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Continuing our series on the subject of the Christian Sabbath, Part 2 provides our survey of Biblical texts on the Sabbath from the New Testament.
NOTE: An updated (version 2) of this podcast was uploaded on 2/18/2017 to correct a mistaken application of some factual information about the use of "sabbaton" in the New Testament. We sincerely apologize for any confusion caused by this.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Friday, December 30, 2016
Listen Now! | Subscribe via iTunes
Today we start a new series on the subject of the Christian Sabbath. Part 1 provides an introduction for the series and begins our survey of Biblical texts on the Sabbath with an overview of the Old Testament.
Today we start a new series on the subject of the Christian Sabbath. Part 1 provides an introduction for the series and begins our survey of Biblical texts on the Sabbath with an overview of the Old Testament.
Friday, December 23, 2016
Twas the Night Before the Lord's Day
By Nick Schoeneberger
Twas the night before the Lord’s Day, when all through the house
Not a person was stirring, not even my spouse.
The church clothes were hung up in the closets with care,
In hopes that to church we’d arrive wrinkle-free there.
The children were bundled all snug in their beds,
While catechism and memory verses danced in their heads.
And wife in her gown, and I setting up the coffee,
Had just prayed for rest that we might worship attentively.
As a good Sabbatarian, I’ve gassed up the car,
No need to do business on Sunday if thoughtful you are.
The meals for tomorrow are cooked up and packed,
For fellowship lunch cannot be just snacks!
Six days we’ve been given for work and for play
But one day we’re commanded: Remember the Sabbath Day.
A magnificent grace that with creation He instilled,
That we might be blessed by His presence and thrilled.
To spend a whole day taken up with his glory
Seems a most generous gift to we sinful and ornery.
But that’s the love only the Father can give.
The kind that sacrifices only Son so that we may yet live.
So while we wait patiently until in glory He comes,
The precentor starts the tune with the bars that he hums.
We taste eternity with word, sacrament and prayer.
And rest in the promise that where we gather, he’s there.
After worship tomorrow, for week’s labor be prepared
For the sermon’s truth’s plain, the Gospel boldly been shared.
The dinner is eaten and the last Psalm’s been sung,
The sweetness of His Sabbath tasted by my own tongue.
Christian, the Sabbath is now and always was made for you,
To partake of Holy rest, Isaiah 56 does show that its true.
A blessing is found for the man lays hold of his covenant.
Even the stranger and his house if he keeps from polluting it.
To delight in the Lord and His Day is a tradition Apostolic.
So no need to fight saying, “that tradition’s just Mosaic!”
That in God’s moral law you’ll find the Sabbath, it's trueThat remains for us a rest is chapter four of Hebrews.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
The following notes were taken while I listened to Rev. David Silversides' sermon Postmillennialism and Revelation 20. Rev Silversides presents various views on the Millennium by examining each in terms of how well it addresses key aspects of Biblical prophecy with special attention given to the binding and loosing of Satan and the impact on the spread of the Gospel.
Rev. Silversides is a pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland which is descended from the Scottish Covenanters. As most of the Covenanters also did, Rev. Silversides holds to what is known as the Historicist Postmillennial view of the Last Days. Rev. Silversides refers to it as the "orthodox Puritan form" of Postmillennialism because it was indeed held by many of the Puritans and is distinguished from 20th Century versions of Postmillennialism as you will discover.
I commend any reader who is interested in a full-orbed examination of Bible prophecies from the Historicist Postmillennial perspective to read the works of Dr. Francis Nigel Lee who has published numerous works (Revelation and Daniel are highly recommended) and has gracefully made them available online for free.
The Last Days (plural) is defined as the time from Christ's first coming until his Second Coming.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
There are 7 visions of Revelation with increasing emphasis on what will take place at the VERY end (the last day) after which is the eternal state.
Why Premillennialism Must Be Rejected:
Premillennialism claims that Christ will come and visibly reign on earth for 1,000 years before the final judgment.
The only possible passage from which we might glean an earthly reign of Christ is 2 Thess 1:8-10
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
However, this interpretation of the 2 Thess 1 passage is problematic since the Scriptures teach that Christ's return is a single event at the very end accompanied by the Resurrection and Judgment, so this cannot be interpreted with a Premillennial view as seen in the following passages:
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
Notice that the victory of Christ over His foes is clearly not complete at His return in the Premillennial view.
Christ in fact remains at the right hand of power until the restitution of all things - the fullness of the Gentiles and the Jews being grafted back onto the root which the Gentiles are engrafted (Romans 11):
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Instead of a Premillennial return, Christ must remain at the right hand of the Father until the fulfillment of the great prophecy of victory in verse 25 below:
1 Cor 15:23
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
The reign that is at the right hand of the Father.
39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
The "last day" is the day after which there will be no more days but only the eternal state (WCF Ch. 33).
And here, quoting Dr. Silversides, is a thorough condemnation of the error of the Premillennial view:
"Premillennialism proposes a glorified Christ and glorified saints in the midst of a fallen world and an unrenewed earth. The same glorified Christ who caused an unglorified John to fall to his feet as one who is dead (Rev 1:17)! For Christ to dwell in a world where sin still exists unjudged and unpunished would involve a measure of humiliation for the Lord Jesus Christ and that is unthinkable! Christ's humiliation is finished and he is exalted to the right hand of God. There will be no humiliation again for the redeemer! And when he comes, it will be to judge the world in righteousness and to put all contradiction of his sovereign majestic claims eternally to an end."
Why Amillennialism Must Be Rejected:
Amillennialism, or perhaps more literally, Non-millennialism claims there is no literal or figurative millennialism. No time has been appointed by God when his blessings will be on the earth other than the New Testament age as a whole. No unprecedented abundance of the Spirit of God will be outpoured.
We reject Amillennialism for the following five reasons:
1) The binding of Satan: The binding of Satan does not refer to Christ accomplishing redemption on the cross. The reason is that Rev 20:3,7 "and after that he must be loosed a little season." also, "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison" and therefore the binding of Satan is reversed for a time but the redemptive work of the cross can never be reversed. Christ's triumph is irreversible. If the binding is followed by a loosing, it cannot fit the work of the cross.
The binding of Satan can't be marked at Pentecost either which cannot be reversed. The greater presence of the Spirit than in the Old Testament Church and its effects will never be eradicated.
The binding and loosing of Satan instead refers to a variation in the degree of the application of redemption among men by the spirit of God acting in the hearts of the elect. Not in redemption accomplished, but in the degree of effectiveness of the preaching of the Gospel.
2) The 1,000 years does not represent the New Testament age as a whole. There are no grounds for starting the 1,000 years in the New Testament because they do not start at the cross. Additionally, this 1,000 years ends BEFORE the end: Rev 20:3,7 again. So it doesn't end at Christ's second coming. So the millennium cannot represent the whole New Testament age.
3) The reigning with Christ does not refer to the heavenly intermediate state of the saints who are with Christ from their death until the second coming because this reign ends BEFORE the end which inaugurates the eternal state.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
This reign does not last until the last day and therefore cannot refer to the intermediate state of believers in heaven awaiting resurrection.
Neither does it represent regeneration which is permanent.
4) The first resurrection is not the entry of the believer into glory at death. Rev 20:4-5, this resurrection leads to something that ends with Satan's little season coming in.
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
5) The second resurrection mentioned in v.5 is not the resurrection of the body.
1. It applies only to the rest, not the all - it is therefore not descriptive of general resurrection
2. Something analogous to the first resurrection - these live not until the end of the 1,000 years
3. It does not take place at the last day: "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" which is before Satan's little season. Bodily resurrection takes place only at the last day.
Amillennialism fails because it doesn't deal properly with Satan's little season which must come after the 1,000 years.
Why Rushdoony's Postmillennialism Must Be Rejected:
In contrast to Historicist Postmillennialism, Rushdoony's flavor of Postmillennialism is essentially the same as Amillennialism except for the reigning with Christ is applied to the overall progress and triumph of the Gospel throughout the NT age.
In this scheme, the 1,000 years and Satan's little season are not periods of time but are figurative periods representing the relative triumph of the Gospel and the futility of Satan's resistance. The time periods are merely symbolic of the relative strength of the Gospel vs. Satan's resistance to it. It is a pattern of overall advance of the Gospel from Christ's first to second coming.
However, In Revelation, symbolic periods of time are symbolic of REAL periods of time. The quantity of time is symbolic but it is still referring to time periods that exist or will exist. Because the Postmillennialism of Rushdoony borrows the non-millennial view of the periods represented in Biblical prophecy, it must ultimately also be rejected.
Why Orthodox Puritan (Historicist) Postmillennialism Must Be Accepted:
Puritan Postmillennialism posits that Christ comes after a millennial period of great blessing and advance of the truth and the Gospel.
Why does Puritan Postmillennialism best explain Biblical prophecy?
1) The binding of Satan must refer to the progress of the Gospel because it is reversible. The advance of the Gospel is subject to divinely ordained ebbs and flows. The presence of periods of revival in the history of the church supports this understanding.
2) The 1,000 years must refer to a period of great Gospel advance.
It does not represent the whole New Testament age. It is a comparatively long period which precedes a comparatively short period in which Satan is loosed again for a season and then we have the last day before the eternal state.
It is an appointed and complete period of time (10 x 10 x 10 indicates a prolonged period of time), when Satan's opposition to the Gospel is limited and coincides with the reign of the saints and comes after many have been martyred for the name of Jesus (Rev 20:4).
It ends before the close of the New Testament age (Rev 20:3,7).
3) The reign of Christ refers to the glorious advance of the cause for which the martyrs died.
Judgment was given unto them. Here, judgment means the vindication of one's righteous cause. The Lord avenges the deaths of the martyrs.
21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;
22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
The antichrist who sought to wear them out is destroyed. The judgment is not given to the SAME saints Antichrist persecuted but rather to their spiritual successors. The unprecedented advance of the Gospel cause vindicates them and their cause.
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
This takes place during the millennium.
The FULL vindication is at Christ's second coming
4) The first resurrection is the glorious revival of the Church on Earth (cause for which the martyrs suffered). A period that ends before the end of the NT age. Not a physical resurrection because it can be reversed as it will be for a season.
5) The second resurrection (v. 5) is the resurgence of ungodliness at the end of the millennium that brings in Satan's little season. This is confined to the "rest" (not resurrection of "all"). After this, Christ comes in judgment.
6) Confirming evidence:
Parallels with Ezekiel 37-48
37: Israel's revival, Destruction of Gog and Magog, Vision of beautiful temple
Rev 20 -22: Millennium, Destruction of Gog and Magog, Holy City and beautified temple
THEN: The vision of the dry bones brought to life is a parallel to the REVIVAL of the church, the most glorious period of the Gospel.
Destruction of Antichrist in Dan 7:26
26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
2 Thess 2:8 gives greater weight to the view that this man of sin (the Papacy) will be destroyed by the breath of the spirit of the Christ's mouth and with the brightness of his coming.
The spirit of His mouth is a reference to Isaiah 11:4
4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
The Word of His Mouth: the Gospel proclaimed and preached will bring the man of sin down: it will end popery.
The future revival will outshine the Reformation of the 15-16th Century because the papacy survived it. It will not survive the breath of Christ's mouth in the millennium.
Israel's rejection is not final. The remnant will become a fullness.
12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
They will be brought INTO the Church through the GOSPEL, not separately in a different organization. And it will bring greater blessings still to the Gentiles.
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Mystery: an unfolding of God's purposes (i.e. Ephesians 3)
It connects back to Ezekiel 37 and Rev 20! The dry bones brought to life.
Psalm 72:17, 19
17 His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.
19 And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.
For more on the final victory: c.f. Psalm 86:9; 102:16,21; Isaiah 60:8-12,16
The vision of the glorious millennium can be practically seen and tasted by the mind in the words of Malachi:
11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), has recently published an article lauding the distinctly American value of religious pluralism. Given that the stated purpose of the commission which he heads is to be, "the moral and public policy agency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination," Moore is intending to influence the massive SBC and other Americans with this article.
In the article, Moore poses the question, "must a person who believes Jesus Christ is the only way to God defend religious freedom for Christians and non-Christians alike?" and then proceeds to defend that very idea: that we as Christians are duty bound to seek legal protections for non-Christian religions. Given the unfortunate recent support of mosque-building efforts by the SBC, this doesn't come as a surprise.
A word of clarification: I stated that religious pluralism is a distinctly American value and while I readily recognize that it is now a commonplace state of affairs outside of the Islamic world, that was not always so. Particularly in European nations, nationally established churches were once the rule of the day. A single "catholic" church in covenant with God as a nation more closely resembles the Israel of the old Covenant administration and as the Church today is true Israel by faith, we ought to set that historic church (Israel) as our example of God's will being done "on Earth as it is in heaven."
And that is the crux of this article. God's Law clearly states in Exodus chapter 20:
"And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:1-3).
Recognizing that Mr. Moore would have no argument with the text on its face, it seems the problem is how Mr. Moore seems to believe this law should be understood in its application, particularly in its obligations to a righteous magistrate. More on that in a moment.
A major problem with Mr. Moore's article is that while he rightly calls for the Gospel to be our means of seeing the souls of men saved so that they might enter into covenant with the triune God, he does not lament the national sins of our laws that enable and embolden paganism. Moore instead celebrates the offense to God's Holy law as if it were a virtue. This is not what one who truly wants the Father's will to be done "on Earth as it is in Heaven" should seek and endorse.
For example, Moore espouses the good old American civil religion as a moral good:
Religious freedom means religious freedom for everyone, including those who reject our gospel.
Some who are reading right now may be asking exactly what Biblical examples of the application of this law looks like in a covenanted nation (since that is our stated "ideal"), particularly given Moore's citation of supposed examples of such from Scripture. But the problem is that Moore's examples are of unrighteous pagan rulers and not of a covenanted people and their righteously covenanted magistrate:
There is precedent in the Bible, of course, for a religion using the state to force people to externally conform to it. Those examples, though, are those of Nebuchadnezzar, and of the Beast that John saw rising out of the sea (Rev. 13), not the church of Jesus Christ.
On the contrary, when Scripture gives historical examples of righteous behavior on behalf of the leadership of the church and the righteous magistrate, we see something entirely different - the church unified in expunging idolatry from the land:
2 Chronicles 23:
16 And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the Lord's people.
17 Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.
18 Also Jehoiada appointed the offices of the house of the Lord by the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the Lord, to offer the burnt offerings of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, as it was ordained by David.
19 And he set the porters at the gates of the house of the Lord, that none which was unclean in any thing should enter in.
20 And he took the captains of hundreds, and the nobles, and the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought down the king from the house of the Lord: and they came through the high gate into the king's house, and set the king upon the throne of the kingdom.
21 And all the people of the land rejoiced: and the city was quiet, after that they had slain Athaliah [a pagan priest] with the sword.
2 Chron 24:2
And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
A denial of the righteous magistrate and the nationally covenanted church leadership's shared responsibilities to rid the land of threats to covenantal faithfulness to God is inconsistent with what God calls righteous.
Clearly, we are not a covenanted nation today - a lamentable state of affairs. We lack the benefits and blessings of a magistrate that is morally accountable to Christ and His church, for example. From the adoption of the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land, we have been living in a state which codifies unrighteousness by going against God's law, which is moral and true in all times, and by tolerating false religions. Until this grievous national sin is addressed with the proper recognition of Jesus Christ as the source of governing authority and not the pretended autonomy of "We the People", this can never rightly be called a Christian nation. And since we are not in a covenanted nation today, we don't expect that secular people would lament the wickedness of these laws which are celebrated as natural rights.
As a confessing Presbyterian, I believe Scripture's teaching on the obligations of the First Commandment for God's people are well taught in the Westminster Larger Catechism:
Q. 104. What are the duties required in the first commandment?
A. The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him; believing him; trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in him; being zealous for him; calling upon him; giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man; being careful in all things to please him, and sorrowful when in anything he is offended; and walking humbly with him.1 Chr. 28:9; Deut. 26:17; Isa. 43:10; Jer. 14:22; Ps. 95:6-7; Matt. 4:10; Ps. 29:2; Mal. 3:16; Ps. 63:6; Ecc. 12:1;Ps. 71:19; Mal. 1:6; Isa. 45:23; Josh. 24:15, 22; Deut. 6:5; Ps. 123:25; Isa. 8:13; Ex. 14:31; Isa. 26:4; Ps. 130:7;Ps. 37:4; Ps. 32:11; Rom. 12:11; Num. 25:11; Phil. 4:6; Jer. 7:23; Jas 4:7; 1 John 3:22; Jer. 31:18; Ps. 119:136; Mic. 6:8.
Celebrate pluralism? No, rather we are to be, "sorrowful when in anything [God] is offended." Considering the answer to WLC Question 106, which states, "God who seeth all things, taketh special notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other god; that so it may be an argument to dissuade from it, and to aggravate it as a most impudent provocation," we ought not provoke our Lord by celebrating that which He is much displeased with.
Of course, we are dealing with more than just the first commandment being violated by this pluralism.
Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?A. ...the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry (Acts 17:16-17; Ps. 16:4; Deut. 7:5; Isa. 30:22).
In conclusion, just as God's law strictly required Israel to remove idolatry from the land, we should seek to do so as well. Until we are a Covenanted nation, that takes the form of the sharing of the Gospel with all peoples. Once the Gospel has transformed a nation and moved them to covenant for Reformation of the land, we should then continue to see God's kingdom will enacted among us and hold the magistrate accountable to punish idolatry in the covenanted land, not celebrate our willful breaking of the first commandment by tolerating paganism and idolatry among us.
Perhaps what is most disappointing about this is the lack of faith that seems to be evidenced when we think the church needs to ally itself with enemies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be preserved by the State. So, what is the true purpose of religious liberty?
"The final cause [of political association] is also the conservation of a human society that aims at a life in which you can worship God quietly and without error." Althusius, Politica 1.30
Friday, July 29, 2016
Wayne Grudem posted an article on Townhall.com called, “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice.”
So, there you have the modern-day Reformed Presybyterian (North American Synod) position and the one which I, myself, take.
Unfortunately, it seems that my reasons for rejecting much of Grudem’s efforts at producing teaching materials for the broader Calvinistic world continue to prove to be correct. In addition to the fact that I reject his positions on continuationism and the eternal subordination of the Son, I believe he is flat out wrong on fundamental Christian ethics.
I believe it is helpful to cite some of the commentary on the unaltered Westminster Confession of Faith that is produced by the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America for this discussion. These are my denomination’s standards which I believe contain a helpful summary of the system of doctrine found in Holy Scripture.
My commentary is placed in Italics below the text of the Testimony.
Excerpted from the RPCNA Constitution's Testimony (p. A69 f.) on the Westminster Confession of Faith Ch. 23:
1. We reject the belief that civil government is unnecessary or essentially evil.
Really, it is silly that stating this is even necessary, but clearly there are Christians who do not read their Bibles carefully.
2. God has given the exercise of all authority to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the Divine Lawgiver, Governor and Judge. His will concerning the purpose of civil government and the principles regarding its functions and operation are revealed in the written Word of God. The Holy Spirit enables even unregenerate rulers to fulfill their proper functions. A true recognition of the authority and law of Christ in national life can only be the fruit of the Spirit’s regenerating power in the lives of individuals.Deut. 4:39; Dan. 4:25, 32, 35; Matt. 28:18; Phil. 2:10; Eph. 1:22; Isa. 33:22; Deut. 17:18-19; Isa. 45:1-7; Ezek. 36:27.
Now we come to a true “first things” component. Christ’s purposes for government and the principles of how it should operate are revealed in the Word. A recognition of Christ’s authority comes only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
3. God has assigned to people, both individually and collectively, the responsibility for establishing and maintaining civil government, and the people are accountable to Jesus Christ for the proper exercise of this responsibility.Deut. 1:13-14; Deut. 17:15; 1Sam. 8:22; 2 Sam. 5:3; Hos. 8:1, 4; Eccl.10:16-17
I am accountable to Jesus Christ for my role in establishing civil government through participation in its processes.
4. Every nation ought to recognize the Divine institution of civil government, the sovereignty of God exercised by Jesus Christ, and its duty to rule the civil affairs of men in accordance with the will of God. It should enter into covenant with Christ and serve to advance His Kingdom on earth. The negligence of civil government in any of these particulars is sinful, makes the nation liable to the wrath of God, and threatens the continued existence of the government and nation.Phil. 2:10; Rom.13:4; Ps. 132:12; Ps.103:17-19; Ps.2:10-12
The government of the United States is Sinful and was so from the moment it’s founding documents (the Constitution, in particular) failed to recognize that its authority comes from Jesus Christ, who wears the crown, and instead attributing its authority to man-centered autonomic “We the People.” Until corrected, we are liable to the wrath of God.
5. We reject the view that nations have no corporate responsibility for acknowledging and obeying Christ.
Given the number of times this is demonstrated in Scripture and praised by men acting righteously and by God Himself, this should not be a point of debate.
6. It is the duty of every Christian citizen to labor and pray for his nation’s official and explicit recognition of the authority and law of Jesus Christ, Preserver and Ruler of nations, and for the conduct of all governmental affairs in harmony with the written Word of God.1 Tim. 2:1-2; Phil.2:9-10; Acts 2:1-39; Ps. 2:8-12; Esther 4:14
7. We deny that constitutional recognition of Jesus Christ means union of church and state.
8. We reject the teaching that Christians should not seek the establishment of Christian civil government.
And affirm against the antinomians and their claims that just because there have been corrupt forms of Christian civil government, that we should not seek one with proper accountability to the Church when called upon to correct its failings (more on that in a bit).
9. No particular form of civil government is commanded in the Scriptures. Any form of civil government which observes the duties and limitations set upon it by God in His revealed Word is acceptable to God.Ex. 18:21-24; Prov. 29:14; Deut. 1:16-17.
10. We deny that simply having a democratic or republican form of government insures God’s approval and blessing.
In contrast with those who hold some kind of civil religion and can countenance placing the nation’s flag inside the sanctuary. (In light of #4)
11. All officers and employees of a civil government are to be servants of God for good. They are responsible to God for the discharge of lawful duties rightfully assigned to them by human authority. Neither their official position, however, nor the orders of their superiors, nor the will of the people, exonerates them from blame for any unscriptural action or inaction.Rom. 13:3-4; 2 Chron. 19:6-7; Prov. 29:26.
14. When justly administered, capital punishment is a scriptural application of civil authority.Rom. 13:4; Gen. 9:6; Acts 25:11; Num. 35:29-34.
15. 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.Ex. 18:21; Deut. 16:18; 2 Sam. 23:3; Rom. 13:3
“When such action involves no disloyalty to Christ” - in light of #4, I can’t support a vote for anyone who would not make the national recognition of the crown rights of King Jesus an essential and non-negotiable part of their platform. Yes, I’m aware this means I may be dissenting for the rest of my life. I’m Postmillenial in eschatology and I have a long view of things.
16. It is sinful for a Christian to take an oath which compromises his supreme allegiance to Jesus Christ. It is also sinful to vote for officials who are required to take an oath which a Christian himself could not take in good conscience. Voting involves the voter in responsibility for any act required of the official as a condition of holding his office.Deut. 10:20; Isa. 45:22-23; 2 John 1:11; 1 Tim. 5:22.
This is really the center of the argument. I cannot make an oath to the Constitution which claims to obtain its authority from men and not from Jesus Christ who is King of all nations. To do so would be to lie: to deny the truth about Christ’s authority. I should not expect to vote for one who would not make a modified oath to defend the Constitution (see also Items #25 and 26): one which would insert that Christ is King and that the authority of all Governments stems from His authority alone. And if that wasn’t enough to do the job of making you a dissenter, this one surely will as the ethical sledgehammer: “Voting involves the voter in responsibility for any act required of the official as a condition of holding his office.” If I vote for a man whom I know is not guided by a Biblical worldview and principles, I can expect that man to do things counter to God’s will as a matter of course. And that means I’m willing to take on responsibility for the actions of a leader who denies Christ’s rightful authority. I will not accept that responsibility on behalf of Donald Trump.
17. The Christian must profess publicly and the Church must witness, that Christ is the Ruler of every nation. Whatever the official action of the civil government of a nation may be, the Christian in his civil actions must always exhibit his loyalty to Christ. The Christian must relinquish every right or privilege of citizenship which involves him in silence about, or denial of the supreme authority of Jesus Christ. Matt. 5:13-14; Prov. 3:5-6; Ps. 37:7; Matt. 22:21; John 17:14-15; Mark 13:9.
The nails in the coffin: “the Christian in his civil actions must always exhibit his loyalty to Christ” and “The Christian must relinquish every right or privilege of citizenship which involves him in... denial of the supreme authority of Jesus Christ.”
22. Both the Christian and the Church have a responsibility for witnessing against national sins and for promoting justice.Amos 2:6-8; Amos 5:14-15.
23. The failure of a civil government, through negligence, ignorance, or rebellion, to recognize the authority of Jesus Christ does not cancel its just authority. A civil government, though guilty of many sins, still has authority in so far as it furthers some of the scriptural ends of civil government.Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:1; Rom. 2:14; Acts 23:5; Ex. 22:28.
Yet, we are not anarchists who attempt to negate the authority of even our wicked civil government that countenances the profaning of marriage or the wholesale slaughter of the unborn.
24. Due submission of all persons, cheerfully rendered, to civil officers and to civil government in general, is pleasing to God. No person, however, is required by God to obey civil authority when such authority demands that the citizen or subject do that which is clearly contrary to the law of God as revealed in the Scriptures. In such cases the duty of the Christian is to obey God rather than men. The Christian has a special obligation to render due submission to civil authority in order to express his loyalty to Jesus Christ, to prove his concern for the welfare of all men, and to bring honor to the name of Christ.1 Pet. 2:13-14; Rom. 13:5; Acts 5:29; Titus 3:1.
25. The only submission which a Christian may promise to any civil government is due submission in the Lord. Any promise of submission or oath of allegiance beyond this is sinful. If and when the civil government of a nation requires, as a condition of civil service or of holding office, an oath which implies that civil allegiance transcends the swearer’s convictions of conscience and obedience to God, it is the Christian’s duty to refuse such an oath. It is within the corporate power of the Church, acting through its courts, to declare that facts or circumstances which may exist in a specific situation render the taking of a civil oath sinful.Gen. 25:33; Matt. 22:21; Eph. 6:12; Matt. 4:10; Deut. 10:20.
26. It is the duty of the Christian to ascertain whether any prescribed oath of allegiance to the civil authority involves acceptance of unchristian principles stated or implied in its constitution of government. If the oath of allegiance to civil authority explicitly or by clear implication requires support of anti-Christian, atheistic, or secular principles, then the Christian must refuse on these grounds to take the oath of allegiance.Acts 5:29; Acts 4:18-20.
28. It is the duty of the Christian Church to testify to the authority of Christ over the nations, against all anti-Christian, atheistic, and secular principles of civil government, and against all sinful oaths of allegiance to civil governments. When the Church by orderly processes in her own courts determines that the oath of allegiance to a civil government compromises the Christian’s loyalty to Christ or involves the Christian in the support of sinful principles of civil government, the Church must require her members to refuse such sinful oaths. Acts 4:24-29; Eph. 5:11; Rev. 3:15-16; Acts 15:28-29; Rev. 2:13-14.
And the RPCNA does not allow its members to take an oath for the U.S. Constitution without modification.
29. When participating in political elections, the Christian should support and vote only for such men as are publicly committed to scriptural principles of civil government. Should the Christian seek civil office by political election, he must openly inform those whose support he seeks of his adherence to Christian principles of civil government.1 Chron. 16:31; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 2 Chron. 19:6-7; Dan. 2:48; Eph. 4:25.
“When participating in political elections, the Christian should support and vote only for such men as are publicly committed to scriptural principles of civil government.” That pretty much eliminates any candidate I’ve seen any party (including 3rd parties) nominate.
So, there you have the modern-day Reformed Presybyterian (North American Synod) position and the one which I, myself, take.