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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Covenant Presbyterian Church: Sunday School

Today I had a unique experience at Covenant Presbyterian Church.  It turns out that the Sunday school teacher this morning is one of the justices on the Florida Supreme Court, Justice Charles T. Canady.  The discussion was about the two kingdoms theology as that relates to the late J. Gresham Machen's book, Christianity and Liberalism.  I had no idea who the teacher was and freely spoke up toward the end of the discussion, brave soul that I am.  I generally agree with the theology of the two kingdoms view--that there is a worldly kingdom and a spiritual kingdom (Daniel 2:44; John 18:36).

I completely disagree with reconstructionism and with theonomy.  However, the danger of the two kingdoms view is that it seems to say that the church as an institution should not be concerned with preaching against moral issues as they are propagated by the state.  That is the opposite extreme from theonomy, which focuses on cultural transformation more than preaching the proper distinction between law and gospel.  If the two kingdoms model is carried too far it too can wind up giving tacit approval to the more liberal side of the issues since it creates a false dichotomy between preaching to the world and preaching to the church.  The minister is called to challenge the kingdoms of the world with a counter cultural message of the moral law and the gospel.  We as Christians cannot compromise with the world on the one hand and then pretend to be something else in the church.  

That's a costly message.  Scripture says that we cannot love God and love the world at the same time (John 15:19; 1 John 2:15).  Radical discipleship calls us to take up our cross and follow Christ (Mark 8:34-37; 10:21-22).

Furthermore, the two kingdoms view goes too far in calling for the church not to preach against the state.  The early Christians knew no such thing.  In fact, John the Baptist lost his head for daring to tell Herod that he was an adulterer for marrying his brother's wife, Herodias (Matthew 14:1-12).  The apostles were thrown into jail for street preaching (Acts 5:18-33).  

There is a tremendous pressure on churches and on individual Christians not to preach the full counsel of God by expositional preaching on every verse of the Bible.  Will ministers refuse to preach against homosexual sins and immorality for fear of the state sword?  Or will they continue to preach the truth no matter what sins the state endorses as lawful?  That's the question.  Christians are to submit to the state in civil and criminal matters--except where the law commands the Christian to do something that goes against God's word or forbids the Christian from doing what God's word commands.  Preaching the word is none of the state's business.  (See Romans 13:1-10; Acts 5:28-29).

There are not that many Christians these days who are willing to sacrifice everything to obey Christ. Christianity is at its heart subversive.  True Christianity opposes all that is contrary to God's Word.

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