The Glory of the King and His Bride: Part 4
Christianity deals in spirituality, yes, but spirituality is not to be dissociated from reality. Christ was promised, and He came, and He was just as He had been described. He did what it was foretold He would do. The knowledge of Christ spread throughout the earth, just as God said it would in Psalm 45 and elsewhere.
The pronouns in these verses are masculine singular, so these expressions are addressed to the King, not the bride. The psalmist is relating to us the words of God the Father given to the messianic King.
Instead of Your fathers shall be Your sons, whom You shall make princes in all the earth. I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever (Psalm 45:16-17).
One might insist on seeing only the ancient context here—”all this means is that the king’s marriage will produce sons, which will cause the king’s fame to live on.” But, really, that explanation doesn’t do these verses justice at all. These promises are extravagant—the King’s name shall be remembered and praised forever and ever. We have here God’s promising the King worldwide dominion and eternal worship. The scope transcends its ancient setting like the sun outshines the stars when it rises. Let’s look at these three things God says to Christ.
Princes in all the Earth
The King’s sons will be made “princes in all the earth.”
This never happened in the ancient context, not even on a small scale. Calvin commented on this passage with characteristic wisdom:
This prophecy is spoken expressly concerning Christ; for so far were the sons of Solomon from having a kingdom of such an extent, as to divide it into provinces among them, that his first successor retained only a small portion of his kingdom (John Calvin, Commentaries, vol. V, Psalms 36-92, 1:192).
The word sons can be understood metaphorically for believers. Isaiah tells us the Messiah “shall see His seed” (53:10), clearly not referring to literal children. Scripture tells us that, not physical sons, but glorified Christians will rule in the heavenly kingdom, under Christ. “The saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever” (Dan. 7:18). “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Tim. 2:12). This glorified state of believers appears to be what the psalmist refers to.
His Name Will be Remembered
God will make the King’s name to be remembered in all generations.
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Charles Darwin is Accused of Stealing Theory of Evolution from Rival Naturalist in History’s Biggest Science FraudBy John Dingwall — 1 year ago
Professor Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University, said: ‘This conclusively shows the theory of evolution was first proposed by Patrick Matthew in 1831, 28 years before Darwin published his own version. There is no good reason for Matthew not to be credited with being the originator of the theory.”
Charles Darwin is credited with transforming the understanding of natural history – but a new book claims to have found evidence that he stole his Theory of Evolution.
Written by an experienced criminologist, it argues there are overwhelming similarities between Darwin’s seminal On The Origin Of Species and an earlier work by a naturalist called Patrick Matthew.
Darwin revolutionised the understanding of the natural world, explaining that, rather than being the result of divine creation, life developed from a common ancestor by gradual evolution.
In 1859, having observed such creatures as the giant Galapagos tortoise, he published On The Origin Of Species, spelling out the theory of a ‘Process of Natural Selection’. However, 28 years earlier Matthew had published On Naval Timber And Arboriculture, which expounded similar findings through his theory of the ‘Natural Process of Selection’.
Dr Mike Sutton, whose book Science Fraud: Darwin’s Plagiarism Of Patrick Matthew’s Theory is published by Curtis next Saturday, said: ‘This is the biggest science fraud in history.’
He highlights similarities between key phrases and explanations and cites letters apparently showing Darwin knew Matthew’s work and covered up his debt to his rival.
In one, Darwin’s wife admitted to Matthew that evolution was his ‘original child’, but her husband had nurtured it ‘like his own’.
A Sheep Speaks: A Testimony to the National Partnership, Part TwoBy Tom Hervey — 1 year ago
In your reaction against others in the denomination you have given yourselves to a form of organization and methods that are not acceptable, and now the only way that you can you remove the offense of your unjustified secret political machinations is by openly repenting of them. Write a letter and post it at A Faithful PCA, ByFaith, or some such suitable place.
Read Part 1
The Practical Consequences of Secrecy
In your activism you have been very zealous; but “desire without knowledge is not good” (Prov. 19:2), and the knowledge that you lack is the knowledge that forming a secret organization offends your brothers, causes scandal, and is not an acceptable way of achieving your desired ends. You wish to see the PCA make inroads into previously underrepresented areas and groups, but in so doing you approach the matter wrongly and offend those who are already your brothers for the sake of unbelievers who may never repent. One should “give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God” (1 Cor. 10:32), but should labor carefully after the example of Paul (v. 32; comp. Acts 24:16) and others to “give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Rom. 12:17) and to avoid giving offense insofar as it is possible (1 Tim. 3:15; 1Pet. 2:12-17).
This is not what you have done. You were under no obligation to form your organization at all, much less to do it in secret, and much less still to persist in this secrecy for years and in the face of much criticism. This is not striving to “live peaceably with all” (Rom. 12:18) or pursuing “what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (14:19). This is offending the brother and stirring up strife needlessly. Such secrecy gives a poor testimony: if one is right, it is cowardice and hiding one’s lamp (Matt. 5:14-16); and if others are wrong, it is failing to confront them appropriately in a suitably blunt, manful way.
A Further Objection Considered
Perhaps you will object and say that the reason for your secrecy is to avoid slander, because others are in the habit of publicly misrepresenting your character. In such a case you have two recourses. One, you can avail yourself of the process of reconciliation that our Lord has prescribed for us to deal with personal offenses (Matt. 18:15-20), appealing to the church courts if personal admonition proves insufficient. Two, you may elect to forbear the offense, knowing that the sufferance of slander is a mark of the believer’s life in this world, and that it is a gracious thing (1 Pet. 3:13-17) to endure it patiently. Scripture does not say that you are permitted to withdraw into secret enclaves to avoid slander, and as a practical question such secrecy rather gives more occasion to the suspicion of others than reduces it.
An Apology for this Letter
But perhaps all of this is too much. You little like such blunt public criticism of your secret doings. What offense has anyone done you in criticizing or opposing you? Have we not labored to faithfully reprove you for what we believe are your failings? Is such not our duty to you as fellow members of Christ’s church? Perhaps we are wrong to one degree or another, or as regards some matters, or in some of our methods. Perhaps some have even descended from just confrontation to something as heinous as slander, as you allege. I do not make excuses for that, if indeed it is true – I know nothing of such incidents to judge either way – but speak for the many who have disagreed with you whose intent and aims have been good. If you like not the plainness of our speech or its content may it be fairly asked whether the source of offense lies in the remonstrances or in the ones who receive them?
Test your hearts and consider whether there be any pride there that prejudices you in this matter and that closes your minds and hardens your hearts against reproof. You set yourselves up as the proponents of a ‘beautiful orthodoxy’ and ‘a faithful PCA,’ and you write public letters of disagreement defending yourselves, while at all levels of the church courts you work ceaselessly to fashion its polity as you will. Is it unthinkable this has made you blind to your own faults or to the justice of the criticisms that others level against you? It is hard, as a matter of practical human nature, to zealously work for a great scheme of reform without becoming proud, stubborn, and slow to listen. Have you considered whether this is the case with you? Have you tested yourselves and taken the logs out of your own eyes, or do you make haste in assailing others?
It is the latter. Your sincerity is not doubted, nor, for that matter, are some of your claims. The Presbyterian Church in America is a human institution, rife with weakness and sin. It has, as such, many grounds upon which it may be criticized and sundry points at which it needs to amend its deeds. It is not denied that we have often had a poor record in our dealings with various groups, nor that we are prone to complacency, pride, and sundry sins that involve how we conceive of ourselves and relate to others and to material things.
A Call to Repentance
But where some have fallen too far to the right into worldly respectability and have come perilously close to a dead orthodoxy that is but a veneer over a substance that is more of a piece with a WASP-ish country club than the church of Christ, your danger is to fall too far in the other direction. In your reaction against others in the denomination you have given yourselves to a form of organization and methods that are not acceptable, and now the only way that you can you remove the offense of your unjustified secret political machinations is by openly repenting of them. Write a letter and post it at A Faithful PCA, ByFaith, or some such suitable place. Sign it and declare yourselves openly, and as a part of it renounce secrecy and promise to surrender office forever if you are caught in it again and to faithfully reveal anyone whom you know that persists in or returns to it. Apologize also for the offense you have caused your brethren and extol others to not follow in the way of your wrongdoing. Such is the way of honor and honesty, and if you will not take it there are many who will think of you as guilty of impenitent contumacy against the peace and purity of the church.
It is not only your secretive tendencies that are an occasion for concern. To be blunt – not in an effort to be rude, mind you, but in the interests of speaking the truth faithfully – you come across as rather arrogant and hypocritical. You are rather snidely dismissive of others that disagree with you: The Aquila Report is just a “gossip outlet,” a mere handful of writers against your own robust multitude of elders, while the concerns of others are repeatedly brushed aside as just so much social media outrage. The Nashville Statement is, not a faithful summary of historic teachings about sexuality, but rather “simply the latest stick being used to whack away the unclean,” and it stretches the bounds of credulity to think that anyone regards it as anything “more than empty words.” Any notion of the PCA sliding into liberalism is just a “myth” that you regard as an inconvenience, as it requires you to justify your deeds to others, while in discussing homosexual lust you sarcastically ask whether those that experience such lust should not be “allowed in the fellowship of half-blind [donkeys] looking for the Glory of the Lord?”
There is little charity in such statements, casting aspersions upon the motives and character of others as they do. If The Aquila Report and other sites are just “gossip outlets” aren’t you implicitly accusing their proprietors and contributors of sin? And as for calling your fellow Presbyterians “half-blind [donkeys],” you seem to have forgotten the testimony of Scripture on this point, that “if anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (Jas. 1:26), and, further, that you ought to “let your speech always be gracious” (Col. 4:6) and “let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up” (Eph. 4:29). It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks (Lk. 6:45), and so, by extension, that the fingers type.
But perhaps the best example of arrogance can be seen in a tweet by your founder, in which he retweeted a video of a sheep perpetually running into a ditch and becoming stuck each time it was freed, a video whose original comment was a bit of foul language unacceptable in the eyes of many unbelievers, and which received the further comment from your founder that this was “the pastoral care process, explained.” God says that you are to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you . . . not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” (1 Pet. 5:2-3) and that you are to “show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned” (Tit. 2:7-8). He does not commend that you use bad language and make light of your holy calling and arrogantly belittle the sheep in the process. By your words here you sound rather like the shepherds of Israel whom God condemned for arrogance and selfishness (Eze. 34), for you have fun at the expense of those whose slaves you are (Mk. 10:42-45).
As for your hypocrisy, you speak with much emotion of our common brotherhood, with many pious phrases decrying division and extolling unity and peace in both public (e.g., “The Open Letter” at A Faithful PCA) and in your own midst, yet by your deeds and other internal statements – such as those mentioned above – you draw all of this into suspicion. Again, you want the PCA to be a big tent that includes within its midst every substrata of American society, but you seem little concerned that in your desire for expansion according to your tastes you are actively alienating many of our own members and churches even now, and in some cases inducing them to leave.
At the 2019 General Assembly one of your number stated, in effect, that we should be greatly concerned that the world thinks our foremost trait is hatred of homosexuals and that we should work to rehabilitate our image; and yet when fellow PCA elders attempt to remonstrate with you over your perceived failings you dismiss them pretty much categorically as engaged in so much fear mongering and alarmist nonsense. Thus do you say that we should listen to the wicked who are blinded by the lies of Satan, and yet you would also close your ears to the reproofs of the faithful. Do you believe that you may pay lip service to unity while acting in a dismissive way that makes it impossible, or that you may leave your ears open to culture, even unbelieving and wholly immoral culture, and yet close them to your fellow presbyters and not come to a bad end?
Tom Hervey is a member of Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Simpsonville, S.C.
The Spirit’s Work of Conviction through the Conscience of a SinnerBy John Owen — 2 months ago
Conscience is the territory or dominion of God in man, which he has so reserved unto himself that no human power can possibly enter into it or dispose of it in any wise. But in this work of conviction of sin, the word of God, the Scripture, enters into the conscience of the sinner, takes possession of it, disposes it unto peace or trouble, by its laws or rules, and no otherwise.
The work of conviction of sin on those who expected it not, who desired it not, and who would avoid it if by any means possible they could. The world is filled with instances of this nature. While men have been full of love to their sins, at peace in them, enjoying benefit and advantage by them, the word coming upon them in its power has awed, disquieted, and terrified them, taken away their peace, destroyed their hopes, and made them, as it were, whether they would or not—that is, contrary to their desires, inclinations, and carnal affections—to conclude that if they comply not with what is proposed unto them in that word, which before they took no notice of nor had any regard unto, they must be presently or eternally miserable.
Conscience is the territory or dominion of God in man, which he has so reserved unto himself that no human power can possibly enter into it or dispose of it in any wise. But in this work of conviction of sin, the word of God, the Scripture, enters into the conscience of the sinner, takes possession of it, disposes it unto peace or trouble, by its laws or rules, and no otherwise. Where it gives disquietment, all the world cannot give it peace; and where it speaks peace, there is none can give it trouble. Were not this the word of God, how should it come thus to speak in his name and to act his authority in the consciences of men as it does? When once it begins this work, conscience immediately owns a new rule, a new law, a new government, in order to the judgment of God upon it and all its actions. And it is contrary to the nature of conscience to take this upon itself, nor would it do so but that it sensibly finds God speaking and acting in it and by it (see 1 Cor. 14:24–25). An invasion may be made on the outward duties that conscience disposes unto, but none can be so upon its internal actings. No power under heaven can cause conscience to think, act, or judge otherwise than it does by its immediate respect unto God. For it is the mind’s self-judging with respect unto God, and what is not so is no act of conscience. Wherefore, to force an act of conscience implies a contradiction. However, it may be defiled, bribed, seared, and at length utterly debauched, admit of a superior power, a power above or over itself, under God, it cannot.
I know conscience may be prepossessed with prejudices, and, by education, with the insinuation of traditions, take on itself the power of false, corrupt, superstitious principles and errors, as means of conveying unto it a sense of divine authority; so is it with the Mohammedans and other false worshipers in the world. But the power of those divine convictions whereof we treat is manifestly different from such prejudicate1 opinions.