Sunday, November 25, 2018

"The Gospel and the Cave Man"

I received an email recently from a friend of mine I wanted to respond to here on the blog. In the email the statement was made:


[David] You said, "The Bible is not confusing concerning the Gospel and the Christian faith, it’s clarity rings clearly." David, the Bible is clearly a book of confusion by evidence of thousands upon thousands of churches that disagree on what the Bible says. That is a fact. You see no confusion in the Bible because you believe you have the right interpretation of the scriptures and its meanings are clear to you.  Well, those who disagree with your interpretation believe they have the right interpretation. That is clear evidence the Bible is a book of confusion. Thus the Christian world is a house divided.

 Again I must state that you understand the Church and Christian people fairly well, but you have a grave misunderstanding of the Bible. That's not a criticism, for it is fully understandable considering the true fact of your observations. Yes, the church is divided and confused, and yes, each faction believes it has the truth. However, this is not the fault of the Bible. First, let's look at my statement:

“The Bible is not confusing concerning the Gospel and the Christian faith, it’s clarity rings clearly."

Just what is the Gospel and the Christian faith? To answer that we will have to go to the Bible, so bear with me for a few moments.

In the Apostle Paul's words: 1Co 15:1  Now I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, 
1Co 15:2  by which also ye are saved if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. 
1Co 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 
1Co 15:4  and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; 
1Co 15:5  and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; 
1Co 15:6  then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; 
1Co 15:7  then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; 
1Co 15:8  and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. 
1Co 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 
1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not found vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 
1Co 15:11  Whether then it be I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. 

That is the Gospel of the Christian faith, this is the belief of every true Christian Church. There is no ambiguity or confusion about it. It is simple and it is clear. There is no confusion in the Church concerning the Gospel and the Christian faith. I use to love the commercial from Geico, “It's so easy a caveman can do it”. Well, that's so simple a caveman can understand it. Paul preached this in the first Century and it has been preached in every Century since. You make reference to my interpretation, the Gospel as stated above, which is the full and complete substance of the Gospel, needs no interpretation. So let me reassert my statement, “The Bible is not confusing concerning the Gospel and the Christian faith, it’s clarity rings clearly."


So what about your statement, “David, the Bible is clearly a book of confusion by evidence of thousands upon thousands of churches that disagree on what the Bible says.”?

The Bible is a most wonderful book, it presents to us so much, history, poetry, drama, etc,. So many things to challenge the mind, the only thing missing in it litterateur value would be fiction. It presents the Gospel, God's plan for man's salvation in terms so simple that even a caveman can understand it. Yet, it also presents depths of theological thought that strain the minds of the greatest theologians.

You notice in 1Co 15:11 above Paul said, “Whether then it be I or they, so we preach, . . .” This was the message that was and is universal. They were all saying the same thing and they are all still saying the same thing. It is the Gospel that we preach.

However, The Apostle Peter said, “2Pe 3:15  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; 
2Pe 3:16  as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Though the Gospel is clear and simple, the how and why of the Gospel reaches much deeper. How does the Gospel achieve that which it states? Why was it necessary to achieve what it claims in the ways it was worked out in space and time? Answering these questions can be very difficult and hard. It is in the mind of man to answer and understand these difficult things. I believed the Gospel, after doing so I naturally wanted to know how it achieved what it did for me. Each discovery was a treasure and is still so today as my mind is constantly challenged in understanding the workings of the Gospel. However, because something is hard and difficult to understand does not make it confusing, it makes it hard and difficult to understand. One has to study, reasons things out, stretch one's mind, and in the process make some mistakes along the way. Discovering those mistakes and starting again is the process to form a more accurate theological view. It is in these things the theologians disagree on, challenge one another, as the scripture says, “Pro 27:17  Iron sharpeneth iron; So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

So these disagreements are not a bad thing, they are a very good thing for us. I welcome all who disagree with me to challenge my assertions for my own good as well as theirs.

You will notice Peter also mentioned the ignorant and unstedfast, that they wrest or we would say today, twist the scriptures. The word ignorant here simply means unlearned, they misunderstand certain things because they have not yet learned other things that would make this understanding more clear. It's not a derogatory statement but a statement of being. The word unstedfast has the meaning vacillating or changing. This is occurring as a result of the previous state of being. The result of this is a wresting of the scriptures. One could use the terms twist, stretch, or pervert. This does create confusion because the scripture is presented stretched or saying something beyond what it does. The Greek term was sometimes translated as tortured, implying making it say something it did not say. However, as you can see, the cause is not the scripture, but the use of it and the proclaiming of it by those of this state of being. Again, because it has some hard components that require some diligence and work, that does not make it confusing. It makes it require some diligence and work.
I have read after some of the greatest theologians in history, some of the most brilliant minds, none of them referred to the Bible as confusing. They recognized it's difficulty in understanding the workings of the Gospel, but never considered it confusing.


Example? Let's take a point of disagreement within the church. Infant Baptism is an issue of division. Some Denominations practice infant Baptism, others strongly disagree with this practice. As a result, the feeling is so strong these two groups have assembled their own denomination separate from the others. So why is this such a confusing practice in the Christian faith? Let's look at the confusing scriptures that make this so divisive within the Christian community. I will list them in order in the following brackets.

[ …................................] There they are, that is what the Bible has to say about infant Baptism. There is no instruction in the New Testament concerning this practice, there is no mention of this practice in the New Testament, and there is no example of this practice in the New Testament. However, the Bible says in Col 2:11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Col 2:12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

In connecting circumcision to baptism it is inferred upon the scriptures that since the children were circumcised on the eighth day and baptism is the New Testament circumcision then it would require the baptism of our children as the Old Testament required of their children in circumcision. A compelling argument can be made using this inference. You made reference to my interpretation, my interpretation would rest upon the scriptures in the brackets above, for that is what the New Testament says about it. The compelling argument made from this inference is not enough to convince me over the lack of instruction and example in scripture. The first record we have of the Church practicing infant baptism was at the turn of the 3rd century. The work, (Concerning Baptism) was written, evidently between 200 and 206 by the early church father Tertullian. In it, he questions the wisdom of giving baptism to infants.

He says, “According to everyone’s condition and disposition, and also his age, the delaying of baptism is more profitable, especially in the case of little children. For why is it necessary—if [baptism itself] is not necessary—that the sponsors should be thrust into danger? For they may either fail of their promise by death, or they may be mistaken by a child’s proving of wicked disposition…. They that understand the weight of baptism will rather dread the receiving of it, than the delaying of it. An entire faith is secure of salvation!”

The fact it was occurring this early in church history carries some weight, however, the fact Tertullian is questioning the practice also indicates it could possibly be some new addition to the baptismal practice. So, throughout Church history, this practice has been an issue of confusion in greater and lesser degrees throughout the centuries and remains with us today. However, to say that is because the Bible is confusing on the matter I will again refer you to the scriptures listed in the brackets above.

The matters of division and confusion within the church is not a result of the Bible being confusing, it is a result of the nature of human beings determined to go the MacDonald's and have it their way. These groups, however, do not separate over the Gospel, for its clarity is overwhelming and the unity of the faith pervades throughout these denominational divisions. They even preach in each other's churches and unit together in teaching and conferences. The church is indeed united in the faith and the Gospel. Are these division detrimental? Absolutely, and so scripture cautions and instructs us to avoid such questions and to be of the same mind. Scripture does this because it anticipates the nature of men.

This is of course only one example, there are more than you and I would care to examine. We could drive ourselves into infinity trying to exhaust the subject of divisions within the church. None of which you will find the Bible at fault, for it is clear and precise concerning the Gospel, and hard and difficult concerning its workings, but never confusing. To say you understand the Bible and at the same time say it is confusing is an oxymorn considering the theological minds that have given their lives to the study of it, none of which saw it as confusing.


Having said all that, let me make an acknowledgment before you correct me. This is the general cause over the centuries of divisions among Christians. They vary from slight misunderstanding to dangerous errors and have and should be dealt with accordingly. However, I do acknowledge certain ambiguity in certain scriptures as a result of the expanse of time since the event, and certain language difficulties through translations. Many of these can be solved by looking at other portions of scriptures that address those issues more clearly. In a few instances because of the time and language difficulties, the meaning simply has been lost. None of these affect the doctrinal understanding of the Faith or the Preaching of the Gospel. There are also differences among us in practice and organizational preferences that vary greatly among Christian churches. However, these differences do not exist because the Bible is confusing, they exist because we have different preferences in manners and modes of which the Bible does not address. I realize in your mind this still looks confusing, just remember as you look at all our differences, the core of the Gospel that is the foundation of every true Christian Church.

1Co 15:3 . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 
1Co 15:4  and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; 
1Co 15:5  and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; 
1Co 15:6  then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; 
1Co 15:7  then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; 
1Co 15:8  and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. 
1Co 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 
1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not found vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 
1Co 15:11  Whether then it be I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. 

May the Grace of God be in each of you,

David

Saturday, November 17, 2018

"The truth about religion"

A friend of mine sent a youtube video to me to challenge my belief in God. After viewing it I noticed the thousands of hits it had received. It was quite well done and presented a compelling argument. I did a search for a rebuttal to its claims and found none. So I determined it might be helpful to present one here on the blog. I do not take credit for the information presented as it is all second hand from several sources. I will post links for personal follow-ups in case anyone is interested. You can view the video at the link below, it claims to know the true origin of all religion and to prove beyond any doubt they are all false.

(The truth about religion and its origin)

The following is some of my response:


This video has been around for years, some attribute this award-winning documentary to Christopher Hitchens, however, I can find no reference to him being associated with it. It is a well-done video and craftily put together with misleading and inaccurate facts both concerning the Bible and Mythology. As presented, it forms a compelling argument about the origin of all religions. However, the first question one must ask is, if the video is what it claims to be, why are the leading opponents to Christianity not using their arguments?  It has been around for years, yet the heavy hitters of atheist apologetics seem to ignore this well-hidden truth that exposes the myth of all religions. It is all over youtube being propagated by a huge number of youtube channels hosted by people no one has ever heard of for the most part. They have little more notoriety among the public than I do.   

It loses its credibility with the Christian community when it gets a number of its Biblical references completely wrong. It loses its credibility with the none religious community when it gets its mythology references completely wrong.

There is much to talk about in the video, but Horus seems to be a foundation stone on which to build, so let's start there. It says Horus was conceived by a virgin named Meri and had a stepfather named Seb (Joseph). He was born in a cave and his birth was announced by an angel, heralded by a star and attended by shepherds. He attended a special rite of passage at the age of twelve (although the ancient texts describing this God are silent about His life from the age of 12 to 30). At 30 years of age, he was baptized, his baptizer was later beheaded. He had 12 disciples, performed miracles, exorcized demons, raised someone from the dead, and even walked on water. They called Him “Iusa”, the “ever-becoming son” and the “Holy Child”. He delivered a “Sermon on the Mount”, and his followers recounted his sayings. He was transfigured on a mount and eventually crucified between two thieves. He was buried for three days in a tomb and rose from the dead. His followers called Him “Way”, “the Truth the Light”, “Messiah”, “God’s Anointed Son”, “Son of Man”, “Good Shepherd”, “Lamb of God”, “Word made flesh”, “Word of Truth”, “the KRST” or “Anointed One”. He was also known as “the Fisher” and was associated with the Fish, Lamb, and Lion. According to this ancient religion, he came to fulfill the Law and was supposed to reign one thousand years.

Wow! But really?



Horus was not conceived of a virgin. In fact, mural and textual evidence from Egypt indicates Isis (there is no evidence that “Meri” was ever part of her name) hovered over the erect penis she created of Osiris to conceive Horus. While she may have been a virgin before the conception, she utilized Osiris’ penis to conceive. She later had another son with Osiris as well. There is no evidence of three wise men as part of the Horus story at all. Seb was actually the “earth god”; He was not Horus’ earthly father. Seb is not the equivalent of Joseph and, in most cases, Seb is described as Osiris’ father.

There is no reference to a cave or manger in the Egyptian birth story of Horus. In fact, none of these details are present in the ancient Egyptian stories of Horus, though there are various differing accounts. Horus was born in a swamp. His birth was not heralded by an angel. There was no star.
There is no continuous effort in the Horus mythology to account for all these years, so there are no real gaps in the chronology. Horus never taught in any temple at twelve.

Horus was never baptized, therefore his baptizer could not have been beheaded, there is no such person in the Horus’ story.

Horus had only four disciples, but at some point in his story, there is a reference to sixteen followers and a group of unnumbered followers who join Horus in battle.

Horus certainly performed miracles, he was, after all, described as a god. But there was no mention of exorcizing demons, raising people from the dead or walking on water.

No one in Egyptian history was ever called “Iusa” (the word does not exist) nor was anyone ever called (Holy Child).

Horus never delivered a “Sermon on the Mount”, nor was he transfigured.
Horus is not reported to have died at all in the vast majority of Egyptian narratives. There is also no crucifixion story. Crucifixion was not a known manner of execution until the Roman era. Instead, Horus is usually described as eventually merging with Re (the Sun god) after which he “dies” and is “reborn” every day as the sun rises. They did come close to being accurate in this reference, however, tying that to a resurrection is more than a far stretch. There is a parallel account describing Horus’ death and detailing how he was cast in pieces into the water, later fished out by a crocodile at Isis’ request. 

None of these titles are in Egyptian history, the “Way”, “the Truth the Light”, “Messiah”, “God’s Anointed Son”, “Son of Man”, “Good Shepherd”, “Lamb of God”, “Word made flesh”, “Word of Truth”, “the KRST” or “Anointed One”. However, Horus is called by several names you might expect for any god in mythology: “Great God”, “Chief of the Powers”, “Master of Heaven”, and “Avenger of His Father”. The word “Krst” in Egyptian means “burial” (it wasn’t a title at all).
In case you are thinking I retrieved this information from some bias Christian site, here are a few secular links you can go to and read the story of Horus.








Another seeming important stone of this video is an ancient God by the name of Mithras. There is no surviving Mithraic scripture; most of what is known about Mithras comes from statues and murals that have no captions, or from the writings of ancient Christians who described Mithraic rituals many years after the arrival of Jesus. The vast majority of scholarly work on this mythological character is pure speculation.
It is stated that Mithras was born of a virgin on December 25th, in a cave, attended by shepherds.

Mithras was actually born out of solid rock, leaving a cave. He was not born of a virgin unless you consider the rock mountain to have been a virgin. His birth was celebrated on December 25th, but both Mithras worshippers and the earliest Christians borrowed this celebration from earlier winter solstice celebrations. Nowhere in the Bible is the date of Jesus birth given. The December 25 celebration of the birth of Christ is an adoption of pagan holidays by the church and cannot be supported by the Bible. The earliest version of the Mithras narrative that includes shepherds appears one hundred years after the appearance of the New Testament; it is far more likely Mithraism borrowed the shepherds from Christianity than the other way around. 

Mithras was considered a great traveling teacher and master. However, there is nothing in the Mithras tradition that indicates he was a teacher of any kind, but he could have been considered a master of sorts. But why would we expect any deity to be anything less than a great teacher and master?
It is said that Mithras had 12 companions or disciples. There is no evidence for any of this in the traditions of Iran or Rome. It is possible that the idea that Mithras had 12 disciples came from a mural in which Mithras is surrounded by twelve signs and personages of the Zodiac (two of whom are the moon and the sun), but even this imagery is post-Christian.

It is said that Mithras performed miracles, this claim is true, but what mythological god didn’t perform miracles?

It is said that Mithras was buried in a tomb and after three days rose again, and Mithras was celebrated each year at the time of His resurrection (later to become Easter).

There is nothing in the Mithras tradition that indicates he ever even died, let alone was buried or resurrected. Tertullian, the ancient Christian Case Maker, did write about Mithraic believers re-enacting resurrection scenes, but he wrote about this occurring well after New Testament times. This again appears to be another example of Mithras followers borrowing from Christianity.




Though presented well, this video is nothing more than a false and deceptive means to discredit not only Christianity but all religions. In reality, there has never existed a religion similar to Christianity. All other religions have their rituals and works to try and please a deity, and if done well enough, one can warrant eternal life in some form or fashion. Christianity alone offers forgiveness without works of righteous meriting its favor. Man is given Commandments as a means to bring him to the understanding he is not capable of pleasing his deity. He, therefore, must look to another. You do not believe there is a God, I understand that. This is only to demonstrate that you cannot look to this video as a support for that belief. It is obvious from the views that are posted on the various versions of this video it has lead thousands upon thousands of minds into deception. It was intended for that very purpose, for one cannot present such a false misrepresentation of widely available facts by accident. The propagation of it across the internet is much attributed to deceived minds thinking they are doing society a service by revealing a hidden conspiracy. However, what they are unknowingly doing, is increasing the deception. 

For more information concerning the Horus / Jesus Controversy see the link below:



May the Grace of God be upon each of you,

David


Friday, October 26, 2018

"Pop Christianity"

I was recently reading a book by a good friend of mine concerning changes in Country Music. He has identified a distinction between real Country Music and what we have as Pop Country. I was provoked by the principles that Gene was applying as he wrote. I began to see how those principles reached into so many areas of life. Not being a Country Music fan, my mind and thoughts began to draw similarities to something I am familiar with, Christianity. So, I am going to take some of Gene's thoughts and apply them to the Gospel. If you are a Country Music fan, I refer you to Gene's book. You can find it on his web page, the link is in the column here just to your right under link suggestions. Just click on the link titled "Gene's Page" and it will take you to his site where you can review his book and purchase it if you like.

The following statements in brackets are from Gene's book, [21st Century Country Music and The Essie Accolades].

[The 21st-century producers and executives in the country music industry are eradicating the country music genre.] As a new generation arises and the older become less attentive, promoters can introduce new elements into industry or institutions without changing the name. Over time what you will have is something by a name you are all too familiar with, but in essence, it has become something else. I think perhaps we are in a real danger of this very thing today in Christianity.

[Okay, pop music sells and real country music not as much.] Okay, pop Christianity sells and real Christianity not as much. "Mat 7:14  But the gate that opens the way to true life is narrow. And the road that leads there is hard to follow. Only a few people find it." There is a Christianity today being promoted across our nation and around the world that is very appealing to people as a whole. It has a good feel about it, great entertainment and a pleasant accepting atmosphere. However, it is not real Christianity. It doesn't produce the same effects upon a person as the real Gospel. You may enjoy the beat for a moment, but it has no real lasting effect on one's life.

[What is pop music? Pop is short for popular, and pop music is defined as music with a broad popular appeal.] Pop Christianity has this broad popular appeal, it is marketed through many media outlets and has a variety of styles which fluctuates with the changing trends. Pop Christianity looks for what is popular and adapts its styles of worships to be more acceptable with the surrounding cultural trends. You can go with this new pop Christianity without making substantial changes in lifestyle and your worldly pursuits.

[So what exactly is country music? Country music has a particular style of singing, a definitive sound of music, clarity of words with a story, and an identifiable melody.] So what exactly is the Gospel? The Gospel has a particular truth, there is a definitive sound to that truth which carries with it a clarity of words as it unveils the story of redemption. It is always identifiable by that truth.

"Co 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1Co 15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1Co 15:5  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 

1Co 15:6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 
1Co 15:7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 
1Co 15:8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
1Co 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1Co 15:11  Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.  


[I believe the standard for country music, a way to judge a song to be country or not, was set by the great classic songs and country singers of the 50's and 60's.] I believe the standard for the Gospel and Christianity, a way to judge if it is the true Gospel or true Christianity is the Scripture. I've haven't consulted Gene on this, but I will assume there are elements of real Country music in Pop Country, enough so, to pass it off as Country to an unsuspecting audience. On today's scene, we have a face of Christianity that identifies itself with enough elements of real Christianity that on the surface it sounds right, but in reality, the roots are drawing their nourishment from unholy sources.

[Even though it seems real country music wannabes are strangling country music, real country music is not dead; it's unquestionably struggling to be heard and sometimes will push through the noise pollution on country music radio and raise to the top. Congratulations to Jon Pardi! You made real country music fans proud!] Even though it seems the real Gospel is being overcome with this new flashy and fresh Gospel message, the real Gospel which produces real Christianity is not dead. It can still be found in the Scriptures, "Jud 1:3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." This faith remains sound, its path can be clearly heard, clearly followed through Christian History. Our Scriptures are the foundation, the creeds, counsels, and confessions throughout church history help define for us what we are really about. What does real Christianity look like? The Apostle's creed dating back to about 140 AD gives us a glimpse. That understanding is still essential to a professing believer today. The Nicene Creed of 325 also continues to be sound doctrine in the Christian faith.

Some will quip that it is impossible to know what Christianity really was as it has evolved so much over the centuries. Implying men invented new ways of worship as the church grew. O, men have invented new ways of worship, but it is not because the church evolved and we don't know what it was in the beginning.  It's because it's what men do, their pride and arrogance convince them they know a better way. However, this is overcome with a careful study of the Scriptures and a fairly decent understanding of Church history. We have so many copies of the Scriptures in so many different languages, copies of the creeds and writings from the church in the second century onward, it is clearly understood what the church was and what Christianity is. What Christianity is, has not changed or evolved since it was first introduced. It has grown and increased in knowledge and understanding, but it has not changed. A Christian in the first century is the same as in the 21 century. His actions, his thoughts, his purpose, his goals, his desires, his understanding of the Scriptures and his love of truth are the same from then until now. If you are seeing something different, hearing something new, you are not seeing and hearing the Gospel, for it does not change. It is not about entertainment or popularity, about pleasure and success in this world, never has been. It's about a fallen race of people and their redemption from their fall. A humble people knowing their weaknesses, guarding against them, looking for Grace to overcome them. Don't go for Pop Christianity, search for the real stuff. If what you have allows you to live your life with the same life goals as the world around you, you do not have the real Gospel. The real Gospel will set you apart, what other can do, you cannot. That's not a cannot by law, but a cannot by conscience, you simply just cannot. You have a desire driving you another way, a way you must follow or else.

May the Grace of God be with each of you,

David

             

Saturday, October 20, 2018

"The Judges"

Article III

Section 1.

The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

Years ago for a short time, I tested my skills in the arena of sales. In training, I was told there were two things I was never to engage in. I was never to enter into a conversation concerning politics or religion with a potential customer. It was understood, everyone I knew and everyone I met was a potential customer. Over the years I have received this advise numerous times from various people. The problem with this is, two of my favorite subjects is politics and religion.

I don't like partyism in politics, and I don't like the mess we make of things in religion. Unfortunately, as a result of our human nature, you cannot have either of these without the presence of these vices. So we have to approach both of these venues with an awareness of these vices both in ourselves and others. With that being said, I want to express some views concerning Judge Kavanaugh and his appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States.

It is said by some, he is disqualified from this appointment by the accusations that have been made against him. Others see his demeanor during his defense of those allegations as being so partisan and emotional that, that in itself disqualifies him from that appointment. I am aware the passions run deep in us when it comes to our party affiliations. I understand that we (and that includes myself) have tendencies to look for support of those we favor and ignore that which does not. Just being aware of this is a great help in working through these things as we debate among ourselves.


The covering on Lady Justice eyes are to symbolize that she is blind to these prejudices but in reality, this is very difficult to achieve. President Jefferson speaking of the Supreme Court said, "Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps." ~ Thomas Jefferson.


We must also conclude they suffer from the same passions that all men do. (I use the word "men" in the biblical sense to include both genders). So we must understand that every man who stands to be judged worthy of this office are at best only men. 

That being said, an office of such veneration as the Supreme Court, does require a high level of scrutiny upon the character of the individual. A person guilty of such a crime as Judge Kavanaugh was accused is not only unfit for such an office but guilty of a crime worthy of imprisonment. However, an allegation is not a crime, and one cannot assume guilt upon an uncorroborated testimony which produces no evidence, that is a place we do not want to go. If that is allowed in a political environment, the corrupt passions of men and party affiliate will be to strongly tempted to use every opportunity to introduce such allegations to their advantages. 

In the case with Judge Kavanaugh, Miss Ford should have been protected as her allegations were taken very seriously by the appropriate authorities.  We the people should never have heard about this issue unless an investigation provided justifiable cause through witness testimony or evidence to prove guilt could be provided. In that event, Miss Ford and her family would have been spared much harm as well as the Kavanaugh family. The integrity of the Supreme Court would have been maintained, but in this case, party and passion as it all too often does overruled. The result of all this brought the passions of the whole nation in to play. Our political leaders knowing this are now trying to spin the issue in the favor of their respective party. This is not right, but it is to be expected from man. We the people fall prey to this, for we have a tendency to view our party favorites as heroes and their opponents as the villains.


As to his demeanor during his defense, are we to judge as to demand perfection of the human nature before we can accept a nomination? Yes, he appeared angry, yes he showed resentment toward a particular political party. Perhaps there are some who under the circumstances could have restrained such expressions, but very few who would not have felt them.

This is not to justify them, but simply to acknowledge the frailty of the human spirit. One also has to wonder if he had not shown such emotion if that would not have been spun against him. The pundits prior to the Senate hearings were already criticizing his lack of emotion in his TV interview. They were theorizing that if he appeared so during the Senate hearings his demeanor would appear cold and uncaring. Again, do we really want to raise the scrutiny upon the human nature to this level before one can be nominated to the Supreme Court? If we do, how difficult will it be to find such appointees from either party? 

The process has already become very difficult because each party when in power is trying to stack the court in its favor. This is not right, but again to be expected from men. In practice, the judge should rule by the original intent of the law, not by conservative or liberal leanings. However, in reality, they to often render their verdicts based not upon law, but a conservative or liberal interpretation of that law.

In 2015 at former President Obama's state of the union address Justice Ginsburg was caught in photo's falling asleep during the Presidents speech. It was reported by USA Today, "Ginsburg admitted Thursday night that, yes, the photos of her appearing to nod off at President Obama's big speech last month showed her dosing. 'As I often do,' she said. But there was a good reason she added: "I wasn't 100% sober." Obviously, we are not going to through her off the bench for her poor judgment and lack of character. However, if we attempt to reach such perfection of character in our nominations we are going to create an almost impossible rule of measure. Ginsburg, as well as Kavanaugh, did not get where they are by being bad people. They as well as all the justices have already gone through much scrutiny over their careers and previous appointments. That is not to say things can't be missed, therefore, one must always be through when making appointments and nominations, yet taking into consideration the imperfections of human nature.


Things of this nature can have far-reaching consequences. At the turn of the 19th century, a disgruntled writer published several defamatory articles about Presidents Jeffersons character failures, one being that he fathered a child by one of his slaves Sally Hemings. This charge received broad circulation through selective sources. Then as now, there were media publications in favor of and against the various political parties.

No evidence was given for these charges, other than statements made in various publications concerning such things as the likeness of appearance between Hemings child and that of Jefferson. Jefferson's political opponents seized upon these public allegations for their advantage. Again this is not right but expected from the nature of man. This writer had only to make the accusation, no evidence was needed, and President Jefferson came close to impeachment. Two hundred years later Jefferson's character is still in question. Was he an effective President? Can we imagine an American without a Thomas Jefferson? Yet, this still mars his image even today. If true, he certainly did not qualify for the office of president. Yet, do we judge him upon accusation alone? It appears we may have.


In 1998 a Professor produced an article in the journal Nature stating that DNA testing had conclusively proved that Thomas Jefferson had indeed fathered a Hemings child. Strangely, that year President Clinton's impeachment proceedings were under way for his alleged activities with a young intern in the Oval Office. Certain News outlets immediately began to draw similarities. With the announcement of these conclusive DNA reports, arguments began to be made, if a man as great as Thomas Jefferson had engaged in sexual trysts, should such conduct diminish or be allowed to weaken the status of President Clinton.

Oh, the tone of partyism, how sweet the sound. It's like the screeching of a chalkboard to the ears. It was later discovered that the DNA reports were not conclusive as the article had reported. The journal Nature issued an embarrassing retraction stating "The title assigned to our study was misleading." It was discovered that no DNA sample from the Thomas Jefferson family line had been used in the testing. However, the media that had drawn the similarities between Jefferson and Clinton had no interest in reporting the inconclusive results.

So where am I going with all of this? Simply this, we have the greatest form of civil government the world has ever known. Yet, it is filled with all the imperfections that the men that fill its offices are. However, its design anticipates the passions of men, restrains their power, complicates their endeavors and makes government process slow and cumbersome. Our founders understood the nature of man and formed a government of co-equal branches to check and subdue each other. As a result, the government is constantly restrained and the people remain freer. Will mistakes be made? Absolutely, but the design will bring recovery in time. Is justice always served? No, but the design will bring us closer than any party affiliation can ever be trusted to.

Judge Kavanaugh has been appointed as a justice to the United Supreme Court. Could a better candidate have been had? Perhaps, perhaps not, but the process has been completed. It now serves our country well to let the design work and history will determine in the Providence of God the success of our efforts.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,

David


Sunday, October 7, 2018

"Noah Webster and the Gospel"

Noah Webster, (1758-1843) has made a profound impact on American education. Among his most remarkable achievements, is his 1828 American Dictionary of the American language. This work compelled him to spend ten years making a Synopsis of twenty languages, namely, Chaldaic, Syriac, Hebrew, Samaritan, Arabic, Ethiopic, Persian, Hiberno Celtic or native Irish, Anglo Saxon, German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Russian, and English, to which may be added the Armoric and Welsh. This he did to trace the roots of our American language.

He served in the Revolutionary War and was later a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature. He was known as the "School Master of our Republic".

 In 1828 in the preface of his dictionary Mr. Webster stated: "In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. . . . No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people." ~ Noah Webster. 

It is obvious we are missing something today. Such thinking today is so far from our political realm and educational values, it would not even be conceivable for one to make such a statement and be taken seriously. The irony is, we make that judgment while pointing to our Founders and what they intended for us. Is it not strange we claim to live by their principles, all the while rejecting their reasonings for those principles? We love the freedoms they gave us, but we reject the source they themselves attribute to them. We love the freedom they gave us, but reject the principles by which they themselves suggest are necessary for the maintenance of those freedoms.

I know this drives many people nuts, in their minds, it's completely irrational to even consider instructing children in the Christian religion and that be associated with their education and understanding of government.

This demonstrates we have lost the understanding of freedom and its maintenance; and the brilliance at which our Founding generation had arrived. We reject the statement by Mr. Webster because we simply do not understand what he is saying. It is something foreign to us.

This blog is not an attempt to force religion on a nation, neither was that the intent of our Founding generation as they institution government for their new nation. However, it is an attempt to look at their words and their faith, that we might understand them and the government they gave us. You read and hear much about their Deist beliefs and anti-religious thoughts. Yet, when you actually look at what they said and wrote, you discover something entirely different. That is what we want to do here, examine what they wrote and understand how they thought. I believe this will be very beneficial in preserving what they gave us.

After doing so we may determine we have a better and much more reasonable understanding of government and freedom. We may as one recent Presidential candidate proclaimed in his campaign, want to fundamentally change America. If so, we have that prerogative, but we owe our Founding generation the honor of accurately reflecting their thoughts and being honest with them.

It is clear in their writings they did not want government interfering in religious matters. They did not want the government telling them who or how to worship or to force them to worship at all.

However, they did not want the government restricting their religious matters either. They saw their religion as a support to their government and way of life. Naturally, being well educated and instructed in the Christian faith, that would directly influence their thinking when forming laws and institutions of government.

Are we are now to separate our religious faith from our public and political life? This is a farce, for that is an impossibility. If you can separate your faith from your public life, you had no faith to start with. So we may fool ourselves by saying this is what they did, but we deceive ourselves. The only way we can make such observations is to completely ignore what they directly told us in their writings. Here, we do not intend to do that, we intend to look at their writings, take them at their own words, all the while looking at American History as a whole and make our own judgments.

May the Grace of God be with each of you,

David                     

Monday, October 1, 2018

"America and Christianity"

"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen and as the said States have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." ~ Article XI, Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, November 4, 1796.


"Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers." ~ President Barack Obama, speech Cairo University. 

The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing, and it admits of no conclusion. ~ The Writings of Thomas Paine, Volume 4.

"Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter." ~ Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason.

Thomas Paine was no lightweight when it comes to American Independence, his writing, "Common Sense" prepared in 1776 was crystallizing. The wording in the Treaty of Tripoli was coined under the watchful eye of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. The statement President Obama made in Cairo demonstrates the conflict of Christianity that has flowed throughout our history. Many were shocked when he made that statement, but in reality, the statement is factual. Factual in the sense there are American citizens who are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc, who are no less Americans than anyone who would hold the Christian faith.

Yet, there are over 300 court decisions throughout our history that affirm we are a Christian Nation. One cannot visit our Nation's Captial and avoid the religious notations etched in stone to preserve our Christian influence. Who is right? It appears to be the best of times, and the worst of times.

I would suggest the difficulty comes from the uniqueness of the American system. From this uniqueness, one can certainly say in a factual sense this is not a Christian nation. Also, from this uniqueness, one can certainly say in a factual sense this is certainly a Christian nation. No, that was not a misprint.

This nation is a system of government like nothing that has ever existed before in history. There are elements of it that can be found in previous systems, systems that over time failed. But there is a unique combination brought together in this system that was lacking in all the others. It is a unique blending of religious and civil freedoms depending upon personal responsibility and moral restraints. To the dismay of many, it is a Biblical system implementing Biblical principles of government and morality. To the dismay of others, that system does implement a separation of the Church and the State. When we try and stand upon only one leg of this system, it is then we find ourselves on opposite sides throwing conflicting quotes from our own history at each other to prove our point. Our human nature makes a perfect balance impossible, however, the closer we are to these principles the more freedom reigns.

The reason there are so many statements made by those considered our founding fathers that express their Christian faith is because they were Christians. Yet those same men could make statements like the one in the Treaty of Tripoli because of this unique system of government. It was not and is not a Christian nation in the sense of what that was understood to mean during the founding era. The issue with Tripoli was their unprovoked attacks upon the American merchant ships and taking Americans as slaves. The Muslims of Tripoli and the other nations involved understood Christian nations like those of Christian Europe of which came the crusades. The American experience was no such system. In those previous systems, the civil and religious aspects overlapped. The King was seen as the defender of the faith, and the church ruled in the government.

There is a principle in the American system found in Joshua 24:15 that adds to its uniqueness. "Jos 24:15  "But maybe you don't want to serve the LORD. You must choose for yourselves today. Today you must decide who you will serve. Will you serve the gods that your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River? Or will you serve the gods of the Amorites who lived in this land? You must choose for yourselves. But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD."  (ERV)

In their deliberations, though they were Christians, they did not want a theocracy. However, they wanted to assure their Christian faith was not infringed upon. They wanted to make sure the Gospel had free course and could function unhindered by government rule, thus we have the First Amendment. America is unequivocally a Christian nation in the sense of its population and moral culture, however, it is unequivocally not a Christian nation in the sense that one must adhere to, believe in, or support in any way the Christian faith. One does not gain any greater citizenship by professing Christianity but is on equal grounds in law and office.

"Truth can stand by itself. . . . If there be but one right [religion], and [Christianity] that one, we should wish to see the nine hundred and ninety-nine wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free inquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Given a loose to them, they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. Had not the Roman government permitted free inquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. had not free inquiry been indulged, at the era of the reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be restrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and new ones encouraged. Were the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now." ~ Thomas Jefferson.

Noah Webster stated likewise: "Let us reject the spirit of making proselytes to particular creeds by any other means than persuasion." ~ Noah Webster, oration to the citizens of New Haven, 1798. 

James Madison agreed saying: "If the public homage of a people can ever be worthy of the favorable regard of the Holy and Omniscient Being to Whom it is addressed, it must be that in which those who join in it are guided only by their free choice, by the impulse of their hearts and the dictates of their consciences; and such a spectacle must be to all Christian nations." ~ James Madison

The Crafting of our system gives freedom from government coercion in our lives. We are free to practice our faith and diffuse it by the means of persuasion alone. The American conscience is to be free. The Christian coach is free to lead his team in prayer with all who would join him. The atheist coach is free to lead his team without prayer of any kind, while not forbidding any individual from praying themselves. The government does not demand of you, leave your faith at the door of your political office. However, the only tool you may possess is persuasion. America is a wonderful place for the Christian to abide as well as the atheist, as long as America remembers who and what she is.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,

David
   

Saturday, September 22, 2018

"Foundation of American thought"

There is much unrest in America as well as the "Church in America" these days. People taking the Knee to protest their idea of injustice. Social concerns permitting much thought within the American Church. I understand people want to do whatever they can to draw attention to their particular cause. I also understand they just want to make things right as they understand it. However, I would suggest we may have lost our way from the original American manner of thinking.

The original intent of the American experience was not about fixing every wrong and making every injustice go away. There was an overarching idea that pervaded human thinking that produced an American society and experience of freedom that had never been known before in History. That experience did not fix every problem the world had. The human condition continued to be in it's fallen state. However, it did open the door to a way of thinking that gave us a remarkable manner of government and personal freedom linked to personal responsibility. This did not come from the minds of men, nor can the people of American claim right to its brilliance.

 "In the formative days of the Republic, the directing influence the Bible exercised upon the Fathers of the Nation is conspicuously evident. . . . This book continues to hold its unchallenged place as the most loved, the most quoted, and the most universally read and pondered of all the volumes which our libraries contain. . . . We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a Nation without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. I suggest a nationwide reading of the Holy Scriptures. . . . For a renewed and strengthening contact with those eternal truths and majestic principles which have inspired such measure of true greatness as this Nation has achieved." ~ President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) 

These words come not from the lips of the clergy or some religious institution. They come from the highest civil office in this land in recognition of the fountain source of our great principles of life and liberty. It is suggested that our people not only read but ponder the principles within the Holy Writ.

This thinking is not isolated to one President, one political party, or some movement as we have today. It was the fountain source of our society and understanding of freedom and justice. Another of our Presidents stated, "America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of  righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture." ~ President Woodrow Wilson. (1856-1924) If we were to hear such words today coming from our government officials the cry would be foul. They would be accused of trying to form a theocracy and force everyone to be Christian. That is how far we have departed from our original understanding. This kind of speech and reasoning is not only conducive to a Republic but is the only way it can be maintained for any great length of time.

"The teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally, I do not mean figuratively, I mean literally impossible for us to figure ourselves what that life would be if these teachings were removed. We would lose almost all the standards by which we now judge both public and private morals, all the standards toward which we, with more or less resolution, strive to raise ourselves. Almost every man who has by his life-work added to the sum of human achievement of which the race is proud, of which our people are proud, almost every such man has based his life-work largely upon the teachings of the Bible." ~ President Teddy Roosevelt. (1858-1919)

President Roosevelt suggested that if we abandoned the principles we discover in the Holy Writ, we would lose our ability to judge our morality in both public and private life. Our present state of movements demonstrates that very standard has been lost. And what have we done? We have tried to remove these teachings from social and civil life, making it as President Roosevelt suggested, impossible to figure out how life should be.

"It was for the love of the truths of this great book that our Fathers abandoned their native shores for the wilderness. Animated by its lofty principles, they toiled and suffered till the desert blossomed as the rose. . . . The Bible is the Best of books and I wish it were in the hands of everyone. It is indispensable to the safety and permanence of our institutions; a free government cannot exist without religion, nor religion without the Bible. Especially should the Bible be placed in the hands of the young. It is the best school book in the world. . . . I would that all of our people were brought up under the influence of that Holy Book." ~ President Zachary Taylor. (1784-1850)

President Taylor suggested that a government such as that of the United States cannot exist without the influence of the Holy Writ. However, we have not headed President Taylors advise, we have gone directly in the opposite direction. Even so far as to attempt to keep this book out of the hands of our youth and bar it from our schools. America has not been perfect, it was never intended to be. Justice in America has been flawed as it was approached by a flawed human heart. American has not even been a Christian nation in the sense of a Theocracy. Yet the principles embedded in its foundation from the Holy Writ and its influence upon the heart of man produced what never before in history existed, an experience of freedom never before known to man.

The injustices that arose in this American experience were exposed by those principles ever before us until our consciences demanded their demise. They pierced our fallen hearts, made demands upon our character, forced us to rise to that greatness we see in the American experience. The Gospel preached changes men's lives, the principles of Holy Writ restrain social injustices. Yet we despise the Gospel preached and reject any reference to Holy Writ upon our laws of justice. So in place of this, we bow the knee and cry aloud of all our injustices within our land. Will we not see? Will we not hear? The words of our American foundation cries out to us! We are lost in ourselves, we have forgotten our past, we are as men born of yesterday. May the Grace of God shine once more upon our land!

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,

David

Saturday, September 15, 2018

"The Tale of Two Nations"

"The Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world. By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their mooring upon all moral subjects. . . . It is the only correct map of the human heart that ever has been published." ~ Benjamin Rush, Singer Of The Declaration

"The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the Word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts." ~ John Jay, President of the Continental Congress, author of the Federalist Papers. 

"No book in the world deserves to be so unceasingly studied and so profoundly meditated upon as the Bible. The first and almost the only book deserving such universal recommendation is the Bible." ~ John Quincy Adams, President of the United States.

"I believe the Bible to be the written Word of God and to contain in it the whole rule of faith and manners." ~ Robert Treat Paine, Signer of the Declaration

"Remember . . . that you are the redeemed of the Lord, that you are bought with a price, even the inestimable price of the precious blood of the Son of God. . . . Acquaint yourselves with Him in His word and holy ordinances." ~ William Samuel Johnson, Signer of the Constitution

"Our all gracious Creator, Preserver, and Ruler has been pleased to discover and enforce His laws by a revelation given to us immediately and directly from Himself. This revelation is contained in the Holy Scriptures." ~ James Wilson, Signer of the Constitution; Signer of the Declaration

"All of the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from them despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible." ~ Noah Webster, Schoolmaster to America

"The Holy Scriptures . . . can alone secure to society order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness. . . . Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses and at the same time enjoy quiet conscience." ~ James McHenry, Signer of the Constitution

United States Supreme Court 1844, Vidal vs. Girard's Executors, 43 U.S. 126, 132: "The plan of education proposed is anti-christian, and therefore repugnant to the law. . . . The purest principles of morality are to be taught. Where are they found? Whoever searches for them must go to the source from which a Christian man derives his faith, the Bible. . . . There is an obligation to teach what the Bible alone can teach, viz. a pure system of morality. . . . Both in the Old and New Testaments importance is recognized. In the Old it is said, 'Thou shalt diligently teach them to thy children,' and the New, 'Suffer the little children to come to me and forbid them not. . . .' No fault can be found with Girard for wishing a marble college to bear his name forever, but it is not valuable unless it has a fragrance of Christianity about it."

______________________________________________________________________________

1963, Abington School District v. Schempp


The court found that "state-sponsored devotional Bible readings in public schools constitute an impermissible religious exercise by the government.

1985, Wallace v. Jaffree

This case addressed whether schools can set aside a time for meditation or personal reflection. In Alabama, schools had “a period of silence for meditation.” It did not endorse a specific religion or even specify that the silent time should be used for religious reasons, but instead set it as a time of reflection. But later, state legislators changed the statute to read a “period of silence for meditation or silent prayer.”

With that addition, the Supreme Court ruled that the amendment to the law violated the Establishment Clause.


1992, Lee v. Weisman


This case challenged a middle school practice of inviting a clergyman to offer an opening invocation and a closing benediction at a graduation ceremony. With a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court said such practices violate the First Amendment. 

_______________________

What you have read above reflects two different nations, two different governments, and two different peoples. The people who lived in the first nation, and governed in the first government, are at odds with the people who live in the second nation and governed by the second government. These two people groups will never agree upon government and society. They will of necessity form two different nations with two different worldviews. Their understanding of life and purpose as a people and a nation will take two different paths. Those paths are going in opposite directions and will arrive at destinations of which have nothing in common.

We hear the phase today, "Make America Great Again!" but to which America are we referring? Are we really wanting to become the Nation we once were, or just become more of what we are? The first nation you read about would not be considered great today, they were too closed minded and religious. Yet we claim we are living by the principles they established for us, but they would perceive our principles as not so great. 

These two nations really have nothing in common, we lie to ourselves when we look to the Constitutions of governments that were established in the beginning and apply them as support for our society today. We would be most honest with ourselves if we simply stated we despise what this nation stood for in its beginnings. That what we really want is to cast those bonds off and form a new government with better freedoms and greater purposes.

You might be inclined to disagree, to say I exaggerate. Consider, would any politician have a chance of being elected to office running on the platform which agrees with the statements of the men above who crafted and formed the original government of the United States of America? Anyone of those statements would be extremely damaging to their campaign. So, when you hear the statement, "Let's Make America Great Again" ask to which America are they referring. 

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,

David