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Re: [Covenanted Reformation] inclusive prayer language?

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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 1 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
      >
      >
      >
      >
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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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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