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Praying for our Nations

As I write this, the people of Scotland are voting on whether or not they want to remain in the United Kingdom. A remarkable 97% of the people have registered to vote in the referendum, and the turnout at the polls is expected to be the highest in Scottish history – remarkable indeed in a climate of electoral apathy. As I write, the result is impossible to predict – experts reckon it could be decided by a margin as slender as 60,000 votes. The polling organisation Ipsos Mori are saying 51% yes, 49% no.

 

As a Northern Irish citizen of the United Kingdom, I have heard and read plenty of arguments over the last few months as to why Scottish independence would be either the kiss of life or the kiss of death to both Scotland and the rest of the UK. In the ‘yes’ camp and in the ‘no’ camp experts hold forth eloquently, persuasively, passionately, supporting their arguments with telling and pertinent statistics. And then the other side comes back with forceful counter-arguments and equally plausible statistics. It’s all too easy to become like the sheep in Animal Farm who just believed whoever spoke last! How do we pray about [...]

Our New Morality

…that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine… (Ephesians 4:14)

It’s easy to be discouraged at the state of morality in our culture (or cultures, as the case may be), but slightly harder to pin down what exactly that morality is. The fact remains that we don’t live in an amoral society, because such a thing is impossible. Human societies will always be guarded by a morality. The real question is not whether morality, but which. We definitely have a morality and for the sake of the church’s future in this society, we need to more deeply discern the waters in which we swim.

My proposal is a new name for our new morality: Reactionary Morality.

Westminster Conference 2014

Another post today to give you yet another conference series!  Listening to the messages in both of these posts could keep you busy for quite a while!

The Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary hosted its eleventh annual Westminster Confession Conference this past weekend.  The subject this year was “The Law of God and Its Uses.”  The packed chapel at RPTS revealed a great deal of interest in this subject.

Below are the links to the messages.  Each session had a short question & answer period, so that link is included as well.

1. Conference Introduction by Jerry O’Neill

2. Not Under Law – Really?  The Law and Its Uses by Jack Kineer.  Q&A session.

3. The Law Leads Us to Christ: The Law and Its First Use by Barry York.  Q&A session.

4. The Law Restrains Evil: The Law and Its Second Use by Richard Gamble.  Q&A session.

5. The Law Guides Us in Gratitude: The Law and Its Third Use by John Tweeddale.  Q&A session.

6. The Heart of the Matter: Avoiding Legalism by C.J. Williams.  Q&A session.

Life is Winning in Indiana

Last night, Life Centers, a pregnancy resource center here in central Indiana, hosted its thirty-first annual Celebration of Life banquet. The fund-raiser was headlined by keynote speaker Eric Metaxas. Indiana Governor Mike Pence addressed the audience of nearly one-thousand friends of life, and he ceremonially signed new pro-adoption legislation.

Testimonies were shared by women who have had abortions in the past but who are now counseling in centers around Indianapolis. Other stories highlighted the lives of nearly seven-thousand men, women, and children helped over the last year with a wide range of services. Two-hundred-thirty-nine women over the last year came to the centers seriously considering abortion but, by God’s grace, chose to carry their children to term. Many also put their faith in Jesus Christ through the ministry of Life Centers and have become part of local churches that labor together with it. How anyone could sit through these stories at the banquet with dry eyes, I’ll never know.

Emperor Norton and King Jesus

Between 1859 and 1880 four presidents served the United States, but  as they came and went, one emperor reigned in the United States . Lincoln, Jackson, Grant, and Hayes were all president of the United States during that time, but Emperor Norton I was Emperor of the whole United States and Protector of Mexico.

“Back East” there were significant events that were shaping the growing nation, such as the Pony Express sending mail from coast to coast. The Homestead Act opened the fly-over states resulting in a population surge (including many Covenanters) along the prairies and fields of grain. The Emancipation Proclamation freed Southern slaves and eventually the United States would work on healing herself following a war of ideologies.  And who could forget the fact that the National League was founded as a cradle for Dodger’s baseball (go Blue!).

Many things were changing in the United States between 1859 and 1880,  but one thing remained a constant. Emperor Norton was the self-proclaimed rightful heir of the United States and Mexico. 

Washington Reflections (Guest Post by Emory York)

Recently my daughter Emory, a freshman nursing student at Purdue University, traveled through the night with friends to attend an event in Washington D.C.  Upon her return, after I listened to her describe her experience over the phone in the tears and raw emotion of uncalloused youth, I asked her to put her thoughts into writing.  They follow below.

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The agonizing cries, which can only proceed from the most tortured of human souls, pierced the silence of my imagination. I could almost smell the reek of unwashed, decaying, and burning human flesh.  Haunted figures and hollowed eyes presented themselves before me wherever I turned. There was no escape from the overwhelming sense that I was experiencing no small taste of hell.

Such were the thoughts and emotions which flooded over me as I walked through the National Holocaust Museum in our nation’s capital.  After being confronted with the acute depravity of mankind, museum visitors are quoted saying, “This can never be allowed to happen in any form again.” We leave appalled, but comforted with the fact that we would never participate in such horrific evil.  We think that our nation is so much more advanced and we have come so far [...]

Praying for Public Officials

State lawmakers and executives take up their work in earnest in January in Indiana – and probably in most states. God’s people need to be earnest in making supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way, as the Lord commands us through Paul. How can we more effectively pray?

The Prison House of Debt

As our leaders drive us down the road toward the fiscal cliff, we need help understanding the vast debt we are accruing as a nation.  The video below [HT: Tim Challies] helps us visualize it, along with emphasizing the Biblical truth that debt enslaves and imprisons people.  We need to pray for our land.

The Blog to End All Blogs? A Post-Election Plea

Many thanks to Barry York, James Faris and Nathan Eshelman – and by extension to Dr. Joel Beeke! – for your heartfelt articles pertaining to the national elections (forgive me if I missed any authors!).  Thanks for being willing to step into the virtual minefield of this volatile topic with  the courage of your convictions as well as the kindness and humility which demonstrate your sincere love for Christ and desire to serve Him.  Thanks for leading by example in ensuring that Gentle Reformation is able to address fiery topics with the fruit of the Spirit.

Now that the election is over,