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What is Postmillennialism?

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psalm 72_11There seems to be a lot of clamor over the postmillennial position from evangelical believers and especially many Calvinists. I want to write a few basic beliefs of postmillennialists, comparing them with Scripture and seeing if the acrimony is called for or it is simply a symptom of our day and age.  In short, postmillennialism simply teaches that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be victorious over the devices of Satan and his horde, conquering all enemies throughout history and placing them under the feet of Christ.

Let us see with a few Scripture references if this is the case.

The resurrected Lord commands his disciples to preach the gospel to all nations because he has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18-20) and has been made the head over all things (Ephesians 1:22). He is the ruler over the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5) and is currently placing all his enemies under his feet (1 Corinthians 15:25) the last enemy being death itself (1 Corinthians 15:26). The Father has given Jesus the nations as his inheritance (Psalm 2:8), and thus all nations will bow to him and serve him (Psalm 72:11). As a result of his perfect sinless life and his suffering on the cross, every knee will bow to him and serve him (Philippians 2:10). His kingdom knows no end and he will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15). His kingdom is likened to the mustard seed which grows to be the biggest tree in the garden where birds (nations) are to find their rest (Matthew 13:31-32). Similarly his kingdom is the stone which crushed all the other kingdoms of men and is becoming a mountain filling the whole earth (Daniel 2:35).

Let the reader assess for himself whether the doctrine is Scriptural or not.

James Willson writes, “Prophecy speaks in the plainest terms, and manifestly expresses the divine approval of that which it foretells. “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles, shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts,” Ps. 72:10. “Kings shall be thy nursing fathers and their queens thy nursing mothers,” Is. 49:23. The preceding verse fixes both the person referred to in this prophecy, and its application to New Testament times. The sixtieth chapter of Isaiah abounds with similar prophecies. The language of the sixteenth verse is very explicit, “thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breasts of kings.” Under these figurative expressions it is intimated, that when the nations are brought to submit to the sceptre of Christ, their allegiance will be manifested by efforts to aid the church in promoting the great designs of the Redeemer’s mission. Happy, indeed, will such nations be, while “the nation and kingdom that will not serve Christ and the church shall perish.” -Christ’s Dominion Over The Nations, Chapter 3

John Calvin commenting on Psalm 2 writes, “…without a doubt he is speaking of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus. He admonishes all kings and authorities to be wise and to take heed to themselves. What is this wisdom? What is the lesson He gives them? To abdicate it all? Hardly! But to fear God and give homage to His Son…Furthermore, Isaiah prophesies that the kings will become the foster fathers of the Christian church and that queens will nurse it with their breasts (Isa. 49:23). I beg of you, how do you reconcile the fact that kings will be protectors of the Christian Church if their vocation is inconsistent with Christianity?” -Treatises Against the Anabaptists and Libertines, p. 79

The postmillennial and bright eschatological victorious hope of the gospel and the impact it has on our lives is at the very least admirable and at most it stands statuesque and resplendent! Unbelievers tremble, quake and flutter, believers rejoice, worship and obey!

Hypothetically (for now, yet Scripurally throughout the millennium) speaking, if there was a massive revival in all the world, and in this example limited to America, and if people are regenerated by God’s monergistic grace, through faith in Jesus Christ’s saving work, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, will this result in external visible change? Will their political positions change, or the lives of their families? How about business dealings or church membership? Will it, in short, affect their present earthly life? These are important questions just to think about…

Of course Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, but it does affect this world. His kingdom didn’t originate in this world neither does it find its power therein. His kingdom is transcendent in origin but imminent in consequence. It doesn’t use the sword in hand (like Islam) but the sword in mouth (i.e the gospel) to convert and disciple.

Gary North very applicably writes, “why shouldn’t personal self discipline, honest business dealings, insight into the true nature of man, thrift, future orientation, gifts from God, access to the Bible, regular preaching, regular tithing, six days of labor, respect [honor] for the Sabbath, covenantal marriages, and experience in bringing up large households result in economic growth, intellectual growth and covenantal responsibility and dominion? Get an answer soon”

There’s nothing really to add to that quote.

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

Cool

TwistedSifter

 

If you’re a visual learner like myself, then you know maps, charts and infographics can really help bring data and information to life. Maps can make a point resonate with readers and this collection aims to do just that.

Hopefully some of these maps will surprise you and you’ll learn something new. A few are important to know, some interpret and display data in a beautiful or creative way, and a few may even make you chuckle or shake your head.

If you enjoy this collection of maps, the Sifter highly recommends the r/MapPorn sub reddit. You should also check out ChartsBin.com. There were also fantastic posts on Business Insider and Bored Panda earlier this year that are worth checking out. Enjoy!

 

1. Where Google Street View is Available

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Map by Google

 

 

2. Countries That Do Not Use the Metric System

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View original post 740 more words

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The Heretic

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There have been a couple of weighty debates on theonomic forums lately and I wanted to ease the tensions with this joke.

It is tongue in cheek but I think as theonomists we have to understand that we share so much in common that sometimes its not worth it to make mountains out of molehills. I understand we live by every jot and tittle of the law (or at least try) and our job is to be precise but at times I feel like we are to precise. Unity should be our fountain head!

Anyways I don’t want this to hinder the discussions whatsoever…just some humor!

The Heretic:

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it!” “Why shouldn’t I?” he said. I said, “Well, there’s so much to live for!” He said, “Like what?” I said, “Well, are you religious or atheist?” He said, “Religious.” I said, “Me too! Are your Christian or Buddhist?” He said, “Christian.” I said, “Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, me too! Are your Reformed or Baptist? He said, “Reformed!” I said, “Wow! Me too! Are your Continental Reformed or Reformed Presbyterian? He said, Reformed Presbyterian!” I said, “Me too! Are you’re a 1646 Original Westminsterian Presbyterian or are you a 1788 American Revisionist?” He said, “1646 Original Westminsterian Presbyterian!” I said, “Are you kidding me? Me too! Are you a Scottish Covenanter theonomist, or an American Reconstructional theonomist? “He said, “Scottish Covenanter theonomist!” I said, “Die, you heretical scum!” and pushed him off.

roadrunner

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The Proleptic reformers of 8th Century Armenia

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Persecution of the Paulicins

Persecution of the Paulicians

In the very rare work of the 8th century Paulicians, heavy mention is made of what seems to be reformed teachings. I don’t capitalize reformed for a purpose because the Paulicians where a heterodox sect who were Adoptionists and Manichean to say the least. This doctrine alone disqualifies them of any semblance to Reformed theology. 
However this stated, they also despised the Armenian Apostolic church, which was on its own course of heresy as well.

In their 8th century work entitled “the Key of Truth” the Paulicians wrote these indictments against the corrupt Apostolic Church:

1. The moral law, as given to Moses in the Decalogue, should be obeyed, but no trust should be reposed in external rites and observances.
2. Making the sign of the cross and genuflection is superfluous.
3. Pilgrimage to Etchmiadzin [an Armenian Church] and Jerusalem and the keeping of fasts are human inventions and unnecessary.

4. The worship of crosses and pictures of saints is idolatry.
5. The sacrifice of the mass is a lie, and the elements of the communion are not the body and blood of Christ, but ordinary bread and wine.
6. The baptism and muron or holy ointment [oil] of the orthodox churches are false and only the mark of the Beast on the forehead; a handful of water is all that is necessary for the administration of Christian baptism.
7. A priest should not be called “Lord, Lord,” but only a clergyman (literally “a man of orders”), for God alone is Lord.
8. Confession to a priest is of no profit for the forgiveness of sins; the penitent should confess his sins to God alone; saints cannot intercede for us.

These 8 indictments are very biblical and praiseworthy. In these indictments the adage “the enemy of our enemy is our friend” is true. However with regards to the fundamental doctrines of the Trinity the adage breaks down, as the Paulicians are rank heretics!

Be that as it may I thought those warnings and rebukes of the Paulicians to the Armenian Apostolic Church would be helpful in putting some historical light on the whole situation of the church in Armenia.

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Some Reasons Leading to the Armenian Genocide

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Concerning the years prior to the Armenian genocide (1908-1914), the Ottoman Empire was oppressing and repressing Armenians with full blown attacks under the veneer of “a peace process”. All the while Armenians became neutral in their political stances and started accepting the “peace processes” of the Turks. Worship of the state was more important than freedom and independence; dictatorial rule was established. The Turks controlled the army, police, courts, and secret service. All this gave rise to internal factions, and political illusions within Armenians.

Garo Sassouni writes in his pamphlet entitled “A Critical Look at the 1915 Genocide”, “…the Armenian nation was in a state of chaos and confusion. The Patriarchy, the parishes and churches became powerless as they preached caution and obedience [to the “peaceful” Young Turks]. The rich, merchant class and the conservatives in general withdrew into their shell….The Armenian intelligentsia, split into factions, had no unified will or decisiveness… The revolutionary organisations remained indecisive whilst the established institutions and other elements slavishly succumbed. In six to seven months the Armenian people were turned to dust (p. 14). These are jaw-dropping statements about the passivity of the Armenians at that time. The churches preached obedience to the “peaceful” government he says, and the wealthy took their money and hid instead of fighting back. Can one withhold blame from us Armenians as being a cause of our own demise? Disobedience has its consequences, and genocide is one of them.

Of-course we cannot undo any of this but we can prevent it from happening again. The American church has fallen into the same pit. And the preaching from the pulpits is the same. Dependence on the government is exalted instead of stigmatized! Obedience to the state has become the sin qua non to being a lawful Christian. The wealthy have stuck their heads in the sand and are scared to pick a political side, or to support a strong religious organization. Thankfully the few bulldoggish Christians who are still out there have withstood the onslaught for more than six or seven months, but we need more committed and able minorities. We need more Christians to be on-guard against the attacks of Satan through the “peaceful policies” of the state! We cannot be state worshipers!

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Predestination According to Clement of Rome

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Clement of RomeAs with the previous post “Predestination According to Ignatius” and the obvious idea of predestination in St. Ignatius, now on to another early church father, in fact the earliest church father outside of Scripture whose documents are still with us today!

By-passing the background of Clement I will go right on ahead and provide quotes and some clarification if needed.

Firstly Clement is writing his letter “to them [Corinthians] which are called and sanctified by the will of God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Clement i:1), a similar greeting to that of Paul’s.

Next after greeting them, and commending he writes, “Ye had conflict day and night for all the brotherhood, that the number of His elect might be saved with fearfulness and intentness of mind.” (1 Clement 2:4)

When commenting on Psalm 32 and the blessedness of having ones sins forgiven he writes, “This declaration of blessedness was pronounced upon them that have been elected by God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Clement 50:6)

Later he goes on to call David the “elect” who says, “Sacrifice to God a sacrifice of praise, and pay thy vows to the Most High: and call upon Me in the day of thine affliction, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me” (Psalm 50:14-; 1 Clement 52:2)

Lastly take notice of Clement use of the trinity with relation to our election, the same that Paul does in his epistle to the Ephesians 1:3-5. Clement writes, “For as God liveth, and the Lord Jesus Christ liveth, and the Holy Spirit, who are the faith and the hope of the elect so surely shall he, who with lowliness of mind and instant in gentleness hath without regretfulness performed the ordinances and commandments that are given by God, be enrolled and have a name among the number of them that are saved through Jesus Christ” (1 Clement 58:2). In this particular instance Clement doesn’t come off as a hardcore determinist, as he recognizes (and that properly) that there is responsibility on the part of the sinner to repent and produce the fruits of the spirit in conjunction with the performance of the ordinances of God. Nonetheless he maintains the sovereign election by saying that those who produce these qualities are actually being “enrolled…among the number of them that are saved” i.e the elect.

Until next time!

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“You Brought Pavement?”

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heaven-cartoonThere once was a very wealthy man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked very hard for his money and wanted to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him. 

An angel hears his plea and appears to him. 

“Sorry, but you can’t take your wealth with you.” 

The man implores the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules. The man continues to pray earnestly that his wealth could follow him. 

The angel reappears and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed. 

Soon afterward the man dies and shows up at the Gates of Heaven to greet St. Peter. Seeing the suitcase St. Peter says, “Hold on, you can’t bring that in here!” 

But, the man explains to St. Peter that he has permission and asks him to verify his story with God. Sure enough, St. Peter checks and comes back saying, “You’re right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I’m supposed to check its contents before letting it through.” 

St. Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaims, “You brought pavement?!”

Book Review “Power Through Prayer” E.M. Bounds

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A masterpiece of a work by Bounds and very timely!

Short, sweet and to the point this book will convict the flesh out of you! (Tongue in cheek)

Bounds goes through 20 riveting chapters and provides quotes from other admirable men throughout church history who have placed this great emphasis on prayer. (ex. Baxter, Cecil, Edwards, Luther, Brainaird, McCheynne, etc)

One of the few places I disagree with Bounds in his book is when he writes “The genius of a Milton fails. The imperial strength of a Leo fails. Brainerd’s spirit can move it. Brainerd’s spirit was on fire for God, on fire for soul” pg. 30. Because prayer isn’t the be all end all of life, it is means. What Milton has done and what others have done in their respected field is wonderful for the kingdom of God only if it is in the bounds of Scripture. Bounds’ Methodism plays a big factor in him not being able to formulate or comprehend a total Christian worldview, and not only a Christianity with prayer. Prayer without concrete action is dead!

Here are some good quotes:

“The pride of learning is against the dependent humility of prayer” –Bounds, pg. 7

“The scientist loses God in nature. The preacher may lose God in his sermon.” –Bounds, pg. 15

“Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is
greater still.” -Bounds, pg. 16

A must read for all so that we can truly understand the depth of weighty nature of prayer.

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Book of the Week: Tolle Lege!

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Economics in one lesson hazlittThis week I went through a classic, yet extremely simple work on economics by Henry Hazlitt entitled “Economics in One Lesson”. In this 200 page work Hazlitt puts forth some very important economic ideas for a long term prosperous country. He starts with this “one lesson” by saying:  “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” (pg. 1). Simply he wants the greatest possible good for the greatest group of people and not limited economic scope on one people group.

From there he touches up on topics such as: tariffs, rent controls, taxes, unions, wages, profits, savings, minimum wage, unemployment, etc, etc.

This is a must read foundational book for those of Austrian persuasions and also for those who want to understand Austrianism in a nutshell.

Hazlitt also spends a lot of times critiquing socialism and all other forms of “legal plunder” to use Bastiat’s terminology, even though he makes clear that the book is not meant to be an exhaustive excursus on socialism or fallacious economics.

Hazlitt is very readable and the majority of other book reviews concur. It is not intended to be long and deep but is still potent in presentation and teaching.

One place that Hazlitt was spot on was the relationship of technology and economic growth. He plays devil’s advocate and says that technology is actually bad for the economy as it creates unemployment. However, when arguments about technology being a hindrance toward growth because of its lifeless pursuit toward unemployment are engaged, two things are forgotten. Firstly, the person themselves are inconsistent because any technological advance would be bad, a reductio (ex: A: “We shouldn’t use trucks to move dirt, we should use shovels!” B: “Why stop at shovels, we should use our hands…”). Secondly, the person (thanks to technological advancements) would have more money left-over because of those very same technological advances cutting the price of a certain products tremendously, leaving the person with money to spend on other products that also require labor.

Here are some of my favorite quotations from Hazlitt:

“government aid” to business is sometimes as much to be feared as government hostility” –Hazlitt, Economics, pg. 35

[Regarding the taxes paid by the business owners] “But the government can give no financial help to business that it does not first or finally take from business… [thus] When the government makes loans or subsidies to business, what it does is to tax successful private business in order to support unsuccessful private business” –Hazlitt, Economics, pg. 35

[On the improvement of technology and the fallacy of non-sequitir with regards to unemployment.] “Not only must we be causing unemployment with every technological improvement we make today, but primitive man must have started causing it with the first efforts he made to save himself from needless toil and sweat.” –Hazlitt, pg. 36

[On profits he writes] “The function of profits, finally, is to put constant and unremitting pressure on the head of every competitive business to introduce further economies and efficiencies, no matter to what stage these may already have been brought.” –Hazlitt, pg. 147

All in all the book was very helpful but not craving to my economic hungry and leaves me to go to men of equal repute and read their works.

I gave this work a 4.5/5

 

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Book of the Week, Tolle Lege!

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ECFThis week I went though an introductory work on the patristic fathers by Cyril Richardson and it was the best! A must read for anyone interested in the works of the early fathers and that in its proper context.

In my opinion this unabridged, one-volume, 350 page book is the best introductory piece out.

Richardson goes through each of the early fathers beginning with (Clement of Rome, Igantius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, the Didache Athenagoras, Diognetius, and Ireneaus), gives brief background information including dates and context in which they were written and then presents the actual writings with footnote commentary.

Richardson also has a section before each chapter devoted to scholarly resources.

There a many great things to learn from this book and we get to see how the church survived attack after attack from both the state, Jews, and heretics. The main theme that stood out to me was the emphasis on obeying our bishops, presbytery and deacons (pg. 20, 62, 88, 95, 98, 115, etc) and the central theme of the unity of the church. Another interesting point is that many of the letters were addressed to the magistrate and were treatises on why the magistrate should recognize Christianity as a viable religion and defenses on the philosophical truisms in Christianity. Also many of them had to defend caricatures being placed on them by others so that they can persecute them some being “atheists, cannibals, and incest perpetrators. I think Christians would do well to write to their magistrates to giving a defense on certain issues that the early fathers didn’t have to battle.

Here are some of the quotes that I loved:

[Concerning early Christianity and the missionary activities] “The spread of the new [Christian] faith naturally followed the great trade routes and was centered in the cities” –Richardson, Early Christian Fathers, pg. 20

[in speaking about the OT prophets Ignatius writes:] “The divine prophets themselves lived Christ Jesus’ way. That is why they were persecuted, for they were inspired by his grace to convince unbelievers that God is one, and that he has revealed himself in his Son Jesus Christ, who is his Word issuing from the silence and who won the complete approval of him who sent him” to the Magnesians 8:1

[The infamous Polycarp trial] “But the proconsul was insistent and said: “Take the oath, and I shall release you. Curse Christ.” Polycarp said: “Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?… And again [he said] to him, “I shall have you consumed with fire, if you despise the wild beasts, unless you change your mind.” But Polycarp said: “The fire you threaten burns but an hour and is quenched after a little; for you do not know the fire of the coming judgment and everlasting punishment that is laid up for the impious. But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.””- Letter of the Church of Smyrna to the Church of Philomeliu, Richardson, ECF, pg. 112-113

[In the Didache or the Teaching there are multiple ethical commands based off the Old Testament code which are not found in the New Testament, thus the ethics of the Early Church was theonomic because they wanted a fully orbed view on ethics] “The second commandment of the Teaching: “Do not murder; do not commit adultery”; do not corrupt boys; do not fornicate; “do not steal”; do not practice magic; do not go in for sorcery; do not murder a child by abortion or kill a new-born infant. “Do not covet your neighbor’s property; do not commit perjury; do not bear false witness”;483 do not slander; do not bear grudges. Do not be double-minded or double-tongued, for a double tongue is “a deadly snare.”484Your words shall not be dishonest or hollow, but substantiated by action. Do not be greedy or extortionate or hypocritical or malicious or arrogant. Do not plot against your neighbor. Do not hate anybody; but reprove some, pray for others, and still others love more than your own life.” –Richardson, pg. 125 (Taken from Didache)

[Some superstition is definitely present in the document but we also see that baptism doesn’t necessarily have to be done via immersion as Baptist claim.] “Now about baptism: this is how to baptize. Give public instruction on all these points, and then “baptize” in running water, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” If you do not have running water, baptize in some other. If you cannot in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, then pour water on the head three times “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Before the baptism, moreover, the one who baptizes and the one being baptized must fast, and any others who can. And you must tell the one being baptized to fast for one or two days beforehand.” –Ricahrdson, pg. 127 (taken from Didache)

[on monergistic regeneration and salvation] “For he took pity on us and in his tenderness saved us, since he saw our great error and ruin, and that we had no hope of salvation unless it came from him. For he called us when we were nothing, and willed our existence from nothing…Thus it was that the Christ willed to save what was perishing; and he saved many when he came and called us who were actually perishing” –Anonymous sermon, commonly called Clements’ second epistle, Richardson, pg. 138

[On the righteousness of Christ being necessary for our justification; granted they haven’t formed a category distinction between active and passive] “For what else could cover our sins except his righteousness? In whom could we, lawless and impious as we were, be made righteous except in the Son of God alone? O sweetest exchange! O unfathomable work of God! O blessings beyond all expectation! The sinfulness of many is hidden in the Righteous One, while the righteousness of the One justifies the many that are sinners” –Epistle to Diognetus 9:4,5 from Richardson, pg. 157

The main theme of the First Apology of Justin Martyr is “by more detailed exposition of Old Testament texts, to show that Christians are the true heirs of the promises made to Israel” –Richardson, pg. 164

[On Sunday Sabbath]  “We all hold this common gathering on Sunday, since it is the first day, on which God transforming darkness and matter made the universe, and Jesus Christ our Saviour rose from the dead on the same day.” –Justin First Apology, from Richardson, pg. 200

Overall this was an amazing book and I gave it a 5/5 stars!

Find the book on Amazon by clicking the picture or get the free PDF version from CCEL.org>> http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.pdf