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Re: [Covenanted Reformation] inclusive prayer language?

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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