Posts Tagged ‘Christian Nation’

Brian Schwertley on Isaiah 49:23 and Establishment

June 23, 2012

In the quotation below Rev. Schwertley corrects both the modern Theonomic neglect of this text, and the Puritan abuse of it, to provide us with a balance Establishmentarian-Theonomic interpretation:

“Isaiah 49:23 is an important passage regarding the role of the state in a Christian nation. This passage however has been basically ignored by the modern theonomy movement. The likely reason for this is that this passage appears to give the civil government a role too active in religious affairs for many theonomists. Theonomists for the most part restrict the magistrate’s role to the punishment of evil doers. One can understand why theonomists have avoided this passage when one sees how it was used in the past. Calvin says in his commentary on this passage, “Undoubtedly, while kings bestow careful attention on these things, they at the same time supply the pastors and ministers of the Word with all that is necessary for food and maintenance, provide for the poor and guard the Church against the disgrace of pauperism; erect schools, and appoint salaries for the teachers and board for the students; build poorhouses and hospitals, and make every other arrangement that belongs to the protection and defense of the Church.”23 Calvin appears to argue for a type of Christian-welfare-statism. However, he does not say where all of the money will come from to pay for these state benefits. The Puritans and early Presbyterians were totally in favor of establishing State Christian schools. Rushdoony dismisses all such thinking in his Institutes, “The heavily classical learning of medieval and Reformation scholars often led them astray. A verse sometimes cited as evidence of the parental role of the state is Isaiah 49:23. But this verse refers to the remnant of Israel, who shall be restored to Jerusalem and reestablished as a state under the protection of other states, who shall be as ‘nursing fathers.’ The reference is to the reestablishment of the Hebrew commonwealth under Nehemiah, with the protection of the Medo-Persian Empire. The imagery has nothing to do with a parental role for the state and everything to do with the superior protecting role of a great empire for a small civil order which is reconstituting.” Although Rushdoony’s desire to avoid the civil magistrate’s active role in welfare programs, church funding and public schools is understandable, there is no need to restrict Isaiah 49:23 to Old Testament Israel.25 As noted, the vast majority of commentators believe it also applies to the New Covenant church; and, even if it did refer only to national Israel it still could be extended to the New Covenant era by way of application. The word ómnâ translated foster fathers does not necessarily imply a Christian welfare state. Calvin and the puritans in their exegesis of Isaiah 49:23 have ignored the strict parameters in God’s law which place schooling in the hands of the parents, not the state; and charity in the hands of families, individuals and the church, not the civil magistrate. There is simply no way that a state can pay for all the programs enumerated by Calvin without taxing the populace. Taxation without divine authorization is theft.26 Furthermore, Romans 13:1-6 limits the state to punishing evildoers and praising those who do good. Praise cannot be extended into welfare checks and socialized medicine. Calvin, the Puritans and early Presbyterians were sometimes led astray by vague medieval notions regarding natural law. However, if a state came upon great wealth through the spoils of a just war it could donate funds to church planting, printing, missionary endeavors, etc. The state’s job is not to collect tithes for the church by coercing its citizens. Given the biblical teaching regarding the role of civil magistrate the words foster fathers should be interpreted in the sense that the civil magistrate is the guardian, the protector of the church. The state is to have an active role in suppressing idolatry, damnable heresies and blasphemy; punishing blatant Sabbath desecrators, etc.”

Read more:

Political Polytheism


Rev. James R. Willson on the advancement of the Christian religion and the U.S. Constitution

January 18, 2012

James R. Willson (1780-1853)

“The constitution positively declares that nothing shall be done by the government for the advancement of the Christian religion. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Amendments, Art. I. The words are not Congress shall not establish any religion; but “no law respecting the establishment of religion.” Whatever has any respect to religion, or tends to give it stability, is prohibited by this article. Any act of homage to Almighty God is religion. Any law that would encourage or countenance act of homage to Jehovah, would tend to the establishment of religion. Here, then, is an institution which some men say is an ordinance of God, but which does solemnly disclaim the doctrine of being ordained by him; and which formally proclaims that it will not do any thing to promote the glory of his holy name. What should we say of the ambassador of a nation who would publicly announce his intention to do no act for promoting the honor of those whom he represents? We have the promise of our God, that in New Testament times it shall be otherwise: “Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their Queens their nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee, with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet.” On the theory of the United States Constitution, this cannot take place.

Why treat thus all religion? Why disfranchise, by a solemn act the church of the living God? Is the benevolent, pure, holy, heaven born religion of Emmanuel, hostile to the happiness of the republic? Shall commerce, agriculture, the arts, literature—all the other lawful pursuits, be countenanced, fostered, protected, and established on as permanent a basis, as possible and the true religion be put under the ban of the empire? But they say, let religion alone. Do they, however, adopt the laissez nous faire, in relation to manufactures and trade? No. We cherish all, but respecting the advancement of religion, Congress shall never do any thing. When the child is born, were the father and mother to say, laissez l’infant faire—leave the babe to itself—would that lie to act as a nursing father and mother? Surely no. There must be a far different kind of constitution among the nations, when the promise is fulfilled, that “Kings shall be nursing fathers.” God Almighty says, in the text quoted above, that civil rulers shall nurse the church—the Constitution says they shall not. Which is right? “Ah! sinful nation, laden with iniquity.” God spares thee for the sake of his redeemed, that his moral subjects on earth may be, by the gospel of his Son, reclaimed from sin and rebellion—that on the earth, through his own holy religion, he may expatiate the glories of redemption. The Constitution says religion shall be discountenanced by the Congress of the United States.”

Prince Messiah’s Claims to Dominion Over all Governments and the Disregard of His Authority by the United States in the Federal Constitution

So much for the Christian right saying the Constitution is a “Christian” document.

Rev. Samuel B. Wylie on civil government being an ordinance of God

January 17, 2012

Samuel B. Wylie (1773-1852)

“Civil government does not, as some modern politicians affirm, originate either in the people, as its fountain, or in the vices consequent upon the fall. Among the angels, who retained their primitive rectitude, we find certain orders, suggested by the denominations of Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, and Powers, Col. 1:16. This testifies regular subordination among them, agreeable to the constitutional laws of their nature, and their amenability to God, their Creator and Lord. But though civil government is no new order of things, predicated upon the fall, nor, like the ministry, in all its circumstances, flowing immediately from Christ as Mediator; yet it is among the all things committed to him by the donation of the Father, Eph. 1:22. Its officers likewise, are enjoined, under pain of perdition, to make all their administrations bend to the honour of Immanuel: and the body politic indispensably bound to modify their constitutions by his word, when in his goodness he has revealed it unto them. Ps. 2:10,12: “Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” Can any thing be more explicit in demonstrating the obligation of the civil authorities to render homage and respect to Messiah?”

The Two Sons Of Oil; or, The Faithful Witness for Magistracy and Ministry upon a  Scriptural Basis.

So much for social conservatives saying the power of government is in “we the people.”

The magistrate’s duty to keep the first table of the law

January 17, 2012

Rev. Brain Schwertley has gone into great detail in his civil government lecture series to define the proper role of the civil magistrate. In this lecture he deals with case laws and the role and duty of the magistrate to keep the first table of the law. This teaching is somewhat controversial among some Theonomist and Presbyterian bodies but it is entirely scriptural and in full agreement with the original Westminster Standards.

The civil magistrate’s duty to upload and defend the Westminster Standards

January 13, 2012

St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh Scotland

The civil magistrate’s duty to upload and defend the Westminster Standards in his office:

“It doth therefore concern all ranks and conditions of persons to be the more aware and circumspect, especially in that which concerns the National Covenant, and the Solemn League and Covenant, that before his Majesty [i.e. Charles II] be admitted to the exercise of his royal power, that by and honor  the oath of coronation, he shall assure and declare by his solemn oath under his hand and seal his allowance of the National Covenant, and of the Solemn League and Covenant, and obligation to prosecute the ends thereof in his station and calling, and that he shall for himself and his successors, consent and agree to Acts of Parliament, injoyning the Solemn League and Covenant, and fully Establishing Presbyterial Government, the Directory of Worship, the Confession of Faith and Catechisms, as they are approved by the General Assembly of this Kirk and Parliament of this Kingdom, in all his Majesties Dominions, and that he shall never make opposition to any of these, nor endeavour any change thereof.” [The Acts Of The General Assemblies Of The Church Of Scotland: From the Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive, “A seasonable and necessary Warning and Declaration, concerning Present and Imminent dangers, and concerning duties relating thereto; from the Generall Assembly of this Kirk, unto all the Members thereof”, 27 July 1649, Session 27, p. 460]

[The Acts Of The General Assemblies Of The Church Of Scotland: From the Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive, “A seasonable and necessary Warning and Declaration, concerning Present and Imminent dangers, and concerning duties relating thereto; from the Generall Assembly of this Kirk, unto all the Members thereof”, 27 July 1649, Session 27, p. 460]

Note: What are known as the  Westminster Standards are in bold front.

Rev. James R. Willson on the Founding Fathers and the Constitutional Convention of 1776

January 12, 2012

The Constitutional Convention of 1776

“Britain and the United States are colonies within Jehovah’s government; and if they refuse to acknowledge the authority of Messiah, he will treat them as rebel provinces of his empire. In the United States, the refusal to acknowledge God, has probably been more explicit than it ever was in any other nation. Soon after we had obtained, through the beneficent providence of God, liberation from the dominion of a foreign power; soon after the most eminent displays of Jehovah’s goodness to our land; the convention, elected to form articles of fundamental law for the commonwealth, rejected the government of God, and with a degree of ingratitude, perhaps without a parallel, formed a constitution in which there is not the slighest hint of homage to the God of heaven; in which God receives no more honor than the devil. They force all within their territories to bow before them, but they refuse to bow before the throne of God. This is a species of national atheism, almost as enormous as that of the French republic, whose representatives voted, that there is no God. It is to all intents practical atheism; and we cannot doubt that those who planned such rebellion against the King of kings and Lord of lords, were practical atheists and professed infidels.” – Rev. James Renwick Willson (1780-1853).

The subjection of kings and nations to Messiah : a sermon preached on Monday, December 6, 1819, immediately after the dispensation of the Lord’s Supper, in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, in the city of New-York

Recognizing The Authority Of The Lord Jesus Christ and His Law Word

January 10, 2012

James Renwick Willson (1780-1853)

“It is the duty of believers who would be faithful in their allegiance to the “one like unto the son of man”—to Messiah the prince of the kings of the earth, to dissent from all those institutions of civil government, which in christian nations do not recognize the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, nor profess to be governed in their constitutions and laws by the word of God revealed in the Holy Scriptures. “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.” Ex. 23:22. “Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” Eph. 5:7. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4. Were any land, filled with Bibles, thousands of christian ministers, and hundreds of thousands of professors of the christian religion, to frame constitutions of civil government, without naming the Lord Jesus Christ, or his Bible, or his Church; without any recognition of his authority, without any notice of God, as their supreme Lord, without even alluding to the claims of his law; were they to proceed on the principle that the ultimate source of all civil authority, is the will of the majority of the people; were they to open the doors of office, to all the enemies of God, and constitutionally forbid the exclusion of these wicked men from office; and were they to make provision by their constitution for the enslaving and holding in perpetual bondage millions of unoffending men; would not such a nation commit sin in the doing of all this? Could all these transactions be otherwise fairly construed than as acts of rebellion against the Prince of the kings of the earth? Would any christian be free from sin in assenting to these acts of dishonour done to Christ, in making them all his own by an oath of allegiance, and taking an active part in the administration of the laws under such constitutions? If it be possible to offer an indignity to Christ by any national neglect and contempt of his government and law, it would be done by such deeds as these. If any one can commit sin by following a multitude to do evil, would it not be done by such a recognition of such constitutions? Proposed in this abstract form, did no one see its immediate practical bearing, perhaps, there could not be found any believer in the Bible who would not, at once assent to the conclusion that it would be sin. All would probably condemn the nation as guilty of sin, and also all who would incorporate themselves with them in these doings. But popular errors, interest, the fear of man, of reproach, and the pride of life blind the eyes of millions. Such a nation is the United States; a land filled with Bibles, more than ten thousand Protestant ministers, and churches, and many hundreds of thousands of professors baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and claiming to be his disciples. Yet this nation has framed its federal or national constitution on the principles supposed above. Notwithstanding all the disregard manifested for the law of God, the honour conferred on his avowed enemies, and the enslaving of millions of men, under the solemn sanction of constitutional law, the great majority of professing christians assent to all, and are much displeased, when any one calls in question the righteousness of these national deeds. There is no visible body of christians, that have abstained from a participation in these evils, or that bear witness against them, except Reformed Presbyterians.”

The Rule of Duty to Christian Nations to Civil Institutions by James Renwick Willson (1780-1853).

Rev. James Willson calling the Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention of 1776 professing infidels

January 10, 2012

James Renwick Willson (1780-1853)

“Never in any form, since the United States became an independent nation, has it acknowledged the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, nor professed subjection to his law. The convention that ratified and unanimously signed the present Federal Constitution, could not have meant to do so, as is demonstrated by many solid arguments. The question was debated, and a very large majority refused to insert any acknowledgment of God, or of the religion of his Son. Had this not been done, the members were men of too much discernment, to have overlooked, through inattention, a matter of so great magnitude. If they intended to acknowledge Christ, it would have been in such terms, as to admit of no doubt. There were many deists in the convention, such as Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, Thomas Mifflin, Governor Morris, and James Madison. Governor Morris and Thomas Jefferson, affirm that General Washington was also a deist. Yet all these infidels signed the constitution. Would they have done so in the presence of those who knew them to be opposed to revealed religion had the instrument been christian. Could the Presidents of the United States, three of whom, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, were certainly infidels, numerous members of congress, Governors of States, and many other officers of the General and State governments, have sworn to the Federal Constitution, had it been understood to recognize the headship of Messiah, whom they held to be an impostor? It has never been the understanding of the nation that the constitution acknowledges the Lord Jesus Christ, or professes subjection to his laws. All infidels have sworn to the support of that instrument, and no one has ever thought of charging them with inconsistency. The present President of the United States, in his message to congress, at the opening of the extra session of 1837, says: “The will of a majority of the people is the supreme law, in all things that come within the jurisdiction of the Federal government.” In all the opposition to his administration, this sentiment has never been called in question. The politicians of the nation, would generally reject with detestation, the doctrine, that the constitution binds to the acknowledgment of the Bible as the supreme rule of legislation in this commonwealth. All these arguments are sealed, by the following provision. “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”This prohibits the passage of any law excluding gamblers, whoremongers, slaveholders, profane swearers, sabbath violaters, gross idolators, blasphemers of the divinity of Christ, deists or atheists, from access to the highest honours of the land, for to exclude any of these, would be to require a religious test. A man might be convicted of any and even of all these sins, and yet be eligible to any office. Here is a flat contradiction to the Bible. “He that ruleth over men must be just ruling in the fear of God.” 2 Sam. 23:3. If the constitution acknowledged Christ, the christian religion, or Jehovah, in any article directly or indirectly, it would thereby establish a religious test, as no deist or atheist could swear to its support. This sweeping clause is found in the conclusion of a section declaring, “that all executive and judicial officers both of the United States and of the several States shall be bound, by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution.” It has been pleaded that this provision acknowledges the christian religion . But how vainly? Heathens swear oaths. An atheist might come into office by an affirmation. The concluding sentence forbidding all religious tests, shews how anxious the framers were to avoid even a seeming acknowledgment of God or his holy religion.”

The Rule of Duty to Christian Nations to Civil Institutions by James Renwick Willson (1780-1853).