Thursday, November 26, 2009

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Holocaust of Ideas

These thoughts are going to carry me toward a different objective than I usually pursue. There is most often, if not nearly always, a theological pursuit, an exegetical notion, a contrasting sectarian idea that I seek out in this intimate space. At the moment however, I am piqued somewhat at the arrogance of false ideas, deliberate misrepresentations and the frustrating response of the typical worldly canard. We have each come out of this, some from a further reach than others, but each of us were at some time or another expert at the canard, the fraud perpetrated upon others in a desperate attempt to legitimize or present ourselves as meaningful in the discourse. Now nothing of this is surprising. In fact we know scripturally that the carnal mind is at enmity with God and who can craft the greatest deception than a mind at war? Wonderful … I now feel better having spewed my collective wisdom into the thimble.

What drove this to the page? I occasionally frequent a discussion board in the world, a world that is truly at war with God, with the nation, with sensible people of many persuasions. It is not generally a theological pursuit but at times the discussions lean toward the scriptural rebuttal. It is a natural event when the participants view faithful souls as "Holy Rollers", fundamentalist extremists, whacked out promoters of mythology. It is the nature of the unredeemed mind to cavort with foolishness. Obviously, the leftist-liberal with his Statist Fundamentalist mindset and a gross enmity toward God is not going to fathom the things of God. The spiritual things of God are all noise to him, nonsense and meaningless chatter. There is no understanding (Luke 24:45, Eph 1:18). Nonetheless, the unbeliever will quote Christ, pervert His words and attempt to turn Christ upon those who love Him and understand His teachings. Of course I know this going into the discussion yet it remains a frustrating experience to observe a lost, blaspheming soul heaping coals upon his own head especially in light of my own previous expertise at such.

The world is lost and it thinks itself well founded.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Inerrancy Resource …

Over the years I have not been a big fan of the term "inerrancy" regarding scripture preferring the use of "infallibility" as a better representative of the truth of scripture. The various arguments for and against inerrancy have not swayed my ground with regard to a full expression of the truths of scripture however the battle of the term and it's advocates and opponents has been on-going since Warfield first elevated the matter to church attention. Fundamentalism, as a political movement among various church groups, latched onto the inerrancy debate in the 19th century and has spawned several associated movements, in particular the King James Version Only adherents. The more extreme advocates of inerrancy tend to favor this latter group of believers while the polar opposites tend toward open theism and liberal excess.

I stumbled across this link on another site. It presents an interesting discussion and is a good reference for understanding some of the arguments and responses of both sides. In addition, the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy offers the modern background of this issue.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Something to Ponder

THERE are two extreme tendencies in the ministry. The one is to shut itself out from intercourse with the people. The monk, the hermit were illustrations of this; they shut themselves out from men to be more with God. They failed, of course. Our being with God is of use only as we expend its priceless benefits on men. This age, neither with preacher nor with people, is much intent on God. Our hankering is not that way. We shut ourselves to our study, we become students, bookworms, Bible worms, sermon makers, noted for literature, thought, and sermons; but the people and God, where are they? Out of heart, out of mind. Preachers who are great thinkers, great students must be the greatest of prayers, or else they will be the greatest of backsliders, heartless professionals, rationalistic, less than the least of preachers in God's estimate.

The other tendency is to thoroughly popularize the ministry. He is no longer God's man, but a man of affairs, of the people. He prays not, because his mission is to the people. If he can move the people, create an interest, a sensation in favor of religion, an interest in Church work -- he is satisfied. His personal relation to God is no factor in his work. Prayer has little or no place in his plans. The disaster and ruin of such a ministry cannot be computed by earthly arithmetic. What the preacher is in prayer to God, for himself, for his people, so is his power for real good to men, so is his true fruitfulness, his true fidelity to God, to man, for time, for eternity.
– E.M. Bounds