Remembering the Price He Paid

Remembering the Price He Paid

CalvaryLast night I had the privilege of enjoying the Passion Play presented by Northside Baptist Church in Elkhart, Indiana. My heart was stirred with the beautiful music and retelling of the great sacrifice Christ made for each of us in His death on the cross, but then the glorious resurrection which completed the payment for our sins.

This wonderful presentation reminded me again of why Christ must be the focal point of all of our teaching. During His life on this earth, Christ’s followers thought he had come to set up an earthly kingdom, but He had come for something much greater.

Christ came to change the hearts of men and gave to each of us the means of His government in our lives and actions. This “internal” government brought changes which literally “turned the world upside down.” With Christ and Christianity, man could govern his own actions and have less need for external government.

This change took centuries to bring forth a nation which was built upon the idea that man could govern himself.

My prayer is that Christians will remember Christ’s great sacrifice and the wonderful liberty He gives to us first internally and then, as American Christians, the nation which was designed to protect that liberty. While bombarded on every side with “man’s ideas”, let’s remember Christ and not forget our heritage. Though men may deny Him, we must protect and preserve the Biblical principles of our land.

May God give each of you a blessed Easter season.

Christianity Turned the World Upside Down – Part 2

Christianity Turned the World Upside Down – Part 2
by Ruth Smith

Acts 17:6 refers to These that have turned the world upside down . . .

In Part 1, the effect of Christianity to, first, change the hearts of the individual and then change the individual’s life. With Christ internally in the individual’s heart, he learned that he could govern his own actions. This self-governing individual had internal liberty.

As the Bible was in the hands of the people, they soon recognized that this liberty could be extended from the individual into the sphere of the church. William Bradford wrote in his history:

As they saw “further into things by the light of the word of God . . . they shook off this yoke of antichristian bondage, and as the Lords free people, joined themselves (By a covenant of the Lord) into a church estate, in the fellowship of the gospel . . .”[1]

These Christians separated from the state church, the yoke of antichristian bondage, and established self-governing churches. They realized that the same Biblical principles which governed their individual actions could be extended into the church.

But these ideas were not limited. Upon the arrival of a smChristchangedHistoryall band of individuals on the shores of Cape Cod, realizing that they were outside the bounds of the patent given them for a settlement, applied these same Biblical principles of self government to the civil sphere – they established their own civil government and voluntarily agreed to this government, for the first time in all of history.

Christ and Christianity were the cause for this change. Christ’s coming brought to the world the ability to govern oneself according to the Scriptures. He fulfilled the law, thereby “turning the world upside down” governmentally. Man no longer needed to be governed externally, but could, through Christ, have internal self government. This changed the world.

Civil government could be limited in relation to the practice of self government in the lives of its people. If the individual governed his own actions, he would require less and less civil government. However if the individual did not govern his own actions, he became more and more dependent upon external, civil government. a

All history points to Christ’s coming and the change He brought to the world governmentally. Christ is truly the focal point of history.

 


[1] William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation, in The Christian of the Constitution of the United States of America: Christian Self-Government (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1966), page 185.

Christianity turned the World Upside Down- Part 1

Christianity Turned the World Upside Down – Part I

thesearetheypost

by Ruth Smith

Acts 17:6 refers to These that have turned the world upside down . . .

As we contemplate the blessings of this Easter season which reminds us of the great price that was paid for our sin through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, we should be reminded of the effect that Christ and Christianity had upon the world.

“As people believed in Jesus as their Saviour, their hearts were changed. They loved a living God rather than idols. They began to love the things of God, rather than the things of the world.”1

As their lives changed, they began to love their neighbors. Others could not understand them.

Augustus Neander writes in his Memorials of a Christian Life of the astonishment of the world as they looked at these Christians. “But the Roman statesmen desired only a blind obedience; they knew not how to understand the enthusiasm with which the Christians would rather surrender their earthly life than do anything against their conscience. . . In this firmness of the Christians they saw nothing but blind fanaticism, criminal disobedience, men who met death and excruciating tortures with composure.”2

As Christians’ hearts were changed, they realized they could be controlled (governed) by God in their hearts. They could choose to follow the laws of God internally, rather than being controlled by man’s laws externally. This is self government.

Consider these thoughts by James Rose: “Reflect upon this: When Christ Jesus came, He gave individual, internal, spiritual liberty to every one who accepted Christ by grace through faith. The gift of individual salvation is the gift of spiritual liberty. (Eph. 2:8-9) When one is redeemed from bondage to internal sin and spiritual death, he is given spiritual liberty. The same principle of liberty is identified in the Scriptures ‘. . . the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’ Romans 8:2 ‘And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’ John 8:32, 36. Also consider Romans 6:22, II Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:1, James 1:25

“Christ’s free man, throughout all ages, has desired, striven for, and often died for religious freedom. Christianity purposes to work positively to effect laws for the lawless and liberty for the righteous under the Law.

“. . . After the English Bible was printed and promulgated, did the individual enjoy more or less liberty? Surely, thoughtful men discern there was more, not less liberty for the individual. And, when the Bible was brought to America by the Pilgrims in 1620, and, then, the Puritans in 1630, did individuals enjoy more or less liberty? Indeed, liberty abounded even more than before! And, when the constitution of the United States of America was finally ratified in 1789, the local church enjoyed the greatest expression of individual liberty the world had ever witnessed!”3

1.Ruth J Smith, Liberty and Justice for All (South Bend: Bradford Press, Inc. 2003), page 36.

2. Dr. Augustus Neander, Memorials of a Christian Life in Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1966), page 250.

3. James B. Rose, Spiritual Liberty is Causative to Religious and Civil Liberty, A Tract on America’s Christian History and Government. (Granger: Pilgrim Institute and American Christian History Institute).

Spiritual Liberty is Causative to Religious and Civil Liberty by Mr. James Rose

Spiritual Liberty is Causative to
Religious and Civil Liberty


By James B. Rose, President

American Christian History Institute

The Christian history of America testifies that no enduring religious or civil liberty would exist if there were no Christ or Christianity!

This remarkable link between Christianity and religious and civil liberty is understood when one contrasts the history of liberty from man’s creation to the time when Christ Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected with the history of liberty from the time of Christ to the present. Remember, history, by definition, is the study of men and events in the order they happen with their causes and effects. America’s Christian history confirms that spiritual liberty is causative and gives rise to, or results in, greater and greater expressions of religious and civil liberty.

Consider this question: Was there more or less individual liberty before Christ Jesus came? History reveals that there was less liberty for the individual before Jesus came into the world and more individual liberty after He came. Before Jesus, the exercise of liberty was the privilege of a few individuals (if they were pharaohs, kings, caesars, princes, lords, etc.,) but, most men were in religious and civil bondage. Jesus brought the gift of salvation from bondage to sin and death, and this spiritual liberty was manifested by the eventual giving of more religious and civil liberty to the individual.

Reflect upon this: When Christ Jesus came, He gave individual, internal, spiritual liberty to every one who accepted Christ by grace through faith. The gift of individual salvation is the gift of spiritual liberty. (Eph. 2:8-9). When one is redeemed from bondage to internal sin and spiritual death, he is given spiritual liberty. The same principle of liberty is identified in the Scriptures:

“. . . the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2
And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:32, 36
Also consider Romans 6:22, II Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:1, James 1:25

Christ’s free man, throughout all ages, has desired, striven for, and often died for religious freedom. Christianity purposes to work positively to effect laws for the lawless and liberty for the righteous under the Law.

Consider what God did through John Wycliff, in 1382, and, then, William Tyndale, in 1525, to enable these men to make the Bible available to the individual in English. After the English Bible was printed and promulgated, did the individual enjoy more or less liberty? Surely, thoughtful men discern there was more, not less, liberty for the individual. And, when the Bible was brought to America by the Pilgrims in 1620, and, then, the Puritans in 1630, did individuals enjoy more or less liberty? Indeed, liberty abounded even more than before! And, when the constitution of the United States of America was finally ratified in 1789, the local church enjoyed the greatest expression of individual liberty the world had ever witnessed!

Since the time the Bible was published in English and made available to the individual, there have been greater and greater and greater expressions of liberty – first spiritual liberty and, then, its correlative, religious liberty – protected by laws limiting the power of men in civil government. “The liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” gave rise to liberty of conscience where men resolved “to obey God rather than men.” Conscientious Christians, led to worship together, also covenanted together religiously and civilly to enjoy religious liberty – the liberty to worship God as God gave them light. But, there could be no religious liberty without civil liberty – where laws not only condemned and punished lawlessness, but protected the free exercise of religion by limiting the power of kings and legislators.

America’s Christian history, therefore, confirms that “the perfect law of liberty” – the Word of God – has affected society and civil government by inspiring and guiding men to protect liberty by law.

“To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism. . . .” (Dr. Jedidiah Morse, “Election Sermon of 1799”, as quoted by Verna M. Hall, in her Preface to The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America: Christian Self-Government, p. v.)

Permission is granted for duplication and free distribution of this Tract with appropriate credit.

Power in the People

Flow of power in government power in the people

Power in the People

Friday we experienced what Ronald Reagan described, in his first Inaugural Address, as “a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place . . . and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this very 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.”

During his inaugural address, the 45th President Trump, made a statement, “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

“January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”

Following the Inaugural speech, many news pundits picked up on this idea as something not necessarily consistent with conservative ideas. And yet this is not a new idea. Rather, it reflects the very basic idea upon which our nation was founded. For some reason, critics seemed to think putting the power in the people did not coincide with the ideas of limited government. It was puzzling why this was their interpretation.

William Penn stated that “we put the power in the people.” Historian Felix Morley wrote, “To put the power in the people implies faith. It implies that the component individuals are, for the most part, already endowed with self-control.”

Historian Verna Hall defined civil government as “the flow of power and force in society.”[1] The Scripture teaches us that all power comes from God. The individual becomes the fountain through which that power can flow from the individual to his delegated representatives. Over the past century, the flow of power has been interrupted as the Executive Branch developed a huge bureaucracy, expanding its powers far beyond the realm of its constitutional powers. In addition, the checks and balances of our three branches of government have been weakened. Power has gradually been centralized in the national government and flowing from Washington, D.C. down to the people in many areas, rather than from the people delegating authority to their elected representatives.

To truly put the power back in the hands of the people would be a formidable task, but one that could at least begin at some levels. It would require huge discipline on the part of the leadership in Washington and a willingness to give up power and move it back to the state or local levels where it belongs. The challenge will be whether the thousands of political appointees and employees in civil service positions will be willing to allow this to occur.

Turning to national government, rather than local government or private enterprise, has become so much a way of life in America that it will be very difficult to undo the mindset of a people who do not realize how much it is a part of our thinking. We need to be asking questions as to why is civil government providing funding for research, granting funds for arts, or protecting an endangered species, or meeting many other needs? Is this the function of civil government as provided by the Constitution? Or does this need to be the responsibility of local foundations, corporations, or individuals, who if liberated from their tax burden, would have the resources to provide for such opportunities?

Americans must educate themselves in the true purpose of civil government as it was intended and then seek to restore those foundational principles. One of those basic principles is to restore the power to the people. Can we once again be a government “of the people, by the people, for the people?” Do we have the character for such a government? Or have we become so dependent on big government that we cannot take the responsibility which would be required of each of us?

 

[1] Verna M. Hall, The Christian of the American Revolution: Consider and Ponder (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1976) page xxi v.

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