Archive for the ‘Nations’ category

Civil Government, a Divine Ordinance Part V

March 29, 2013

This week will be my fifth and final installment reproducing Pastor George Dana Boardman’s sermon on civil government just prior to the presidential election in 1864 (see Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, and Part IV here).

I don’t have a lot to say about the appendix to Pastor Boardman’s sermon. I do have mixed feelings about the suspension of Habeus Corpus by Abraham Lincoln and the precedent it set. One the one hand I completely understand why President Lincoln did it and I do think he was justified. On the other hand I live in a time when we seem to be in a state of “perpetual war” where a suspension of Habeus Corpus during war time could mean a permanent suspension of Habeus Corpus. Of course a permanent suspension of Habeus Corpus is nothing more or less than a police state. I don’t think Pastor Boardman could have seen that coming so I will cut him some slack on that.

I do have to say that I understand Pastor Boardman’s concern about subverting the government from within. Since September 11, 2001 I have watched as prominent news organizations have openly supported the enemy and when challenged they drape themselves in the U.S. Constitution (a document they have no respect for). Let’s just say that I feel Pastor Boardman’s pain and leave it at that.

Here is Pastor Boardman: (more…)

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Civil Government, a Divine Ordinance Part IV

March 21, 2013

This week I am continuing to reprint a sermon made by Pastor George Dana Boardman just prior to the presidential election in 1864 (see Part I here, Part II here, and Part III here).

The section I have reprinted this week Pastor Boardman deals with President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Pastor Boardman’s opinion on this matter is made very clear and I don’t think I have any particular insights to add save one. Pastor Boardman views the soon to be freed slaves as his equals which is very unusual for this time. I am currently reading a history of the years leading up to the Civil War called “The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861” and very few people, in the North or South, viewed the slaves as being their equals (this includes Abraham Lincoln). As a Christian, Pastor Boardman gets this one right!

Here is Pastor Boardman: (more…)

Civil Government, a Divine Ordinance Part III

March 14, 2013

This week I am continuing to reprint a sermon made by Pastor George Dana Boardman just prior to the presidential election in 1864 (see Part I here and Part II here).

In this excerpt Rev. Boardman makes his case that it is biblically justified for a government to use force to preserve its authority. I think he is right in this and I really don’t have any disagreements with his position. Of course the entire purpose of his sermon depends on this point. He is bluntly asking his congregation to support the Republican Abraham Lincoln in the election against Democratic candidate George B. McClellan. McClellan, and many Northern Democrats, felt that the North should not have been fighting the secession of the Southern states from the union. As a Christian in 1864 if you felt that the North had no business fighting to retain its sovereignty over the states that seceded then your choice for President would have been clear. In order to support his call to vote for President Lincoln, Rev. Boardman had to make a compelling case that the North was right to be fighting this war.

I also notice that Pastor Boardman basically says that if he does not believe that a war is justified that he would refuse to participate. This was before there was a draft in the U.S. so he was probably free to refuse to participate either physically or economically in the war effort. I wonder if he would support resisting the draft if he believed a war to be unjust.

Beyond this point I have to say that I was tickled to read his discussion of how Americans regard the U.S. flag and how it confused the Europeans. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Here is Pastor Boardman: (more…)

Civil Government, a Divine Ordinance Part II

March 8, 2013

Last week I began reproducing a sermon given by Pastor George Dana Boardman just prior to the 1864 presidential election (please see Civil Government, a Divine Ordinance Part I). I like studying the Bible and I like U.S. history so finding this sermon was a real windfall for me. In this sermon Pastor Boardman touches on many topics that are still causing contention in the United States today and I think it is worth listening to what he has to say.

This week’s excerpt from Pastor Boardman’s sermon is going to be a long one. In it he expounds on what our duties are to the government by likening the citizen/government relationship to a parent/child relationship. Children are commanded to obey their parents by the Bible but should every conceivable order given by a parent be followed by the child? Pastor Boardman says “no.”

I would like to make one point before I begin the quote. Pastor Boardman bases his entire analogy on the commandment to “honor your father and mother.” He interprets the word “honor” to mean “obey.” I have heard this before but I believe that “honor” does not mean “obey.” In Exodus 20:12 the Hebrew word used for “honor” is “kabad” (Strong’s H3513) and it appears to mean to “give honor or glory to.” I don’t believe that this commandment means that adult children have to obey their parents. Rather I think it means we are not supposed to go around bad-mouthing and maligning our parents.

Does that mean that I think Pastor Boardman’s logic has no basis? Not at all! Children still at home were commanded to obey their parents in very strong terms. Probably the best biblical example of this that I can think of is from Deuteronomy:

18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father or mother and doesn’t listen to them even after they discipline him,
19 his father and mother must take hold of him and bring him to the elders of his city, to the gate of his hometown.
20 They will say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he doesn’t obey us. He’s a glutton and a drunkard.’
21 Then all the men of his city will stone him to death. You must purge the evil from you, and all Israel will hear and be afraid.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21

I do think that Pastor Boardman’s point is a valid one but he should have used a different passage to back up his assertion.

Here is Pastor Boardman: (more…)

Civil Government, a Divine Ordinance Part I

February 27, 2013

This past week I stumbled upon the text of a sermon delivered in 1864 by Pastor George Dana Boardman of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. It is titled “Civil Government, a Divine Ordinance” and it is really packed with both theology and history! If you think that a sermon delivered almost 150 years in the past would not have much relevance to those of us living in the 21st century you would be wrong. Some of the topics he discusses are:

  • Pastor Boardman calls outright for members of his congregation to vote for Abraham Lincoln in the upcoming presidential election. He seems to have thought long and hard whether to do so but there is no hint that our modern concept of “separation of church and state” ever entered into his mind.
  • Romans chapter 13, which tells Christians to submit to the governing authorities, is interpreted by Pastor Boardman in exactly the way you would expect from a “right wing conservative” pastor. Yet he stops well short of saying we must do everything the government tells us to do. I think a time is coming where faithful Christians in the U.S. are going to have to be making decisions that Pastor Boardman says belong to the domain of casuistry or cases of the conscience.
  • Pastor Boardman discusses Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and comes out in strong support of it. This breaks the modern stereotype that Christians who hold the Bible in high regard are also closet racists. For Pastor Boardman to chide opponents of the Emancipation of Proclamation for their “prejudice of color” probably took some courage. In 1864 this would not have been done out of some 19th century form of political correctness and I suspect he took some heat for saying it.
  • Pastor Boardman also comes out in support of President Lincoln suspending Habeas Corpus and arresting some journalists and politicians who were supporting the Confederacy. I don’t think I agree with him on this issue but I do sympathize. In the last ten years I have read many articles that are really unvarnished propaganda for our national enemies. It does get tiresome.

This sermon takes up about 25 pages in the pamphlet that was published (this was just one sermon!) but I am going to break it up into four or five posts along with some, hopefully, relevant comments on my part.

========================= (more…)

Psalm 94 – God the Refuge of the Righteous

September 20, 2012

In the past six months I have had many discussions with my father about how we Christians are commanded to interact with government. Do we participate in “Christian activism,” do we meekly hold out our wrists for the manacles, or is there some other option? These are important questions!

Pastor Clay Ward of Pleroma Bible Church is leading his congregation verse by verse through the Torah. I began listening to the Exodus section of his study a few weeks ago and lo and behold in today’s lesson he took his listeners through Psalm 94 which asks many of the same questions I have been asking myself. Psalm 94 deals with persecution and protection of the righteous. If you have asked yourself the same questions I recommend listening to Pastor Ward by clicking on this link:

Touring the Torah Lesson 403

NOTE: I have checked the CD that I uploaded this lesson from along with the other materials I have from Pleroma Bible Church and I see no copyright or language prohibiting me from uploading this lesson. If anyone from Pleroma Bible Church finds this post and thinks I have violated any laws please let me know and I will delete this post immediately.

The Bible, Government, and American Politics 2012 Edition

May 18, 2012

I have been interested in politics since I was in my early teens. I really have no idea why that is and, as I grow older, I have come to believe that it is a waste of my time and a distraction from what is truly important in life. Voting is a responsibility that I have always taken seriously and probably always will but I do not think that politics is a solution to any of life’s problems. That is particularly true for Christians.

In March the Chafer Theological Seminary held its 2012 Pastors’ Conference the topic of which was “The Role of the Christian in the National Entity” (the videos can be found here and the papers presented here). I ordered the conference DVDs and am currentlyworking my way through them. What really comes through to me when viewing these presentations is how much at odds the biblical viewpoint of government is from the viewpoint now prevalent in the United States (this was not always the case).

What I am going to do today is comment on a trend that I have noticed in mainstream “conservative” political thought and then provide an extended quote from Charles Clough’s paper from the Pastors’ Conference. You should notice that there is a huge difference in worldview here. In fact that difference should almost stand up and slap you in the chops. It’s that big.

Before I go on I want to be up front and mention that I am comparing the Biblical view to what is considered “conservative” political thought in the United States today. I have come to the realization that my “conservative” worldview (I am labeled as a “social conservative”) has nothing to do with pretty much any other variety of modern American “conservative.” I no longer expect that any conservative group or political party in the United States will desire the membership of my kind of conservative. I don’t think that many other likeminded Christians have realized this yet but they should be getting the point over the next year or so.

I should probably point out that I use an example from a self described libertarian below. Libertarian thought and philosophy is becoming much more mainstream in so-called conservative circles and many Christians are being lured into it. I think that is a mistake. (more…)


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