| Faith Fellowship Church…PO Box 1586…Broken Arrow, OK 74013…918-451-0270… Pastor Terry Dashner…|
Higher Law series
“Evolution of Inalienable Rights”
“The Dawning of a New Day”
History is divided into three parts: ancient history, the Middle Ages, and the current Modern era. The greatest turn in history was the Reformation in the modern era of history. The Reformation birthed and nurtured science, art, and religion like no other period of history before it. I’m going to continue my topic on the sacredness of human life as it evolved from the heights of the Reformation to its fall in present day America. Once again, I begin with the teachings of John Calvin in the late 16th century.
On July 10, 1509, John Calvin, destined to become one of the most influential Protestant leaders of all time, was born in Noyon (nwa-yon), France. After studying law and the liberal arts and mastering the ancient classical books, Calvin became associated with a group of Renaissance French scholars who were very critical of Romanism. Sometime before 1534, Calvin later described, God “subdued…[his] heart to docility [obedience] by sudden conversion,” and Calvin was henceforth committed to the Protestant faith. Calvin had the opportunity to put many of his ideas into practice in the city of Geneva, Switzerland. Exiled Protestants from all over Europe found refuge in Calvin’s Geneva. Future leaders of the Reformation in other lands received training in the basics of faith and practice, and Geneva became known as the “Protestant Rome.” John Knox the Scottish Reformation leader, who spent several years in exile in Geneva, called the city “the most perfect school of Christ.”
At the heart of Calvin’s system of theology is his strong belief in the sovereignty of God. Calvin believed that God “predestines” all things according to His own will. Everything God does is for His glory, although finite man does not understand God’s ways. Calvin applied his teaching concerning the sovereignty of God to everyday life in Geneva. He sought to build a Christian community based upon the Word of God. Taking the Bible, especially the Old Testament, as his law book, Calvin made sure that the city statutes conformed to scriptural teaching. He stressed the independence of church and state, but he believed that both were subject to the rule of God. He asserted that the duty of the state was to promote piety, punish evildoers, and assist the church by providing an atmosphere that would encouraged godliness in the lives of church members. The Geneva city council adopted his teaching issued orders forbidding dancing, drunkenness, and gambling, and requiring everyone to attend church services.
The Separatists of England adopted Calvin’s emphasis on the rule of law. The Separatists of England became the Pilgrims who journeyed to the “New World.” The Mayflower Compact that was drafted in the Boston Harbor by the Pilgrims was a model of government rooted in the ideas of Calvinism. Calvin’s rule of law was rooted in the Old Testament of the Bible. From the Pilgrim’s Compact came the foundation of America’s Constitution and the Bill of Rights. There were other ideas that would seed the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution, which came from the Age of Reason (18th century). For example, political reform was one of the chief concerns of the 18th century philosophes (social reformers of the Enlightenment). John Lock, who certainly was not a friend to religion, advanced the idea that men possess certain natural and inalienable rights—rights that can not be transferred or surrendered. Also, Montesquieu believed in political reform. He believed that government should be separated into three powers: the executive, the legislative, and judicial. Time and space does not allow me to mention others like Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, and their works of literature that were spawning new forms of government throughout the world, namely England (Glorious Revolution), America (American Revolution), and France (Revolution).
Faith Fellowship Church…PO Box 1586…Broken Arrow, OK 74013…918-451-0270…Pastor Terry Dashner
In America throughout the 18th and 19th centuries the concept of faith, instead of reason, was taking a beating. The Enlightened authors of the 18th century questioned all things that could not be proven by either inductive or deductive reasoning. When Darwin published his works in the 19th century, it only added fuel to the fires of the enlightened class of intellectuals who believed that organized religion was doing more harm to societies than good. Along with Darwin’s ideas arose other thinkers, and traditional thoughts of theology went into a step decline. Some Bible scholars and philosophers began to argue that God was dead (Nietzche—“God is dead and we have killed Him”) and nihilism (reject all established authority), and Utilitarianism (to weird for me to explain). This decline in traditional beliefs of theology that had held constant since the Apostles was affecting the social fabric of America. Schools, especially higher institutions of learning, were embracing a new theology called modernism. The rebellion against traditional faith came to a crescendo in the 1960s. America’s Supreme Court judges began propounding philosophical law that supported modernism—prayer in school was banned. In the 1970s abortion rights activists were successful in the ruling of Roe-v-Wade. Today after 30 years of modernism influencing our courts, now we’ve come to the post-modern era. Things are getting wackier. For example, who in their right mind would have suggested thirty years ago that same sex couples would one day wed legally? Things are spinning out of control.
We need a Revival in the land. We need to stand up and preach the Gospel without compromise. We need to combat our federal judges that rule against the will of the people on issues like the banning of partial birth abortions and same sex marriage. America needs a spiritual boost to say the least. We, the church, must teach the dangers of post modernism. Post modernism is nothing more than the “wiles of the devil” creeping into American society “unawares” because Satan has caught Christians asleep at their posts. We must awaken to righteousness and speak truth. We’ve got to stand up and be counted. Here are some ways we can be counted: (1) Pray for America (2) Witness our faith without compromise (3) tell our Representatives how we believe (4) Register and vote in elections. (5) Join active ministries that keep us informed about the work of the evil one—the devil—in the governments of men as well as the “world.” Stay encouraged! Jesus has given us all authority to advance His kingdom among men.
I bless you, and I pray that God would continue to bless this great land we call America.
Pastor Terry Dashner
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