What is a Puritan?

From 1580 to 1720 a group of Christians originated in Britain, sprouted in places in Europe and dominated New England. The church of England refusing to follow Scripture or take seriously the fear of God compelled the most dedicated to live so as to earn the name “Hot Protestants.” But more commonly, they were called Puritans.

No single definition seems to squeeze in all the people who look and sound like Puritans. Jonathan Edwards ministered after 1720. William Carey left England in 1793, and Robert Murray McCheyne lived in Scotland in the 1800’s as well as Spurgeon. Are any of these men in the group?

George Whitefield was an Anglican as was John Newton who wrote “Amazing Grace.” Also, J. C. Ryle and other lesser-known men. Can any of these take the title Puritan?

Some theologians question the theology of Richard Baxter and John Milton, yet they are usually included as Puritans. Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, and Anglicans are all commonly included in the group.

If the definition of Puritan is decided by time, then William Tyndale, Robert McCheyne, Charles Spurgeon, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones do not make the team. If the definition is by geography such as Britain, that won’t do at all since it cuts out Edwards, Davenant, and Melanchthon. If the definition is by denomination, then we have a broad enough group to include Methodists, separatists, and churchmen who preach in robes.

Like Gallio in Acts 18, I care for none of these things. In my mind, if an author is published by the Banner of Truth he can fit in the group. Who is helped, save academics in their footnotes, by a technical definition of such a historically profitable group?

Why not define the group by the spiritual characteristics which have kept them in demand for hundreds of years and which have sprouted at least 6 modern publishing companies? Therefore, I propose that the fear of God is the defining mark of a Puritan.

A high view of God that trembles at His Word receiving every commandment with joy is what makes a Puritan to me. These were men who wrote books that had no time for explaining reasons Isaiah wrote the book which bears his name. They believed in inerrancy, young earth creation, the new birth, repentance, a glorious Heaven, a Hell with literal and eternal fire, and deep experiences with the saving, personal love of God. They loved conversion, preaching, and the gospel. They sought as Leland Ryken documents in his pleasing book, Worldly Saints, to be consistent Christians for each day they were stationed here on earth. They expected persecution and mockery, yet a constant refilling of joy and faith. They tried to work through doctrines of Scripture in meticulous statements of faith like the Baptist Confession of 1644 (which came before the Presbyterian Westminster Confession) and theological works like A Display of Arminianism by John Owen in 1642. They loved their families enough to be specially marked as the group that does family worship often twice per day. They were serious Christians.

He is no Puritan who questions the Bible. If he thinks evolution “makes some good points,” he is out of the group. If his nuance is bigger than his wonder, if he plays at religion, if he rationalizes why he can skip a church meeting to be at a sporting event, he may rightly have many names, but not Puritan.

When I think of the Puritans, I think of the fear of God. When I listen to Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermons, I hear in his voice what I read in Gurnall or Brooks or Watson.

And that is the kind of religion I aspire to. I want my kids to be Puritans according to that lengthy paragraph. I want to plant Puritan churches.

I am not agreeing with all the decisions of different good men from the past, most notably the death penalty for Baptists or political disagreements. Many Puritans were baby sprinklers and theonomists. There was not a strong emphasis on missions, though the best of them were very evangelistic such as Baxter, Bunyan, and Boston.

If we need a revival of dedicated Christians—those who are not afraid to commit to the church, face mockery by the world, call Sunday the Lord’s Day, and in short make every minute and every dollar a religious test, then we need modern Puritans.

Call me what you will, but those are the marks that by God’s grace, I want to be mentioned at my funeral. For short-hand, I will take that name. I am a Puritan.

Posted in Definitions | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Is Gender the Right Word?

Why is the word “gender” used constantly today rather than the word “sex”? Are there any benefits to the term “gender” that are not included with the term sex to refer to male and female? Should Christians use the word gender when referring to the male or female sex? 

The word gender though perhaps technically synonymous with sex or binary kind has been increasingly dominated by feminist activists around the 1960’s, homosexual activists around the 1980’s, and now the transgender activists of the 2000’s. 

Some time ago I was surprised when I searched Apple’s dictionary for the definition of gender and found a note at the bottom on usage saying that this term was popularized around 1950 in order to promote feminism and now it is being used to promote transgenderism. Apple’s dictionary has since changed its usage note, and I wish I had archived their previous comment. When I checked some popular dictionaries today, they all had notes on this term supporting an activist definition. 

Apple’s dictionary:


1 either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female: a condition that affects people of both genders | someone of the opposite gender | everyone always asks which gender I identify as. 

• the fact or condition of belonging to or identifying with a particular gender: video ads will target users based only on age and gender | traditional concepts of gender | I’m a strong believer that gender is fluid. 


The word gender has been used since the 14th century as a grammatical term, referring to classes of noun designated as masculine, feminine, or neuter in some languages. The sense denoting biological sex has also been used since the 14th century, but this did not become common until the mid 20th century. Although the words gender and sex are often used interchangeably, they have slightly different connotations; sex tends to refer to biological diferences [sic], while gender more often refers to cultural and social differences and sometimes encompasses a broader range of identities than the binary of male and female.

According to these new definitions, gender is different from sex. Gender means something like the way you act, and this new mushy, cloudy, play-dough definition does “not correspond to established ideas.” What are these established ideas that the new gender definition does not fit with? The traditional, Biblical views of Western culture that there are two sexes determined and defined by God. The new meaning of gender is something that is different from the “established ideas.”

Just look at the silly, dishonest, and ugly examples of the usage: “everyone always asks which gender I identify as.” No, they don’t. No one has ever asked me which gender I identify as. No one has asked the great majority of people which gender they identify as. They wrote that “example” sentence to try to teach you how to talk and how to get ready to hear other people talk. Dictionaries are largely manipulated by a small group of cultural Marxists who having failed to dominate economically, will now try to take the cultural reins of power such as schools and media. As a great example of this the Cambridge University Dictionary lists 5 different definitions of “gender” with the first 3 being political revisions of traditional, Biblical sexuality.

The same is true for the sentence: “I’m a strong believer that gender is fluid.” Not only does that sentence sound like it was written by artificial intelligence, it represents such a small minority that it cannot be helpful in establishing the usage of a word for society unless it was designed as an activist’s effort.

But I am glad that they still acknowledge over at Apple that something changed 50 years ago in Western culture. Once communism failed militarily, they began their infiltration of the culture.

Dictionary.com says: 


either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior: the feminine gender.

Compare sex1 (def. 1).

a similar category of human beings that is outside the male/female binary classification. See also third gender (def. 1), genderqueer (def. 3), nonbinary (def. 3).

Merriam Webster dictionary says for the usage: 

…In the 20th century sex and gender each acquired new uses…. Usage of sex and gender is by no means settled. For example, while discrimination was far more often paired with sex from the 1960s through the 20th century and into the 21st, the phrase gender discrimination has been steadily increasing in use since the 1980s and is on track to become the dominant collocation. Currently both terms are sometimes employed with their intended synonymy made explicit: sex/gender discrimination, gender (sex) discrimination.

Words should be defined by God whenever He has spoken. So for example, man is the one who stands as representative of woman. Where did that definition come from? All the usage of Scripture. Solomon says, “My son” not “my child.” If we cared to learn Hebrew or Greek, we would see masculine terms used throughout the entire corpus of God’s Revelation. When teaching pastors to pray, Paul through the Spirit says that God desires all men to be saved where men means all humans.

If God meant “all humans” then why not write that? Because God actually meant something more than all humans. He meant all males and all females as imagined in a collective group whereby men are the representative head. It is that imagination or “metaphysical dream” to use Richard Weaver’s term that unsaved people hate. They despise a certain kind of imagination. But revelation does not care about your feelings. It was given for your good, not your good vibes.

All the worst people use the word “gender” when the word sex would fit better. Why are they all united in this modernism? Perhaps the same reason that same group hates Donald Trump. They are intent on destroying Western culture because it has been most influenced by Jesus Christ. Some institutions stand in their way like the family and the church. Some politicians stand in their way. And some words stand in their way.

Our world hates the Father and His Son, so we should expect them to make an attack on sex. It is not a sin to use the word “gender” to refer to sex, but it is conceding a point and making their argument easier. Unless you have a good reason, why concede anything to the children of Marx?

Posted in Multiculturalism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

33 Shadows of the New Covenant in Esther

If you have read Esther, I can assume you have seen the Invisible Hand of providence working all things for the good of God’s chosen people. The theme is “Deliverance of God’s People.” And those people are the Jews, the nation of Israel, the ones who had received the Law and the sacrifices.

But when we read the Old Testament, we should read it as Christians. Sacrifices in Leviticus make us think of our Savior who died for sinners. In some ways those sacrifices are just like the Cross, and in some ways they are different. Esther’s book, too, can be—and should be—compared and contrasted with the second half of the Bible.

6 Ways the book of Esther differs from the New Covenant

  1. There is no fault or guilt on those who need to be saved in Esther.
  2. There is no atonement in Esther.
  3. There is no conversion in Esther.
  4. There is no explicit statement of God or His presence.
  5. There is no righteous King.
  6. There is no church: the heroes are not united to Jesus, baptized in His Spirit, and living stones in His body.

As thrilling as the book of Esther is, it is still revelation from the time of the shadow.

But the text of Esther often sounds like the New Covenant.

Chapter 1

  1. Vashti, like the Old Covenant, must be replaced.

Chapter 2

  1. Mordecai, like Christ, has a mysterious origin. 2:5
  2. Mordecai, like Christ, adopts and guides the heroine. 2:7
  3. Esther, like the Church, obeys Mordecai precisely. 2:20

Chapter 3

  1. Haman, like Satan, is full of pride. 3:2-5
  2. Haman, like Satan, hates God’s people. 3:6
  3. God’s people, like the Church, are spread throughout the entire world. 3:6
  4. The Jews’ laws, like the laws of Christ, stand in contrast to all the other laws of all the other groups of the world. 3:8
  5. The Jews, like the world, are threatened with absolute destruction. 3:13
  6. The king and Haman, like the world, despise God’s people. 3:9-15

Chapter 4

  1. Mordecai, like the Church, must weep over his own danger. 4:1
  2. Mordecai, like Christ, wept over the danger before it happened. 4:1
  3. Mordecai, like the Church, cannot be saved without mourning. 4:4
  4. Mordecai, like Christ, refuses premature comforts. 4:4
  5. Esther, like the Church, has communion with Mordecai depending on and obeying his counsel. 4:4-17
  6. Esther, like the Church, yearns for corporate prayer. 4:16
  7. Esther, like Christ, offers herself willingly. 4:16
  8. Mordecai, like Christ, does what his loved one requests. 4:17

Chapter 5

  1. Esther, like the church, approaches the king with deep reverence. 5:1
  2. The king, like Christ, receives Esther gladly and generously. 5:2-3

Chapter 6

  1. The king, like Christ, delights to honor his servants. 6:6
  2. Mordecai, like Christ, is held in honor above his enemy. 6:11
  3. Mordecai, like Christ, is honored in part before the final honor. 6:11

Chapter 7

  1. Esther, like the Church, forsakes all for the good of God’s people. 7:4
  2. Haman, like Satan, is defeated before all the enemies are destroyed. 7:10
  3. Haman’s plans, like all sins, work out for the good of God’s people. 7:10

Chapter 8

  1. Esther, like the church, weeps before she rejoices. 8:3
  2. The Jews’ deliverance, like Christian salvation, produces saving faith in others. 8:17

Chapter 9

  1. Mordecai, like Christ, terrifies sinners and grows in fame. 9:3-4
  2. The Jews, like the Church, destroy their enemies. 9:5
  3. The Jews, like the Church, have misery removed and honor added. 9:15-19
  4. The Jews, like the Church, experience deliverance through the work of providence more than miracles.

Chapter 10

  1. Mordecai, like Christ, thinks of his people.

What is this list? 30 examples of how to allegorize? Will the next post be: 16 reasons America is the New Israel? Or 9 Truths the Original Author Knew Nothing About? Am I just finding things I like and squeezing them into OT passages? Or worst of all, is a list like this an example of self-centered “me-time” where every passage of Scripture must get back to me and my little group and current concerns?

I hope none of those things! But rather ask yourself one question: Does the book of Esther glorify Jesus Christ? If so, how? How was the Spirit of God intending this little book to glorify the Son of God? My answer is that many important truths are quietly foreshadowed here. Esther is not an identical copy of the New Covenant, but there are notes in this symphony that should make you think of the Composer’s Great Masterpiece. The OT and NT are Different works by the same Author. And the lesser—Esther—should make you think of the greater—the Cross and the Church. There is no mathematical correspondence between Esther and the New Covenant, but there is a matching scent—two different soccer victories by the same unstoppable athlete.

Did the Jews 400 years before Christ think of this? Of course not! Neither did Moses and Caleb and Zelophehad think of the Lamb of God when they read Leviticus 1-7. But if you don’t think of the Lamb of God and “It is finished!” when you read about the sacrifices, you are a bad reader.

If the bread is sweet, there’s sugar in it, and after preaching through this book, it delights my Jesus-hungry palate.

Posted in Hermeneutics, Lists, Orthopathy | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Jonathan Edwards, The Early, Accidental Dispensationalist

While studying today, I came across a list of Jonathan Edwards’ fascinating answers to objections about who can take the Lord’s Table. Edwards’ is answering this objection: “If sinners ate the OT Passover, why can’t they take the NT Lord’s Table? Why can’t all men and children take the Lord’s Table today the same way all men and children ate the Passover then?”

Edwards gave a long answer, but this paragraph summarizes it well.

“Whatever was the case with respect to the qualifications for the sacraments of the Old-Testament dispensation, I humbly conceive it is nothing to the purpose in the present argument, nor needful to determine us with respect to the qualifications for the sacraments of the christian dispensation, which is a matter of such plain fact in the New Testament. … But yet all allow that the Old-Testament dispensation is out of date, with its ordinances; and I think, in a matter pertaining to the constitution and order of the New-Testament church—a matter of fact, wherein the New Testament itself is express, full, and abundant—to have recourse to the Mosaic dispensation for rules or precedents to determine our judgment, is quite needless, and out of reason. There is perhaps no part of divinity attended with so much intricacy, and wherein orthodox divines do so much differ, as the stating of the precise agreement and difference between the two dispensations of Moses and of Christ. And probably the reason why God has left it so intricate, is, because our understanding the ancient dispensation, and God’s design in it, is not of so great importance, nor does it so nearly concern us. Since God uses great plainness of speech in the New Testament, which is as it were the charter and municipal law of the christian church, what need we run back to the ceremonial and typical institutions of an antiquated dispensation, wherein God’s declared design was, to deliver divine things in comparative obscurity, hid under a veil, and involved in clouds?”

  1. Edwards uses the word “dispensation.”
  2. Edwards’ speaks of differences between the OT and the NT repeatedly.
  3. Edwards’ says that the NT is clear, full, plain regarding the church; and the OT is obscure, hid, and cloudy regarding the church.
  4. Edwards’ sees the difference and similarity of the OT and the NT as “perhaps” the most difficult in all of Scripture.  

I am not saying Edwards was a dispensationalist. I am saying that when he was confronted with applying the covenant of grace consistently to the Lord’s Table, he suddenly begins talking very clearly about the great differences between the OT and the NT.  

This is all my dispensationalism: A pastor focuses his church, his preaching, and his shepherding on differences between the OT people and the NT people. 

Posted in Hermeneutics | Tagged | 1 Comment

Total Depravity Applied to Elections

If we believe that the heart of man is corrupt (Jer. 17:9), man naturally hates Jesus (John 7:7), his moral reasoning is twisted (Tit. 1:15), and without being united to Christ he can do nothing truly good (John 15:5), then we should apply that general principle consistently to the electoral process of nations.

If a people group has significant numbers of its members bearing the seed of God in their souls so that they “cannot sin because they are born of God” then we might see a preserving influence in society as Jesus calls these members the salt of the earth.

However very few born again people support political parties that promote murder, theft, and adultery through abortion, expanded government, and laws that encourage and even celebrate fornication. Whether in Africa or America, true Christians tend to support parties that follow honesty and hard work more than parties that take power at all costs and appeal to the most sinful, foolish passions of their electorate.

We should expect therefore that sinful politicians will cheat in elections through numerous means unless they are restrained by the collective conscience of their voting base which is influenced by the Salt or restrained by other governmental powers.

Zimbabwe’s election history of the past 25 years shows this as does America’s. For example, in the last 3 presidential elections, democrats in America have consistently claimed the election was stolen, but now Donald Trump is indicted for the same thing.

Or just look at the numbers of votes:

2008 Election Results

CandidatePartyElectoral VotesPopular Votes
Barack H. ObamaDemocratic36569,498,516
John S. McCainRepublican17359,948,323

2012 Election Results

CandidatePartyElectoral VotesPopular Votes
Barack H. Obama (I)Democratic33265,915,795
W. Mitt RomneyRepublican20660,933,504
Gary JohnsonLibertarian01,275,971

2016 Election Results

CandidatePartyElectoral VotesPopular Votes
Donald J. TrumpRepublican30462,984,828
Hillary R. ClintonDemocratic22765,853,514
Gary JohnsonLibertarian04,489,341

2020 Election Results

CandidatePartyElectoral VotesPopular Votes
Joseph R. BidenDemocratic30681,268,867
Donald J. Trump (I)Republican23274,216,747


  1. Obama (2012) and Clinton (2016) received about the same amount.
  2. Obama (2012) went down by 3 million votes from his previous term, and Hilary went down even further.
  3. Trump (2020) increased 11 million votes or 18% increase over Trump (2016).
  4. Biden (2020) however, increased 11 million votes over the first black president, Obama (2008).
  5. Biden (2020) shattered all previous voting records in American history beating both Obama (2012) and Clinton (2016) by 23%.


  1. Christians should expect that unbelievers will try to lie in elections because their father is Satan and they are pulled to follow his lusts (John 8:44).
  2. Stolen elections and voter fraud should be assumed in modern elections with the only question remaining, “To what degree were fraudulent votes admitted?”
  3. Denying voter fraud as a general principle is like denying total depravity. Why wouldn’t Christians assume that politicians who at the core are bad people are trying to do bad things?
  4. In a technological, globalized world, voter fraud can happen in numerous, hidden ways.
  5. Elections do deserve a portion of our heart, labors, and time, but only a small, measured portion since we are looking for a better country whose builder and maker is God.

Posted in Pastoral | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An Improvement on The LGBT+ Acronym

The control of names is a vital function of leadership. Adam named the beasts not only as a symbol, but as the first practical step toward ranching, farming, and animal husbandry. Would Cain have done a good thing had he labeled a snake with Adam’s name for a lion?

Commonly today the acronym LGBT stands for the fuller words, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender with a “+” sign to indicate that other categories will continue to emerge. Are these the right words?

Since women were made to help their husbands, bear children, and raise a family, two females uniting would produce barrenness. Not all women have husbands, and not all women can bear children, but all women are under moral obligation by their Creator to support the role of women in general as helping their husbands, keeping the home, loving their children, and raising a family. A woman or man who denies this role as the general stereotype for all women is promoting a self-defeating, depression-multiplying and worldly scheme that will harm the emotional and spiritual well-being of men, women, and children. Women shall be saved in childbearing, not by literally having children but by openly and happily accepting and even promoting the goodness of God’s plan for the great majority of women to be homemakers (1 Tim. 2:15; Tit. 2:5). Feminism, pretending to support women says, “Men are so stupid that women should be just like them.” Were a man not governed by pity toward those affected by sin, a woman who fell for such bad logic would be the subject of mockery rather than compassion. As such, the “L” of the common acronym should rather be a “B” for intentional, honored barrenness.

Since men were made to lead their wives with wisdom, love, and hard work, two men who neglect the duty for which they were designed in order to pursue their own unnatural and disgorged passions should be labeled as it was in history. The first recorded account of men choosing this path was at the town of Sodom. It is a crime against nature as Noah Webster wrote in his dictionary of 1828, and many societies have included this word in their penal code showing it had broad, historical acceptance and usage. Webster defines “gay” as “merry; airy; jovial.” The term “sodomy” carries the Christian moral message much more accurately than a word that for centuries meant happy (James 2:3). A respect for the laws of language, history, and theology, would replace the “G” in the acronym with an “S.”

Since a man was made to be joined to one woman, trafficking between both men and women is a perversion of both the created sex as well as the exclusive nature of marriage. What is called by the world “bisexual” is a turning from the faithfulness of a marriage covenant as well as the unchangeable decree of heterosexual marriage. Thus, “P” for perversion stands more accurately for the “B” of the 3rd position in the acronym.

Since sex can no more be changed than age, he who purports to have changed the unchangeable is whipping the waves of the sea like the Persian King Xerxes when a maritime storm thwarted his conquest of the Greeks. What word is right for a man who fights against and even pretends to change reality? Such might say that a Tyrannosaur sired a chicken or that poverty comes from the weather or a nation can always pay its bills by printing currency or a world without God created the beauty of Bach’s music. Something unsound in mind or intellect is rightly called insane. What is called transgender is still treated at length in the book on mental disorders, and more importantly, Paul said that sinners were corrupted in their thinking (Tit. 1:15). Where could we find a clearer example of corrupted thinking than a man who calls himself a girl? This should not surprise a Christian since we are named after one who was called insane repeatedly (Mark 3:21; John 10:20), and our best strictly human pattern, the apostle Paul, was also tagged that way (Acts 26:24; 2 Cor. 5:13). Does God in Heaven call men anything other than men? Does He follow their pronoun preferences? The definition of sanity is aligning my thinking as best as possible to the thinking of God. Therefore, a better letter for the acronym than “T” is “I.”  

Some Christians have mocked the “+” sign at the end, but that is very important to the agenda of the authors of the LGBT acronym. It means that more categories will burst out in time as sin constantly digs away the weakest parts of the wall. But this is a very Christian concept. The sin lists of the NT seem to read like a thesaurus in Rom. 1, Col. 3, 2 Tim. 3, and other places. In Galatians 5, the works of the flesh conclude with the phrase “such things” because the darkness of the sinful soul energizes the world to labor until exhaustion (Gen. 19:11) looking for new sinful expressions.

Should rapists be labeled the Strong community, or drunks and drug addicts the Enlightened community, or thieves the Entrepreneur community, or liars the Narrative community? A more Biblical and therefore more honest acronym for what is commonly called LGBT+ would be BSPI+ standing for those who promote barrenness, sodomy, perversion, insanity, and further evil inventions.

Posted in Definitions, Multiculturalism, Pastoral | Tagged | 3 Comments

Praying for America in Africa: A Fourth of July Christian Reflection

By Tim Cantrell

My wife and I are Americans who have now lived more of our lives on African soil than on American soil, for the past 25 years and counting.  All five of our kids were born in Africa, and we are willing to be buried in Africa for the sake of Christ and His kingdom.  We love our adopted home nation of South Africa, and see her great potential for impact on the African continent and beyond![1] 

Yet we still also love and pray often for our native land, the United States of America, and we realise the tremendous impact she has on the world for better or for worse.  The longer we live overseas, the more deeply we appreciate what America once stood for, unlike any other nation in history.  We yearn for more of those same liberties, and more of human dignity, to be enjoyed by our South African neighbours.

In 1862, in the middle of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln called the United States, “the last, best hope on earth”.  As Christians, we do not look to earth at all for our hopes – our hope and our “citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Php. 3:20).  King Jesus does not need America or any other nation; He “will build His Church” and His Great Commission will prevail in the end (Matt. 16:18; 24:14)!  Yet as far as earthly prospects for freedom and security in the world, we dare not underestimate the vital role of the USA, and the massive benefits and generosity it has brought to global missions and much more.

Anders Rasmussen, a Danish politician, states:

Only America has the diplomatic reach, the financial resources, and the firepower to lead the free world against the autocrats, rogue states and terrorists that are trying to overwhelm it. As the Prime Minister of Denmark from 2001 to 2009, and the secretary-general of NATO from 2009 to 2014, I know how important American leadership is. I’ve seen firsthand what happens when America tries to lead from behind instead of leading from the front.

…Europe is too weak and divided to lead the world. The free nations have an essential role to play, and they must shoulder their full share of the cost, but only America has the credibility to lead. This is not just about money or manpower. It is also about morality. Only America has the moral greatness to lead the free world—not for the sake of power, but for the sake of peace.

An American retreat will unleash a new plague of dictators and oppressors who seek to undo all the good America has done to secure peace and prosperity around the world for decades.[2]

Pastor Tommy Nelson sums up well the history and legacy of the USA, from a Christian perspective:

…our American forefathers…left us with a Christian, biblical perspective of God, as outside of government, to Whom government is subservient. Of God in a biblical sense, not just a G-O-D idea, but the God of the Jew, the infinite personal God who has made himself known and redeemed man through Jesus Christ.  …They understood that human rights were taken from nature’s God, of “life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

And so, we had a government that was legislative, judicial, and executive, that checked and checking the others. Nobody was sovereign, all checked by the Constitution. …It was an idea that sprang out of the Protestant Reformation, concerning God and man and how he should live and be governed.

Our country had problems – and our problems did not come from the inherent flaws of our system. Our problems came because of a national lack of courage to live out our Constitution. The idea of racism and the Jim Crow laws were unconstitutional. They existed not because of our belief system, but because of our lack of national courage to get rid of them! 

…Everybody wanted (and still wants) to come to America; we greet them in the harbour with a Lady Liberty holding her torch…that Lady of Light and glory that awaits you in the harbor, with these words inscribed upon her (by Jewish poet, Emma Lazarus): “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”[3]

Dennis Prager describes America’s founding, Judeo-Christian values:

…[These values] can and must be adopted by every nation and culture in the world; Americans must relearn and recommit to these values, and…vigorously export them. For if the world does not adopt [these core] values, the result will be chaos and barbarism on an unprecedented scale.

America is the only country that was founded not on a race, ethnicity, or nationality, but on an idea: limited government—because the founders of America believed, first and foremost, in liberty. America became the freest country in world history, which is why France gave the Statue of Liberty to one country: America. And America has given more liberty and opportunity to more people from more nations than any country in world history.

Yes, America allowed slavery in half of its states. But every society in the world practiced slavery. What rendered America unique is that Americans killed one another in its bloodiest war to abolish slavery, and that it eventually became the least racist, most multi-racial country in history.[4]

How then should Christians in Africa, or anywhere, pray for the USA on this, her Independence Day? 

  1. Pray that she would repent and turn to Christ! 
  2. Pray that she would return to the God of her fathers and to the one Book that made her great, the Word of God. 
  3. Pray that she would repent of all her shameful slaughter of infants, wanton immorality, sexual perversity, and arrogant pride. 
  4. Pray that she could once more be a beacon of hope, light and liberty to the nations of the world for the glory of God. 
  5. Pray that God would awaken His Church in the USA to be the “pillar and support of the truth” that she is called to be (1 Tim. 3:15), to preach and practice the Bible faithfully and fearlessly.

A few years ago I heard a Russian Christian say to an American pastor:  “We are a country in the darkness and we are looking for light. You are a country in the light and you are searching for the dark.”  May God have mercy on the United States of America.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

(1893, Katherine Lee Bates)

[1]  http://cdn.desiringgod.org/pdf/blog/1088_why_i_would_die_for_south_africa.pdf

[2] https://www.prageru.com/video/why-america-must-lead

[3] https://www.drjamesdobson.org/broadcast-new/america-the-great-idea/archived

[4] Still the Best Hope, by Dennis Prager

Posted in Unusual character | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Pride Discovered in 12 Common Practices

1. Imagining that whatever strengths I have are somehow originating and sourced from and intrinsic to myself.
For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 1 Cor. 4:7

2. Taking pleasure in reminiscing on and returning to my strengths.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Gal. 2:20

3. Pretending my weaknesses are not really there or that they are not so many or at least that they are not so debilitating as they are.
Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times. John 13:37-38

4. Accepting my own judgments and conclusions without really opening them up to honest self-critique.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

5. Arranging my schedule without time or investment in pleading for divine aid.
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Heb. 5:7

6. Taking comfort when the constraints of accountability are slackened so that I may go on smoothly and unhindered in the path of my own making without the pinch of other godly eyes nearby.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes… Pro. 12:15 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight… Pro. 16:2 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Pro. 16:25

7. Nursing a pattern of thoughts that have a great deal of my own interests and a proportionally small platform for God and Christ and His Kingdom and eternal plan.
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26-27

8. Refusing to lean on and be amazed by the righteousness of Christ, or having once seen it to count it a small thing and only return to it infrequently or with a detached spirit.
I count all things to be loss… that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ… Phil. 3:8, 9

9. Retreating quickly to the comfort of “my view” in interpersonal problems not bothering to try on the perspective of others or even phrasing their concerns in words they would use.
In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

10. Savoring the sweetness of my own plans, projects, and position especially because they are “mine.”
…‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built… by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ … Immediately… he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle… Dan. 4:30, 33

11. Stretching out my desires past my position as a servant and creature.
…‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ Isa. 14:13-14

12. Picturing my friend’s, my wife’s, or my enemy’s face when I hear a convicting warning about some sin.
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. Rom. 2:1

Posted in Definitions, Lists | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Pictures of Christian Dignity

Christian faithfulness includes learning to talk the way Scripture talks. This is not easy because sin complicates the simplest things, bogs down the most effortless tasks, and pulls the soul of track. God does call believers slaves and sheep. But those pictures are not the whole story. We need a frame large enough to take in everything God says, and the salvation planned in the Covenant of Redemption reaches down very low to sinners in their mire only to lift them very high. Here are some of the key metaphors used to describe men.

All men

  1. Image of God                        Gen. 1:26
  2. Children of God                     Acts 17:29

All believers

  1. Salt of the earth                    Matt. 5:13
  2. Light of the world                  Matt. 5:14
  3. Friends                                  John 15:15
  4. Servants of the Most High God   Acts 16:17
  5. Conquerors                           Rom. 8:37
  6. Holy ones                              1 Cor. 1:2
  7. Ambassadors for Christ       2 Cor. 5:20
  8. Body of Christ                       Eph. 1:23
  9. Dwelling of God                     Eph. 2:22
  10. Chosen race                          1 Pet. 2:9
  11. Holy nation                            1 Pet. 2:9
  12. God’s own people                  1 Pet. 2:9
  13. Partakers of the divine nature     2 Pet. 1:4
  14. Priests                                   Rev. 20:6
  15. Kings                                     Rev. 20:6

True pastors

  1. Shepherds                             Acts 20:28
  2. Overseers                             1 Tim. 3:1
  3. Leaders                                 Heb. 13:17

This category may be in danger of being abused to serve the sinful ends of the world’s lies about self esteem under the Christianese phrase of “who we are in Christ”. I have personally heard unbelieving false pastors use that phrase to entirely skip the Biblical pictures of humility and jump to wealth and prosperity with some of the metaphors listed above.

Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit speaks of men and believers with these words, so we must pray that these too would blend together with the pictures of humility and guide our relationships, responses, and ambitions.

Posted in Hermeneutics, Lists, Orthopathy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pictures of Humility

Scripture speaks in pictures commonly showing us in metaphors the right way to imagine ourselves. Rarely do we think consciously of the pictures that control our relationships, responses, and ambitions.

This year in reading and rereading the Psalms, the images used of believers and of all men have fascinated, convicted, and strengthened me. We ought to think of ourselves in these terms because the words are closely tied to the imagination which eventually influences our decisions.

Before conversion

  1. Rotten heart                          Jer. 17:9
  2. Goat                                       Matt. 25:32-33
  3. Condemned to be executed John 3:18
  4. Child of Satan                       John 8:44
  5. Blind                                      John 9:41
  6. Powerless                              Rom. 5:6
  7. Slave of sin                           Rom. 6:17
  8. Dead                                      Eph. 2:1
  9. Enemy of God                        James 4:4

Even after conversion

  1. Dead dog                               1 Sam. 24:14
  2. Flea                                        1 Sam. 24:14
  3. Servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord. 1 Sam. 25:41
  4. A worm                                  Psalm 22:6
  5. Spiritual beggar                    Matt. 5:3
  6. Unworthy slaves                   Luke 17:10
  7. Sheep                                    John 10:11
  8. The least of all saints           Eph. 3:8
  9. Brick                                      Eph. 2:20
  10. The chief of sinners              1 Tim. 1:15

All men and nations

  1. Only a breath                        Psalm 62:9
  2. A drop in the bucket             Is. 40:15
  3. Dust on the scales               Is. 40:15
  4. Nothing                                  Dan. 4:35
  5. A puff of smoke                     James 4:14

True pastors

  1. Nothing                                  1 Cor. 3:7
  2. Scum                                     1 Cor. 4:13

Imagining yourself or mankind without these guiding pictures is foolish because it contradicts reality, and worldly because neglecting humility is a function of unbelief.

Posted in Lists, Orthopathy | Tagged , | Leave a comment