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In 2012, I posted a series of excerpts from articles on Resurrection theology from James A Fowler’s Christ In You Ministries site, which had several excellent and uplifiting sermons about the meaning of Easter.
Revd Fowler, a pastor of the Neighborhood Church in Fallbrook, California, has also had a teaching ministry in several countries around the world. The articles cited below can be found on Christ In You’s Miscellaneous Articles.
His articles remind us of the importance of the Resurrection, not only on Easter, but the whole year through. I hope you will enjoy his perspective as much as I did. I have also included a Lutheran point of view which is similar to Fowler’s:
By the way, Eastertide ends on Ascension Day. We have four more Sundays during which to contemplate our Lord’s Resurrection and make that joy a part of our daily lives.
On Thursday, March 30, 2017, The Daily Caller reported that, during his brief trip to Turkey, the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, visited the wife of a Protestant pastor who is currently in a Turkish prison.
Tillerson had no previous plan to meet with Norine Brunson. His scheduled event was a meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In November 2016, Turkish authorities imprisoned the Revd Andrew Brunson on suspicion of terrorism.
The Daily Caller explains:
The Brunsons, who have worked in Turkey for 23 years as missionaries, were detained by Turkish authorities in October and held for deportation. Norine was released shortly after, but Andrew was kept in jail and accused of being part of a terrorist organization.
Which terrorist organization is unclear. Turkish authorities have not disclosed that information or anything else about its supposed case.
Brunson has been in a prison in Izmir since November and has had limited contact with his lawyers and Norine. The case against Brunson appears to be part of a larger crackdown against anyone who the Erdogan regime arbitrarily deems an enemy …
Erdogan’s enemy list includes Christians.
How Mrs Brunson came to meet Rex Tillerson in Ankara is somewhat supernatural. Mr Brunson (emphases mine):
had told her that he felt that God had told him she would meet America’s top diplomat.
And it turned out that he was right.
“On Monday, Andrew told me he felt the Lord had said I would meet with Sec of State Tillerson. On Tuesday, I was told by the embassy and another senator that the meeting would NOT happen. I decided to come to Ankara anyway and arrived last night,” Norine Brunson wrote on Facebook Thursday, just after she met for 20 minutes with Tillerson.
That is amazing.
Details of how the meeting came to pass are unknown. The State Department is not commenting on the matter or on the Brunsons.
However, the fact that Tillerson met with Mrs Brunson is significant:
Jordan Sekulow, the executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), says that Tillerson’s meeting with Norine Brunson is a positive development in the case to help free Andrew.
“This is a powerful sign that the Trump Administration is taking the plight of this wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizen very seriously,” said Sekulow, who is working to help free the pastor.
Let us keep the Brunsons in our prayers and thank the Lord that Rex Tillerson met with Mrs Brunson. May God continue to bless all three of them.
I wrote more than once that the hand of God was all over last year’s election.
This year, I believe that the hand of God is all over the Trump administration.
This incredible news story goes some way in proving that.
Friday, January 20, marked the beginning of the Don of a new era for the United States.
As many have said, it is always darkest before the Don.
What follows are highlights of not only Inauguration Day but the whole weekend.
Far from being austere, as many of us expected, it was wall-to-wall activity from dawn to dusk!
Before the post unfolds, let’s remember that:
It is possible because Big Media are — and have been — plain contrary. That’s an archaic use of contrary, but, in that sense, it means stubborn and resistant to reason.
All credit to Bill Mitchell, he boarded the Trump Train just before or after the Republican National Convention. Even though he objected to Pepe the Frog, the unofficial Trump mascot, he duly apologised on Twitter. Pepe gained traction with Hillary Clinton, who even lambasted the cartoon frog in a campaign speech.
Bill Mitchell hosts and presents YourVoice™ Radio, likely to become more popular over the next four years.
Even more interesting is this quote from Pastor Robert Jeffress, a big Trump supporter:
Thursday, January 19
January 19 was a busy day for the Trump family.
Flight from La Guardia to Joint Base Andrews
Donald Trump’s flight with his family, including his two sisters and brother, would be the last one he would take before becoming president.
Fox 10 Phoenix has a great video of the plane landing at Andrews. The interesting bit starts at 10:55 when someone on board tells ten-year-old Barron to leave the plane first. Not surprisingly, Barron, unusually wearing his hair over his forehead, is reluctant. The future first couple disembark at the 13:00 point. The extensive motorcade departs at 17:07, complete with a first-responder truck and an ambulance. The black Chevy Suburban vans are reinforced just like armoured cars:
Once in DC, the Trumps went to the Trump International Hotel (The Old Post Office), where the incoming president held an Inauguration Luncheon to honour Republican Party leaders:
Welcome Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial
That afternoon, the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration took place in front of the massive — and grand — Lincoln Memorial, which is considerably larger than one imagines. Seeing it in person is awe-inspiring.
A variety of musical acts, including splendid military bands, performed. Trump gave a speech before a display from Grucci Fireworks ended the event in the early evening. Unfortunately, the last two displays let the whole thing down. ‘USA’ appeared as ‘USR’ and the American flag was, sadly, a blur. It is a pity, because their fireworks show before that was excellent.
This short video from Dan Scavino, Director of Social Media, gives a great summary of the event, including the fireworks. From left to right are Tiffany Trump (mother is Marla Maples Trump), Ivanka (Ivana Trump), the first couple, granddaughter Kai (Donald Jr’s daughter), Donald Jr (Ivana) with his wife Vanessa and son, then to the far right, Eric (Ivana) and his wife:
The first couple contemplated the larger than life statue of Abraham Lincoln:
The event ended with the new first couple thanking their supporters. Never mind the sentiment from a Twitter user. I wanted to show you just how ‘yuuge’ Lincoln’s statue is:
The Daily Mail has a comprehensive article, complete with photos and a video, about the concert and Trump’s address at the end, just before the fireworks.
Interestingly, Trump had a special meeting afterwards with a 23-year-old single father, Shane Bouvet, from Illinois who had given an interview to the Washington Post just days before. Trump saw the article and made sure he could meet the man, who is struggling to make ends meet. The billionaire had a private conversation with Bouvet and gave him a cheque for $10,000.
Campaign donors dinner
However, the evening had only just begun. A dinner to thank campaign donors took place afterwards at DC’s majestic Union Station. Both the Trumps and the Pences attended and addressed their guests.
Mike Pence opened his remarks by saying the administration would repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump (2:59) said that choosing Mike Pence was one of the best decisions he’s ever made. He then went on to talk about the amazing election results where Republicans won in states they had lost forever. He mentioned Iowa. They had not won there since 1952. He then spoke about his cabinet nominees. The high point, however, was when he thanked Kellyanne Conway (18:28), the first successful female presidential campaign manager in American history. (I don’t understand what these feminists were protesting at the weekend in DC. Surely, Kellyanne’s success and the many women employees at the Trump Organization prove them wrong.)
Then it was time to turn in for some rest. The Pences returned to their house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which they rented and moved to soon after the election.
The first couple and family members spent the night at Blair House, a complex of four buildings for guests of the president.
The photo below shows Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner at Blair House. Kushner will play a principal role as a presidential adviser. Both are practising Jews. Ivanka converted before her wedding. Kushner recently gave up holdings in his family real estate firm to be able to take on his new role:
Early in the morning, preparations for the inauguration ceremony began.
Meanwhile, Bikers For Trump were arriving in Washington, DC to form ‘a wall of meat’ in case the new president needed protection. Days earlier, Clinton family friend Dominic Puopolo, 51, was arrested by Miami Beach police for saying that he would be at the inauguration to ‘kill President Trump’.
This photo shows Donald Trump ready to leave Blair House in Washington, DC early in the morning of January 20. Trump’s granddaughter Kai (Donald Jr’s daughter) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican Party, are to the right of Trump:
From there, it was on to a morning service on Friday at St John’s Church (Episcopal) — known as the Church of the Presidents — in Lafayette Square, near the White House. The rector, the Reverend Dr. Luis León, greeted the first couple in front of the church.
They were joined by family and prominent well wishers. The first couple are on the far left centre of the photo. The Pences are in the lower left-hand corner:
The aforementioned Pastor Jeffress delivered the sermon:
Meeting at the White House
The first couple left St John’s for the White House, where they had coffee with the Obamas:
Melania Trump gave a large gift from Tiffany & Co to Michelle Obama. Presenting a gift is a tradition from an incoming first lady to a departing one.
Afterwards, it was on to the Capitol building for the swearing-in ceremony:
Trump quipped at the donor’s dinner the night before that he didn’t care if it rained on Inauguration Day, because at least people would see that his hair was real!
The incoming president awaited his cue inside the Capitol building:
All living former presidents are invited to attend the inauguration and are seated near the front. Former presidents Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalyn, William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary and George W Bush (Bush II) and Laura were in attendance.
George H W Bush (Bush I) and Barbara sent in their acceptance but were hospitalised days earlier. On Tuesday, January 10, he sent Trump a cordial, witty letter of regret.
Although Bush II tweeted the following earlier, at the swearing-in ceremony, he joked ad nauseam with the Clintons, seated next to him and Laura, signifying to the television viewer that he was closer to them than to Trump, his fellow Republican. But we all knew that the Bushes were NeverTrumpers because they said so.
Despite Trump’s sincerity, here’s the hypocrisy of it all. Dan Scavino Jr, rightly, took it sincerely. Then, the live coverage rolled and something else entirely was on display. Trump, no doubt, expected something different based on this (Bush I was the 41st president, by the way):
These were the prayers offered before the inauguration by clergy who were principal Trump supporters:
The Revd Franklin Graham did not hesitate to say there is only one God:
Here is the swearing-in by Chief Justice John Roberts. The first couple’s son, Barron, 10, is to the right of the first lady. She held two closed Bibles, the Lincoln Bible (bottom) and Trump’s own, a gift from his mother (top):
Entertainment Weekly reports that Trump’s inauguration received the second highest television ratings for that event. Top-rated was Obama’s first swearing-in, which 37.8m Americans watched in 2009. Trump’s audience was 30.6m. However, Heavy points out that, in 1981, 41.8m people watched Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration. That places Obama in second place and Trump in third. Definitive online viewing figures are unavailable at this time.
Important lines from the inaugural speech included the following. First, on the elites, several of whom were present. Politico reported:
“Their victories have not been your victories,” he said. “Their triumphs have not been your triumphs and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.” He also made a promise: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
The closing lines were the following:
To Americans: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. Your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again – and yes, together, WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
However, most important were Trump’s mentions of God, including:
We will be protected by God.
WND‘s Garth Kant wrote of the contrast between Trump and his predecessor with regard to the inauguration speech:
Trump mentioned himself just three times in the 1,400 words he delivered in his speech lasting 16 minutes and 20 seconds. He referred to the American people 45 times.
By comparison, Obama, as is his wont, mentioned himself 207 times in 84 minutes while campaigning for Hillary during a November speech ostensibly about her.
And, to make sure it was crystal clear that there has been a sea change not just in style but also in substance, Trump emphatically uttered the Obama administration’s three forbidden words: “radical Islamic terrorism,” which, he promised, “we will eliminate from the face of the earth.”
Kant channelled JFK’s Camelot:
However, the speech wasn’t just about ending American erosion. It was about a bright new beginning. Just as did Kennedy, Trump envisioned a promising future. One in which:
“We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
“We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
“We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.”
One could arguably call it Kenndyesque.
Kant was most complimentary of the first daughter but couldn’t say enough about the new first lady:
This was grace personified.
A stately, poised, and stunning elegance were certainly part of it. But there was more. It wasn’t just what she was wearing. It was her bearing. Her perfectly poised demeanor.
And the crowd could clearly sense it, even if they could no more articulate it than to say “wow” over and over, which was what so many were doing.
She was a regal presence.
There was nobility.
Not because of her new station in life, but because of her carriage. The way she carried herself. Full of poise and grace.
Before lunch, President Trump had work to attend to at the Capitol, signing his cabinet nominations into law. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R, WI) is standing next to Barron. At the front are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) and, on the right, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, CA):
Trump spoke at the lunch and was gracious enough to publicly acknowledge his opponent Hillary Clinton, present with Bill. Trump’s daughter Tiffany sat at their table. You can see all the speeches here.
The DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) once again lent their Eagle Lectern for use at the luncheon.
The Trumps walked for two minutes in the inaugural parade:
After the walk along Pennsylvania Avenue, the motorcade drove up to the White House, where the Trumps, Pences and family members disembarked and walked to the reviewing stand.
Barron probably found the two-hour event overwhelming at times (I would have), but he enjoyed himself:
The military bands played and marched past, as did a myriad of high school and university bands and special groups representing American history and service.
One of the those groups was the Navajo Code Talkers. Only two were able to make it to the parade. One of my readers, the author of the Pacific Paratrooper blog, wrote about their invaluable role in the Pacific during the Second World War. Well worth a read.
The Talledega College Marching Tornado Band from Alabama participated for the first time. Talledega is an all black college founded by two former slaves after the Civil War. Their band director received threats when he said the college wanted to perform in the parade. Since then, they have received more than $1m in donations which will be dedicated to the band’s needs. Talledega are a special band, because the college has no football team, so they rely on band contests and big parades such as this.
The full video of the parade is below. New York Military Academy, Trump’s alma mater, are at 2:03. Talledega are at 2:09. The Navajo Code Talkers are at 2:14. Virginia Military Institute closed the parade.
But, for Barron, the big highlight was the Rural Tractor Brigade (2:22:00), magnificently souped up. Look at his face (2:23:00). He beams and says, ‘Yesss!’ At 2:24:00, it looks as if Mike Pence sees the lad’s enthusiasm. He probably thought, ‘We’ve got to get him to Indiana for a tractor ride!’ (Separate tractor video here.)
After the parade
President Trump was eager to do some work before attending the evening’s events:
The Daily Mail has more.
The president and first lady — and the Pences — attended three inaugural balls.
Two took place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The other was held at the National Building Museum.
Donald Trump Jr, his wife Vanessa and daughter Kai were ready to go:
This video shows President Trump and First Lady Melania at one of the balls dancing to My Way:
At the Armed Services Ball, the Trumps and Pences danced with military personnel (starts at 2:21):
There was also a magnificent cake for all to enjoy:
First lady and first daughters attire
Melania Trump’s stunning inauguration outfit was a Ralph Lauren creation.
The first lady co-designed her striking silk crepe inaugural ballgown with Hervé Pierre, former creative director at Carolina Herrera. This stunning creation will help him launch his own couture house.
Pierre told Women’s Wear Daily:
“It was an amazing experience!” he continued, noting that Trump’s contributions were technical as well as aesthetic. “She knows what she likes. Our conversations were, and are, very easy. She knows about fashion, as a former model. She is aware about constructions, so we have already the same vocabulary when it comes to designing a dress.”
Ivanka Trump’s sparkling gown came from Carolina Herrera’s fashion house. Tiffany Trump purchased her gown from a Hollywood design house, Simin Couture. Ladies will enjoy full size photos and the article in the Daily Mail.
Saturday, January 21
Newspapers from around the world featured the inauguration on their front pages.
Saturday was a day of prayer and work for President Trump.
Prayer came first.
National Prayer Service
The National Prayer Service was held at the National Cathedral (Episcopal) in Washington, DC.
It featured 26 religious leaders. Most were Christian. Others came from world faiths such as Judaism and Islam as well as more diverse groups, such as the Navajo Nation.
The following are short videos and photos from the service:
This girl, Marlana Van Hoose, was born blind and given only a year to live. The video below is from the service. She received a standing ovation afterwards — led by the First Lady!
Marlana is a committed Christian, firm in her faith. God has blessed her with a beautiful voice. She praises Him in song splendidly. She is yet another argument against abortion. May God bless her parents for giving her life and good, loving care.
In the next photo we see the Trumps and the Pences in the front row. May God bless them and keep them safe in the years ahead.
Sunday, January 22
On a lighter note, one of Trump’s grandsons feels at home in the White House:
Later, there was serious work to attend to:
The Conservative Treehouse has an excellent post on this group of people, most of whom hold no political office (emphases in the original):
This afternoon President Trump and Vice-President Pence participated in swearing in the White House Senior Staff. These are officials who represent the office of the President. For the first time in modern political history, these are mostly ordinary citizen staff members from outside public office….
…A representative staff of outsiders, reflecting a
representative government for outsiders… Forgotten no more.
President Donald Trump has only selected a group of 30 people for commission to act as officers of the President and representatives of the White House. Together with their families, the official ceremony to pledge an oath to their office took place this afternoon.
Like millions around the world, I am praying in thanksgiving for the new president’s safe inauguration. We were very worried something would prevent it from taking place.
Now we look ahead, remaining prayerful for success.
How blessed America is! How blessed the world is!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
In His infinite mercy, God heard our prayers and acknowledged our repentance by giving us Donald Trump. Those were words I never thought I would write, yet, here we are.
Some of my American readers might be familiar with Dutch Sheets.
Sheets has his own ministry and is working towards ‘awakening’, which, along with ‘restoring’ and ‘reclaiming’, is a term Ted Cruz often used during his rallies in primary season.
It is a dog whistle for theocracy and Dominionism — Christians taking over the government.
Therefore, it is with reservation that I am summarising and excerpting Dutch Sheets’s reasons why he is voting for Donald Trump. He makes it clear that these are his personal views, not those of Dutch Sheets Ministries.
Much of his essay of October 21 resonated strongly with me, and I hope it does with you as well. Please take the time to read it in full and pass it along to conservative Christian friends and family.
First, he has strong reservations about Trump with regard to personality and past deeds which have diminished during the post-convention campaign season.
That said, Sheets and I agree that both of us know what we are voting against.
This is why I am posting so many anti-Hillary pieces in order to reveal the extant evil in the Democratic Party. I am doing this because Big Media will not. They want Americans — especially the uninformed — to think that everything is sweetness and light.
Sheets says (emphases mine):
this election is not nearly as much about who I am for, as it is who and what I am against; and frankly, even with my initial concerns, the decision has never been easier.
He strongly objects to Obama and his administration:
One of the most devastating occurrences in America in our lifetimes, ranking up with The Supreme Court’s decisions of Roe vs. Wade and Engel vs. Vitale (the removal of prayer from schools), was the election of Barack Obama. I gave a strong warning about what would happen to our nation if he was elected. Sadly, it has all come to pass: a continued liberalization and empowerment of the judicial system in America; a weakened economy (our national debt has doubled in 7 years to $19 TRILLION!); further moral deterioration, along with a rebellion to and mockery of God (does anyone remember the White House lit up in the colors of the LGBT movement after marriage was re-defined by the Supreme Court?
If that wasn’t an “in your face” to God and those of us who “cling to their God, guns and religion” by the man who mockingly said it, I don’t know what could ever be!); increased violence; a weakened position in the world, along with a weakened military; the advance of radical Islamist terrorism; a setback in race relations; and more. I rejoice that our nation has been able to elect our first black president. I am deeply saddened, however, that it was Barack Obama.
I could not agree more.
Electing Hillary Clinton, Sheets says, will finish the work Obama and his administration started:
Hillary is pro-abortion, including partial-birth abortion, the most insidious evil of the last century; will raise taxes while continuing out-of-control spending; will further weaken our military; is for completely open borders; is pro-gay marriage; supports Obamacare; has no respect for our Judeo-Christian heritage; sells influence; and is a proven liar. Do not be fooled—she will completely finish what Obama started.
He goes on to say that the effect will be nearly irreversible. If anything can be undone from 12 years of Democrats at the top, it will take decades.
He recognises that another Clinton White House is not just ‘four more years’ and makes this appeal to ‘conscience’ and stay-at-home voters:
I also want to make an appeal to those who say their conscience won’t allow them to vote for either Trump or Clinton, so they simply won’t vote at all. I sincerely respect your convictions, but in this election, that argument fails the logic test (as does voting for someone who cannot possibly win). Trump’s potential negative developments do not come close to the magnitude of those Hillary would produce.
We simply cannot—regardless of our concerns regarding Trump—allow all the above-mentioned consequences to happen. I respectfully appeal to you to turn your “conscience” and “principles” toward the unborn, your children, grandchildren, and the destiny of this nation.
Sheets believes Trump has repented over the past decade and offers this evidence:
To see how Trump would actually lead, I would challenge you to look at those with whom he has surrounded himself: Pence; Carson; Huckabee; Giuliani; Christie; Gingrich; Palin; trusted generals; law enforcement officials; border patrol officials; evangelical leaders of all races; and otherwise, ethical, conservative leaders. What does this tell us? It is probably the greatest indicator of who Trump now is, clearly making the case that he has changed his moral ways over the past 10 years, as he claims.
I personally believe he has changed. I also believe God has gripped his heart for the nation, and is in the process of further transforming Mr. Trump. God has certainly allowed him to be humbled. Of course, the statements made by Trump on the video released from 2005 were despicable. However, if we reject him because of the sins of his past, we would also have to reject Abraham, King David, Rahab, “the woman at the well”, Mary Magdalene—all adulterers in their unrighteous past. And don’t forget murderers like the Apostle Paul. A lot of formerly despicable people will be in Heaven! And a lot of them, by the way, became great leaders and champions for God. Some changed the world.
These associations also tell us that Trump’s stated conservative bent is genuine, and they state that he is wise enough to know what he doesn’t know! I believe Trump is showing us that he will function, if elected president, as any wise businessperson does: find qualified people who know how to get the job done, as in the above examples, and empower them to do it. I like those whom he is signaling to us would be those leaders. They are proven, trustworthy and honorable. If you cannot vote for Trump, vote for them.
Indeed. Well said.
Sheets goes on to say that voting against something or someone is a valid reason to vote. He then lists around 20 policies and groups to vote against. All are valid, including these:
• Vote against the unethical, biased, lying and untrustworthy media. (We will never reclaim America until we reject their influence. They may be the single greatest obstacle to America’s recovery.)
• Vote against the silencing of the Church. (Only the totally naive do not see this coming quickly.)
• Vote against revising our history and the loss of our Judeo-Christian heritage.
• Vote against the politicization and exploitation of racism, and the polarizing of America.
He has a special message for pastors, which I share 100%.
Sheets tells clergy:
Pastors, if you’ve ever made a stand, make one now—it may be your last chance. Tell your people the truth…clearly. Pray and fast!
I am truly annoyed to see a third election cycle when practically NO conservative clergy are speaking up about the great danger America faces in a few months’ time if Hillary Clinton is elected president. There are many retired pastors and former military chaplains whose websites have incredible followings. They should be saying something to their readers!
Instead, they treat this year as if nothing is happening and carry on with the same old stuff, some of which really is ‘stuff’ — i.e. of little importance to potential converts — which they have been going on about for years.
Sheets closes with a message for Christians:
To all Believers, if you agree with what I have written, forward it to all of your friends and family members. Most of them hear only from a hypocritical, lying media, which is now the propaganda arm of the liberal agenda. Speak up. Appeal to them to read this and think about it.
Vote for a future, one that includes what you love and believe in. Trump has flaws, but Hillary will be fatal.
You can bet your boots that Hillary is fatal.
Trump is the only logical choice for president.
Read, reflect, pray and vote. America’s future depends on it.
I don’t remember where I got the following graphic, but it does reflect what ‘conscience’ voters are thinking:
J Vernon McGee (1904-1988) was a pastor, author and radio show host.
He received his Bachelors in Theology from Columbia Theological Seminary and went on to earn a Masters and a Doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary.
He was ordained into the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS), which eventually merged with the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to form the present day PCUSA in 1983.
McGee served at four PCUS churches in the southern United States before he and his family moved to Pasadena, California, where he took a position at the Lincoln Avenue Presbyterian Church.
In 1949, he was appointed pastor of the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles, California. There he became an independent Evangelical pastor.
The church is now in Glendale, California because of earthquake damage to the original building, which had to be razed. The Church of the Open Door is best known for its ‘Jesus Saves’ neon sign which is now on top of the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.
McGee retired from the Church of the Open Door in 1970. In 1967, he had begun a radio programme called Thru the Bible. After retirement, he continued the broadcasts, which cover every book of the Bible.
He was also a well known public speaker. During that time, McGee was suffering from cancer. That said, his death in 1988 was brought on by a heart problem, thought to have been resolved in 1965.
Today, his ministry continues and broadcasts of Thru the Bible can be heard around the world in more than 100 languages. In North America, over 800 radio stations broadcast it and, elsewhere, one can enjoy the programme via radio, shortwave, and the Thru the Bible ministries website.
Without further ado, let us move on to McGee’s application of Matthew 7:6 in real life.
Here is the verse (ESV):
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
Some may find the KJV more familiar:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Now for McKee’s anecdote. This is helpful for reprobates who have turned their lives around with the help of divine grace and the Holy Spirit. Their problem comes from mockers who remember their past (emphasis mine):
I remember a Tennessee legislator friend of mine who was a heavy drinker. He was wonderfully converted and is a choice servant of God today. The other members of the legislature knew how he drank. Then they heard he “got religion,” as they called it. One day this fellow took his seat in the legislature, and his fellow-members looked him over. Finally, someone rose, addressed the chairman of the meeting and said, “I make a motion that we hear a sermon from Deacon So-and-So.” Everyone laughed. But my friend was equal to the occasion. He got to his feet and said, “I’m sorry, I do not have anything to say. My Lord told me not to cast my pearls before swine.” He sat down, and they never ridiculed him anymore. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
A good answer to remember should the occasion arise!
Continuing an occasional series on quotes from the Reformed Baptist preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, today’s post concerns his insights on Matthew 7:6.
Spurgeon would have used the King James Version of Matthew 7:6:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
The ESV has this version:
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
Precept Austin has put together a helpful set of commentary and translation on Matthew 7:6. Spurgeon’s thoughts — as well as Charles Simeon’s — are there. I covered Simeon’s on Tuesday of this week. Both agree that there is a time and a place for a certain manner and depth of preaching.
Spurgeon advised (emphases mine):
There are some holy enjoyments, some gracious experiences, some deep doctrines of the Word of God, which it would be out of place to speak of before certain profane and unclean persons. They would only make a jest of them; perhaps they might persecute you on account of them. No; holy things are for holy men; and as of old the crier in the Grecian temple was wont to say, before the mysteries were performed, “Far hence, ye profane!” so sometimes, before we enter into the innermost circle of Christian converse, it would be well for us to notice who is listening.
Zeal should always be tempered by prudence. There are times when it would be treason to truth to introduce it as a topic of conversation,-when men are in such a frame of mind that they will be sure rather to cavil at it than to believe it. Not only speak thou well, but speak thou at the right time, for silence is sometimes golden. See that thou hast thy measure of golden silence as well as of silver speech.
When men are evidently unable to perceive the purity of a great truth, do not set it before them. They are like mere dogs, and if you set holy things before them they will be provoked to “turn again and rend you”: holy things are not for the profane. “Without are dogs”: they must not be allowed to enter the holy place. When you are in the midst of the vicious, who are like “swine,” do not bring forth the precious mysteries of the faith, for they will despise them, and “trample them under their feet” in the mire. You are not needlessly to provoke attack upon yourself, or upon the higher truths of the gospel. You are not to judge, but you are not to act without judgement. Count not men to be dogs or swine; but when they avow themselves to be such, or by their conduct act as if they were such, do not put occasions in their way for displaying their evil character. Saints are not to be simpletons; they are not to be judges, but, also, they are not to be fools.
Great King, how much wisdom thy precepts require! I need thee, not only to open my mouth, but also at times to keep it shut.
It is a pity to talk about some of the secrets of our holy faith in any and every company. It would be almost, profane to speak of them in the company of profane men. We know that they would not understand us; they would find occasion for jest and ridicule, and therefore our own reverence for holy things must cause us to lay a finger on our lips when we are in the presence of profane persons. Do not let us, however, carry out one precept to the exclusion of others. There are dogs that eat of the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. Drop them a crumb. And there are even swine that may yet be learned; to whom the sight of a pearl might give some inkling of a better condition of heart. Cast not the pearls before them, but you may show them to them sometimes when they are in as good a state of mind as they are likely to be in. It is ours to preach the gospel to every creature; that is a precept of Christ, and yet all creatures are not always in the condition to hear the gospel. We must choose our time. Yet even this I would not push too far. We are to preach the gospel in season and out of season.
Oh! that we may be able to follow precepts as far as they are meant to go, and no further.
Spurgeon spoke to such a wide variety of people — not only in a church or at outdoor appearances, but also in small, conversational settings — that he would have been able to discern who could and could not receive Gospel truths and in what measure.
As with Simeon, he is advising us to assess our audience carefully, even among friends and family. It is important that we not open the Christian faith to ridicule or violence. Let us leave alone those who might react against our speech and wait for an opportune time, as God wills it to His divine purpose.
Next week I will feature an application of Matthew 7:6 in conversation. It’s a true story and one to keep in mind.
Numbers following the quotes refer to the relevant sermon.
Spurgeon, known as the Prince of Preachers, explains why we should seek reconciliation:
Our love ought to follow the love of God in one point, namely, in always seeking to produce reconciliation. It was to this end that God sent his Son. Has anybody offended you? Seek reconciliation. “Oh, but I am the offended party.” So was God, and he went straight away and sought reconciliation. Brother, do the same. “Oh, but I have been insulted.” Just so: so was God: all the wrong was towards him, yet he sent. “Oh, but the party is so unworthy.” So are you; but “God loved you and sent his Son.” 1707.119
That said, even he found certain people trying. These witty insights on strained relationships — the second and the third, in particular — encapsulate the reality of the human condition:
I have known good men with whom I shall never be thoroughly at home until we meet in heaven: at least, we shall agree best on earth when they go their way and I go mine. 1812.653
All good people are not equally good. There are some in the world whom we hope to meet in heaven, with whom fellowship is difficult. If they were on the other side of the Atlantic we might love them better than when we see much of them. I know several Christian people with whom I would sooner sit in heaven throughout all eternity than sit ten minutes with them on a sofa here below; distance, in their case, might lend enchantment to the view. 2154.387
There are people about who seem to be cut on the cross, and the only use they are in this world seems to be to raise irritating questions. They and the mosquitoes were created by infinite wisdom, but I have never been able to discover the particular blessing which either of them confer upon us. 3199.258
Spurgeon Ministries, based at Bath Road Baptist Church in Kingston, Ontario, says that he preached to 10,000,000 people during his lifetime. One of his sermons at London’s Crystal Palace attracted 23,654 people. He had no microphone or similar means of amplification.
Outside of the Bible, Charles Haddon Spurgeon is still the widest read preacher in the world. One woman was converted when she read a sermon of his which had been wrapped around a block of butter.
Numbers following the quotes refer to the relevant sermon.
Spurgeon gives hope to those of us who see twentysomethings and think they look like 12-year-olds. That’s my criterion for old age!
Without further ado, here is wisdom from the man known as the Prince of Preachers, with much more at the aforementioned link. Emphases mine below:
It is a crime to permit our fires to burn low while experience yields us more and more abundant fuel. AM191
From the altar of age the flashes of the fire of youth are gone, but the more real flame of earnest feeling remains. ME556
O you of forty, fifty, or sixty, what a world of mischief there is in you that will have to come out. 1248.455
Many of God’s aged servants who have been spared to advanced years, have come to look out for the setting of earth’s sun without a fear of darkness. While they have seemed to have one foot in the grave, they have really had one foot in heaven. 1922.537
Old men sometimes arrive at a second childhood. Do not be afraid, brother, if that is your case; you have gone through one period already that was more infantile than your second one can be, you will not be weaker then than you were at first. 2457.137
In the case of some old people, who have been professors of religion for years, but who have done next to nothing for Christ, I find it very difficult ever to stir them up at all. 2618.183
I always find that the older saints become more Calvinistic as they ripen in age; that is to say, they get to believe more and more that salvation is all of grace; and whereas, at first, they might have had some rather loose ideas concerning free-will, and the power of the creature, the lapse of years and fuller experience gradually blow all that kind of chaff away. 2991.287
When somebody said to a Christian minister, “I suppose you are on the wrong side of fifty?” “No,” he said, “thank God, I am on the right side of fifty, for I am sixty, and am therefore nearer heaven.” Old age should never be looked upon with dismay by us; it should be our joy. 3183.72
What a positive way for us oldies to start the week!
Age aside, may all my readers enjoy a blessed day!
A John MacArthur sermon I cited yesterday has a lovely explanation of marriage.
Excerpts follow from his exposition of Matthew 19:10-12, ‘Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce, Part 4′. Emphases mine below.
Leaders of every youth group from secondary school through university would do well to borrow from this sermon. Too many of us do not fully appreciate matrimony.
MacArthur sets out the main points of marriage. Each begins with a ‘P’.
Children are an heritage from the Lord, so there is marriage to have children. Procreation … Nothing is more clear than you two are one when you see your selves in that one that is born of your union.
It’s for pleasure. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable in all and the bed is undefiled.” The bed is undefiled, you can’t do anything in that place that is defiling. Great liberation, 1 Corinthians 7 says, your body is not yours, and her body is not hers they belong to each other and the Old Testament … from Proverbs, talks about the satisfaction of the physical relationship, the pleasure.
It’s for purity. In 1 Corinthians 7:2, the Bible says, that for fornication let every man have his own wife.
This is the verse (ESV):
2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
I love this. Ephesians 5 says that the man is to nourish, cherish, provide for, care for, be like a savior to his wife.
… marriage is a provision of security, it’s a provision of carrying and nourishing and cherishing. Providing for[;] in fact, it says, if a man doesn’t provide for his own household, he’s worse than an unbeliever.
It’s for partnership. When God made Eve, he said he made Adam a what? A helper. A helper. Somebody to come along side and help so you don’t do things alone, you do them together. There is strength in that fellowship, isn’t there. And I confess to you that my wife is strong where I am weak and that I tend to be strong where she is weak and that’s the way it ought to be. She tells me when I need to be told and if she didn’t, she wouldn’t be strength to my weakness. She has wonderful ways of reminding me of my weaknesses. In fact, I can hear the speech coming before she gives it. I know, speech number 8, you don’t have to give it. But there is real partnership isn’t there, real partnership. I mean, I go here and I work here and I study and I do the things I need to do and she’s home providing all the home needs all that the children need, all that I need to be free to do what I do. It’s real partnership. And I provide all the resources that she needs to do what God has ordained for her to do and so that’s partnership.
And then finally, marriage is picture. It’s picture and what is it picture of? It is picture of Christ and his what? Church. Ephesians 5, it is a graphic demonstration in the face of the world that God loves and has an ongoing unending relationship with the bride whom he loves. And for whom he lives and dies and I dare say that the whole metaphor of marriage of a symbol of Christ and his church has lost its punch because the church is so rife with divorce and fouled up marriages.
Some psychologists did a study and came up with a theory that you are what you are because you are adjusting to the most important person in your life. Whoever the most important person is in your life, that’s the person you are trying to please. Very simple for the Christian, isn’t it? Who is the most important person in our life? Christ. That settles the issue, really, because now we can say, I receive it, if you say it. It’s God’s order.
If more of us heard, read and heeded those succinct yet necessary messages about marriage, we would have fewer divorces and many more happy unions.
Before I move onto quotes from the Prince of Preachers, which are just as relevant today as they were in the 19th century, it is important to keep in mind how much he loved studying and reading. Those Christians who disparage the value of formal education could take a leaf out of his book.
Encyclopedia.com describes his grandfather’s parsonage in Stambourne, Essex (southeastern England). Emphases mine below:
His favorite getaway was in the attic, in a secret little room he stumbled upon one day that had once served as the minister’s den before the windows were covered up. In this dark, little space, Spurgeon discovered countless books and fell in love with Puritan theology.
… Spurgeon particularly loved Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, a Puritan who had been jailed for his beliefs. Over the course of his lifetime, Spurgeon read the book more than 100 times. The attic also contained books on Scriptural theology and Christian martyrs. Reading them provided Spurgeon with a solid theological background.
In the attic, Spurgeon fell in love with reading. In his autobiography, posted on the Spurgeon Archive website, Spurgeon described the impact reading had on him: “Out of that darkened room I fetched those old authors when I was yet a youth, and never was I happier than when in their company.” This fondness for books lasted a lifetime. By the time he was an adult, Spurgeon read an average of six books a week and was well–read in Puritan theology, natural history, and Latin and Victorian literature. At his death, Spurgeon had 12,000 books in his personal library.
The numbers following the quotes below relate to his sermons.
Spurgeon clearly had a good knowledge — and understanding — of history as well as classical mythology, which, sadly, some churchgoers disdain today:
Ambition is like the sea which swallows all the rivers and is none the fuller; or like the grave whose insatiable maw for ever craves for the bodies of men. It is not like an amphora, which being full receives no more, but its fulness swells it till a still greater vacuum is formed. In all probability, Napoleon never longed for a sceptre till he gained the bâton, nor dreamed of being conqueror of Europe till he had gained the crown of France. Caligula, with the world at his feet, was mad with a longing for the moon, and could he have gained it the imperial lunatic would have coveted the sun. It is in vain to feed a fire which grows the more voracious the more it is supplied with fuel; he who lives to satisfy his ambition has before him the labour of Sisyphus, who rolled up hill an ever-rebounding stone, and the task of the daughters of Danaus, who are condemned for ever to attempt to fill a bottomless vessel with buckets full of holes. FA10
There are times in life when ambition can cause us to attempt or covet too much:
He who undertakes too much succeeds but little. PT140
You may burst a bag by trying to fill it too full, and ruin yourself by grasping at too much. PT140
Our endeavours to go up lead us to push others down. 2153.379
A man is never perfectly at peace if he is ambitious, and craving for this or that which as yet is beyond his reach. 2626.280
Men do not quarrel when their ambitions have come to an end. 2281.529
Are we accomplishing things for God’s glory or man’s?
And it is much the same also with ambition,—not the desire to use one’s capacities to the full, especially for God’s glory, and the good of our fellow-creatures; but that craving for so-called “glory” which makes a man court the homage of his fellow-men, and which will not let him be content unless he is set up on a high pedestal for fools to stare at. 2886.268
He had this advice for churchgoers:
Aspire to be something more than the mass of church members. Lift up your cry to God and beseech him to fire you with a nobler ambition than that which possesses the common Christian—that you may be found faithful unto God at the last, and may win many crowns for your Lord and Master, Christ. 867.232
In closing, this is worthwhile for seminarians who hope to rise to the top in their vocation:
Do you not know that the higher you rise, even in the Church of Christ, the more responsibility you have, and the heavier burdens you have to carry? 2871.91
Every time I read Spurgeon quotations I spend a period of time pondering each one. I hope you find them equally valuable.