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Re: Revival NOT revivalism

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  • Tim Cunningham
    ... The ... acted ... upheld ... if ... some ... Sinai. ... but ... but ... into. Tim-Any covenant made by Israel and taking God s name presumed the national
    Message 1 of 39 , Dec 18, 2007
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      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "bob_suden"
      <bsuden@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Tim Cunningham"
      > <timmopussycat@> wrote:
      > >
      >
      > > >
      > > > Agreed. Where the difference is, is whether the same are an
      > > approved
      > > > biblical example for nations and churches in the post NT era.
      The
      > > > churches of and the three kingdoms obviously thought so and
      acted
      > > upon it.
      > >
      > > Tim-If they did they erred. In the OT God was not a witness to the
      > > covenant that was periodically resubscribed to by Israel, but a
      > > participant who had taken on specific obligations as party to that
      > > covenant. God has nowhere announced that he would enter any other
      > > covenant with human nations following the institution of the New
      > > Covenant.
      > >
      > 1. Excluded alternative indeed, if not an immaterial argument.
      > Even the covenant with the Gibeonites was lawful and had to be
      upheld
      > though God was not a party to it and had even forbidden what the
      > Israelites did in it, however mistakenly- make an treaty with the
      > inhabitants of Canaan. The SL&C is still a lawful binding oath even
      if
      > some entered into it with the wrong or ulterior motives and even if
      some
      > or all thought God was a direct party to the oath like Israel at
      Sinai.
      > Matthew 7:17-20: Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit;
      but
      > a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
      > Was the fruit of the SL&C corrupt? It might not have been perfect,
      but
      > it was not an unlawful covenant for the three kingdoms to enter
      into.

      Tim-Any covenant made by Israel and taking God's name presumed the
      national covenant and involved God (in his role as party to the
      national covenant.)
      I never said the SLC was an unlawful treaty. Any two nations can make
      any treaty they like. But no treaty made between nations in the new
      covenant era obliges God in the same way as Israel's treaties with
      other nations since he is not related to any modern nation as
      covenant suzerein of a national covenant. And a national treaty can
      be revoked by both parties and if it is, it is no longer obliging.
      When Charles II became King of England and Scotland he could and did
      legally revoke the SLC and it ceased to have any obligations
      whatsoever.

      > 2. That the OT Israel was a special theocratic case is no argument
      > necessarily against nations swearing to uphold Christianity. Many
      might think so, but it would be considered dispensational and
      baptistic by the pres. and reformed.

      Tim-The nation is the wrong institution to make such oaths in the NT
      era. When the gospel suffuses a nation to such an extent where this
      becomes hypothetically possible, it is the church that should swear
      such obligation. In the NT era the church and the state are not
      coterminous.

      By the way, the above is not meant as an argument that Christians in
      democratic societies should not make their political views known.
      When Christians become a force or dominant in a nation, democratic
      politicians will listen and vote accordingly.


      Rather in general if not specifically, whatever
      > that is from the OT that is not repeated or repealed in the NT is
      > commanded, over and against whatever is not explicitly repeated
      in the NT is repealed as per the baptist take.

      Tim-As my paper How Firm a Foundation documents, the major covenant
      theologians of the Westminster Assembly years did not see the Mosaic
      civil laws as automatically continuing. They saw some discontinuities
      here as well as continuities. In my view the WA and the Cameronians
      and those who followed them, have seen in national covenanting, a
      continuity that cannot be supported by Scripture.

      > 3. As regards the excluded alternative of democracy below, it is no
      > matter. Coercion is a fact of life in government, ecclesiastical or
      > political, (and that regardless if one has been the subject of what
      many > of us would consider abusive ecclesiastical discipline or
      government.)
      > But even a political democracy, (which arguably does not have the
      > support for it that a republic has in Scripture according to
      somebody like Wines in his Hebrew Republic here
      > <http://www.amprpress.com/hebrew_republic.htm> or here
      > <http://www.contra-mundum.org/books/republic.pdf> ), runs into the
      > problem. Unless you have 100 percent agreement somebody is going to
      be in the minority and is going to be subjected to some kind of
      coercion, discrimination or oppression.

      Tim-I agree.

      > While the pagan immigrant had certain human rights in Israel, it
      was not to practice a false religion or engage in cannibalism,
      infanticide, abortion etc. If there is anything that we learn from
      the atheistic Enlightenment, regardless of its claim to be able to
      affirm a morality apart from Divine revelation and the religion it
      teaches, it is that natural law or nature teaches nothing moral.
      Everything is not only permitted in nature, but also occurs.

      Tim-Watch out lest you equivocate. Natural law can mean humanist
      natural law, or it can mean, depending on the writer, the moral
      law/decalogue written on the heart of every human being by God. (WCF
      19:1-3). If you intend the former meaning I agree; if the latter, I
      dissent.

      > 4. At the very least, the Natl. Cov. was the fruit of a culture and
      > revival like that at the Kirk o' Shotts in Scotland.
      > And while the state cannot usurp the Church's duty or likewise, that
      > the state is agnostic is not reformed, much more to mistake a
      complex
      > question for a simple one. Luther for instance was protected by the
      > civil magistrate early on when he was kidnapped by the Elector, when
      > Rome would have assassinated him. Much more the Prot. Reformation
      only took hold where the civil magistrate upheld the true religion as
      opposed to the Roman version in France, Spain, Italy, Poland and
      most of Eastern Europe.
      >
      Tim-As you yourself say below, "Providence is not the rule of our
      actions". What God in providence provides does not always justify
      what we may do. And I am not saying that NT civil states may not
      choose to promote the Christian faith. There is a biblical
      justification they could employ for doing so. But that justification
      does not include the unbiblical practice of swearing of a national
      covenant by the state.

      > > > The Scottish and English
      > > > > situation that culminated in the National Covenant, WA etc.
      was
      > > not
      > > > > just a revival of religion but also a political attempt to
      > > achieve a
      > > > > political and religious reformation,
      > > >
      > > > Not quite. It was in part an attempt to politically and
      religiously
      > > > consolidate a religious revival/reformation, if not achieve some
      > > > political guarantee of the true Protestant reformed religion.
      > >
      > > Tim-My point is that those who instituted the English covenant
      did so
      > > out of mixed motives which is why the result was shortlived.
      > >
      > >
      > > And the
      > > > alternative? A vague national establishment of religion? No
      > > > establishment of religion/voluntaryism? The continuation of an
      > > > arbitrary and tyrannical monarchy? Secular humanism? Paganism?
      > > Sharia law?
      > >
      > > Tim-Excluded alternative fallacy. The alternative all of us
      should be
      > > seeking is what was experienced in Wales for 200 years. A revival
      of
      > > biblical religion that does not rely on the carnal arm of
      Government
      > > coercion but puts all its hope instead on the mercy of God and the
      > > converting power of the Holy Spirit. It was by these means that
      the
      > > early church survived Jewish and Imperial persecutions and
      > > transformed the culture and it was by these that the Reformers won
      > > the day in the 1500's and it was by these that Russian Christians
      > > outlasted the Soviet Union and it is by these that Chinese
      Christians
      > > today are victorious over Communist persecutions and by these that
      > > African Christians are now resisting Islamic fanatics.
      > >
      > > >
      > > > > unsupported by any extant
      > > > > covenant between God and the nations of Great Britain.
      > > >
      > > > That is to some extent, immaterial. The belief was either that
      the
      > > > church could enter that same covenant or enter into a like one.
      > > > Whether God was a party or merely a witness to the covenant, it
      is
      > > > still a valid covenant.
      > >
      > > Tim-No it's not immaterial. A political (that word used in the
      sense of "human relations") covenant to which God is a witness is not
      the same thing as a spiritual covenant to which God is a party. He
      has no obligation to sustain the former but is obliged to enforce the
      latter.
      > >
      > > > > As such it used to an extent carnal weapons to achieve a
      spiritual
      > > > result.
      > > >
      > > > I take it that you mean that because the SL&C was a mixed
      religious and political covenant instead of purely religious one,
      that that makes it carnal?
      Granted the civil/political law can never make man good, it only
      restrains evil, but it is not on that account useless or carnal in
      calvinistic theology. There are some things the state cannot do, but
      that the state should be agnostic is not reformed.

      Tim-I am not saying the state should be agnostic. I am saying it is
      not biblical to make national covenants. Any democratic state with a
      substantial minority of Christians will not be agnostic, and a state
      with a majority of Biblical Christians will move its laws in a more
      biblical direction as the people grow in knowledge of God and his
      ways.
    • bob_suden
      Greetings, To make a long story short, perhaps two things could be said: One, tongue in cheek would be that of course we have no desire for a national
      Message 39 of 39 , Jan 1, 2008
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        Greetings,

        To make a long story short, perhaps  two things could be said:
         
        One, tongue in cheek would be that of course we have no desire for a national covenanted presbyterian church because then we couldn't celebrate `Kwismas'.

        Two, one of our dear brethren in a certain religious entity quoted the Scottish GA regarding the SL&C which indicates the original intent by the original parties in unequivocal language, whatever one's opinion to the contrary is. The quotes below are taken from a '06 letter to the Washington Society in answer to questions about covenanting, the RP church and the SL&C. Personally, as compared to the PPSA or the Tattoo paper I think it makes a much more coherent case for the point argued. The gist of the letter can be found here under Q.3; the quotes from the Records of the Kirk here:

        "Although there were none in the one kingdom who did adhere to the Covenant, yet thereby were not the other kingdom nor any person in either of them absolved from the bond thereof, since in it we have not only sworn by the Lord, but also covenanted with Him. It is not the failing of one or more that can absolve the other from their duty or tie to Him: Besides, the duties therein contained, being in themselves lawful, and the grounds of our tie thereunto moral, though the other do forget their duty, yet doth not their defection free us from that obligation which lies upon us by the Covenant in our places and stations. And the Covenant being intended and entered into by these kingdoms, as one of the best means of steadfastness, for guarding against declining times: It were strange to say that the backsliding of any should absolve others from the tie thereof, especially seeing our engagement therein is not only National, but also personal, everyone with uplifted hands swearing by himself, as it is evident by the tenor of the Covenant. From these and other important reasons, it may appear that all these kingdoms joining together to abolish that oath by law, yet could they not dispense therewith; Much less can any one of them, or any part in either of them do the same. The dispensing with oaths have hitherto been abhorred as Antichristian, and never practiced and avowed by any but by that man of sin; therefore those who take the same upon them, as they join with him in his sin, so must they expect to partake of his plagues" (The Records of the Kirk of Scotland, A. Peterkin, ed., August 6, 1649, p.552).

        "Albeit the League and Covenant be despised by the prevailing party in England, and the work of Uniformity through retardments and obstructions that have come in the way, be almost forgotten in these kingdoms, YET THE OBLIGATION OF THAT COVENANT IS PERPETUAL, and all the duties contained therein are constantly to be minded, and prosecuted by every one of us and our posterity" (The Records of the Kirk of Scotland, A. Peterkin, ed., July 27, Session 27, 1649, p.548, emphases added).


        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Tim Cunningham" <timmopussycat@...> wrote:
        >
        > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "bob_suden"
        > bsuden@ wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > Tim-You are equivocating. Whether the SL&C was an oath first, it
        > became a treaty later. And it is not the same thing as the NC even if
        > it's authors so intended. As previously noted God is not a party to
        > the SL&C while he is to the NC.
        >
        It is not a question of whether God is party per se, but whether it is a lawful oath. They swore to uphold biblical Christianity in church and state as it was later confessed in the West. Standards and to maintain that attainment in their generations. Even if it is asserted/denied that it is unlawful for the state to affirm or swear such an oath, the church is still bound by it.

        >
        > Tim-When Parliament acceded to Charles' actions, the SL&C became null
        > and void as a national obligation, although the men who went back on
        > their sworn word were oath (not covenant) breakers, since a true
        > coventant had not been established between the nation and God.
        >
        Again, King Charles had the formal legal authority to forswear the oath. He had no moral or righteous reason to do so. As Vos says, it was for convenience that the Acts Recissory were passed. The matter of the oath was good and lawful, hence to refuse it was sin.

        >
        > Tim-2 states can revoke a treaty at their pleasure. If the same man
        > is monarch of both he can do so at his pleasure. Now he might be
        > morally guilty of breaking his sworn word not to do this, and the
        > Parliaments that supported him might have had members who did
        > likewise (as well as some who had of course not sworn the SL&C), but
        > once they did, it was no longer law or obligatory.
        > Nor is the church in the UK bound by the SL&C in the way you think.
        > It is only obligated (and the obligation is inherent in the NT itself
        > and preceded the SL&C by some 1600 odd years) to organize the church
        > on biblical lines. Such lines are not necessarily Presbyterian and
        > Cameronian, but that subject is outside the realm of discussion
        > here.
        >
        One, 2 states cannot revoke an oath at their pleasure. Granted the SL&C was a mixed oath combining a treaty with it. Two, obviously you do not find presbyterianism to be jus divinum. You are therefore not presbyterian and reformed. As for Cameronianism, you will have to define what you mean. The Cameronians were constitutionalists. King Charles had broken the constitution and forfeited the right to rule lawfully. Therefore he was resisted. The distinction is between de jure and de facto, the authority and the power. So too, here in the states the present administration is involved in trashing the constitution in a drive to consolidate power in the executive branch. Opposition is mounting though, to judicially overturn or challenge these policies and statements. Others, among them many Christian conservatives see this as disloyal and rebellious to the current executive, who compared to the previous occupant of the office on a personal basis, is to be preferred. Likewise the drive by the current administration to paint those who run afoul or disagree with its policies with the same brush: unpatriotic, obstructionist, appeasers, sympathizers with Islamofascism etc. The answer is as per the cameronian Samuel Rutherford,  lex, rex. The king is not law, but under law.

        >
        > >
        > Tim-Your understanding is incorrect. Rom. 1:32 "they know the
        > ordinance of God" tells us that natural man knows natural law - he
        > lies to himself in an attempt to suppress it. Revelation is not
        > necessesary to determine true law. One may simply reason by general
        > equity from the moral law to apply the moral law to particular
        > circumstances, which by the way is how the Westminster Divines
        > applied OT civil laws in the NT context.
        >
        No, the Westminster divines had the revelation of law in Scripture as their rule to guide them and authoritatively condemn natural law as mediated by the unregenerate cultures such as the Hindu or Papuan which for instance killed the widow upon the death of the husband while upholding some semblance of the 7th commandment and marriage.

        > > > Tim-As you yourself say below, "Providence is not the rule of our
        > > > actions". What God in providence provides does not always justify
        > > > what we may do. And I am not saying that NT civil states may not
        > > > choose to promote the Christian faith. There is a biblical
        > > > justification they could employ for doing so. But that
        > justification
        > > > does not include the unbiblical practice of swearing of a national
        > > > covenant by the state.
        > > >
        > > At the very least, that remains to be proven rather than asserted.
        >
        > Tim-A national covenant is an attempt to swear a state to certain
        > obligations before God in anticipation of certain blessings from God
        > in return for such obedience. When God promises that he will commit
        > to such a covenant in the NT age, then, and only then will such a
        > course be justified. The Sinaitic covenant has expired: only the New
        > Covenant remains valid today and it will not be superseded before the
        > end of the age (Heb. 7:21,24).
        >
        ?This is immaterial, referring as it does  to Christ as a priest after the order of Melchizedek and not Aaron. It has nothing to do with the topic under discussion, the least being that the Sinaitic covenant was ceremonial. Neither did the Aaronic priesthood adminster the civil government in Israel. See Aaron's Rod Blossoming.

        > >
        > > The revival in Wales came after the Reformation. (How orthodox it
        > was is
        > > open to opinion. See Hanko's review
        > > <http://www.prca.org/prtj/nov2005.htm#The%20Reformation:%A0%20A%
        > 20Histor\
        > > y,> of Jeffrey's Evangelicals Then and Now.) A revival is not
        > > necessarily a reformation.
        >
        > Tim-It was orthodox. See Eifon Evans "Daniel Rowland and the Great
        > Evangelical Awakening in Wales" and "Revival Comes to Wales: The
        > Story of the 1859 Revival in Wales."

        And it was grounded in the previous reformation which allowed it to continue. Otherwise it very possibly could have been snuffed out. Yet the three kingdoms including Wales were Protestant, not Roman, however backslidden and in need of revival.

        >
        >
        > Tim-You need to read Evans. A reliance on the living God to build his
        > church his way is only putting into practice the words of the
        > Lord "Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord" and
        > those of the Apostle Paul. "The weapons of our warefare are not
        > carnal but they are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds."
        > For the NT church, relying on the civil state is nothing more than
        > the NT echo of OT Israel relying on Egypt rather than the Lord to
        > resist Babylon.
        >
        OT Israel assumed not Egypt, but that the king of Israel would uphold the true religion.

        > the
        > > OT references to the Gentile nations and their rulers - not just
        > Jewish
        > > Israel - protecting and nurturing the church have to be set aside or
        > > explained away as in Is. 49:23.
        > >
        > Tim-Is 49:14ff. is referring to Israel after Babylon (it is "Zion
        > says" v. 23 was fulfilled in Cyrus and Esther.

        Only? Prove.

        >
        > > > and a
        > state
        > > > with a majority of Biblical Christians will move its laws in a
        > more
        > > > biblical direction as the people grow in knowledge of God and his
        > > > ways.
        > > >
        > > Again that question is how? By osmosis? Good intentions? The
        > alternative
        > > is vague at this point.
        >
        > Tim-Study the political history of the colonial US and the
        > nonconformist conscience in Britain from Wilberforce to Shaftesbury.
        >
        Again the context and presupposition in both instances is societies where largely Christian law already holds sway. Again, there is no neutrality. The magistrate must affirm in some fashion a morality and law. Which will it be and how?

        Thnak you.
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