tower of Bableism) will never be won until God is seen to be as sovereign as He never ceases to be.

Bias And Advocacy Journalism

Back in 1971 Edith Efron wrote “The News Twisters.” Her thesis was that the major media was distinctly liberal in its reporting. She used the coverage of the 1968 election to prove her thesis. The book was a bombshell in the Media Centers of this country and much time was subsequently spent by leftists seeking to deconstruct Efron’s thesis.

Thirty Seven years later one would have to be brain dead to not notice the advocacy journalism that exists in America. If you watch the major media market you’ll see them selling Barack Hussein Obama the way that Ivory used to sell soap. One indication of the infatuation of all things Obama one notices is that all three major news network anchors followed Obama on his recent World Tour much like Deadheads used to follow the Grateful Dead from venue to venue. Another indication of the bias for Obama by major media outlets was the recent refusal of the New York Times to print a submitted editorial by Republican Presidential candidate Juan Mequeno after Barack Hussein Obama had an editorial published.

On the other hand if you listen to talk radio you hear a constant anti-Obama drumbeat. The difference is that talk radio tends to admit their bias while the major media outlets still pretend to objectivity. Another difference seems to be that while the liberal major media bias is clearly pro-Obama, talk radio is more anti-Obama then they are pro-Mequeno.

From this we need to realize that we are now living in a time that is much like Europe has experienced for decades, which is to say that we live in a time of advocacy journalism. It is folly on any news consumer’s part to think that by listening or reading any one news outlet they can find out what the truth is, unless they have the infrequently found ability to listen and read the news looking for what has been left out or barely mentioned.

The problem with advocacy journalism is bad enough but it is compounded by the reality that for all the different journalistic advocacy that is going on, with all its supposed differences, it is pushing products that are surprisingly the same. What I mean by that is the advocacy battle by the different media outlets that is going on in the Presidential campaign is like a battle between those who favor mashed potatoes against those who favor fried potatoes. If your a person who doesn’t like potatoes at all you don’t see much difference and what you’d like to see is somebody advocating baked apples.

Christians need to realize the reality of advocacy journalism in order to practice reading for what is not present or for what is not emphasized. Christians also need to realize, as it touches the Presidential campaign, there is nobody in the major media outlets or the radio talk show outlets, who are advocating baked apples. In order to find baked apples advocacy one needs to turn to genuinely minority news outlets.

In order to find some journalism that will get one out of the rut of the majority news outlets I recommend John Lofton and the American View ( ) as well as the covenant news and backwater report outlets ( , John Lofton of the American view is very direct and pointed in his radio interviews and some people take exception to what they consider a “ambush approach” but personally I like Lofton’s approach as it does not allow people who are being interviewed to avoid the contradictions in their views or policies.

At the very least a dedicated reading of these alternate news and opinion sites for 6 months will help one see what is often left out in the other advocacy outlets.

Don’t Miss The Comments

I hope you readers are reading the comments on this blog. There are some incredibly bright people leaving comments here. Not only are they bright but they are eloquent and passionate as well.

I do not deserve the privilege to call these people friends.

I don’t know … maybe I’ll start posting the comments on the face of the blog. These guys are making points that are far better then much of what I try to communicate.

Baxter and TRGM — How Reformed People Do Evangelism

“And so that is how Reformed people do Evangelism.”

The rousing applause snapped Baxter out of his daydreaming and he quickly joined in hand clapping accolades.

Baxter had no idea what had been said over the last 20 minutes of the presentation. He had slipped into a daydream about turkey hunting with the under 25, all blond female hunting club from Sweden. Even after coming back to reality he was amazed at the marksmen skill of those women and how good they could still look in camouflage.

The leader of the Transylvania Reformed Global Missions dismissed the class into their breakout groups in order to share with each other their thoughts on the presentation.

Baxter’s group consisted of four women (who he doubted could qualify for the all blond female hunting club) and two guys (who he thought might be able to qualify for the all blond female hunting club), and himself.

Amber, who had been elected group Facilitator started, the conversation.

“I especially liked it when Rev. Goforth said that there may be situations where we deal with people groups who couldn’t make any sense why someone would ask Jesus into their hearts but who could make sense that someone might ask Jesus into their throats.”

Jason chimed in enthusiastically,

“Yes, it just goes to show how flexible we need to be in presenting the Gospel.”

The rest of the group nodded in four part harmony.

Baxter asked,

“I was wondering if any of you could help me out here. Where do we see in Scripture the warrant that conversion consists of asking Jesus into any of our anatomical body parts?”

Malika offered,

“Well the bible does say if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts, that God has raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.”

“Sure,” Baxter offered, “but that is communicating that we must believe with our whole being or person. I would have no problem saying to people who believed that the throat stood for the center of their being that they must believe in their throats. Still, I don’t find that to be a warrant to say to them that if they ask Jesus into their throats they shall be saved.”

Jason piped up, “Baxter, why must you be such a knit picker about these things?”

“Well Jason,” Baxter answered, “I surely have better things to do then pick knits but I think there is something underlying this that isn’t particularly Reformed.”

“We’re a captive audience to your wisdom,” Jason quipped.

“You’re too generous Jason,” Baxter replied.

“It is just that I think we need to be careful about making the asking of Jesus into our hearts, throats, pancreases, livers or whatever into a new sacrament or some kind of formula for salvation. Certainly we need to communicate the eagerness of God to forgive those turn to Christ but we also need to communicate that “salvation is of the Lord.”

Beth Ann pushed Baxter to explain himself more thoroughly.

“Here is my concern,” Baxter offered obligingly, “if we push the whole idea of conversion as people doing something, such as asking Jesus into some part of their anatomy, we run the risk of having them base their salvation on some action on their part or on some experience they had. It seems to me Reformed evangelism has always offered instead how God does the the working in Salvation. This is why I think Baptism should be the point of conversion that we should point people to look back to since Baptism proclaims Jesus and is the initiatory sign into the covenant.

What we have had emphasized today in the lecture on Reformed Evangelism is the penultimate side of the conversion coin. It is true that it is absolutely necessary that we must confess with our mouths and believe with our hearts that God has raised Jesus from the dead but that is really only the penultimate part of the equation. The ultimate part of the equation is that God does the work of salvation and the promise that he has done that work is not found in our confession but in our Baptism.”

Malika brightened and responded,

“So what you’re saying Baxter is that though our response to God’s graciousness is necessary, that response is not itself the Gospel.”

Baxter beamed back and hollered “precisely.” “When we zero in on asking Jesus into our colons the emphasis in evangelism falls on our response and though our response is necessary the emphasis should fall on how God does all the saving.”

Amber, seeing that their time in the breakout groups was winnowing away, insisted that the group spend some time on other matters brought up in the lecture on how Reformed people do Evangelism.

On that score she queried, “What did you all think of that new thing we learned from Rev. Goforth called TULIP?”

There was a good deal of exciting chattering beginning but Baxter felt himself being pulled back into his daydream. He began to smell the kill cooking from the morning hunt. Not only could those Swedish girls shoot but they could cook as well.