The Biblical laws for Quarantine and Sanitation

The Biblical laws for Quarantine and Sanitation By Jack Kettler

What do the Scriptures say about quarantines? When you have a plague or an infectious disease in the land, which biblically is required to be quarantined? What about the contemporary phrase “social distancing.” Is this approach biblical? In this study, biblical quarantine and sanitary laws will be surveyed. Surprisingly, if followed, out of control, problematic health issues can be solved without infringing upon civil liberties or destroying businesses.

A study like this is relevant considering the panic of government officials over the latest of the yearly flu virus, the so-called Wuhan China flu. The panic is at least partially due to the question of the Wuhan virus, possibly being a human-engineered weaponized virus. To put things in perspective, 10 to 60 thousand people die from the flu each year in the U.S.

Most of the time, politicians from large decaying cities in America are not in the least concerned about public health issues accept for political purposes. For example, the West coast large city mayors and governors are not concerned with giant rat-infested homeless camps and humans defecating on the streets, real breeding grounds for infectious diseases.

With that said, a biblical study on how to handle a virus or plaque seems prudent. In general, compared to biblical law, political operatives have things ass-backward. God has provided biblical principles, if followed, to solve many public health emergencies.

A number of passages will be surveyed. A complete listing in this study of passages is not necessary to avoid redundancy. The majority of the passages will be from the Old Testament. How can passages from the Old Testament, which were for Israel, have anything to say today? Let us see.

The Scriptures on quarantine laws:

“But if the spot is white in the skin of his body and appears no deeper than the skin, and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest shall shut up the diseased person for seven days.” (Leviticus 13:4 ESV) (All passages will be in the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted).

“He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” (Leviticus 13:46)

“And if the priest examines the itching disease and it appears no deeper than the skin and there is no black hair in it, then the priest shall shut up the person with the itching disease for seven days, and on the seventh day the priest shall examine the disease. If the itch has not spread, and there is in it no yellow hair, and the itch appears to be no deeper than the skin, then he shall shave himself, but the itch he shall not shave; and the priest shall shut up the person with the itching disease for another seven days.” (Leviticus 13:31-33)

“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” (Leviticus 13:45-46)

“Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead. You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell.” (Numbers 5:2-3)

“And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance.” (Luke 17:12)

Quarantines Today by Gary North, author of more than fifty books:

“The question then arises: Is priestly quarantining biblically legitimate today? There is no indication that any of these named diseases survived the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. There is also no indication that the laws of quarantine by a priest continue into the New Covenant. On the contrary, they could not have survived the demise of the priesthood. The quarantine laws were part of the Levitical laws of the Mosaic Covenant, and, I think, to some degree were connected to jubilee land laws of Leviticus 25. These laws all perished with the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. With the collapse of the judicial boundaries of the nation of Israel, there was a collapse of those ritual boundary laws that had governed the people of Israel even before they entered into the land of Canaan. There was no longer any tabernacle to be excluded from, and there was no unclean place outside either the camp or the city to which anyone could be banished. In other words, these laws related to plague, and plague in Mosaic Israel was judicial rather than biological.

In New Testament times, we can study biological afflictions as a separate class of phenomena, and we can also see them as the judgments of God. We do not have the ability to identify the specific sin, either corporate or personal, that leads to most sicknesses, with the exception of venereal diseases. Neither did the priest of the Mosaic Covenant in most cases. The priest was not asked to identify the sin that had led to the individual’s affliction. The priest was required only to identify the affliction and deal with it judicially. We can therefore say that in New Testament times, afflictions of a biological nature can be dealt with either through medical techniques or by public health techniques. Contagious people can either be cured or they can be quarantined. The quarantining process, however, is based on considerations of the contagious nature of the disease, not the judicial status of the individual. Public health laws in the modern world are to be governed by statutes, and statutes must be predictable. Individuals must know in advance the penalties or sanctions that will be imposed for specific kinds of behavior. Thus, an individual who comes down with a disease cannot be said to be a threat to the community merely because he has come down with a disease. The judicial diseases of the Mosaic Covenant are no longer with us. Therefore, the diseases that afflict us today are like the common diseases that afflicted people inside and outside of Mosaic Israel. They are to be dealt with in similar ways: by medical care, by quarantine, by prayer, or by anointing by the elders (James 5:14).

To Protect the Public

The idea of quarantine in the 13th chapter of Leviticus is based on the need to protect the public. The spread of the disease, or other forms of God’s judgment, was to be halted by removing the afflicted individual from within the city. The concern was public health, but it was not a concern about biological contagion. It was concern about the willingness of God to afflict other individuals with the disease or other afflictions because of their unwillingness to enforce His law. Thus, the quarantining process of Leviticus 13 was primarily judicial. In fact, it would probably be safe to say that it was entirely judicial. Only by the extension of the principle of the protection of others within the city is it legitimate to classify today’s diseases as being subject legally to the Bible’s quarantining process.

Does this qualification alter the legal status of the civil government? For example, does this mean that in modern times the civil government is required to finance an individual who has been quarantined? The State has brought sanctions against him in the name of the health of the community. This was also the case in Mosaic Israel. The State has put him under quarantine because he is biologically contagious. This was not the case in the Mosaic Israel. Does the shift from judicial affliction to biological affliction change the legal requirements of the civil government? Does the change from the contagious legal status of the individual to his contagious biological status change the requirements of the civil government? In other words, do the quarantine laws of the civil government go through a fundamental transformation between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant?

It is part of English common law that when a city is on fire, the authorities have the right to knock down an individual’s house in order to stop the spread of that fire. It is also part of common law that the city and the community do not owe anything to the individual who has had his house knocked down in this way. It is presumed that the fire would have destroyed the house anyway. It is also assumed that by destroying the individual’s house, other houses within the community will be protected. This law was for generations basic to the protection of cities. If the fire-fighters had to worry about the cost of repayment each time they knocked down a house, it is unlikely that they would have had the same kind of incentive to knock down the houses. Obviously, if the price of an action goes up, less of it will be demanded. In this case, it means that the city would have been less likely to be protected from the “plague” of fire because of legal obligations to repay those people who were unfortunate enough to be caught in the line of fire, and whose houses, if knocked down, would have allowed the creation of a fire break. It was assumed that the safety of the city was of greater importance than the loss to the individual. Because the house probably would have burned down anyway, it really was not a net loss to the owner.

Consider a contemporary individual who has contracted a contagious disease. He has become a threat to the community. If the community is required by law to finance this individual until such time as he recovers biologically from the disease, it is less likely that the community will take the necessary steps to isolate him. Common law therefore does not require the civil government to compensate the quarantined individual. Neither does biblical law. This is why quarantine is a devastating event in the life of the individual. Historically, quarantined people have not been permitted to leave their homes. Others have not been able to come into those homes without falling under the ban. While it is assumed that charity will be forthcoming to help the quarantined individual in his time of need, it has been assumed until very recently that the State has no legal obligation to support that person during the period of his confinement. To do so would raise the cost of confining individuals, and it would therefore lead to an unwillingness on the part of public health officials to confine them. This would increase the risk of contagion and disease in the community.

The contagious nature of the disease, in effect, is a form of violence. It is violence conducted by a third party, namely, the biological organisms that transmit the disease, but it is still a form of violence. The carrier places other people at risk. Thus, common law determined that an individual who becomes a threat to the community must be removed from the community so as to reduce the likelihood of this indirect form of violence. Public health measures are directed against the disease primarily and against its carriers secondarily.” (1)

As can be seen from North’s commentary, quarantine laws applied to those with infectious diseases, not healthy people. Moreover, as in the case of a house on fire, the police and larger society is not to bear the cost of the quarantine.

Gary North is an American paleolibertarian writer, Austrian School economic historian, and leading figure in the Christian Reconstructionist movement. … He is known for his advocacy of biblical and libertarian economics and as a theorist of dominionism and theonomy. Wikipedia

R. J. Rushdoony on Biblical Quarantine Laws

“The commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” has, as its positive requirement, the mandate to preserve and further life within the framework of God’s law. Basic to this framework of preservation are the laws of quarantine…To return to the quarantine laws with respect to diseases, those cited in Leviticus 13 and 14 are generally described as leprosy and plague. The term leprosy has changed its meaning extensively from its biblical and “medieval” meaning. The meaning then covered a variety of infectious diseases. In terms of this, the meaning of this legislation is that contagious diseases must be treated with all necessary precautions to prevent contagion. Legislation is thus necessary wherever society requires protection from serious and contagious diseases. The state has therefore a legislative power in dealing with plagues, epidemics, venereal diseases, and other contagious and dangerous diseases. Such legislation is plainly required in the Mosaic Law (Num. 5:1-4). Not only is it declared to be a matter of civil legislation, but also an essential aspect of religious education (Deut. 24:8).

It is clear, however, that this legislation, requiring some kind of quarantine or separation for those who are diseased, or who handle the dead (Num. 5:2), has implications beyond the realm of physical diseases.” (2)

R. J. Rushdoony and quarantine laws through history:

“It is also important to note that the observance of these laws helped eliminate Hansen’s disease, or true leprosy, faster in Europe than in other continents. In Europe, there were at least 9,000 hospitals for leprosy alone, maintained by Christian charity. Louis VII of France left legacies to more than 2,000 hospitals for lepers in his country; no ruler of our times has manifested any comparable charity. The Normans in France applied quarantine strictly, both in Normandy and in England. Thus, the very wealthy and influential Knight, Amiloun, was expelled from his castle to become a beggar when he contracted leprosy. The Lateran Council of 1172 required that special churches be built for lepers, and, in time, both hospitals and churches were available for lepers.” (3)

R. J. Rushdoony bio: a Calvinist philosopher, historian, and theologian and is widely credited as being the father of Christian Reconstructionism and an inspiration for the modern Christian homeschool movement. His followers and critics have argued that his thought exerts considerable influence on the evangelical Christian right. From Wikipedia

The Scriptures on Sanitary Laws:

“And an earthenware vessel that the one with the discharge touches shall be broken, and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.” (Leviticus 15:12)_

“Encamp outside the for camp seven days. Whoever of you has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day. You shall purify every garment, every article of skin, all work of goats’ hair, and every article of wood.” (Numbers 31:19-20)

“If any man among you becomes unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he shall go outside the camp. He shall not come inside the camp, but when evening comes, he shall bathe himself in water, and as the sun sets, he may come inside the camp.” (Deuteronomy 23:10-11) Burying human waste

“Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment, have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement.” (Deuteronomy 23:12-13 NIV)

An excerpt from The First Book of Public Hygiene:

“On the positive side, the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, provide tremendous insight and relief concerning disease prevention. Remarkably, the Pentateuch is regarded as the earliest evidence we have of sound public health and sanitary practices. These ancient writings, when used in conjunction with modern medicine, can break the mode of transmission of virtually every scourge known to humanity.

What follows is a brief summary of the biblical instructions pertaining to public health and sanitation. Bear in mind that these regulations were practiced some 3,500 years before the germ concept of disease was discovered (mainly by the creationist Louis Pasteur)!” (4)

The full article is a goldmine of wisdom. As an aside, when God gave the Pentateuch and all of the wisdom included therein to the people of Israel, the continent of Europe was not much more than bands of savages.

Concluding thoughts:

Regarding the continuing validity of Old Testament principles:

“To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 19.4)

The “general equity” refers not to the specific law, but an abiding principle in the law.

For example:

“When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet [railing] for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.” (Deuteronomy 22:8)

Examples of the enduring continuity would be:

1. Having a fence around your swimming pool.

2. Having your yard fenced in if, you have a potentially vicious dog.

Some buildings and apartments have rooftop recreational areas. Of course, you would want some type of barrier or railing for protection. In modern jurisprudence, there is a whole body of liability laws that deal with things like this. The bottom line, it is about protecting your neighbor and limiting your liability.

Many of the case laws are more difficult to find principals that have modern applications. A passage from Mark 12:31 is the key to finding continuing principles of applications.

“The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)

Instead of locking down entire states, closing down businesses, and placing people essentially under house arrest, the biblical solution is only the person with infectious disease is quarantined, not the public at large. People are free to visit and care for the infected at their own risk. Many Christian charities do precisely this.

The contemporary phrase “social distancing” can be good advice from health and state officials. Likewise, reminding people of personal hygiene such as washing hands.

On closing churches, this should be the call of the elders of the Church in consultation with health officials. Any responsible official would seek the advice of the local clergy before issuing an edict, forcing churches to cease normal functions.

Defining churches as non-essential is an egregious overreach on the part of the state. The Church, at the very least, should protest being labeled as non-essential vigorously.

We can pray that this present crisis does not turn into a yearly-politicized flu emergency.

Here is a quote from Martin Luther when he faced the Black Death Plague:

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he has expected of me so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

Historically, Christians have never run away from plagues. “God has not given us the spirit of fear.” (2Timothy 1:7)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

Notes:

1. Gary North, BOUNDARIESAND DOMINIONAN ECONOMIC COMMENTARYON LEVITICUS VOLUME 1, (Dallas GA, Point Five Press), p. 292-293.

2. Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. 1, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Craig Press), p. 293.

3. Rousas John Rushdoony, Commentaries on the Pentateuch: Leviticus, (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2005), p. 144-145.

4. David Wise, The First Book of Public Hygiene, (Originally published in Creation 26, no 1 (December 2003): 52-55. https: //answersingenesis.org/biology/disease/the-first-book-of-public-hygiene/

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more study:

None of These Diseases by S. I. McMillen

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The Bible, its various genera’s, and the implications for interpretation

The Bible, its various genera’s, and the implications for interpretation by Jack Kettler

The Bible uses many literary forms. For example, the Bible uses genera’s such as law, historical narrative, wisdom, poetical, gospel, didactic letters, or epistles, predictive, and apocalyptic literature.

In this primer, the different genera’s will be looked at, in addition, other interpretive factors such as Literal, Figurative, Allegory, Symbolic, Metaphorical, samples of language will be considered. Then briefly, the importance of recognizing typology, context, scope, grammar, syntax, and hermeneutics will be surveyed.

A contemporary definition of the genre is a type of art, literature, or music characterized by a specific form, content, and style – examples: fictional, non-fiction, mysteries, westerns, science fiction, dystopia, and romance.

A particular challenge for the interpreter, each genre has its own set of general rules.

Examples of biblical genera or category:

Law: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

In these books, one will find legal codes and divisions of the Mosaic Law, civil, ceremonial, and moral.

Poetical: Psalms, Song of Solomon.

In these genera, a collection of spoken or written words expresses ideas or emotions in a vibrant and artistic style. This style utilizes a particular rhythmic and metrical pattern such as Hebrew parallelism.

Wisdom literature: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.

In this literature, one finds teachings about spirituality, and virtue and how to attain it.

Historical narrative: Genesis, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Acts of the Apostles.

This type of literature uses the writing of history in a story-based form.

Gospel is also historical: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Didactic: Letter or epistles like Romans, Ephesians, and James.

Biblical didacticism is a type of literature that educates the reader, in soteriology, ethics, ecclesiology, and eschatology teachings.

Predictive or prophetic: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel.

This type of biblical literature describes or predicts things that will happen in the future.

Apocalyptic: Daniel and Revelation.

Apocalyptic literature has features, principally involving the prediction of future events by incorporating symbolism or imagery.

Additional interpretive factors:

Literal language means what it says.

An example: The dog is black.

A biblical example: Jesus died on the cross.

Figurative language: uses similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and personification.

An example: He drowning in a sea of grief.

A biblical example: Isaiah 55:12, “the trees will clap their hands.” Jesus’ figurative language is seen when He said, “I am the door” in John 10:7, 9.

Allegory language: involves characters and events that stand for an abstract idea or event.

An example: Animal Farm by George Orwell is a political allegory about the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the rise of communism.

A biblical example: The parables of Jesus

Symbolic language: A symbol is a thing that stands for another thing, giving it a particular meaning.

An example: The dove is a symbol of peace.

A biblical example: The Song of Solomon

Metaphorical language: A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not applicable.

An example: He is doing a tightrope walk with her grades this semester.

A biblical example: When James, Cephas, and John are called “pillars” of the church, in Galatians 2:9, it is evident that the word “pillars” is a metaphor.

Words of association: One word stands for something else. Examples: Circumcision meaning the Jews. Israel referred to by God as a vineyard.

Typology: The Bible identifies certain things, people, and events as typical. That is, beyond their place in Old Testament history, they foreshadow the realities of the gospel. For example, the ceremonial rites and laws of Israel portrayed the gospel and have been fulfilled by it. They have, therefore a unique place in biblical interpretation, but they must never be used to establish a doctrine that cannot be established by the plain statements of Scripture.

Simile: a comparison between unlike objects.

A biblical example:

“They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts.” (Judges 6:5 NIV)

Context: the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.

Example of the Bible verse taken out of context:

“Do not judge or you also will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)

This verse is not saying, “do not ever judge anyone or anything.” This verse is a warning against unjust, hypocritical judgments.

Scope: The scope of a passage under consideration sets the borders of what the writer means to say. The scope will often help in understanding a problematic expression in a text. Considering the author’s goal in writing the passage and setting the text under deliberation in its proper context will help the reader, grasp its sense.

Grammar: The study of how words and their parts combine to form sentences.

It also involves the study of structural relationships in language or in language, sometimes including pronunciation, meaning, and linguistic history.

Syntax: a set of rules for or an analysis of the syntax of a language.

Hermeneutics: is the science of interpretation. From the Greek hermeneuo, “to explain, interpret.” Hermeneutics is known as the science of biblical interpretation. The apostle Paul nailed it about the goal of all accurate hermeneutics in 2Timothy 2:15 when he said, “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The grammatical-historical hermeneutic:

The goal of the historical-grammatical hermeneutic or method attempts to recognize what the writer intended and what the original hearers would have understood it to mean. Grammar and syntax are used to determine the various parts of the thoughts in the text and how they are to be understood.

In consideration of all the above examples of the types of language, and an accepted recognized hermeneutic, and now the interpreter is ready to dig into a text. How is it done?

Exegesis, the interpretive Norm:

Exegesis (from the Greek ἐξήγησις from ἐξηγεῖσθαι’ to lead out’) is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage, it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text and the term “Biblical exegesis” is used for greater specificity. The goal of Biblical exegesis is to explore the meaning of the text, which then leads to discovering its significance or relevance.

Exegesis includes a wide range of critical disciplines: textual criticism is the investigation into the history and origins of the text, but exegesis may include the study of the historical and cultural backgrounds for the author, the text, and the original audience. Other analysis includes classification of the type of literary genres present in the text and an analysis of grammatical and syntactical features in the text itself.

Eisegesis, the Interpretive Danger:

Eisegesis (from Greek εἰς “into” and ending from exegesis from ἐξηγεῖσθαι “to lead out”) is the process of misinterpreting a text in such a way that it introduces one’s personal ideas, reading into the text. Eisegesis is best understood when contrasted with exegesis. While exegesis draws out the meaning of the text, eisegesis occurs when a reader reads his/her interpretation into the text. As a result, exegesis tends to be objective when employed while eisegesis is regarded as highly subjective. An individual who practices eisegesis is known as an eisegete, as someone who practices exegesis is known as an exegete.

The next entry is an excellent overview of biblical interpretation.

Hermeneutical Principles by R. C. Sproul. The article is abridged:

The Analogy of Faith

“Sacra Scriptura sui interpres

Scripture is to interpret Scripture. This simply means that no part of Scripture can be interpreted in such a way to render it in conflict with what is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture. For example, if a given verse is capable of two renditions or variant interpretations and one of those interpretations goes against the rest of Scripture while the other is in harmony with it, then the latter interpretation must be used.

Since it is assumed that God would never contradict Himself, it is thought slanderous to the Holy Spirit to choose an alternate interpretation that would unnecessarily bring the Bible in conflict with itself. The analogy of faith keeps the whole Bible in view lest we suffer from the effects of exaggerating one part of Scripture to the exclusion of others.

Interpreting the Bible Literally

The literal sense offers restraint from letting our imagination run away in fanciful interpretation and invites us to examine closely the literary forms of Scripture. The term literal comes from the Latin litera meaning “letter.” To interpret something literally is to pay attention to the litera or to the letters or words being used. To interpret the Bible literally is to interpret it as literature. That is, the natural meaning of a passage is to be interpreted according to the normal rules of grammar, speech, syntax and context.

The Bible may be a very special book, being uniquely inspired by the Holy Spirit, but that inspiration does not transform the letters of the words or the sentences of the passages into magical phrases. Under inspiration a noun remains a noun and a verb remains a verb. Questions do not become exclamations, and historical narratives do not become allegories.

Literal Interpretation and Genre Analysis

The term genre simply means “kind,” “sort” or “species.” Genre analysis involves the study of such things as literary forms, figures of speech and style. (E.g. Miracles – Jonah; Hyperbole “a statement exaggerated fancifully, for effect” [see Mt. 9:35]; Personification “a poetic device by which inanimate objects or animals are given human characteristics” [see Isaiah 55:12]).

The Problem of Metaphor

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or a phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (e.g., Jesus saying: “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved.”).

The Medieval Quadriga

The “fourfold” method of interpretation examined each text for four meanings: literal, moral, allegorical, and analogical meanings. The literal sense of Scripture was defined as the plain and evident meaning. The moral sense was that which instructed humans how to behave. The allegorical sense revealed the content of faith, and the analogical expressed future hope. Thus passages, for example, that mentioned Jerusalem were capable of four different meanings. The literal sense referred to the capital of Judea and the central sanctuary of the nation. The moral sense of Jerusalem is the human soul (the “central sanctuary” of a person). The allegorical meaning of Jerusalem is the church (the center of Christian community). The analogical meaning of Jerusalem is heaven (the final hope of future residence for the people of God). Thus a single reference to Jerusalem could mean four things at the same time. If the Bible mentioned that people went up to Jerusalem, it meant that they went to a real earthly city, or that their souls “went up” to a place of moral excellence, or that we should someday go to heaven. During the reformation there was a firm reaction to this type of allegorizing. The Martin Luther rejected multiple meanings to biblical passages, he did not thereby restrict the application of Scripture to a single sense. Though a scriptural passage has one meaning, it may have a host of applications to the wide variety of nuances to our lives.

The Grammatical Historical Method

The grammatical-historical method focuses our attention on the original meaning of the text lest we “read into Scripture” our own ideas drawn from the present. Grammatical structure determines whether words are to be taken as questions (interrogative), commands (imperative) or declarative (indicative). For example, when Jesus says, “You shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8), is He making a prediction of future performance or issuing a sovereign mandate? Though the English form is unclear, the Greek structure of the words makes it perfectly clear that Jesus is not indulging in future prediction but issuing a command.

Other ambiguities of language can be cleared up and elucidated by acquiring a working knowledge of grammar. For example, when Paul says at the beginning of his epistle to the Romans that he is an apostle called to communicate “the gospel of God,” what does he mean by of? Does the of refer to the content of the gospel or its source? Does of really mean “about,” or is it a genitive of possession? The grammatical answer will determine whether Paul is saying that he is going to communicate a gospel that comes from and belongs to God. There is a big difference between the two, which can only be resolved by grammatical analysis. In this case the Greek structure reveals a genitive of possession, which answers the question for us.

Source Criticism

For example if we follow the notion that Mark was the first Gospel written and that Matthew and Luke had Mark’s Gospel in front of them as they wrote, many of the questions of the relationship of the Gospels can be explained. We see further that both Luke and Matthew include certain information that is not found in Mark. Thus it seems that Luke and Matthew had a source of information available to them that Mark did not have or did not choose to use. Examining further, we find certain information found in Matthew that is found neither Mark nor Luke, and information that is in Luke that is found only in Luke. By isolating the material found only in Matthew or only in Luke, we can discern certain things about their priorities and concerns in writing. Knowing why an author writes what he writes helps us to understand what he writes. In contemporary reading it is important to read the author’s preface because the reasons and concerns for writing are usually spelled out there.

Authorship and Dating

If we know who wrote a particular book and know when that person lived, then of course we know the basic period when the book was written. If we know who wrote a book, to whom, under what circumstances and at what period of history, that information will greatly ease our difficulty in understanding it. By using methods of source criticism we can isolate materials common to particular writes (e.g. – most of the material we have about Joseph is found in Matthew because he was writing to a Jewish audience and the Jews had legal questions concerning Jesus’ claim of messiah-ship. Jesus’ legal father was Joseph, and that was very important for Matthew to show in order to establish the tribal lineage of Jesus).

Grammatical Errors

When Martin Luther said the “Scriptures never err,” he means that they never err with respect to the truth of what they are proclaiming.” (1)

In closing:

Why understanding language is essential:

“Suppose the word mountain meant metaphor, and dog, and Bible, and the United States. Clearly, if a word meant everything, it would mean nothing. If, now, the law of contradiction is an arbitrary convention, and if our linguistic theorists choose some other convention, I challenge them to write a book in conformity with their principles. As a matter of fact it will not be hard for them to do so. Nothing more is necessary than to write the word metaphor sixty, thousand times: Metaphor metaphor metaphor metaphor…. This means the dog ran up the mountain, for the word metaphor means dog, ran, and mountain. Unfortunately, the sentence “metaphor metaphor metaphor” also means, Next Christmas is Thanksgiving, for the word metaphor has these meanings as well.” (2)

We must not abandon literal biblical revelation:

“When Paul in human Greek says that God justifies believers, did he speak the literal truth or some other, unknowable kind of truth that is not truth at all? A phrase similar to “human language” occurs frequently in other authors. They contrast “human logic” with “divine logic.” But do they dare make explicit what this phrase means? Human logic says, if all men are mortal, and if Socrates is a man, then Socrates is mortal. But if divine logic is different, then all men can be mortal and Socrates can be a man, yet Socrates will not be mortal. Or, again, if human mathematics says that two plus two is four, and if divine truth differs from ours, then for God two and two are five or ten or anything but four. The point here is that human logic and divine logic are identical. Human logic is a part of the divine image in man. It is God’s trademark stamped upon us. Only by rejecting the Biblical doctrine of God’s image can one contrast human language with divine language and divine logic with human. Finally, if human language cannot be literally true, any assertion “language is not literal” cannot be literally true. The position is self-refuting, and one can have little hope of explaining how “language formed on mythical patterns” can convey God’s truth.” (3)

As a principal interpretive rule, Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture the plain statements of Scripture is the best explanation of a text!

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2Timothy 2:15)

From the notes of the Geneva Study Bible on 2Timothy 2:15:

(1) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

(2) The fifth admonition: a minister must not be an idle disputer, but a faithful steward in correctly dividing the word of truth, in so much, that he must stop the mouths of other vain babblers.

(3) By adding nothing to it, neither deleting anything, neither mangling it, nor rending it apart, nor distorting it: but marking diligently what his hearers are able to bear, and what is fit to edifying.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Notes:

1. R.C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, Abridgement is from Chapter 3: Hermeneutics: The Science of Interpretation, (Downers Grove, Illinois, IVP 2009) pp. 41-56.

2. Gordon H. Clark, God’s Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics, (Jefferson, Maryland, The Trinity Foundation), p. 49-50.

3. Gordon Clark, God’s Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics, (Jefferson, Maryland, The Trinity Foundation), p. 161-162.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

More Study:

Biblical Hermeneutics – A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments by Milton S. Terry

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Does federal government law prohibit a minister from talking about political issues from the pulpit? A primer

Does federal government law prohibit a minister from talking about political issues from the pulpit? A primer By Jack Kettler

Does a minister have the freedom to address political issues from the pulpit? Assuming yes, should he do this? Should a minister endorse a political candidate? Should the state through its agencies have the right to say what a church may or may not say? What is the principal focus of the pulpit ministry? What is a political issue? Is it different from a biblical issue? It is the intent of this primer that the reader will come away with answers to these questions.

Some history of churches and politics in America:

Last century Congress modified the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code § 501(c) (3) to restrict the speech of non-profit, tax-exempt organizations, which included churches in 1954. This legislation became the Johnson amendment for Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who introduced it in July of 1954.

Before the Johnson amendment, there were no restrictions placed on churches by the government. The main stipulation in the amendment was that churches were not to endorse or oppose candidates for public office. The Johnson amendment does not prohibit church involvement in voter registration and even political debate forums among various candidates.

However, after the Johnson amendment became law, churches now had to limit the time discussing political issues and candidates for public office. Spending too much time could put at risk the church’s tax exemption status. Remaining silent would protect their tax exemption. Silence is not necessarily golden. Forfeiting the 501 (c) (3) status is a possible strategy for the continuing of political discussions and debate in the pulpits without fear of the IRS agents coming for a visit.

This primer does not believe the Johnson amendment is justified. This amendment in the hands of unscrupulous men can be used against Christ’s Church. At the same time, the amendment is not the end of the world issue for churches.

The crux of the matter, how is a political issue defined?

The term “political issue” can refer to things such as abortion, taxation, government welfare spending, public or private or homeschooling, sexual perversion, and immigration policies regarding foreign trade issues to name a few.

Can a political issue be a biblical issue? The student of Scripture will immediately recognize that the issues mentioned earlier are spoken of in the Bible. It can be argued that there are only biblical or moral issues. Because of the supremacy of the Bible in defining right and wrong, the Johnson amendment can be viewed as a trickster ploy, forcing an artificial redefinition of terms in order to silence and limit debate. The state cannot restrict how much time a church devotes to biblical or moral issues.

In 1Kings, we learn of Ahab as the seventh king over Israel and as a man who did more evil in the sight of Yahweh than any king who lived before him. Ahab engaged in politics, which were, at the same time, moral or biblical issues. Under the Johnson amendment, would Elijah have been able to rebuke Ahab and call for removal from office? Could Elijah have endorsed another candidate for office?

In 1Samuel 16, Samuel anoints David to be king. The anointing of a king is even stronger than endorsing a candidate. Would the IRS have moved against Samuel for violating the Johnson amendment? Biblically speaking, the IRS has no authority to determine what may be said in churches. The IRS is a tax collection agency, not speech monitoring agency, or is it. Will it next become a thought control agency?

Have ministers lost their freedoms? Can a minister speak against political, moral corruption in light of the Johnson amendment? Is this a quandary for ministers?

The so-called political issues listed above are, in fact, biblical issues; they are the same. The minister of God has the moral high ground. We can expose the Johnson amendment canard for what it is; it is a bald face attempt to switch definitions and silence the ministers of God in the pulpit.

The real quandary is for representatives from the IRS and their attempts to enforce the Johnson amendment:

What qualification does a representative from the IRS have to talk about biblical issues? Do they have biblical training in the science of exegesis? Since Congress created the IRS, constitutional restrictions apply to them also.

Representatives from the fed gov will not acknowledge this line of reasoning regarding them, and biblical qualifications to necessary distinguish biblical issues. No, not any more than an atheist will concede that his worldview cannot account for or justify the use of science, logic, and ethics.

The conflict between the Johnson amendment and the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Question: Does the Johnson amendment overturn or restrict rights that come from God enumerated in the First Amendment?

Answer: Yes, it does. Precisely, it does by violating “…make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”

Consider an example of the absurdity of so-called political issues and the Johnson amendment:

Which came first, the Scriptures or the “Johnny come lately,” Johnson amendment?

Consider the life issue in Scripture:

Just as the Scripture says, the babe in the womb is a baby:

“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe [βρέφος] leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe [βρέφος] in my womb leaped for joy.” (Luke1:41-44)

Strong’s Lexicon:

Baby

βρέφος (brephos)

Noun – Nominative Neuter Singular

Strong’s Greek 1025: an unborn or a newborn child

God knows the distinct personalities of the unborn:

“The children struggled together within her, and she said, if it is thus, why is this happening to me? So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her, Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger. When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.” (Genesis 25:22-26)

The death penalty is required for the killing of an unborn baby:

“If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined…. But if there is a serious injury, you are to take life for life….” (Exodus 21:22, 23)

These above passages are relevant to the modern day pro-life pro-death battle. Is the pro-life and the death-loving abortionists’ battle political? Alternatively, is the battle one of religious apostasy versus faithfulness to the teachings of Scripture? It may be political; however, it is first, Biblical!

When the above passages on babes in the womb were written, the land of North America was a harsh wilderness. The IRS was nowhere to be found.

Clarification:

This primer is not advocating the pulpit on Sunday to become a forum to expound the politics of the day. In addition, the previous statement should not be understood as to deny the Church of Christ through its various ministries the right to speak the truth with complete freedom.

Things put in perspective for activist hot heads:

What is the principal role of the pulpit ministry?

The church is to remain faithful to its primary mandate of Scriptural teaching and preaching and evangelism:

First, what type of preaching or teaching is best in the pulpit to support worship? Traditionally, in many Reformed Churches, there is catechetical and expository preaching.

Catechetical preaching uses a catechism such as the Heidelberg to organize the weekly sermons. Since the Heidelberg, catechism encompasses all of the essential doctrines of the faith. In time, the congregation will be well schooled in the Scriptures or the whole counsel of God.

Expository preaching starts with a passage of Scripture, and then it considers the grammar, the context, and the historical setting of that passage. This method is called the grammatical-historical method. Expository preaching usually comes, from a book-by-book, verse-by-verse exposition. Similarly, the book-by-book, verse-by-verse preaching, will in time teach the congregation the whole counsel of God.

These two methods may seem to limit the pulpit preaching when a biblical topic such as perverse sexuality is a hot button issue in an upcoming election. The church has many options to address issues outside of the pulpit.

Both the catechetical and expository methods cover the entire scope of the Scriptures or the whole of Scripture. When the Bible talks about sexuality, the preacher will preach on the topic. For example, the pastor is teaching on Romans 1:26-27, the issue of homosexuality will be covered.

Consider several ways to solve the problem created by the Johnson amendment and the need to address an issue biblically and expediently.

First, the church could declare the Johnson amendment null and void and an ungodly attempt to silence the churches’ moral authority. We should obey God rather than a man.

Second, the following are ideas for a biblical course action living within the reality of the Johnson amendment:

First, during Sunday school classes, topics can be covered in a more timely fashion that may be relevant to an immediate pressing biblical issue, like a pro-life march or collecting signatures for ballot initiatives. At a church announcement time, a verbal or printed handout can identify times and locations where important moral issues will be discussed along with plans of action.

Second, pastoral and congregational prayers can be used to petition the God of Heaven for relief from ungodly laws and political tyrants. Pastoral prayers necessarily involve praying for political leaders. These prayers in extreme circumstances could even be imprecatory.

Third, today, ministers can write books, write blogs, send e-mails, and give radio and television interviews on biblical issues. The Bible settles the debate on Scriptural issues, not fed gov representatives.

Forth, the Puritans in New England had Election Day sermons. An Election Day sermon was not on Sunday, but before voting. It could be in the morning, the day of the election or night before. The Election Day sermon was not a Lord’s Day sermon. It is therefore not a violation of the regulative principle of worship. A meeting like this could be handled by a ruling elder or someone appointed by the session of the local church. It could be at the church or a separate location. A separate location has the advantage of attracting more people.

The Puritans utilized a covenantal understanding of Scripture that taught the civil government is founded on an agreement between God and the people. Civil magistrates swore an oath of office similar to a minister’s ordination vows. Both the clergy and magistrates are ministers of God. The elected leaders were obliged to follow God’s laws from which the laws in a Godly society were built.

Blackstone expresses this Puritan understanding of government well:

“The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures…[and] are found upon comparison to be part of the original law of nature. Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.” – Sir William Blackstone

As long as the civil leaders were faithful to their swearing into a public oath of office to keep God’s laws, the people were to obey. If the leaders acted contrary to the terms of the oath of office, the people were to resist. Unfortunately, this concept of resistance is somewhat of a novel today.

“For earthly princes lay aside their power when they rise up against God, and are unworthy to be reckoned among the number of mankind. We ought, rather, to spit upon their heads than to obey them.” – John Calvin (Commentary on Daniel, Lecture XXX Daniel 6:22)

“Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God.” – John Knox

Churches that teach the whole counsel of God will have a biblically educated membership. The biblically educated church members will go into the market place of ideas and press the biblical claims of truth. The members of the church can go as citizens into the political realm and press the claims of Christ where it may be prudent for the clergy to remain invisible.

The Priesthood of All Believers authorizes the individual church member to be representatives of Christ in society. The Priesthood of All Believers is the genius of Protestantism. Now we have a biblically educated spiritual army, rather than the limitations of the professional clergy. Limitations should be understood as numerical.

Is refusing the 501(c) (3) status, a solution allowing the church the freedom to endorse political candidates? Yes. Although theoretically, this may not satisfy a radical secular state.

If a church does choose disincorporation, it does not free the church from other biblical considerations relevant to the church and state relations.

The Church is Not Politics. The Church is the Church and is separate from the state. Even in the Old Testament, in Israel, there was a sharp distinction between the priesthood and kingship.

Practical reasons for a church not to endorse political candidates:

There is a danger for a church to engage in certain activities, such as endorsing political candidates. It has been a great temptation for churches to endorse political candidates throughout the ages. The church like everyone wants stability and security. Gaining the favor of politicians may seem like a reasonable course of action. A political endorsement is one way to gain favor. However, one of the dangers is that since churches cannot predict the future actions of political candidates, it is unwise for a church to place Christ’s stamp of approval on a political candidate who may in the future commit evil acts. An endorsement of a candidate who becomes evil will bring reproach upon Christ.

Theological reasons the church why should not endorse candidates for office:

Centuries before the Johnson amendment, the question concerning Christ’s Church endorsing political candidates has always been a theological issue. Many Reformed and Presbyterian churches have held to the position known as “sphere sovereignty.” Abraham Kuyper, the Dutch theologian, and Prime minister, formally developed this position.

Kuyper summarized sphere sovereignty as follows:

“In order that the influence of Calvinism on our political development may be felt, it must be shown for what fundamental political conceptions Calvinism has opened the door, and how these political conceptions sprang from its root principle. This dominating principle was not, soteriologically, justification by faith, but, in the widest sense cosmologically, the Sovereignty of the Triune God over the whole Cosmos, in all its spheres and kingdoms, visible and invisible. A primordial Sovereignty which eradiates in mankind in a threefold deduced supremacy, viz., 1. The Sovereignty in the State; The Sovereignty in Society; The Sovereignty in the Church.” (1)

In addition to the God-ordained sovereignty of the threefold spheres, the confessional standards bind elders in Presbyterian Churches. For example, the Westminster Confession of Faith in section 31:5 reads:

“Synods and councils are to handle or conclude nothing but that which is ecclesiastical; and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs, which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition, in cases extraordinary; or by way of advice for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.”

As seen in the above quotation from the Westminster Confession, the confession itself restricts the political activity of churches at the synod level. This section of the confession reflects the doctrine of “sphere sovereignty.”

Additional reasons for limiting the mingling with the state at the local congregation level:

Blurring the distinction between church and state is not wise. Consider the historical dispute between Protestants and Roman Catholics regarding the state. For those familiar with church history, it will be apparent that we have a far better situation than our forefathers. If independent churches and Protestants begin endorsing political candidates, will the Roman Catholics follow our lead?

The dangers of this:

The Roman Catholic Church in the past controlled political rulers. Tens of thousands of Protestants paid with their lives. In Colorado, for example, there are over four hundred thousand Roman Catholics. There are probably no more than two thousand people of Reformed convictions in the state. It is not difficult to figure out who will dominate politically. Large blocks of Roman Catholic following the decrees of Marxist utopian Pope is not a good political situation.

The fruit and the power of the pulpit ministry in Reformed Churches:

This may be why John Calvin has been called:

“The virtual founder of America.” In addition, “He who will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty.” – Harvard professor and historian George Bancroft.

John Adams, America’s second president, agreed and declared: “Let not Geneva be forgotten or despised. Religious liberty in the West owes Calvin much respect.”

“Calvinists are the true heroes of England. They founded England, in spite of the corruption of the Stuarts, by the exercise of duty, by the practice of justice, by obstinate toil, by vindication of right, by resistance to oppression, by the conquest of liberty, by the repression of vice. They founded Scotland; they founded the United States; at this day they are, by their descendants, founding Australia and colonizing the world.” – French atheist Hippolyte Taine (1828 to 1893)

“Calvinism has been the chief source of republican government.” – Lorraine Boettner

Consider Gordon H. Clark, a Presbyterian philosopher, and theologian’s essay on the role of civil magistrates:

“Where the Roman church controls the government, Protestants suffer oppression and physical persecution. Their churches are bombed and their ministers are murdered . . . . In our own land the Romanists are constantly attempting to divert public funds to their own purposes. A while back they were advocating an ambassador to the Vatican, and will probably push it again when they see an opportunity . . . . And bills have been introduced into Congress to honor the Virgin Mary by issuing commemorative stamps for the Marian year. Unfortunately, there are also Protestants who want a close tie-in of church and state.” (2)

At the current time, many Roman Catholics and Protestants work together on issues such as pro-life. Cooperation like this is a good thing. This cooperative arrangement is far better than reverting to radical sectarianism.

In conclusion, the above explication of ideas shows how the pulpit ministry can remain faithful in the duty of teaching the whole counsel of God and practical solutions for addressing the biblical issues of the day. The Church of God should never give up ground to pagan government representatives advancing the canard of redefining biblical issues into only so-called political issues.

In closing:

Does a minister have the freedom to address political issues from the pulpit? Yes

Should he do this? He may, but this depends upon other factors like not interfering with teaching the whole counsel of God. If unrestrained political activity is the norm, will the church be the church or an appendage of a political party or its own party?

Should a minister endorse a political candidate from the pulpit? Generally, no. Possibly yes, during extreme circumstances. As an individual citizen, ministers can endorse candidates.

What is the principal function of the pulpit ministry? It consists of teaching the whole counsel of God.

What is a political issue? A political issue can refer to things such as abortion, taxation, government welfare spending, public or private schooling, sexual perversion, and immigration policies regarding foreign trade issues, to name a few.

Is it different from a biblical issue? Yes and no. First, yes, Soteriology, eschatology, and studies in redemptive history would not be political issues. Second, no, the issues of abortion, taxation, etc. are biblical and not fundamentally different from many political issues.

Regarding the IRS and the Johnson amendment:

The state should allow the church to speak the truth, to all issues instead of silencing what a church may or may not say.

No agency of the state has the right to bind the church on speaking to the moral issues of the day.

Therefore, Congress should formally repeal the Johnson amendment.

The minister should follow the apostle Paul:

“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Notes:

1. Abraham Kuyper, Lectures On Calvinism, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted 1981), p. 79.

2. Gordon H. Clark, Essays On Ethics And Politics, (Jefferson, Maryland, The Trinity Foundation, 1992), p. 24.

For more Study:

The following books are useful helps for Catechetical preaching and gaining a knowledge of the whole counsel of God.

1. Thomas Vincent’s The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture. Banner of Truth.

2. Thomas Watson’s The Body of Divinity (in three volumes). Banner of Truth Trust. (Cf. each one of the three volumes deals with the chief portion of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.)

3. Thomas Boston’s Commentary on the Shorter Catechism, Vol. 1 & 2, Still Waters Revival Books.

4. G. I. Williamson, the Shorter Catechism, vol. 1 & 2. Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company.

5. Thomas Ridgeley’s Commentary on the Larger Catechism, Vol. 1 & 2, Still Waters Revival Books.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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Jason Lisle, PhD in Astrophysics Quotes

Jason Lisle Quotes

Bio: Dr. Jason Lisle is a research scientist, speaker, and planetarium director for Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum. He holds bachelor of science degrees in physics and astronomy from Ohio Wesleyan University, as well as a master’s and PhD in Astro-physics from the University of Colorado in Boulder

Quotes:

“Many people do not want to accept the fact that all evidence must be interpreted in light of prior beliefs — a faith commitment of some kind. Many believe that evidence should be approached in a neutral and unbiased fashion — without any previous beliefs.” – Jason Lisle

“And it is clear that creationists and evolutionists have different worldviews, and as a result, they interpret the same evidence differently.” – Jason Lisle

“Non-Christian circles turn out to be self-refuting, rather than self-attesting, and they cannot account for the preconditions of intelligibility.” – Jason Lisle

“And it is clear that creationists and evolutionists have different worldviews, and as a result, they interpret the same evidence differently.” – Jason Lisle

“But carbon-14 is a serious challenge to the evolutionary system with its billions of years.” – Jason Lisle

“We often believe things for psychological reasons, rather than logical reasons. Many people refuse to accept a very good argument simply because they do not want to believe its conclusion” – Jason Lisle

“Can a secular worldview make sense of abstract concepts like numbers?” – Jason Lisle

“Most people have heard of “evolutionary biology.” But the term “evolution” is often applied in a broader sense (gradual, naturalistic changes over long ages) to other fields of study. Some people study geology or astronomy from an evolutionary perspective. But has anyone ever studied “evolutionary mathematics”? What would an evolutionist mathematician study?” – Jason Lisle

“Some people might think that only physical things can exist — that matter and energy comprise every real thing. But, of course, in the Christian worldview we can have non-material entities that do exist. God is an obvious example. He exists, but is not made up of matter or energy. So the Christian worldview allows for numbers to have real existence, even though they are not material things. – Jason Lisle

“Mathematical laws are universal — they apply everywhere. When we add 2+3 in Europe, we get exactly the same answer as we get in the United States. For that matter, laws of mathematics work just as well on Mars, Alpha Centauri, the Andromeda Galaxy, or in the core of a distant quasar. Many laws of nature, including the laws of physics and the laws of chemistry, are mathematical in nature. So if laws of mathematics were different in various regions of the universe, then presumably laws of physics and chemistry would also differ in an unpredictable way. This would render astronomy impossible.” – Jason Lisle

“Laws of mathematics are discovered by people and written down by people. But they were not created by people. As discussed above, laws of mathematics do not change with time. Therefore, they existed before people existed. So they obviously cannot be a creation of man. The equation 2+3=5 was true long before any human being thought about it, realized it, or wrote it.” – Jason Lisle

“The answer is that numbers are not the product of a human mind, but rather the product of the mind of God. The terrible dilemma faced by the secularist simply does not occur in the Christian worldview. It’s not a problem for the biblical creationist to have conceptual entities existing before human minds because human minds are not the only minds that exist in the Christian worldview. Numbers are a reflection of God’s thoughts. Numbers existed before people because God’s thoughts existed before people.” – Jason Lisle

“Laws of mathematics are a reflection of how God thinks about numbers. The internal consistency of mathematics is a reflection of the internal consistency within the Godhead. … Laws of mathematics are real and, yet, not physical — just as God is real and not physical in His essential nature.” – Jason Lisle

“The biblical creationist can also make sense of why the physical universe obeys mathematical laws. God upholds the universe by the expression of His power. So, naturally, the universe will be consistent with the thoughts of God. … The properties and usefulness of laws of mathematics make perfect sense to the consistent Christian. But mathematics is simply not amenable to a naturalistic, evolutionary explanation.” – Jason Lisle

“Numbers cannot have evolved because numbers cannot change. For the most part, secularists don’t even attempt to explain mathematics at all. Mathematics is an inherently creationist field of science. There are creation biologists and evolution biologists. There are creation geologists and evolution geologists. But when it comes to mathematics, everyone is a creationist.” –  Jason Lisle

“We have found that the debate can be resolved by using the ultimate proof: by showing that the biblical creation worldview alone provides the preconditions of intelligibility in a way that is consistent and non-arbitrary.” – Jason Lisle

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What is homiletics? A primer

What is homiletics? A primer                                                                               By Jack Kettler

Definition, homiletics:

That branch of theology concerned with preaching, and sermons and the proper way in which to deliver them. *

Question: What is homiletics?

Answer: The term homiletics comes from the word homily, which means “a sermon.” Homiletics is the art of preparing sermons and preaching.  **

We can conclude that homiletics is preaching.

Should a pastor prepare to preach?

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (2Timothy 2:15 NAS).

Additionally, Paul told Timothy, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (1Timothy 4:13 ESV).

Observations about preaching:

Biblical preaching must be Scriptural; this means that the preacher is preaching the word of God.

Biblical preaching must be contextual; out of context manipulation of the Bible is what cults do.

Presentation of a biblical sermon; nothing the preacher does should take away from the listener’s ability to absorb the word of God. Examples of how this could: nervousness, fidgeting, clothing that draws attention to the man.

KJV Dictionary Definition: preach

PREACH, v.i. L. proeco, a crier, precor.

  1. To pronounce a public discourse on a religious subject, or from a subject, or from a text of Scripture. The word is usually applied to such discourses as are formed from a text of Scripture. This is the modern sense of preach.
  2. To discourse on the gospel way of salvation and exhort to repentance; to discourse on evangelical truths and exhort to a belief of them and acceptance of the terms of salvation. This was the extemporaneous manner of preaching pursued by Christ and his apostles. Matt.4. 10. Acts 10. 14.

Preach, to proclaim, to publish in religious discourses.

What ye hear in the ear, that preach ye on the housetops. Matthew10.

The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek. Isaiah 61.

  1. To inculcate in public discourses.

I have preached righteousness in the great congregations. Psalm 40.

He oft to them preach’d

Conversion and repentance.

To preach Christ or Christ crucified, to announce Christ as the only Savior, and his atonement as the only ground of acceptance with God 1Corinthians.

To preach up, to discourse in favor of.

Can they preach up equality of birth?

PREACH a religious discourse.

PRE’ACHED, pp. Proclaimed; announced in public discourse; inculcated.

Preaching

PRE’ACHING, ppr. Proclaiming; publishing in discourse; inculcating.

PRE’ACHING, n. The act of preaching; a public religious discourse.

Excerpt from the Preacher’s Catechism:

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Sinclair B. Ferguson

Part 1: The Glory of God and the Greatness of Preaching

  1. Preaching, above All – What is God’s chief end in preaching?
  2. Enjoying God – How do we enjoy God?
  3. The One We Preach – Who is God?
  4. By the Book – What do the Scriptures primarily teach?
  5. Preaching Christ – What is Preaching?
  6. All Our Days – What is the preacher’s chief end?
  7. Confident of This – How can we rest in God’s power and purposes?
  8. Called to Preach – Why do we believe that God called us to preach?
  9. For God, for People – Why does God call us to preach?
  10. Not a Square Inch – What else did God ordain?

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

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Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke B. 1729 – D. 1797

Edmund Burke was an Irish statesman and philosopher. Born in Dublin, Burke served as a member of parliament between 1766 and 1794 in the House of Commons of Great Britain with the Whig Party after moving to London in 1750. Wikipedia

Edmund Burke Quotes:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke

“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” – Edmund Burke

“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” – Edmund Burke

“Our patience will achieve more than our force.” – Edmund Burke

“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.” – Edmund Burke

“Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites.” – Edmund Burke

“Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.” – Edmund Burke

“Those who attempt to level, never equalize.” – Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

“The only thing necessary for the continuance of evil is for a good man to do nothing.” – Edmond Burke

“Society is a partnership of the dead, the living and the unborn.” – Edmund Burke

“There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.” – Edmund Burke

“Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.” – Edmund Burke

“Rage and phrenzy will pull down more in half an hour, than prudence, deliberation, and foresight can build up in an hundred years.” – Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

“It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” – Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

“Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality.” – Edmund Burke

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” [Preface to Brissot’s Address to His Constituents (1794)] – Edmund Burke, On Empire, Liberty, and Reform: Speeches and Letters

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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What is Faith Biblically?

What is Faith Biblically? By Jack Kettler

As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, commentary evidence, lexical proof, and confessional support for the purpose to glorify God in how we live.

Definition:

Faith, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). It is synonymous with trust. It is a divine gift (Romans 12:3) and comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). It is the means by which the grace of God is accounted to the believer who trusts in the work of Jesus on the cross (Ephesians 2:8). Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). It is by faith that we live our lives, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17). *

Question: What is faith in God?

Answer: Faith in God is trust in Him, based on a true understanding of who He is, as revealed in the Bible. Faith in God involves an intellectual assent to the facts concerning God and a life-changing reliance on those facts. **

Strong’s Concordance on faith # 4102 pistis:

pistis: faith, faithfulness

Original Word: πίστις, εως, ἡ

Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine

Transliteration: pistis

Phonetic Spelling: (pis’-tis)

Definition: faith, faithfulness

Usage: faith, belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness. πίστις pístis, pis’-tis; from G3982; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:—assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

Scriptures and commentary:

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Romans 10:17:

“(17) So then faith cometh.—Inference from the prophecy just quoted. Before men can believe, there must be something for them to believe. That something is the word of God, which we preach and they hear. It must be remembered that the word for “report” in Romans 10:16, and for “hearing” in Romans 10:17, is the same, but with a slight difference of meaning. In the first place, both the act of hearer and preacher are involved; in the second place, only the act of the hearer.

By the word of God.—We should read here, without doubt, “by the word of Christ”—i.e., by the gospel first delivered by Christ and propagated by His ministers.” (1)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8)

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)

Definition of Faith 11:1–3 from Simon J. Kistemaker’s New Testament Commentary on Hebrews 11:1-3:

“1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

The writer delights in recounting the history of the heroes of faith recorded in Scripture. Before he cites examples, however, he composes a brief definition of faith. He does not write a dogmatic exposition. Instead he formulates a few clear, straightforward sentences.

1. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

As we study this verse, let us note the following points:

a. Faith

The word faith in the New Testament has many aspects. For example, when the Judean Christians, whom Paul had sought to destroy, spoke of their belief in Christ, they said, “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy” (Gal. 1:23). Faith, then, is a confession, much the same as we call the Apostles’ Creed the articles of our Christian faith. However, this is not the meaning of faith that the writer of Hebrews conveys.

For the evangelists who wrote the Gospels, Jesus Christ is the object of faith. John summarizes this emphasis when he states the purpose of his Gospel, namely, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). Also, the Acts show that in the first century, “a personal faith in Jesus was a hallmark of the early Christians.”

Still another aspect of faith is Paul’s emphasis on appropriating, that is, claiming salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul contends that God puts the sinner right with him through faith: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom. 3:22). And Paul explains that faith comes from hearing the Word proclaimed (Rom. 10:17).

The author of Hebrews recognizes these same aspects of faith featured by other writers of the New Testament. However, his use of the concept faith must be understood primarily in the context of the eleventh chapter of his epistle. The heroes of faith have one thing in common: they put their undivided confidence in God. In spite of all their trials and difficult circumstances, they triumphed because of their trust in God. For the author, faith is adhering to the promises of God, depending on the Word of God, and remaining faithful to the Son of God.

When we see chapter 11 in the context of Hebrews, the author’s design to contrast faith with the sin of unbelief (3:12, 19; 4:2; 10:38–39) becomes clear. Over against the sin of falling away from the living God, the writer squarely places the virtue of faith. Those people who shrink from putting their trust in God are destroyed, but those who believe are saved (10:39).” (2)

Saving Faith by J. C. Ryle:

“There is a dead faith, as well as a living one.

There is a faith of devils, as well as a faith of God’s elect.

There is a faith, which is vain and useless, as well as a faith, which justifies and saves.

How shall a man know whether he has true saving faith? The thing may be found out! The Ethiopian may be known by the color of his skin; and the leopard may be known by his spots. True faith may always be known by certain marks. These marks are laid down unmistakably in Scripture. Reader, let me endeavor to set these marks plainly before you. Look at them carefully — and test your own soul by what I am going to say.

1. He who truly believes in Christ — has a NEW HEART. It is written, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature — old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2Cor. 5:17.) A believer has no longer the same nature with which he was born. He is changed, renewed, and transformed after the image of his Lord and Savior. He who minds first, the things of the flesh — has no saving faith. True faith, and spiritual regeneration, are inseparable companions. An unconverted person — is not a genuine believer!

2. He who truly believes in Christ — is a HOLY person in heart and life. It is written that God “purifies the heart by faith,” and that Christians are “sanctified by faith.” “Whoever has this hope in him purifies himself.” (Acts 15:9; 26:18; 1 John 3:3.). A believer loves what God loves — and hates what God hates. His heart’s desire is to walk in the way of God’s commandments, and to abstain from all manner of evil. His wish is to follow after the things which are just, and pure, and honest, and lovely — and to cleanse himself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. He falls far short of his aim, in many things. He finds his daily life, a constant fight with indwelling corruption. But he fights on — and resolutely refuses to serve sin. Where there is no holiness, we may be sure there is no saving faith! An unholy man is not a genuine believer!

3. He who truly believes in Christ — works godly WORKS. It is written, “faith works by love” (Gal. 5:6). True belief will never make a man idle, or allow him to sit still, contented with his own religion. It will stir him to do acts of love, kindness, and charity, according as he sees opportunity. It will constrain him to walk in the steps of his Master, who “went about doing good.” In one way or another, it will make him work. The works that he does may attract no notice from the world. They may seem trifling and insignificant to many people. But they are not forgotten by Him who notices a cup of cold water given for His sake. Where there is no working love — there is no faith. A lazy, selfish professing Christian — has no right to regard himself as a genuine believer!

4. He who truly believes in Christ — overcomes the WORLD. It is written, that “whoever is born of God, overcomes the world — and this is the victory which overcomes the world — even our faith” (1John 5:4). A true believer is not ruled by the world’s standard of right or wrong, of truth or error. He is independent of the world’s opinion. He cares little for the world’s praise. He is not moved by the world’s censure. He does not seek for the world’s pleasures. He is not ambitious of the world’s rewards. He looks at things unseen — he sees an invisible Savior, a coming judgment, and a crown of glory, which never fades away. The sight of these objects makes him think comparatively little of this present world. Where the world reigns in the heart — there is no genuine faith. A man who is habitually conformed to the world — is not a genuine believer!

5. He who truly believes in Christ — has the witness of the Holy Spirit. He has hopes, joys, fears, sorrows, consolations, expectations, of which he knew nothing before he believed. He has internal evidences, which the world cannot understand. Where there are no inward pious feelings — there is no faith. A man who knows nothing of an inward, spiritual, experimental religion — is not a genuine believer!

6. He who truly believes in Christ — has a special regard to the person of CHRIST Himself. It is written, “Unto you who believe — Christ is precious” (1Peter 2:7). That text deserves especial notice. It does not say “Christianity” is precious, or the “Gospel” is precious, or “salvation” is precious — but Christ Himself! A true believer’s religion does not consist in mere intellectual assent to a certain set of propositions and doctrines. It is not a mere cold belief of a certain set of truths and facts concerning Christ. It consists in union, communion, and fellowship with an actual living Person, even Jesus the Son of God. It is a life of . . .

faith in Jesus,

confidence in Jesus,

leaning on Jesus,

drawing out of the fullness of Jesus,

speaking to Jesus,

working for Jesus,

loving Jesus, and

looking for Jesus to come again.

Such life may sound like enthusiasm to many. But where there is true faith, Christ will always be known and realized, as an actual living personal Friend! He who knows nothing of Christ as his own Priest, Physician, Redeemer, Advocate, Friend, Teacher, and Shepherd — knows nothing yet of genuine believing!

Where these marks of which I have been speaking, are utterly lacking, I dare not tell a man that he is a true believer. He may be called a Christian, and attend a Christian church. But if he knows nothing of these marks — I dare not pronounce him a believer. He is yet dead in trespasses and sins. Except he awakes to newness of life, he will perish everlastingly.

Show me a man who has these marks — and I feel a strong confidence about the state of his soul. He may be poor and needy in this world — but he is rich in the sight of God. He may be despised and sneered at by man — but he is honorable in the sight of the King of kings. He is traveling towards heaven! He has a mansion ready for him in the Father’s house. He is cared for by Christ, while on earth. He will be owned by Christ before assembled worlds, in the life which is to come!” J. C. Ryle (3)

What is True Faith? By C. H. Spurgeon:

“True faith is, in every case, the operation of the Spirit of God. Its nature is purifying, elevating, heavenly.

Wherever true faith is found, it is the sure mark of eternal election, the sign of a blessed condition, and the forecast of a heavenly destiny.

Faith is the eye of the renewed soul, the hand of the regenerated mind, the mouth of the newborn spirit.

Faith is the evidence of spiritual life, the mainspring of holiness, the foundation of delight, the prophecy of glory, and the dawn of endless knowledge.

If you have true faith, you have infinitely more than he who has all the world.

Faith is the assurance of sonship; the pledge of inheritance; the grasp of boundless possession; the perception of the invisible. Within your faith, there lies glory, even as the oak sleeps within the acorn.

Time would fail me to tell of the powers, the privileges, the possessions and the prospects of faith.

He that has faith is blessed, for he pleases God, he is justified before the throne of holiness, he has full access to the throne of grace and he has the preparation for reigning with Christ forever!” Charles Spurgeon (4)

Faith by Gordon H. Clark:

“Faith is a concept that raises two main problems: (1) its definition or psychological analysis and (2) its function. The second of these, concerned chiefly with the doctrine of justification by faith alone, will be treated only briefly.

Augustine was probably the first to define faith. In his treatise concerning the Predestination of the Saints he said, “Thinking is prior to believing… To believe is nothing other than to think with assent. For not all who think believe… but all who believe think; and they think believing and believe thinking.” To the present day, the Roman church defines faith as assent, “fiducial assent” (cf. The New Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1967).

The Reformers, though more concerned with justification, of necessity considered faith. That faith or belief had an intellectual content was universally accepted. Aside from the mystics, Kant was the first to speak of a faith without knowledge. Jacobi, Schleiermacher, some Modernists, and more particularly the contemporary dialectical theologians follow this line. Brunner (q.v.) states, “God and the medium of conceptuality are mutually exclusive.” But the Reformers unanimously agreed that belief requires a known object.

The second element in belief is assent. A person may know or understand a proposition and yet not believe it. To believe is to think with assent. Assent is an act of will: it is the voluntary acceptance of the proposition as true.

By combining knowledge and assent, Calvin was able to oppose the Romish idea of implicit faith. The Institutes (III.2) complain that the schoolmen “have fabricated the notion of implicit faith, a term with which they have honored the grossest ignorance… Is this faith- to understand nothing? Faith consists not in ignorance, but in knowledge.”

The early Reformers were inclined to include assurance of salvation in their definition of faith. But there were many variations. Cunningham (cf. bibliography) reports seven different views. Later Reformed theologians definitely excluded assurance (cf. the Westminster Confession), but came to add fiducia, as a third element in addition to knowledge and assent. They failed, however, to give an intelligible account of fiducia, restricting themselves to synonyms or illustrations (cf. Thomas Manton, Exposition of the Epistle of James, pp.216ff. Marshallton, Del., Sovereign Grace Book Club, 196-). This defective view is so common today that many ministers have never heard of the earlier Reformed views.

The doctrine of faith, like all doctrines, must be deduced from Scripture. One cannot make an empirical analysis of experience and hope to arrive at the Christian position on faith, regeneration, or anything. Because the Scriptural material is so copious, all that can be offered here is a sample study restricted to John. John speaks of faith about one hundred times, more accurately. It should be said that John uses the term faith only once, while the other ninety-nine times he uses the verb believe. Consonant with this, John puts great emphasis on the intellectual content of faith and supports his emphasis by asserting that Christ is the Logos or Reason of God, who himself is truth.

Sometimes the object of the verb believe is a noun or pronoun: name, doctrine, Son, Moses, me, him. No one should conclude from this that belief in a person is any different from belief in a truth, for in most cases it is easy to see the doctrine or proposition in the context even when the word-object is a pronoun (John 4:21; 5:38; 8:31, 45, 46; 10:37).

Twenty-five percent of instances of the verb believe have the propositional object written out in full, if not in the verse itself, at least in the context (2:22; 3:12; 4:21, 41, 50; 5:47; 6:69; etc.). These two sets of references show that the immediate and proper object of faith or belief is a proposition. To believe the Son, or me, or Moses, is to believe what the person said.

In contrast, the Liberals of the twentieth century want a “faith” in a god who is unknowable and silent because he is impotent to give us any information to believe. This anti-intellectualism undermines all good news and makes gospel information useless.

But according to John, and Paul as well, assent to doctrine or information is not useless. “If thou shalt confess with the mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in thy heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Likewise John tells us that those who believe in his name, i.e., believe he is the Messiah, have the right to be children of God (1:12; 3:15, 36), and those who do not, (3:18). Those who believe have already crossed over from death to life (5:24). Faith or assent is not the cause of life: it is the evidence of life. Similar ideas are found in 6:40, 47; 7:38; 8:31; 11:25; and particularly 8:51, 52, “If anyone keeps my doctrine, he shall not see death ever.” Obviously, this is consistent with the doctrine of justification (q.v.) by faith.” GORDON H. CLARK (5)

Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter XIV of Saving Faith:

I. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, [1] is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, [2] and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word, [3] by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened. [4]

II. By this faith, a Christian believes to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God himself speaking therein; [5] and acts differently upon that which each particular passage thereof contains; yielding obedience to the commands, [6] trembling at the threatenings, [7] and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. [8] But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace. [9]

III. This faith is different in degrees, weak or strong; [10] may often and many ways assailed, and weakened, but gets the victory: [11] growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance, through Christ, [12] who is both the author and finisher of our faith. [13]

Scriptural proofs:

[1] Hebrews 10:

[2] 2Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 1:17

[3] Romans 10:14

[4] 1Peter 2:2; Acts 20:32; Romans 4:11; Luke 17:5

[5] John 4:42; 1Thessalonians 2:13; 1John 5:10; Acts 24:14

[6] Romans 16:26

[7] Isaiah 66:2

[8] Hebrews 11:13; 1Timothy 4:8

[9] John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Galatians 2:20; Acts 15:11

[10] Hebrews 5:13, 14; Romans. 4:19-20; Matthew 6:30; Matthew 8:10

[11] Luke 22:31-32; Ephesians 6:16; I John 5:4-5

[12] Hebrews 6:11-12; Hebrews 10:22

[13] Hebrews 12:2

Notes:

1. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Romans, Vol.7, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 246.

2. Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary, Hebrews, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1986), p. 309-310.

3. J. C. Ryle, Saving Faith, Public domain.

4. Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, The Trial of Your Faith #2055. 1Peter 1:7. [1973.

5. Gordon H. Clark, Carl F.H. Henry, Editor, In Baker’s Dictionary of Christian Ethics. Washington D.C.: Canon Press.]

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more Study:

* https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ctd/f.html

** https://www.gotquestions.org/faith-in-God.html

Faith by Louis Berkhof https://www.monergism.com/faith-0

Faith by Charles Hodge https://www.monergism.com/faith-1

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