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Re: [Covenanted Reformation] inclusive prayer language?

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  • gmw
    Purposely avoiding the name Jesus, for the sake of the feelings of men, is, I believe, sinful. Allowing the hearer to fill in the name of his favorite
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 30, 2003
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      Purposely avoiding the name "Jesus," for the sake of the feelings of men, is, I believe, sinful.  Allowing the hearer to fill in the name of his favorite mediator is not the work of a faithful minister.
       
      gmw.
       
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Dan Fraas
      Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 5:57 PM
      Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] inclusive prayer language?

      I have a question that I would like to pose to you fellas (and gals)
      about prayer. Imagine a situation where a believer, especially a
      minister, is asked to lead a prayer in a group that will include many
      unbelievers and perhaps some believers. He is told that he should
      remain true to his own convictions yet use such language as to make
      the greatest number feel included in the prayer. He makes a prayer
      invoking the name of "almighty God", closing by saying "we pray in
      the name of Him who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords." This
      person prays through Jesus Christ the only Lord in his own mind, and
      yet wants everyone to feel like he or she is included in the prayer,
      even theistic infidels. So he omits the name "Jesus" for the purpose
      of making everyone feel included. He reasons that those who have
      ears to hear will know through Whom the prayer is made to God.

      Has this person done something improper? Has he sinned?

      For Christ's Crown and Covenant!

      Riley





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    • Dan Fraas
      Dear Gerry, Thank you for your reply. I am inclined to agree with you given the circumstances I described. Now let me throw a monkey-wrench into the works
      Message 2 of 9 , Oct 1, 2003
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        Dear Gerry,

        Thank you for your reply. I am inclined to agree with you given the
        circumstances I described. Now let me throw a monkey-wrench into the
        works and let's look at it again.

        Now suppose this minister is a foreign missionary assigned in a
        country with a secular and rather anti-Christian government like
        China for example. However this government has made a deal with the
        missionary that it will hire him to be a minister to a congregation
        without a pastor, and he will have an opportunity to preach in a
        completely unrestricted fashion at least once a week without any
        danger of interference. The government will even pay him a salary.
        According to the deal they will require the minister to appear and
        lead a prayer at periodic and official government functions. He
        knows that a prayer which the governing officials regard as overtly
        Christian at one of these events will provoke immediate persecution
        and he may be sent home.

        In this narrow case, would the minister be wise to skillfully craft
        prayers (for these government functions only) that every Christian
        would understand as distinctively Christian, but avoid the
        terms "Jesus" and "Christ"? He figures that he can substitute other
        terms for the Messiah that are very distictive and specific but
        rather mysterious and ill-known among the heathen. He reasons that
        he ought to exclude them by confusing them rather than intentionally
        provoking persecution. Example: he might translate the name of
        Messiah into English or Chinese like this: Jesus=the Lord who saves
        Christ=the Anointed One. He thinks that certain shrewdness at the
        government functions will enable him to continue his wonderful
        opportunities to preach the gospel uninhibited every week if he
        accepts the deal. If questioned about the meaning of his words, the
        minister invites the questioner to attend his Sunday service to learn
        more.

        Would these circumstances alter your judgment at all?

        Examples of such enigmatic speech at selective times in the face of
        hostile authorities might include Jesus' parables, Paul's confusing
        pronouncement before the Sanhedrin that his case was all about
        the "resurrection of the dead", Paul's bare pronouncements to Jewish
        authorities that he fully embraced the law of Moses, etc.

        thanks,

        Riley

        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
        <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
        > Purposely avoiding the name "Jesus," for the sake of the feelings
        of men, is, I believe, sinful. Allowing the hearer to fill in the
        name of his favorite mediator is not the work of a faithful minister.
        >
        > gmw.
        >
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: Dan Fraas
        > To: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 5:57 PM
        > Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] inclusive prayer language?
        >
        >
        > I have a question that I would like to pose to you fellas (and
        gals)
        > about prayer. Imagine a situation where a believer, especially a
        > minister, is asked to lead a prayer in a group that will include
        many
        > unbelievers and perhaps some believers. He is told that he should
        > remain true to his own convictions yet use such language as to
        make
        > the greatest number feel included in the prayer. He makes a
        prayer
        > invoking the name of "almighty God", closing by saying "we pray
        in
        > the name of Him who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords." This
        > person prays through Jesus Christ the only Lord in his own mind,
        and
        > yet wants everyone to feel like he or she is included in the
        prayer,
        > even theistic infidels. So he omits the name "Jesus" for the
        purpose
        > of making everyone feel included. He reasons that those who have
        > ears to hear will know through Whom the prayer is made to God.
        >
        > Has this person done something improper? Has he sinned?
        >
        > For Christ's Crown and Covenant!
        >
        > Riley
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
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        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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      • gmw
        A minister s charter is from Christ, not from the civil government. And Christ says to preach Christ, to not be ashamed of His Name before men, to preach in
        Message 3 of 9 , Oct 1, 2003
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          A minister's charter is from Christ, not from the civil government.  And Christ says to preach Christ, to not be ashamed of His Name before men, to preach in and out of season, etc.  So, no, this doesn't change my judgment.  Anyone else care to share an opinion?
           
          gmw.
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Dan Fraas
          Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 11:38 AM
          Subject: Re: [Covenanted Reformation] inclusive prayer language?

          Dear Gerry,

          Thank you for your reply.  I am inclined to agree with you given the
          circumstances I described.  Now let me throw a monkey-wrench into the
          works and let's look at it again. 

          Now suppose this minister is a foreign missionary assigned in a
          country with a secular and rather anti-Christian government like
          China for example.  However this government has made a deal with the
          missionary that it will hire him to be a minister to a congregation
          without a pastor, and he will have an opportunity to preach in a
          completely unrestricted fashion at least once a week without any
          danger of interference.  The government will even pay him a salary. 
          According to the deal they will require the minister to appear and
          lead a prayer at periodic and official government functions.  He
          knows that a prayer which the governing officials regard as overtly
          Christian at one of these events will provoke immediate persecution
          and he may be sent home.

          In this narrow case, would the minister be wise to skillfully craft
          prayers (for these government functions only) that every Christian
          would understand as distinctively Christian, but avoid the
          terms "Jesus" and "Christ"?  He figures that he can substitute other
          terms for the Messiah that are very distictive and specific but
          rather mysterious and ill-known among the heathen.  He reasons that
          he ought to exclude them by confusing them rather than intentionally
          provoking persecution.  Example:  he might translate the name of
          Messiah into English or Chinese like this: Jesus=the Lord who saves 
          Christ=the Anointed One.  He thinks that certain shrewdness at the
          government functions will enable him to continue his wonderful
          opportunities to preach the gospel uninhibited every week if he
          accepts the deal.  If questioned about the meaning of his words, the
          minister invites the questioner to attend his Sunday service to learn
          more.  

          Would these circumstances alter your judgment at all? 

          Examples of such enigmatic speech at selective times in the face of
          hostile authorities might include Jesus' parables, Paul's confusing
          pronouncement before the Sanhedrin that his case was all about
          the "resurrection of the dead", Paul's bare pronouncements to Jewish
          authorities that he fully embraced the law of Moses, etc. 

          thanks,

          Riley

          --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
          <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
          > Purposely avoiding the name "Jesus," for the sake of the feelings
          of men, is, I believe, sinful.  Allowing the hearer to fill in the
          name of his favorite mediator is not the work of a faithful minister.
          >
          > gmw.
          >
          >
          >   ----- Original Message -----
          >   From: Dan Fraas
          >   To: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com
          >   Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 5:57 PM
          >   Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] inclusive prayer language?
          >
          >
          >   I have a question that I would like to pose to you fellas (and
          gals)
          >   about prayer. Imagine a situation where a believer, especially a
          >   minister, is asked to lead a prayer in a group that will include
          many
          >   unbelievers and perhaps some believers. He is told that he should
          >   remain true to his own convictions yet use such language as to
          make
          >   the greatest number feel included in the prayer. He makes a
          prayer
          >   invoking the name of "almighty God", closing by saying "we pray
          in
          >   the name of Him who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords." This
          >   person prays through Jesus Christ the only Lord in his own mind,
          and
          >   yet wants everyone to feel like he or she is included in the
          prayer,
          >   even theistic infidels. So he omits the name "Jesus" for the
          purpose
          >   of making everyone feel included. He reasons that those who have
          >   ears to hear will know through Whom the prayer is made to God.
          >
          >   Has this person done something improper? Has he sinned?
          >
          >   For Christ's Crown and Covenant!
          >
          >   Riley
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >         Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
          >       
          >       
          >
          >
          >   To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          >   covenantedreformationclub-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          >   Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
          Service.
          >
          >
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        • thebishopsdoom
          ... government. And Christ says to preach Christ, to not be ashamed of His Name before men, to preach in and out of season, etc. So, no, this doesn t change
          Message 4 of 9 , Oct 1, 2003
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            --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
            <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
            > A minister's charter is from Christ, not from the civil
            government. And Christ says to preach Christ, to not be ashamed of
            His Name before men, to preach in and out of season, etc. So, no,
            this doesn't change my judgment. Anyone else care to share an
            opinion?
            >
            > gmw.
            Alright, I was holding my tongue on this while I thought a little.
            Then I realized that putting my fingers in my mouth wasn't going to
            get my thoughts to you any fatser, so I sat down to type out some
            thoughts. I spent a good amount of time working on writing a probably
            more careful response than you are now getting, when my computer
            suddenly froze up just as I was almost finished, and I lost my
            response, and had to rewrite it. In my haste I may not have worded it
            as nicely this time around, but I think I have the gist of what I had
            intended to say.

            > Now suppose this minister is a foreign missionary assigned in a
            > country with a secular and rather anti-Christian government like
            > China for example. However this government has made a deal with
            the
            > missionary that it will hire him to be a minister to a congregation
            > without a pastor, and he will have an opportunity to preach in a
            > completely unrestricted fashion at least once a week without any
            > danger of interference.
            Well, I think you've already thrown out China as a theoretical
            possibility. There is a legal church there, the 3 self Person
            movement I think it's called, and they do have restrictions. As a
            result, though many attend, it is believed the predominant number of
            evangelicals there oppose the church. That's the impression I got
            from some sources anyway. That's why so many are persecuted for
            attending the unregistered churches.

            >The government will even pay him a salary.
            > According to the deal they will require the minister to appear and
            > lead a prayer at periodic and official government functions. He
            > knows that a prayer which the governing officials regard as overtly
            > Christian at one of these events will provoke immediate persecution
            > and he may be sent home.
            I'd avoid any circumstances where I had to be in such a position. If
            the terms are you may freely preach, but you MUST pray or preach for
            some civil public assemblies, and can not be overtly Christian when
            doing so, I don't think I could accept the terms. A minister of the
            gospel is a minister of the gospel, and to behave as one when he
            discharges his duties. There may be times when it is best to keep
            one's mouth shut, I have no doubt. We all know that. There are some
            in countries as medical missionaries or school teachers who know not
            to go about shouting the gospel in the public square, who yet may
            have opportunities they use thru private contacts / friendships. But
            being told we MUST speak - must offer up a prayer, and then being
            told that it must bne generic enough that nonChristians can believe
            they are praying to the same "god" as you by eluding any specific
            references to the Christian God, or anything or that ilk, to me
            becomes a problem.
            This is actually a point that has been brought up by people who
            became Christians and eventually left the freemasons as a result.
            They were put in situations where all had to pray, and a Christian
            could lead in the prayer, but they were not to give any idea that the
            muslim, jew, or new ager beside him were praying to anything other
            than their own "conception of god." This led many of them to believe
            they were denying Christ before men in doing so, and were led to
            reconsider staying with the masonic organization. Leading them in
            prayer to what is intentionally made the unknown God - I to mine, you
            to yours, each one determining secretly for himself what he / she /
            it is, and I am just leading the prayer.

            > Examples of such enigmatic speech at selective times in the face of
            > hostile authorities might include Jesus' parables, Paul's confusing
            > pronouncement before the Sanhedrin that his case was all about
            > the "resurrection of the dead", Paul's bare pronouncements to
            Jewish
            > authorities that he fully embraced the law of Moses, etc.
            Of course, in none of those situations were Jesus or Paul told to
            pray publically and state things in a way that everyone could agree
            with them. This is where I have my problem. You might see someone in
            time of persecution say that they are going to hear the will of a
            friend who has died rather than that they are going to church, as
            recorded in one instance of a young lady who said this when halted
            inm Scotland under times of persecution. That may be similar to Paul
            remarking that he was being tried for having a hope in the
            resurrection, which was true, insofar as that was a part of the
            issue, for holding that Jesus had resurrected, and was the pledge of
            our own resurrection.
            But you don't see Jesus gathering together Romans and Jews and saying
            let's pray, and not making clear that it is to the God of the Jewish
            Scriptures he is praying, not some roman god or whoever they wanted
            to think of the idea of "god" being.
            -thebishopsdoom
            I'm tempted to contrast the illustration at hand with the boldness of
            Alexander Peden during the times of persecution in 17th century
            Scotland. Not that I'm the guy that wants to be rushing headong
            looking for persecution to suffer given the circumstances described
            in the hypothetical situation that was given, but I couldn't help but
            hear Peden's words echo in my head when I was writing out my reply:
            "Where is the Kirk of God in Scotland today? It's not with the great
            clergymen. Sirs, I'll tell you where the kirk of God is. Wherevever
            there's a praying lass or lad at a dyke-side in Scotland. A praying
            party shall ruin them yet, sirs. And a praying party shall go through
            the storm!" Alexander Peden.
          • Dan Fraas
            Jerry, Thanks for your comments. There is a real-world ministry which I believe this scenario parallels, and it s not in China. In this case the minister
            Message 5 of 9 , Oct 2, 2003
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              Jerry,

              Thanks for your comments. There is a real-world ministry which I
              believe this scenario parallels, and it's not in China. In this case
              the minister DOES have opportunities to preach openly and unfettered,
              but only at selective times (weekly). To not accept the deal would
              make him unable to minister to the particular group to which he is
              ministering. They would be inaccessible. I guess I was thinking
              maybe he could pray in such a way as to not make the unbelievers feel
              completely included, but to just say things they don't understand and
              make them wonder who he was talking about. "prince of peace, the
              great 'I am', the anointed one, the Lamb of God, etc."

              Riley
              --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, thebishopsdoom
              <no_reply@y...> wrote:
              > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
              > <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
              > > A minister's charter is from Christ, not from the civil
              > government. And Christ says to preach Christ, to not be ashamed of
              > His Name before men, to preach in and out of season, etc. So, no,
              > this doesn't change my judgment. Anyone else care to share an
              > opinion?
              > >
              > > gmw.
              > Alright, I was holding my tongue on this while I thought a little.
              > Then I realized that putting my fingers in my mouth wasn't going to
              > get my thoughts to you any fatser, so I sat down to type out some
              > thoughts. I spent a good amount of time working on writing a
              probably
              > more careful response than you are now getting, when my computer
              > suddenly froze up just as I was almost finished, and I lost my
              > response, and had to rewrite it. In my haste I may not have worded
              it
              > as nicely this time around, but I think I have the gist of what I
              had
              > intended to say.
              >
              > > Now suppose this minister is a foreign missionary assigned in a
              > > country with a secular and rather anti-Christian government like
              > > China for example. However this government has made a deal with
              > the
              > > missionary that it will hire him to be a minister to a
              congregation
              > > without a pastor, and he will have an opportunity to preach in a
              > > completely unrestricted fashion at least once a week without any
              > > danger of interference.
              > Well, I think you've already thrown out China as a theoretical
              > possibility. There is a legal church there, the 3 self Person
              > movement I think it's called, and they do have restrictions. As a
              > result, though many attend, it is believed the predominant number
              of
              > evangelicals there oppose the church. That's the impression I got
              > from some sources anyway. That's why so many are persecuted for
              > attending the unregistered churches.
              >
              > >The government will even pay him a salary.
              > > According to the deal they will require the minister to appear
              and
              > > lead a prayer at periodic and official government functions. He
              > > knows that a prayer which the governing officials regard as
              overtly
              > > Christian at one of these events will provoke immediate
              persecution
              > > and he may be sent home.
              > I'd avoid any circumstances where I had to be in such a position.
              If
              > the terms are you may freely preach, but you MUST pray or preach
              for
              > some civil public assemblies, and can not be overtly Christian when
              > doing so, I don't think I could accept the terms. A minister of the
              > gospel is a minister of the gospel, and to behave as one when he
              > discharges his duties. There may be times when it is best to keep
              > one's mouth shut, I have no doubt. We all know that. There are some
              > in countries as medical missionaries or school teachers who know
              not
              > to go about shouting the gospel in the public square, who yet may
              > have opportunities they use thru private contacts / friendships.
              But
              > being told we MUST speak - must offer up a prayer, and then being
              > told that it must bne generic enough that nonChristians can believe
              > they are praying to the same "god" as you by eluding any specific
              > references to the Christian God, or anything or that ilk, to me
              > becomes a problem.
              > This is actually a point that has been brought up by people who
              > became Christians and eventually left the freemasons as a result.
              > They were put in situations where all had to pray, and a Christian
              > could lead in the prayer, but they were not to give any idea that
              the
              > muslim, jew, or new ager beside him were praying to anything other
              > than their own "conception of god." This led many of them to
              believe
              > they were denying Christ before men in doing so, and were led to
              > reconsider staying with the masonic organization. Leading them in
              > prayer to what is intentionally made the unknown God - I to mine,
              you
              > to yours, each one determining secretly for himself what he / she /
              > it is, and I am just leading the prayer.
              >
              > > Examples of such enigmatic speech at selective times in the face
              of
              > > hostile authorities might include Jesus' parables, Paul's
              confusing
              > > pronouncement before the Sanhedrin that his case was all about
              > > the "resurrection of the dead", Paul's bare pronouncements to
              > Jewish
              > > authorities that he fully embraced the law of Moses, etc.
              > Of course, in none of those situations were Jesus or Paul told to
              > pray publically and state things in a way that everyone could agree
              > with them. This is where I have my problem. You might see someone
              in
              > time of persecution say that they are going to hear the will of a
              > friend who has died rather than that they are going to church, as
              > recorded in one instance of a young lady who said this when halted
              > inm Scotland under times of persecution. That may be similar to
              Paul
              > remarking that he was being tried for having a hope in the
              > resurrection, which was true, insofar as that was a part of the
              > issue, for holding that Jesus had resurrected, and was the pledge
              of
              > our own resurrection.
              > But you don't see Jesus gathering together Romans and Jews and
              saying
              > let's pray, and not making clear that it is to the God of the
              Jewish
              > Scriptures he is praying, not some roman god or whoever they wanted
              > to think of the idea of "god" being.
              > -thebishopsdoom
              > I'm tempted to contrast the illustration at hand with the boldness
              of
              > Alexander Peden during the times of persecution in 17th century
              > Scotland. Not that I'm the guy that wants to be rushing headong
              > looking for persecution to suffer given the circumstances described
              > in the hypothetical situation that was given, but I couldn't help
              but
              > hear Peden's words echo in my head when I was writing out my reply:
              > "Where is the Kirk of God in Scotland today? It's not with the
              great
              > clergymen. Sirs, I'll tell you where the kirk of God is. Wherevever
              > there's a praying lass or lad at a dyke-side in Scotland. A praying
              > party shall ruin them yet, sirs. And a praying party shall go
              through
              > the storm!" Alexander Peden.
            • weeping_calvinist
              In this world, I do not doubt that such cases do exist. I guess I just have a real problem with a gospel-minister hiding Christ from unbelievers, instead of
              Message 6 of 9 , Oct 2, 2003
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                In this world, I do not doubt that such cases do exist. I guess I
                just have a real problem with a gospel-minister hiding Christ from
                unbelievers, instead of openly presenting and freely offering Him. I
                don't think he was called to do the former, but the latter.

                gmw.

                --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Dan Fraas"
                <fraasrd@y...> wrote:
                > Jerry,
                >
                > Thanks for your comments. There is a real-world ministry which I
                > believe this scenario parallels, and it's not in China. In this
                case
                > the minister DOES have opportunities to preach openly and
                unfettered,
                > but only at selective times (weekly). To not accept the deal would
                > make him unable to minister to the particular group to which he is
                > ministering. They would be inaccessible. I guess I was thinking
                > maybe he could pray in such a way as to not make the unbelievers
                feel
                > completely included, but to just say things they don't understand
                and
                > make them wonder who he was talking about. "prince of peace, the
                > great 'I am', the anointed one, the Lamb of God, etc."
                >
                > Riley
                > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, thebishopsdoom
                > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                > > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
                > > <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
                > > > A minister's charter is from Christ, not from the civil
                > > government. And Christ says to preach Christ, to not be ashamed
                of
                > > His Name before men, to preach in and out of season, etc. So,
                no,
                > > this doesn't change my judgment. Anyone else care to share an
                > > opinion?
                > > >
                > > > gmw.
                > > Alright, I was holding my tongue on this while I thought a
                little.
                > > Then I realized that putting my fingers in my mouth wasn't going
                to
                > > get my thoughts to you any fatser, so I sat down to type out some
                > > thoughts. I spent a good amount of time working on writing a
                > probably
                > > more careful response than you are now getting, when my computer
                > > suddenly froze up just as I was almost finished, and I lost my
                > > response, and had to rewrite it. In my haste I may not have
                worded
                > it
                > > as nicely this time around, but I think I have the gist of what I
                > had
                > > intended to say.
                > >
                > > > Now suppose this minister is a foreign missionary assigned in a
                > > > country with a secular and rather anti-Christian government
                like
                > > > China for example. However this government has made a deal
                with
                > > the
                > > > missionary that it will hire him to be a minister to a
                > congregation
                > > > without a pastor, and he will have an opportunity to preach in
                a
                > > > completely unrestricted fashion at least once a week without
                any
                > > > danger of interference.
                > > Well, I think you've already thrown out China as a theoretical
                > > possibility. There is a legal church there, the 3 self Person
                > > movement I think it's called, and they do have restrictions. As a
                > > result, though many attend, it is believed the predominant number
                > of
                > > evangelicals there oppose the church. That's the impression I got
                > > from some sources anyway. That's why so many are persecuted for
                > > attending the unregistered churches.
                > >
                > > >The government will even pay him a salary.
                > > > According to the deal they will require the minister to appear
                > and
                > > > lead a prayer at periodic and official government functions.
                He
                > > > knows that a prayer which the governing officials regard as
                > overtly
                > > > Christian at one of these events will provoke immediate
                > persecution
                > > > and he may be sent home.
                > > I'd avoid any circumstances where I had to be in such a position.
                > If
                > > the terms are you may freely preach, but you MUST pray or preach
                > for
                > > some civil public assemblies, and can not be overtly Christian
                when
                > > doing so, I don't think I could accept the terms. A minister of
                the
                > > gospel is a minister of the gospel, and to behave as one when he
                > > discharges his duties. There may be times when it is best to keep
                > > one's mouth shut, I have no doubt. We all know that. There are
                some
                > > in countries as medical missionaries or school teachers who know
                > not
                > > to go about shouting the gospel in the public square, who yet may
                > > have opportunities they use thru private contacts / friendships.
                > But
                > > being told we MUST speak - must offer up a prayer, and then being
                > > told that it must bne generic enough that nonChristians can
                believe
                > > they are praying to the same "god" as you by eluding any specific
                > > references to the Christian God, or anything or that ilk, to me
                > > becomes a problem.
                > > This is actually a point that has been brought up by people who
                > > became Christians and eventually left the freemasons as a result.
                > > They were put in situations where all had to pray, and a
                Christian
                > > could lead in the prayer, but they were not to give any idea that
                > the
                > > muslim, jew, or new ager beside him were praying to anything
                other
                > > than their own "conception of god." This led many of them to
                > believe
                > > they were denying Christ before men in doing so, and were led to
                > > reconsider staying with the masonic organization. Leading them in
                > > prayer to what is intentionally made the unknown God - I to mine,
                > you
                > > to yours, each one determining secretly for himself what he /
                she /
                > > it is, and I am just leading the prayer.
                > >
                > > > Examples of such enigmatic speech at selective times in the
                face
                > of
                > > > hostile authorities might include Jesus' parables, Paul's
                > confusing
                > > > pronouncement before the Sanhedrin that his case was all about
                > > > the "resurrection of the dead", Paul's bare pronouncements to
                > > Jewish
                > > > authorities that he fully embraced the law of Moses, etc.
                > > Of course, in none of those situations were Jesus or Paul told to
                > > pray publically and state things in a way that everyone could
                agree
                > > with them. This is where I have my problem. You might see someone
                > in
                > > time of persecution say that they are going to hear the will of a
                > > friend who has died rather than that they are going to church, as
                > > recorded in one instance of a young lady who said this when
                halted
                > > inm Scotland under times of persecution. That may be similar to
                > Paul
                > > remarking that he was being tried for having a hope in the
                > > resurrection, which was true, insofar as that was a part of the
                > > issue, for holding that Jesus had resurrected, and was the pledge
                > of
                > > our own resurrection.
                > > But you don't see Jesus gathering together Romans and Jews and
                > saying
                > > let's pray, and not making clear that it is to the God of the
                > Jewish
                > > Scriptures he is praying, not some roman god or whoever they
                wanted
                > > to think of the idea of "god" being.
                > > -thebishopsdoom
                > > I'm tempted to contrast the illustration at hand with the
                boldness
                > of
                > > Alexander Peden during the times of persecution in 17th century
                > > Scotland. Not that I'm the guy that wants to be rushing headong
                > > looking for persecution to suffer given the circumstances
                described
                > > in the hypothetical situation that was given, but I couldn't help
                > but
                > > hear Peden's words echo in my head when I was writing out my
                reply:
                > > "Where is the Kirk of God in Scotland today? It's not with the
                > great
                > > clergymen. Sirs, I'll tell you where the kirk of God is.
                Wherevever
                > > there's a praying lass or lad at a dyke-side in Scotland. A
                praying
                > > party shall ruin them yet, sirs. And a praying party shall go
                > through
                > > the storm!" Alexander Peden.
              • Dan Fraas
                You re absolutely right about that. But could it be prudent in a given situation for a gospel-minister to carefully pick and choose his opportunities to
                Message 7 of 9 , Oct 2, 2003
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                  You're absolutely right about that. But could it be prudent in a
                  given situation for a gospel-minister to carefully pick and choose
                  his opportunities to present Christ unveiled with a view to
                  preserving the great and otherwise impossible opportunities?

                  Riley
                  --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "weeping_calvinist"
                  <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
                  > In this world, I do not doubt that such cases do exist. I guess I
                  > just have a real problem with a gospel-minister hiding Christ from
                  > unbelievers, instead of openly presenting and freely offering Him.
                  I
                  > don't think he was called to do the former, but the latter.
                  >
                  > gmw.
                  >
                  > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Dan Fraas"
                  > <fraasrd@y...> wrote:
                  > > Jerry,
                  > >
                  > > Thanks for your comments. There is a real-world ministry which I
                  > > believe this scenario parallels, and it's not in China. In this
                  > case
                  > > the minister DOES have opportunities to preach openly and
                  > unfettered,
                  > > but only at selective times (weekly). To not accept the deal
                  would
                  > > make him unable to minister to the particular group to which he
                  is
                  > > ministering. They would be inaccessible. I guess I was thinking
                  > > maybe he could pray in such a way as to not make the unbelievers
                  > feel
                  > > completely included, but to just say things they don't understand
                  > and
                  > > make them wonder who he was talking about. "prince of peace, the
                  > > great 'I am', the anointed one, the Lamb of God, etc."
                  > >
                  > > Riley
                  > > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, thebishopsdoom
                  > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                  > > > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
                  > > > <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
                  > > > > A minister's charter is from Christ, not from the civil
                  > > > government. And Christ says to preach Christ, to not be
                  ashamed
                  > of
                  > > > His Name before men, to preach in and out of season, etc. So,
                  > no,
                  > > > this doesn't change my judgment. Anyone else care to share an
                  > > > opinion?
                  > > > >
                  > > > > gmw.
                  > > > Alright, I was holding my tongue on this while I thought a
                  > little.
                  > > > Then I realized that putting my fingers in my mouth wasn't
                  going
                  > to
                  > > > get my thoughts to you any fatser, so I sat down to type out
                  some
                  > > > thoughts. I spent a good amount of time working on writing a
                  > > probably
                  > > > more careful response than you are now getting, when my
                  computer
                  > > > suddenly froze up just as I was almost finished, and I lost my
                  > > > response, and had to rewrite it. In my haste I may not have
                  > worded
                  > > it
                  > > > as nicely this time around, but I think I have the gist of what
                  I
                  > > had
                  > > > intended to say.
                  > > >
                  > > > > Now suppose this minister is a foreign missionary assigned in
                  a
                  > > > > country with a secular and rather anti-Christian government
                  > like
                  > > > > China for example. However this government has made a deal
                  > with
                  > > > the
                  > > > > missionary that it will hire him to be a minister to a
                  > > congregation
                  > > > > without a pastor, and he will have an opportunity to preach
                  in
                  > a
                  > > > > completely unrestricted fashion at least once a week without
                  > any
                  > > > > danger of interference.
                  > > > Well, I think you've already thrown out China as a theoretical
                  > > > possibility. There is a legal church there, the 3 self Person
                  > > > movement I think it's called, and they do have restrictions. As
                  a
                  > > > result, though many attend, it is believed the predominant
                  number
                  > > of
                  > > > evangelicals there oppose the church. That's the impression I
                  got
                  > > > from some sources anyway. That's why so many are persecuted for
                  > > > attending the unregistered churches.
                  > > >
                  > > > >The government will even pay him a salary.
                  > > > > According to the deal they will require the minister to
                  appear
                  > > and
                  > > > > lead a prayer at periodic and official government functions.
                  > He
                  > > > > knows that a prayer which the governing officials regard as
                  > > overtly
                  > > > > Christian at one of these events will provoke immediate
                  > > persecution
                  > > > > and he may be sent home.
                  > > > I'd avoid any circumstances where I had to be in such a
                  position.
                  > > If
                  > > > the terms are you may freely preach, but you MUST pray or
                  preach
                  > > for
                  > > > some civil public assemblies, and can not be overtly Christian
                  > when
                  > > > doing so, I don't think I could accept the terms. A minister of
                  > the
                  > > > gospel is a minister of the gospel, and to behave as one when
                  he
                  > > > discharges his duties. There may be times when it is best to
                  keep
                  > > > one's mouth shut, I have no doubt. We all know that. There are
                  > some
                  > > > in countries as medical missionaries or school teachers who
                  know
                  > > not
                  > > > to go about shouting the gospel in the public square, who yet
                  may
                  > > > have opportunities they use thru private contacts /
                  friendships.
                  > > But
                  > > > being told we MUST speak - must offer up a prayer, and then
                  being
                  > > > told that it must bne generic enough that nonChristians can
                  > believe
                  > > > they are praying to the same "god" as you by eluding any
                  specific
                  > > > references to the Christian God, or anything or that ilk, to me
                  > > > becomes a problem.
                  > > > This is actually a point that has been brought up by people who
                  > > > became Christians and eventually left the freemasons as a
                  result.
                  > > > They were put in situations where all had to pray, and a
                  > Christian
                  > > > could lead in the prayer, but they were not to give any idea
                  that
                  > > the
                  > > > muslim, jew, or new ager beside him were praying to anything
                  > other
                  > > > than their own "conception of god." This led many of them to
                  > > believe
                  > > > they were denying Christ before men in doing so, and were led
                  to
                  > > > reconsider staying with the masonic organization. Leading them
                  in
                  > > > prayer to what is intentionally made the unknown God - I to
                  mine,
                  > > you
                  > > > to yours, each one determining secretly for himself what he /
                  > she /
                  > > > it is, and I am just leading the prayer.
                  > > >
                  > > > > Examples of such enigmatic speech at selective times in the
                  > face
                  > > of
                  > > > > hostile authorities might include Jesus' parables, Paul's
                  > > confusing
                  > > > > pronouncement before the Sanhedrin that his case was all
                  about
                  > > > > the "resurrection of the dead", Paul's bare pronouncements to
                  > > > Jewish
                  > > > > authorities that he fully embraced the law of Moses, etc.
                  > > > Of course, in none of those situations were Jesus or Paul told
                  to
                  > > > pray publically and state things in a way that everyone could
                  > agree
                  > > > with them. This is where I have my problem. You might see
                  someone
                  > > in
                  > > > time of persecution say that they are going to hear the will of
                  a
                  > > > friend who has died rather than that they are going to church,
                  as
                  > > > recorded in one instance of a young lady who said this when
                  > halted
                  > > > inm Scotland under times of persecution. That may be similar to
                  > > Paul
                  > > > remarking that he was being tried for having a hope in the
                  > > > resurrection, which was true, insofar as that was a part of the
                  > > > issue, for holding that Jesus had resurrected, and was the
                  pledge
                  > > of
                  > > > our own resurrection.
                  > > > But you don't see Jesus gathering together Romans and Jews and
                  > > saying
                  > > > let's pray, and not making clear that it is to the God of the
                  > > Jewish
                  > > > Scriptures he is praying, not some roman god or whoever they
                  > wanted
                  > > > to think of the idea of "god" being.
                  > > > -thebishopsdoom
                  > > > I'm tempted to contrast the illustration at hand with the
                  > boldness
                  > > of
                  > > > Alexander Peden during the times of persecution in 17th century
                  > > > Scotland. Not that I'm the guy that wants to be rushing headong
                  > > > looking for persecution to suffer given the circumstances
                  > described
                  > > > in the hypothetical situation that was given, but I couldn't
                  help
                  > > but
                  > > > hear Peden's words echo in my head when I was writing out my
                  > reply:
                  > > > "Where is the Kirk of God in Scotland today? It's not with the
                  > > great
                  > > > clergymen. Sirs, I'll tell you where the kirk of God is.
                  > Wherevever
                  > > > there's a praying lass or lad at a dyke-side in Scotland. A
                  > praying
                  > > > party shall ruin them yet, sirs. And a praying party shall go
                  > > through
                  > > > the storm!" Alexander Peden.
                • thebishopsdoom
                  ... That s why I mentioned about all (I believe) being in agreement about that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. There are missionaries all
                  Message 8 of 9 , Oct 2, 2003
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                    --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Dan Fraas"
                    <fraasrd@y...> wrote:
                    > You're absolutely right about that. But could it be prudent in a
                    > given situation for a gospel-minister to carefully pick and choose
                    > his opportunities to present Christ unveiled with a view to
                    > preserving the great and otherwise impossible opportunities?
                    >
                    > Riley
                    That's why I mentioned about all (I believe) being in agreement about
                    that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. There are
                    missionaries all over the world who only share in private, or who
                    preach in the confines of a meeting house, but not in the open
                    market, for these very reasons.
                    The problem I see is for the person to accept their charge as a
                    minister with the *requirement* that they sometimes preach or pray at
                    public functions, and that in such instances, they will preach and
                    pray in such a way as to be vague enough not to preach Christ, or not
                    to make clear to the audience who they are praying to, and the like.
                    It is one thing for a minister to use discretion as to when and where
                    he speaks, as Christians have ever in times of persecution used
                    discretion. It is one thing if the minister in an underground church
                    communicates messages to people with letters that are coded, to avoid
                    detection. It is one thing when Jesus confounds those who sought to
                    entangle him, or preached so as to weed out those who only followed
                    the miracle worker for sake of a show and not the man whose words
                    breathe forth life to those who will believe and will seek for
                    understanding. It seems quite another thing to be told that they may
                    preach, but only under condition that they must preach or pray at
                    specified times, and agree upon refusing to do so in a manner that
                    would lead men to any but the god of their choice or etc.
                    Suppose this same minister were required at certain functions to
                    preach to a Roman Catholic audience, under the expressed directives
                    that they could not preach anything that would disagree with Roman
                    Catholic dogma (though that would not mean they would have to preach
                    anything that contradicted protestant dogma, only restricting to
                    those things wherein the two agre in their understandings), and that
                    this was a requirement to being hired to the ministry, but otherwise,
                    they could preach in their own church however they pleased. Or
                    suppose the same conditions, but say it is in a Mormon or Watchtower
                    Society group they had to preach to - or some unitarian universalist
                    church, and this was a requirement, but otherwise, they were free to
                    preach. I'm certain this would be a charge that many ordained
                    ministers would refuse to accept. Not because they feel compelled
                    that every time they preach, they preach something that expressly
                    disagrees with any and all of the above churches, nor that they feel
                    that every time they meet someone of such beliefs that they feel it
                    is required that they always make a point to speak to them about
                    their errours. But when they are called to *minister* to those
                    people, functioning in capacity as a gospel minister, and required to
                    so accpet these terms from the powers that be, required to, in
                    effect, not minister to them that which is needful, but rather coddle
                    them in errour, and this is a term required of their post (either by
                    stating that they will abide, or recognizing that they will place the
                    church of God at risk if they do not abide by these rules), that
                    seems to place things in a light much more difficult to agree to.
                    -doom
                  • Dan Fraas
                    ... choose ... about ... Would it be wrong for these missionaries to speak out in public, too, even though they d have to restrict their speech for their own
                    Message 9 of 9 , Oct 3, 2003
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                      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, thebishopsdoom
                      <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                      > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Dan Fraas"
                      > <fraasrd@y...> wrote:
                      > > You're absolutely right about that. But could it be prudent in a
                      > > given situation for a gospel-minister to carefully pick and
                      choose
                      > > his opportunities to present Christ unveiled with a view to
                      > > preserving the great and otherwise impossible opportunities?
                      > >
                      > > Riley
                      > That's why I mentioned about all (I believe) being in agreement
                      about
                      > that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. There are
                      > missionaries all over the world who only share in private, or who
                      > preach in the confines of a meeting house, but not in the open
                      > market, for these very reasons.

                      Would it be wrong for these missionaries to speak out in public, too,
                      even though they'd have to restrict their speech for their own
                      safety? Could they ask leading questions and give hints/speak in
                      parables in public on Saturdays and then preach the whole counsel of
                      God in their hideout on Sundays?

                      > The problem I see is for the person to accept their charge as a
                      > minister with the *requirement* that they sometimes preach or pray
                      at
                      > public functions, and that in such instances, they will preach and
                      > pray in such a way as to be vague enough not to preach Christ, or
                      not
                      > to make clear to the audience who they are praying to, and the
                      like.

                      I see your point. But prayer is not a sermon. We don't have to cite
                      the whole counsel of God in our prayers. Would it be wrong for him
                      to say something that the unbelievers have never heard before, to
                      make them curious and befuddle any accusations? What communicates
                      more truth to an unbeliever, "Jesus", or "the lamb of God who takes
                      away the sin of the world"? Which is more likely to provoke
                      persecution?

                      > It is one thing for a minister to use discretion as to when and
                      where
                      > he speaks, as Christians have ever in times of persecution used
                      > discretion. It is one thing if the minister in an underground
                      church
                      > communicates messages to people with letters that are coded, to
                      avoid
                      > detection.

                      I don't see the difference between that scenario and the scenario of
                      a minister who uses Christian code words in prayer to unite believers
                      throw off the would-be-accusers who are listening in.

                      It is one thing when Jesus confounds those who sought to
                      > entangle him, or preached so as to weed out those who only followed
                      > the miracle worker for sake of a show and not the man whose words
                      > breathe forth life to those who will believe and will seek for
                      > understanding. It seems quite another thing to be told that they
                      may
                      > preach, but only under condition that they must preach or pray at
                      > specified times, and agree upon refusing to do so in a manner that
                      > would lead men to any but the god of their choice or etc.

                      Yes, I see the issues here. But with creativity and a little
                      artistic bending of the rules I think a chaplain could communicate
                      the truth in such a way that does not give any ammo to the accusers
                      but communicates the Messiah. Don't be intentionally obedient to the
                      directives, but cleverly witness and stay below the "radar
                      screen."

                      > Suppose this same minister were required at certain functions to
                      > preach to a Roman Catholic audience, under the expressed directives
                      > that they could not preach anything that would disagree with Roman
                      > Catholic dogma (though that would not mean they would have to
                      preach
                      > anything that contradicted protestant dogma, only restricting to
                      > those things wherein the two agre in their understandings), and
                      that
                      > this was a requirement to being hired to the ministry, but
                      otherwise,
                      > they could preach in their own church however they pleased.

                      I'd say it's a great opportunity. Use good "Catholic" dogma. Read
                      them some quotes by Augustine and read Ephesians 2:8 and the second
                      commandment to them. Would it necessarily be wise to begin by
                      informing a roomful of Catholics the the pope is Antichrist? Tell
                      them about what an antichrist is, what the gospel is, and let them
                      figure it out.

                      Or
                      > suppose the same conditions, but say it is in a Mormon or
                      Watchtower
                      > Society group they had to preach to - or some unitarian
                      universalist
                      > church, and this was a requirement, but otherwise, they were free
                      to
                      > preach.

                      I'd say truly present the Messiah, but use some creativity to stop
                      the mouths of accusers.

                      I thank you for your well-thought-out responses. I appreciate your
                      comments. I'm going over these issues in my mind and I haven't
                      become secure in any conclusion. I definitely see the problems you
                      note. We're both trying to be faithful to God's word and preach the
                      gospel to every creature.

                      For Christ's Crown and Covenant!

                      Riley
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