The Fixed Heart and Personal Freedom

January 23, 2012

By Jeffrey A. Ziegler

While my various missives generally deal in national-political reforms promoting greater liberty; the base understanding is that personal liberty and Godly freedom is enjoyed as a foundational element of national being!

Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon the earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth forever. Unto the upright there ariseth light in darkness: he is gracious, full of compassion and righteous. A good man showith favor and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved forever; the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies. (Psalm 112:1-8)

These verses taken together depict the man of God delighting himself in the commands of Holy Writ. Proceeding from this gladdened condition, his heart becomes fixed, established, and trusting in the Lord. Such a man is not moved to the left or right. He does not give into or act upon fear. He exhibits discretion, and self-control along with a godly stamina, and endurance. To this man great spiritual and temporal blessings are accrued.

This delight in the law is based on two major factors which deal with the heart. First, a fear and love of God, which trusts that His Word is true, that it exists for our benefit, and that God is able and willing to perform it. Secondly, that we are unable of our own accord to love His ways unless Christ gives the grace and mercy to control the heart and its affections. Clearly, the heart is often swayed by sin, and thus, instead of viewing the Word as a refuge and safety, the too frequently held as a burden. That is, instead of seeing God as protector, and provider, men wrongly see God as the cruel task-master who takes away. To such, the notion of delighting in God’s commands seems hopeless. Even grudging outward obedience can sometimes seem impossible. Yet, even a cursory glance at the Psalms, reveals that David also struggled with this glorious view of the Word, and often wondered if God had abandoned him as he wallowed in his own sorrow.

Enter the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes. This gospel narrative of Christ expounding on the Law cuts directly to the heart. Here is not a “new and higher law” for to suggest such would mean that God is in ethical transition. Instead, the law is depicted as more than an outward concern but something that must harness the heart, its affections and intentions. What believer has not been convicted by this sermon? How often has it seemed so impossible to live according to this ideal? Well, that’s the point is it not? No man can of his own accord deal with his heart. Hence, the need of a Savior, an Advocate, an Intercessor! Only Christ can dispense the grace to delight and trust in His ways when every fiber of our being is struck by grief, fear, and unbelief.

Now outward obedience to the Word is a great thing! Because of this, there exists a social peace, familial continuity, and greater negative sanctions are avoided. Still, these actions can be done while becoming bitter against God. Only if the heart is harnessed can there be “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Only Christ and His divine almighty power made effective on our behalf can accomplish this end. Only from His hand can come the peace, satisfaction, love, mercy, and grace that will make us whole and fully functional in Godliness. Then our hearts too will be “fixed trusting in the Lord.”

As more know the freedom of being self-governed and free in Christ; less civil government and intrusion is needed. Therefore; the notion of Christ or Caesar is more than a cultural question, it also reveals the individual heart and where your foundation for government lay! That is more than any ballot box can fix!

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Christianity and A Revived American Culture

January 20, 2012

By Jeffrey A. Ziegler

Christianity is roundly ridiculed and feared by secularists in our day. Yet, Christianity as an idea and social force not only helped to shape and mold the culture of the West, but was decisive in the formation of the American Republic. The impact of Christianity on culture is a notion not customarily deliberated in our day. Prevalent debates over the Faith revolve around its redemptive or salvific components, My intent in this treatment, is not to ignore nor diminish the core theological aspects of the Faith, but instead, make deductions and observations about Christianity as an idea and as a social force which helped to shape and mold the culture of the West and specifically America.

Isolating the two dominating cultural effects of Christendom, concentration must be placed on 1) The emphasis on the transcendent nature of God, as well as 2) The idea of covenant as the means by which the transcendent God rules and governs history. Or, God as the ruler of nations establishes a visible covenant, replete with concrete sanctions, both blessings and curses for obedience or disobedience to the Word of God. Hence, the covenant becomes the tangible evidence of God working in history, with righteousness blessing the nations and wickedness bringing them to ruin.

A Christian worldview emphasizing God’s transcendence and covenantal dealings with man is comprised of a number of presuppositions, here summarized in four overarching tenets. First, is the recognition that the transcendent-creator God made all things visible and invisible. Life is a gift from God. He alone is the Lord and giver of life. That life is physical, intellectual, and spiritual. Hence, it is God who sustains body, soul, senses, and reasoning faculties. Secondly, God gave man responsibility to preserve, develop and rule the creation. Third, God granted man faculties, gifts, and the possession of earthly resources in order to realize godly prosperity and increase. Finally, God gave his Word and covenant to protect and prosper godly social order. God’s law limits liberty to prevent anarchy and confines governmental power to inhibit tyranny. This is the precise formula for The American Republic. Concisely, God has given man life, liberty under his Law, and the earth or personal property to work and be productive according to His covenant in order to subdue the earth, every part of it, to His crown. This is the vision of Godly social order which Christianity promotes.

The effects of Christian thought on the culture of the West are nothing short of astounding! In economics, the Faith helped fuel the destruction of Feudalism, and gave rise to various expressions of “free enterprise.”

Regarding government, even a cursory glance at Holland or Switzerland found governments and political social theories which existed primarily to protect life, liberty and property. Accordingly, where Orthodox Christianity reigned supreme, government was limited, non-oppressive with the state being felt only by the invaluable blessings of safety provided by this concept of government. This would later be seen in England and more perfectly in America. Under such conditions, family life instead of being a Feudal factor of production or a servant of the state was free in its devotion to God and His covenant, working and being productive and so fulfilling the Great Commission. Such intense-in-depth doctrinal understanding produced powerful culture altering visions of reality. Chiefly, that all things and all institutions were under the cope and rule of heaven, that all of life no matter how mundane was controlled by Providence, and a generalized futuristic optimism characterized by the belief “that it was to a world made righteous that Christ would return.” was dominant.

Time, prohibits the exploration of Christianity on all societal structures. Still, one can see why secularists, humanists, and all other statist, collectivist-societal engineers hate Christianity and its current resurgence for the two worldviews are wholly incompatible and hostile one to the other. America must return to the “Faith of our Fathers” before the destructive influences of statism are repulsed from the civil realm. Then and only then will she again enjoy the full freedom, prosperity and optimism our founding fathers fought to establish.

Thinking Christian

 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which as once delivered unto the saints. Jude:3.

With heroic, unbending determination, the epistle of Jude stands as a clarion witness to all generations of the Church, exhorting her to engage in the systematic argument and proclamation of the truth of Christianity as the supreme and absolute religion over all opposition.

This “contending” is not a polite debate society where all facts, opinions and positions from all religions or philosophies are put forward on equal terms with Christianity. Christianity is not interested in an egalitarian “exchange of ideas” with corrupt alien worldviews. The Christian position holds that all true knowledge has its genesis in Scripture alone and that Scripture is the final authority on every subject of which it speaks. Christianity then, rests not external evidence, nor upon how well reasoned our argument may be, but upon Scripture. Accordingly, as those who proclaim and live the Truth, the saints of God enter the arena of life to prove and workout the Faith with a view of ethical dominion through desperate conflict.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. II Corinthians 10:4,5.

The Culture War

As previously stated, the scriptural pattern for the working out of our faith is always in juxtaposition to error. This pattern of dynamic tension is true when dealing with doctrinal issues within the Church and is applicable when combating alien philosophies outside of the Church.

The Nature of the Kingdom

Christian presuppositions agree with the nature of the Kingdom of God in that neutrality does not exist in any area of life. The primary notion being that all knowledge has its genesis and application in Scripture alone and that any other man centered idea, philosophy, political social theory, economics, educational theories, indeed man’s civilization itself is at war with God. The Kingdom of God agrees with the Biblical ideal or the sum of God’s will which requires the absolute removal of sin and evil in the individual and society. Scripture clearly depicts the Kingdom of God as God’s authorized and judicially required civilization which subjugates all competing kingdoms. See Psalm 2:1-12; 103:19; 110:1-3; Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20; Ephesians 1:17-23; I John 3:8. Thus, the Kingdom of God is not static or passively ethereal, but, is active and conquering all before it. The Christian faith sees the Kingdom of God, Christ’s Crown and Covenant disinheriting all interests of unregenerate man and his kingdoms. Ergo, humanistic constructs and the Kingdom of God are locked in mortal combat and the righteous are divinely guaranteed absolute and comprehensive victory!

Conclusion

Only a robust and well articulated Christianity has the message, vision, historic viability, and vitality to challenge the modern and cowardly, defeatist, effeminate American culture. Ask a liberal who they fear most, and their retort is always a resurgent Christianity and its application in the American tradition. They know quite well that the American fight for independence was dubbed by the English Parliament “The Presbyterian Revolt” and that the social applications of today’s “New Puritan” means the death of their egalitarian, statist, Obamanation. All other proposed solutions to the culture war, are at best, half‑way covenants that will be doomed to collapse beneath the jackbooted thugs of statism.


Sacramental Necessity 2012!

January 19, 2012

For True National Reform 

The undercurrents of American exceptionalism concurrent with the renascence of Christian Orthodoxy are now revealing a historic emphasis on covenant-thinking. In short; covenant-thinking heralds that the God who created the universe, reveals himself in history by laying down fixed laws or Covenant. God then brings predictable measurable historic results both blessings and negative sanctions in terms of these laws. The ultimate result in relation to “covenant” being the exaltation and increase of God’s people and the disinheritance of the wicked who seek their own autonomous rule apart from or against God. God dictates the terms of reconciliation and relationship in concrete terms which can be understood, are not shrouded in mystery, and that gives a positive vision of the future or national purpose and destiny under God.

It is critical to note that all covenants have external signs which ratify, seal, and bring into force the elements which are held within the covenant agreement. These holy signs and seals are the oath bearing instruments which make the covenant visible, concrete, and binding. Another term for the notion of an oath is that of sacrament.

The Sacraments purpose then is to:

  1. Represent and Demonstrate The God of the covenant and his promises
  2. Confirm our fidelity to Him
  3. Place a visible difference and barrier between the Church and the World
  4. Consecrate and mark us for service as Christ’s image-bearers.

Sacrament shows the real spiritual relation between the sign and that thing which is represented. Hence there exists a sacramental union between God, what He has promised in Word, and the one who partakes of the sacrament.

The most familiar sacrament is noted in the Passover and carried forward in history to Holy Communion.

Exodus 12:7-14. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.

First notice the sacramental union. The blood was the blood of a lamb. Yet it represented faith and obedience and the death angel passed over.

Secondly a visible difference is placed between God’s people of faith and obedience and the rebels against God or the Egyptians. Consequently we see in Exodus 12:29-36, the inheritance and disinheritance dynamic. 12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, we be all dead men. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

This same covenant-sacramental dynamic is brought forward in the New Testament through Christ our “Passover” through Holy Communion; I Corinthians 11:23-30 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

In these verses we see Christ’s life imparted to the faithful as the NEW TESTAMENT or covenant! Yet those who are not of faith eat and drink damnation to themselves. Again; those of faith receive and exemplify the vitality of the covenant through Christ in the oath instrument or the sacrament! The anti-covenantal are diminished even to death. The faithful over time are increased! As a national force nothing is more critical than American covenant renewal ratified in the Body and Blood of Christ or the sacramental union.

Founders Thinking

George Washington:

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…. Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these United States… that we then may all unite unto him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed…. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions…to promote the knowledge and practice of the true religion and virtue…. Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd of October, A.D. 1789″

Notice the covenant language of Washington’s proclamation

Patrick Henry

: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

On November 20, 1798, in his Last Will and Testament, Henry wrote:
“This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed.”

Again in leaving an “inheritance” Henry exhibits covenantal thinking and the perpetuation of the vision!

Thomas Jefferson

:“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever. The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not … It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world … and I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

See here the covenant thinking in terms of the relationship between ethics and economic prosperity!

Yet, without Eucharistic blessing such thinking falls short of Divine ratification. A ratification America desperately needs so as to bless the people of God and to rescue this nation from those who count the blood of Christ unholy and seek the destruction of our great land. A national Holy Communion rightly discerned will do more for our sickened country than any quick political scheme!


ELECTION 2012

January 19, 2012

What Will You Do?

The lack of a bold, explicitly Christian political social theory, as a base for conservative activism, has confined conservatives to the roll of mere reactionaries. So-called conservatives within the Republican Party have failed to sanction renegades within their own ranks for their support of abortion. They have failed to overthrow special rights for homosexuals. They’ve continued funding for the unconstitutional and lurid National Endowment for the Arts. They support so-called campaign finance reform which is an attempt to muzzle the voice of Orthodoxy. And most importantly, they continue to roll over for the destabilizing socialism, China-accommodating, and treasonous wretch, Barack Obama in order to accommodate some mythical notion of courting “independents.”

There is nothing new with this predictable conservative slide to perdition. The conservative “bark” is always bigger than its “bite.” Looking at the past thirty years of conservatism we find a movement which never conserves anything. Rather, its history has been to demur to each aggression of humanistic liberalism after a respectable amount of growling. Hence, despite rabid rhetoric, conservatives acquiesce to the latest innovation of liberal radicalism no matter how extreme.

Abortion, homosexual rights, animal rights, socialistic wealth redistribution, values clarification, gun control, environmental earth worship, social thought police, destruction of health care and the politicization of the military have all been resisted by conservatives. Yet such resistance has produced little toward victorious results. In fact, the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism. Symbolically, conservatism meekly follows in the shadow of liberalism. Conservatives merely react to the liberal’s comprehensive, man-centered world view and political social theory. They do not have an immutable base of ethics from which to advance their own views. Ergo, they are always on the defensive, unable, even when stopping a liberal advance, to reverse direction and take back the ground lost.

DeTocqueville predicted the inability of conservative politicos to stop radicalism over a century ago because of “the selfish timidity of her public men. They’ve become a brood of narrow, cowardly worshipers of present expediency.” Today, conservatives opt for “Republican consensus” rather than justice for the innocent. They are even unwilling to sanction those within their own party who support state sanctioned, state sponsored murder in the form of abortion. With such compromised half way measures the “take no prisoner” liberal utopians will win every time! Babies will be slaughtered, families decimated, homosexuality codified, private wealth will be continually eroded and confiscated and the nation brought to ruination.

Until conservatives eschew the inane dribble of personality cults in favor of the immutable ethics of God’s Word, no great national reform will be advanced, and America will suffer the dire consequences of paganism run amok. It’s not about Mitt, Newt, Paul, Rick and Rick! It is about Christ as Lord giving life and vigor to American exceptionalism, or allowing the anti-American Obama define the rules of the game. 2012 is the year! What will you do?

Perfect Candidate, Perfect Electorate

Despite all the heated rhetoric; the fact remains that the perfect candidate does not exist. Moreover; the American electorate is far from any standard of Christian Orthodoxy or Constitutional integrity. Still; this nation has not faced so urgent a threat to its very existence since the late 1970’s. Obama has undermined national security, thrown down moral cultural restraint, upbraided notions of free-enterprise, and wealth creation, destroyed health care, and seeks to subjugate our national being to internationalist cabals of socialists. The peril is real! The ignorance of the populace is real! The response must be cogent, mature, and robust! The election of 2012 must be decisive at the Federal level, at the state level, and throughout counties, cities, towns and hamlets. The priority is first the nation’s survival and then its reformation. That means once the elections are over; the same kind of vigor and devotion to educate, inform, and pressure elected officials must be demonstrated as in the elections! That is more than protesting what is wrong; but proclaiming what is right! It means thinking through real solutions! It means real work! So while 2012 is the year to save the republic; it also signals the pressing need for the renovation of the republic in subsequent years.

Again: what will you do?



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