Is the Reformation Still Needed?

October 31, 1517

© The Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, ThD

When Martin Luther began his ministry of the priesthood and teaching (PhD) in the early 1500s, there were only two branches of Christianity: The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy. When Luther died, there were three branches, the third one being Protestant. When Luther nailed the 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, it was an invitation to other scholars to debate indulgences. The church door was like a bulletin board for announcements, and Luther wrote the Theses in the scholarly language of the day: Latin. He was as surprised as anyone when they were taken down, translated into German, and spread throughout Germany. Now Luther was forced to defend his teaching.

What Was the Reformation?

It was the greatest revival in the history of the Church (and still ongoing). I don’t mean to be unkind, but the Roman Catholic Church had fallen into really bad teachings and practices. They were basically selling forgiveness of sins. Several weeks ago I saw on TV a documentary of Martin Luther where a current Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church admitted that the Church in Luther’s day had indeed fallen into decadence and bad doctrines. Now in our day, the Protestant Church has fallen into various heresies, as has the Roman Catholic Church and just about every other Christian church or organization. Here are some of our protestant problems:

  • We present a positive message without judgment.
  • We’ve turned the Bible into a popular psychological manual for self-improvement.
  • With the right words spoken audibly, we can manufacture our own providence. In fact, the word-faith movement thoroughly disdains the word “providence.”
  • Catholics pray to Mary, and Protestants pray to themselves.
  • Every passage in the Bible has become a “secret” to have victory, if we only . . .

I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the word-faith movement, The compromised protestant megachurches proclaim a form of indulgences, which is positive confession. If you say words into the air with faith, you’ll bring riches into your life; but of course you must send the word-faith preacher his share. Robert Tilton used to require a thousand dollar vow, and if you made that vow and sent him money, he would send you a cloth to put in your billfold that would bring you money. You could reap a 100 fold harvest. Their followers are being fleeced as much as those poor peasants in Luther’s day. (If you want a copy of my book on the word-faith movement, please CLICK HERE. You can see the thorough Table of Contents when you click the link.)

 

Need for the Reformation

The Reformation was a return to the Bible and to the old gospel the fathers of the church had preached the first thousand years (or more) in the Church’s history. The Roman Catholic Church had degenerated into various false teachings and practices, not the least of which was the selling of forgiveness of sins in the form of Indulgences.

In the 1300s there was a man called Jon Wycliffe. He was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, and seminary professor at Oxford. He was an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century. He had followers that went around preaching the pure Gospel who were called the Lollards. Wycliffe also translated the Bible into English from the Latin. He was the evangelical of his day, and died in 1384. About a hundred years after he died, he was declared a heretic, and his bones were dug up and ground.

After Wycliffe came Jon Hus. The Roman Catholic Church martyred him in 1415 after giving their word they would not do it if he would just appear before them to defend his views. He was a Czech priest, philosopher, Master, dean and rector at Charles University in Prague, church reformer, inspirator of Hussitism, a seminal figure in the Bohemian Reformation and a key predecessor to Protestantism. Luther claimed, 100 years later, to be a Hussite.

Enter Martin Luther and Tetzel, the latter who was selling indulgences on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church that granted a release of some temporal punishment due to sin. Martin Luther vehemently challenged indulgencies. The money collected was for the Pope to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Here is what Tetzel would proclaim:

As soon as the gold in the casket rings,

The rescued soul to heaven springs.

Here is another version:

As soon as the coin in the coffer rings,

the soul from purgatory springs.

 

What is an indulgence? It gets complicated, but suffice it to say that it is something you do (works) that will lessen your time in purgatory, which is not heaven or hell, and not a desirable place to go. But Tetzel was selling indulgences to the poor to use for their deceased loved ones to get out of purgatory early. It was salvation by proxy after death by money. For example, in one Roman Catholic catechism one can get a full indulgence by saying the Rosary before Holy Communion, or a partial indulgence for reading the New Testament 15 minutes a day. It is a mechanical works system where one can get his ticker card punched.

You might find it interesting that just several weeks ago there was a documentary of Martin Luther and the beginning of the Reformation. It was very positive, and there was a Roman Catholic Cardinal on the program who stated that the church at that time had become corrupt and was in need of reforming. I would add that it still needs reforming, along with worldwide Anglicanism and Protestantism, and Orthodoxy. Worldwide Christianity is in pitiful ruins in its beliefs and practices.

In the early 1500s there was a priest with a troubled conscience. Tomorrow, October 31st, 1517, 500 years ago, Martin Luther, who had an earned Ph.D. in biblical studies, at the age of 34, nailed up the Ninety-Five Theses on a church door in Wittenberg. He wanted to debate other church scholars regarding certain teachings and practices, especially Indulgences. Thus began the greatest revival in the history of the Church, which has lasted now for about 500 years. Other revivals have been sparked, such the ones of the Wesleys, Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, here in this country in the 1700s, and many others in the last 100 years throughout the world. And let us not forget the godly women the Lord had raised up, such as Luther’s wife, Katherine, Edwards wife, and so on.

Do We Still Need the Reformation?

The first Reformation changed the Western world—Germany, continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, and so on. The world will never be the same now that God raised up Luther to preach the free gospel with such power and fearlessness. Likewise, with many other great men, Luther’s right-hand man, Melanthon (Germany), Calvin and Beza (France), Zwingli and Bullinger (Switzerland), John Knox (Scotland, Presbyterian), and certainly not least, those in England: Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Bucer, etc. Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer–all clergy in the Church of England–the Roman Catholic Church martyred.

The reformers faced not only theological heresy, but also they were persecuted by the civil authorities, the same as we are today. Our whole Western culture hates (and I mean hates with a devilish fiendness) anything Christian. There is a huge spiritual warfare going on in the West in general and also in our culture in particular. The gospel is being called hate speech, sexual perversion is freedom of expression, murdering babies is a woman’s choice, and so on. Moreover, ministerial success is measured in how big your parking lot is, though there is nothing wrong with having a large church in itself, but the tendency is to compromise the gospel so you won’t lose members.

We need a whole generation of D. James Kennedys to arise and march on our modern Jerichos. Many preachers today wimp out by saying that we must not be involved in political matters! Right, so we let the culture perish.

There are two ways to destroy the gospel: by addition and by subtraction. Most of the Christian cults subtract things, like the deity of Christ, the Holy Trinity, His bodily resurrection, and so on. But during the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church added many things, thus it was necessary to correct the errors by pointing out that each of the solas were not just necessary, but enough.

What were some of the big issues in the Reformation that are still needed today? I’ve written some articles in this blog about the “ONLYs”, the solas. The ONLYs emphasize the sufficiency of what they present, not just the necessity.

  • The Bible is not only necessary, but it is also enough (only).
  • The grace of God is necessary for us to come to Christ, but it also enough (only).
  • We are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, so that faith is not only necessary for our salvation, it is also enough (only).
  • Christ is not only necessary for our salvation, but He is enough. Only He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We don’t add Mary to Him.
  • God’s glory alone must receive the emphasis, not us also.

The Bible is all the revelation we need, not the additions of the Roman Catholic Church in their traditions. The Bible is enough. The grace of God is all we need to gain salvation, not the merits of Mary and others. His grace is sufficient. We are saved through faith and not by our merits, which in turn means faith is enough. The person of Christ is the only mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), the only way to the Father (John 14:6). This further means that His once for all death was and is enough. We don’t need the sacrifices of Mary or others. Finally, our salvation is to God’s glory alone because only He has saved us, lest anyone should boast in his own merits.

But there has been tremendous progress made in the last few decades, or at least in my lifetime. (I’m now 72.) Roman Catholics and Protestants do not want to kill one another. Within my lifetime, even in the past several decades, evangelicals and Catholics have come together to a great extent. In Amarillo, the local Roman Catholic bishop and I marched together at the front of the line each year for pro-life. Other ministers were there incognito, out of uniform, so the media did not know who they were. I’ve worked with Roman Catholics in various pro-life endeavors, side by side, praying wonderful prayers while for our sake leaving out the Hail Mary.

I read Pope Benedict’s XVI excellent work titled Jesus.

I sure I’m not a prophet, but I’ve been saying for several decades that Christians all over the world must come together if we’re to survive the onslaught of Islam, Atheism, Liberalism, hostile politicians, etc. Satan is making an all-out push against us. But does that mean I’m going to Rome any time soon? There ain’t no way, for there are still substantive areas of disagreement: transubstantiation, purgatory, prayers to humans, works to gain heaven, papal infallibility, Mary as co-redeemer and co-mediator, Son of God as only one mediator out of many. Yet they hold the same three creeds we do, Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian. My plea is not for conversion to that system, but for tolerance on both sides, but without compromising the solas.

So, is the Reformation still needed? I would say Yes, but it is not just around the solas. Without giving up the progress we’ve made in 500 years as of today, we must change the culture by preaching the gospel, changing our culture as Luther and others did by engaging the culture. We must proclaim the crown rights of King Jesus, because

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
                                       baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
                                           20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt. 28:18-20 NKJ)

AMEN.

 

Last Time Polyamory, This Time Sologamy

(c) The Very Rev.Dr.  Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP. Polyamory is two or more in a “committed” relationship. I thought polyamory was far out enough, but I did predict it in my book on the Ten Commandments (NOT Ten Suggestions) as basically group sex. I recently saw on Forensic TV a real case where three young men in their 20s gave rings to one another and vowed to remain true for life to one another. But disobedience to God’s law brings self-destruction. It was not long that one of the male lovers murdered one of the three, and the two who remained broke up. That was not a shock.

As for sologamy, instead of “marrying” two or more, you marry yourself. I’m not joking. It is a movement in Russia, Europe, Japan, and other nut case countries, like the good ole USA. Here is a link to it:

If you follow the link, you’ll find a woman marrying herself, with 500 people attending. So what will she call herself, “Mrs. Me”? What were the vows like, “I promise to love me in life and in death, in sickness and in health, until I nullify this marriage from me?” Was the “marriage” sealed with “I promise to love the Lord myself with all the narcissism I can muster?” Now this is one marriage I did not anticipate in my book!

Here is a quote from the article in the link above:

At its core, self-marriage is a classic rite of passage with three obligatory stages: separation, liminality and incorporation. The first stage – symbolic death – serves to break all ties that no longer serve you. The second stage is all about ‘discovering’ your new love for yourself, through techniques such as self-addressed love letters and poems. And, finally, the third stage, the big shebang: the wedding ceremony, meant to seal the bond between You and You, through your choice of self-declared vows.

This is the height of narcissism, or the depth. How can there be any legal status to such a “marriage”? “Love” has been completely eviscerated of any meaning, for by definition love is directed to another person. I found this bit of news on the Internet:

  • State and Government Recognition. Self-marriages do not require a marriage certificate. This is because self-marriages are not recognized by any states in the United States. . . .  That means that if you are already married to another person, you can still self-marry without implicating anti-bigamy or polygamy laws. Jan 28, 2015

But it gets worse.

Now, some people are marrying their pets! Again, I’m not making this stuff up. As far as I know, you cannot marry your dog or cat in the USA, but you can in Bali. I predicted marriage to pets, group marriage, and even euthanasia for those who for whatever reason cannot cope with life.

In France, one woman was allowed to marry her dead fiance, and they can still do so if it can be proved that they had formally planned for their wedding. There seems to be no end to degeneration. Here is what one wise man said:

John Dryden, the seventeenth century English poet, said:

“For those whom God to ruin has design’d,
He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind.”

Today we might say it this way:

“Those whom God would destroy, He first makes mad.”

AMEN.

 

 

 

 

 

Five Solas: the Significance of the word “ALONE”

I posted this on my FaceBook account:

THE FIVE SOLAS (we are justified)
by Holy Scripture alone
by faith alone
by grace alone
by Christ alone
Only to God’s glory alone

Each point emphasizes not only the necessity of the point but also its sufficiency:

Holy Scripture is not only necessary it is enough.

Faith is not only necessary it is enough.

Grace is not only necessary it is enough.

Christ is not only necessary He is enough .

God’s glory alone is necessary but His glory is enough.

This is a bare summary of evangelicalism, but there is much more in the Creeds, and especially the great doctrinal statements of the Reformation, such as the 39 Articles.

As Charles Spurgeon once said (paraphrase): “It is not the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ that does my soul good, it is Jesus who justifies my soul,” who is my anchor behind the veil. As important as doctrine is, it is not doctrine in the frontal lobe that saves me, abstractly considered, but the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. I REST IN HIM!

AFTER RECEIVING SOME CHALLENGING COMMENTS  on FaceBook from a former friend who left my denomination and went into Orthodoxy, Sam Seamans, I posted on FaceBook a long article in response to him. I guess it finally was posted, but it was long I got tired waiting for FaceBook to put it up, but here are my comments:

Sam, spoken like a true convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. The Greek word for “pillar” is a column that supports a superstructure, not a foundation. It is resting on a foundation (Louw-Nida lexicon; other lexicons). Jesus Christ is the foundation, the chief cornerstone, not us humans (Eph. 2:20). The church is built on Him, thus it is called the pillar, a column on a foundation. Irenaeus, (Against Heresies, 3.11.7-8) says from your passage (1 Tim. 3:15) that the “pillar and ground is the gospel”, which is what we hold. Moreover, the Greek word “ground” does not mean lying down on the floor with a superstructure, but church is here a solid defense against the confusion of myth” (TDNT).

To say “the CHURCH, NOT the Bible,” is the pillar and ground of truth,” are dangerous words. The holy scriptures AND the church complete one another; they are not in opposition as you suggest, though if they are in opposition, as in  the late Middle Ages, God sent a revival with the reformers to straighten up the mess with the Bible. Apparently you have not understood the five solas; they are not isolated but all hang together. Thus your comments assume that one can have faith or grace in isolation. Not so. If you knew the history of those points and what the reformers were saying, you would understand what we are saying. For example, the gospel was “according to the scriptures.” St. Paul explicitly states in 1 Cor. 15:3-4 that Christ died for our sins “according to the scriptures”, which at the time of his writing was the Old Testament. The New Testament built on that and so in both the OT and NT we could say the scriptures alone are sufficient. Other passages in Paul are 1 Cor. 10:1ff, 2 Tim. 3:16-17. It should be clear that at all times the Holy Scriptures were sufficient for salvation.

AS FOR THE FIVE SOLAS HANGING TOGETHER, it is from the Holy Scriptures that we are presented with the Christ, in whom we put our trust, relying on His grace, and seeking only His glory. These five points are like five links in a chain, not five isolated links scattered on the floor. As for NT coming before the church, there are several responses.

FIRST, the OT scriptures laid the foundation for the NT church, thus they already existed. Repeatedly, the Lord and the Apostles quoted the Old Testament, and through their preaching and writings, they brought the New Testament canon into existence, but always basing the New Testament on the OT. The Church did not invent the canonical books of the New Testament by some council, but as the books were written, the sheep recognized the voice of the Shepherd in those writings. Of course, the Church did formally recognize the canon, but only after they had been used for some time as scripture. So did the Church come before the New Testament books? Not really, as if it mattered, but they came together.

SECOND, unless you’re dispensational and make a bifurcation with two peoples of God, Israel then the Church, which I know you don’t, the NT people of God ARE the new Israel (Gal. 6:16; Eph. 2:11-22; etc), for the church, or the new Israel already existed.

I could add a THIRD reason: so what about the church allegedly coming first. Christ delivered the gospel to the apostles and expounded the OT scriptures to them to show that He was building on that foundation of the OT. (See Luke 24:44-48: “44 Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:43 NKJ).)

The apostles wrote down what He had revealed, which was in solidarity with the OT. The apostles recognized their own writings as Scripture as Paul said his writings were the Lord’s commands (1 Cor. 14:37), and Peter referred to Paul letters as “scripture” (2 Peter 3:15-16). So what time lag are you referring to from the time of the writings of the NT to the apostles? There was very little gap. What holy tradition are you speaking of that the NT allegedly came from? As for the proclamation that the Eastern Church did not need reforming, I would say our conversation says otherwise. As for the “innovations of the medieval scholastic period,” that is why we had a reformation. The medieval church had gone awry. The Eastern Church murdered its only bishop who tried to bring reformation to it. I would say Orthodoxy has stagnated over the centuries, the Roman Catholic Church has innovated, and Protestantism has validated its truth with the early fathers and the Holy Scriptures, as did Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, and most commentaries today go back to the fathers with vigor. But then Orthodoxy does not write commentaries, as you admitted to me, so I guess they would not know.

AS FOR THE CHURCH being the “pillar and ground” of the Bible, the passage you alluded to does NOT say that (1 Tim. 3:15), but it says the “pillar and ground of TRUTH”. My question to you is which church? Was it the western church, the eastern church, Marcion who tried to destroy the Bible but those who had the scriptures knew he was wrong? Which church is the infallible one? Also, if the early fathers are our interpretive guide, which ones? Is it Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Origen, the Cappadocian fathers, Augustine, which you guy reject, and which ones in the middle ages do you rely on, and why those? You should know that I agree with you about a strong church. I would even say that the fathers are our guide, but the only infallible guide is the Holy Scriptures. What will you put in its place, your holy tradition? You said to me recently that the fathers had a much better grasp on the Bible than we do today, which was an excuse for Orthodoxy not writing commentaries, but how in the world would you know that? But which tradition, from what time period, and who will interpret that to you? If only the early (and some Medieval) fathers can interpret the New Testament to us, who interprets the fathers to us? You are thereby saying that the fathers are self-interpreting to us, but that the Bible is not self-interpreting. In other words, the words of man are clearer than the words of God. That is a tough pill to swallow. We Protestants have many interpretations of the Bible, but most are united on the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Even those Protestants who will not say these in worship nevertheless believe them as seen in their doctrinal statements. We are united on these creeds with the Roman Catholic Church, but you are not, why? You reject all three of these creeds, at the least the Western versions, especially hating the filioque clause. Who is right, your small group of a few million members, perhaps even 100 million, or the rest of the Christianity world with about two billion members? I can document that Rome and especially Protestantism have grown by about a billion souls in the last 100 years, but what about Orthodoxy? Very little.  Now there is a holy (Protestant) tradition if there ever was one. And which Orthodox group is right? Don’t you have 14 jurisdictions, or is it 18? Likewise Rome has its various groups internally.

AS FOR THE FIVE SOLAS BEING BIBLICAL, look at these: Bible is sufficient for salvation and living (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and a shorthand way to say that is scripture alone. Faith apart from all human merit is sufficient for salvation (Rom. 4:1-8; Eph. 2:8-9), and a shorthand way to say that is faith alone. Or as one confession so beautifully put it, “We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is not alone, but ever accompanied by good works” (WCF). We are saved only by grace and only to God’s glory (Eph. 2:8-10), and a shorthand way to say that is we are saved by grace alone to God’s glory alone. We are saved only by Jesus, and a shorthand way to say that is we are saved by the Son of God alone.

In other words, as J. I. PACKER SO BEAUTIFULLY PUT IT (not an exact quote), “What we mean is that JESUS saves sinners. Jesus saves, we don’t. The only thing we can contribute to our salvation is our sins. Next, we that Jesus SAVES sinners, not that He is their cheer leader, not that He does His part and we finish (Contra. Phil. 1:6) what He began, not that we cooperate to earn grace  . He saves SINNERS, not the self-righteous, not those who think they are basically ok.” That is what we’re are getting at.

SAM, I did not want to tangle with you regarding your recent move into Orthodoxy. That is one of the reasons I asked for a private conversation with you when I found out about your move into Orthodoxy. We hung up from that meeting on good terms.I can see the newfound zeal you have for your new faith, but in my opinion you made a move without understanding the issues. You knew we talked, and I gave you the right hand of fellowship; therefore, I was surprised to see you go after my statements that I thought I was just blessing people with on FaceBook, but you called my hand, so I’ve responded. I hope this is not offensive, but I could not let people think there are no good answers to your questions. I think, however, that even though we disagree on some of the terms, how used, and the significance of the Church, etc., we can still give one another the right hand of fellowship. Your brother in Him. AMEN.

Oxford Martyrs’ Day

OxfordMartyrsDayOn this day, October 16, in the year 1555, Bishops Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were tied to a stake in Broad Street in Oxford, and burned to death.  The following spring, on March 21, 1556, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was burned at the stake.

This was at the time of the English Roman Catholic Queen Mary (“Bloody Mary”).  Cranmer was the architect of the Book of Common Prayer.  Ridley was one of his chief advisers and right hand man in the reforms of the Church of England.  Hugh Latimer was a godly, aged bishop who had also helped the cause of reform in England.

Today is called Oxford Martyrs’ Day in Anglican circles, because on this day we remember all three martyrs who died so bravely in that city.

When bishops Ridley and Latimer were tied together to the same stake on that day, 460 years ago, Latimer addressed his brother bishop in one the greatest statements in our history:  “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out!”

May God give us a double portion of their courageous spirit to stand for what is right in our culture and in our context.

 

God bless,

Jonathan+

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 A Collect for Oxford Martyrs’ Day

Almighty God and everlasting Lord, in whose sight the death of Thy saints is precious, we beseech Thee to look down upon upon us with favor as we commemorate this day the deaths of Thy servants, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Bishops of the Church of England, and Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who were burned to death in Broad Street in Oxford, England for their faith; Grant to us the same steadfastness of faith, that we, standing firm in Thy Holy Gospel and belief in the Mighty Resurrection of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, may prevail against all the assaults of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and at the last, come to Thy eternal joy, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rev. Jonathan O. Trebilco

Saint Francis Anglican Church

(Reformed Episcopal/ACNA)

SaintFrancisREC.org

The 7,000

© 2015 by Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

Do you recall the great victory Elijah had against the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel? His sacrifice was supernaturally burned up while the false prophets were not successful at all with their god Baal to call down fire from heaven. Elijah then killed the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Once Jezebel, King Ahab’s wife, heard about it, she said she would kill Elijah the next day. Elijah killed 450 heretics and ran into the desert from one woman, Jezebel! Then when in the desert hiding, the Angel of the LORD (pre-incarnate Christ) approached Elijah, who lamented:

And he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” (1 Kings 19:14)

In other words, he sang the song of Hee-Haw:

“Gloom, despair and agony on me-e!

Deep dark depression, excessive misery-y!

If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all!

Gloom, despair and agony on me-e-e!”

That was Elijah!

I have said so many times in the past that it is almost embarrassing to repeat, but heads we win, tails they lose. While I cannot read the Triune God’s mind, we see in Scripture how He works. Read Judges and the cycles the Israelites went through so many times:

  • They sin grievously
  • The Lord God sends them enemies who judge them
  • God’s people cry out in repentance
  • The Lord sends them a deliverer

The cycle begins again

We may have to go through the four cycles of Judges just mentioned. We Christians in the USA are no better than other Christians throughout the East who are suffering martyrdom right now; in fact, we are probably cowardly.

Last week, the tyrannical Supreme Court, dripping with Sulphur from the presence of the devil, for the first time in human history (might be wrong here), officially redefined marriage as between any two consenting people, male or female.

Confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (1991)

If you recall the confirmation hearing of now Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas when Anita Hill lied against him, saying that he had had sexual advances toward her, I knew immediately she was lying through her teeth. For one thing, most people do not know what the wicked are capable of, but as a Christian theologian who has studied Holy Scriptures most of my life, I know what God says about the human heart. Moreover, at that time I had a very strong Christian friend who took degrees from Harvard and Yale; and when Anita Hill began her lies, he said something like this to me: “Curtis, when I took my degrees at those Ivy League schools, several of the political atheists took me aside and said, ‘If you as a Christian ever try to go into politics, we’ll swear that we’ve had homosexual acts with you. That will ruin you’re Christian reputation.’” He also said that he had classes with Anita Hill, and that she was a liberal darling air head who could not think her way across the room, who would never have gotten any position without some insider appointing her. He said that her position as a professor was her payoff for bearing false witness against Judge Thomas. He was confirmed anyway with a vote of 52 to 48.

The liberal elite did the same thing against Robert H. Bork when he was being confirmed to the High Court. This time it was Ted Kennedy, in my humble opinion one of the worst politicians in American history with his constant lying, fornicating (remember Mary Jo Kopechne and her untimely death, July 18, 1969 at Chappaquiddick), who led the charge against Bork. They succeeded this time in keeping him off the High Court. By the way, Bork was reared a Presbyterian on the Shorter Catechism but became Roman Catholic in later life. He was—and still is in heaven—a lovely Christian man.

My point in bringing up these two men is that the Lord God still has His 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal. I now give a few quotes from Thomas’s excellent book, My Grandfather’s Son (2007):

It had long since become clear to me that this battle was at bottom spiritual, not political, and so my attention shifted from politics to the inward reality of my spiritual life. . . .  I remembered how Jesus had told the rich man to give away his fortune and ‘come and follow me.’ Perhaps I would have to renounce my pride to endure this trial, even as Cardinal Merry del Val had prayed for deliverance in his Litany of Humility: Deliver me, O Jesus, from the fear of being humiliated . . . from the fear of being despised . . . from the fear of suffering rebukes . . . from the fear of being calumniated. (p. 254)

In addition to suspecting that I had committed the sin of pride, I saw that I was resisting what God had put before me. ‘Father, let this cup pass away from me,’ Jesus had prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. ‘But thy will, not mine, be done.’

Later in his autobiography, Thomas states:

We had all come to see the campaign against my confirmation as evil. There seemed no other way to explain it. My opponents could have fought my confirmation on legitimate grounds, yet they chose to tell scurrilous lies in an attempt to destroy me personally. No reason other than hatred could account for so unprecedentedly vicious an attack.

Then Thomas quotes Joseph in the Old Testament when his brothers had sold him into slavery:

[Joseph said to his brothers:] “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” Perhaps the fires through which I had passed would have a purifying effect on me, just as the blast furnace burns the impurities out of steel. I already knew they had brought me closer to God.

He learned to love even more dearly the Christian hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”

Attempted Confirmation of Robert H. Bork (1987)

Ted the habitual liar Kennedy managed to keep Bork from being confirmed to the Supreme Court, who was considered one of the best Constitutional scholars of his day. Later in his twilight years, Bork wrote a number of books, and one of my favorites is Slouching towards Gomorrah (1996). This is an exceedingly insightful book on American politics I’ve ever read. He says that two things would pull down our country very quickly: radical egalitarianism and radical individualism (pp. 3-5). Here are some insightful statements Bork made from Slouching:

What liberalism has constantly moved away from are the constraints on personal liberty imposed by religion, morality, law, family, and community (Slouching, p. 61).

[Radical individualism has caused many factions in our society:] “radical feminists, black extremists, animal rights groups (PETA) radical environmentalists (EPA), activists homosexuals organizations, multiculturalists, , People for the American Way, ACLU, National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), NOW, Planned Parenthood, etc., (p. 53) [I add Al-Qaida, ISIS, and too many to count.]

What then can be the moral basis for objecting to economic inequality and asserting that condemnation of great wealth, backed up with political action, is essential to any defense of the free market? The obvious candidate is envy. It is impossible to see any objective harm done to the less wealthy by another’s greater wealth. It is not the case that the richer man’s income is extracted from the poorer man. . . . I do not lack a yacht because another man has one. (p. 68)

I once wrote of the U. S. Supreme Court that a judge who looks outside the actual Constitution looks inside himself, and nowhere else. (Coercing Virtue, p. 131)

So what is the point to this article? Just as the Lord God had left Himself 7,000 in Elijah’s day to fight against Baal, and God said such to Elijah, so He has His people now:

“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18)

We are not alone. Our sovereign God is getting us ready for intense battle. Cowards give up (read Rev. 21:8); recall what happened to the ten spies who gave up and refused to conquer the land. The Lord disciplined them severely for 40 years, and then a new generation conquered. We can do it the hard way (through the desert) or the easy way (by faith now). The choice is ours (and HIS!). AMEN. Ὡ