The Kingdom of God and the Vision of Postmillennial Hope

rainingA Response to Al Mohler on Postmillennialism and Nazi Germany

by Dr. Joel McDurmon

from June 2015

Al Mohler [recently] entered the argument over “redeeming culture” by . . . drumroll . . . blaming both World Wars on postmillennialism! I would like to offer a brief response to the more muddled points in order to clarify the historical record, and note the real problems behind such horrors. On his June 20, 2015 edition of “Ask Anything,” Mohler answered the question of “redeeming culture” with this:

“Here’s the bottom line from the biblical perspective, and a part of this is linguistic. I don’t think there’s any New Testament justification for our attempt to redeem the boardwalkculture. That’s a bit messianistic; and what I mean by that is, the Scripture doesn’t tell us that the culture is going to be redeemed. It tells us that there’s going to be a new heaven and a new earth, and it also tells us that Christians are to be actively engaged in the culture, and there’s no doubt about that. Not only do you have Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, you’ve got Jesus in Athe Gospel of Matthew telling us the greatest commandment and the one that is second to it: the greatest commandment being thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind. And then Jesus said the second one is like to it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. And that certainly has to mean that we have to be engaged in the culture of our neighbor, and that means we are to be salt and light, and that means the culture ought to be different because Christians are in the culture. But we don’t really have a biblical warrant for believing we’re going to be able to redeem any culture.”

Then Mohler turned the corner into historical analysis, and that’s when things got out of hand:

“One of the most dangerous moments in church history in terms of the church in Europe was the period in late nineteenth century when European Christians believed that’s exactly what they were being successful in doing: they were redeeming the culture. And that’s when you had the emergence of a very strong strain of what was called “postmillennialism,” in which, eschatologically, they actually believed they were realizing the kingdom—most especially in a kingdom like Germany (Wilhemine Germany) at the end of the nineteenth century. And yet that gave birth to the militaristic horror of what became Germany in not only the first World War but the second World War.”

There is only a morsel of truth in this. The Wilhelmine regimes (just like many of the equally misguided, progressive “Christian America” proponents of late nineteenth-century America, as well) did have a view somewhat similar to what Mohler describes, but this is only half the story, and not the half that really matters.

First, strong (modern) postmillennialism did not “emerge” in the late nineteenth century. It emerged much earlier and it drove the Puritans who founded America in the 1600s, as well as many of the missionary efforts that reached the whole world over subsequent decades. This postmillennial view actually manifests quite clearly in the Westminster Larger Catechism (Question and Answer 191). That was 1647 in Puritan Londonnot 1880s Prussia. I would recommend that Mohler, and everyone, read Ian Murray, The Puritan Hope, to get the rest of the story.

True, Wilhelm et al may have remained “postmillennial” in outlook, but they had long since denuded the rest of the biblical message. The same thing happened in the U.S., post-1830s, when New England Puritans had gone largely Unitarian or otherwise secularist, and yet retained the postmillennial vision. It was a thoroughly secularized postmillennialism, and thus, it was not [true] postmillennialism at all because it doesn’t envision any return of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Mohler also commits the Hal Lindsey fallacy against postmillennialism documented in Biblical Logic (pp. 209–210): that of assuming postmillennialism means that we bring in the kingdom by our own ability. Of this seemingly perennial fallacy, I wrote:

“While some—perhaps many—liberal “Social Gospel” Christians believed this way, it hardly characterizes the position historically, and certainly does not form a necessary tenet of postmillennialism. As orthodox holders of the doctrine would argue, God triumphs in history by the power of His Holy Spirit—not human efforts. Orthodox postmillennialists no more believe in bringing about the Kingdom by their own works than they believe in salvation by their own works.”

Not only did secularized millennialism overtake the nineteenth century, the rhetoric of dominion and the kingdom of God was still being employed by the Left as late as LBJ and the so-called “Great Society” as I have documented elsewhere. To his credit, Mohler notes that leftists misuse the concept of redeeming culture. But his total dismissal of the concept and his blaming of the World Wars on postmillennialism is not only historically inaccurate, it is profoundly abridged as a historical and theological record.

Thus, second, we should place the blame for that era and its resulting catastrophes where it really belongs: a failure in Christian social ethics. I have documented the real issues (actually instituted by Wilhelm’s predecessor, Otto von Bismarck) in Restoring America One County at a Time (see pp. 49–51, or here). Suffice it to say that the real issue was not postmillennialism, but the deceitful attempt by many civil leaders to install Socialism while posing as the avowed enemies of Socialism. And how did they accomplish such a social coup? Bismarck passed it under the nose of oblivious Christians by calling his program “practical Christianity.”

And how was Socialism passed off as “practical Christianity”? Ironically, it was by following the same undefined program of the great commandments Mohler outlines above as the reason to be engaged in politics: love your neighbor. As I noted in God versus Socialism, even one of the historians among the “social Gospel” types openly admitted there was an ethical contradiction in their program based on this very concept: “This was nowhere more obvious than in the question of the use of force. Could the law of love become operative through socialism without imposing its will upon a minority [really a majority] that clung to private ownership?” (God versus Socialism, 221). Based on such considerations, the same historian concluded of that social-gospel generation: “From this discussion it is only too apparent that these leaders were very much the children of their age, drawing their ideology from the intellectual environment and rarely pausing to examine it or to follow basic assumptions to their logical conclusions.”

So what, really, was the problem? The civil leaders employed the language and vision of postmillennial Christianity, yet filled the chest with pagan ethics—Socialism. The said “love” when they meant “welfare at gunpoint.”

This ought to be an easy recognition for learned men like Mohler. Yet they continue to make the same argument: calling for “love your neighbor” without definition and without any clear expectations of what that should look like in society from a biblical perspective. This is the other piece of the ethics puzzle: while the bellicose leaders trampled society under the foot of Marx in the name of Christ, the pulpits either called for withdrawal into private piety, or endorsed the anti-biblical system of social ethics in the name of loving your neighbor. At best, they preached only “love your neighbor” undefined and left the details up to the leaders. Mohler is continuing this strain today.

Whatever you call it, don’t call it “postmillennialism,” for it was rather an abandonment of it. Marx himself reported on the Hague conference in 1872: “One day the worker will have to seize political supremacy to establish the new organization of labor; he will have to overthrow the old policy which supports the old institutions if he wants to escape the fate of the early Christians who, neglecting and despising politics, never saw their kingdom on earth” (see God versus Socialism, 52). Sounds to me like a total replacement of Christian postmillennialism by the late nineteenth century socialists! That some leaders actually did this in the name of Christianity is not the issue—except to the extent that Christian pulpits let them do it largely unopposed!. The failure here is not with postmillennialism. The failure here is with Christians abandoning biblical postmillennialism and the pulpit’s failure to preach biblical social ethics.

The reality is that it was the failure of the church to uphold postmillennialism and theonomic ethics that resulted in the horrors Mohler blames on them. Nazi Germany prospered in an environment where amillennialism ruled and radical two kingdoms theology led preachers to hide and cower in the face of intimidation by the State. And as I argued when documenting these inglorious pastors, Hitler was quite aware of this weakness in which their theology placed them, and he openly exploited it—silencing the pulpit. (See also Inglorious Kingdoms.)

Third, the real driving force behind Mohler’s view is his eschatology. Throughout his answer, Mohler frequently acknowledges that Christians must be engaged in culture, and that such engagement should result in “a difference.” Yet as quickly as he acknowledges this, he adds the caveat that we should not expect much to come from doing so. We should engage, therefore, with minimal-to-no-expectation of God’s victory. We should engage, therefore, for at best a fleeting success, only to lose it. We should engage culture, therefore, with a vision of cultural defeat. After all, in the end, all human cultures will “pass away.”

But this misses the real issue argued by postmillennialism. That is, the “culture” advanced by the Kingdom of God (by His power, of course), is not merely a “human culture,” but a godly, Spirit-produced culture. It is a kingdom that will “fill the whole earth,” and that by definition “shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:35, 44).

And this gets to one more (final) real issue here. This debate is always initiated and advanced by our critics without definitions and largely divorced from scriptural views of the spread of God’s kingdom in earth. Show me where such a critic has defined “culture.” I have not seen it. Henry Van Til got it right: culture is nothing more than religion externalized. It is not a “thing”; it is the social expression of the dominant values, beliefs, confession, economy, etc., of a given society. Thus, to the extent that we speak of the people of any given society being redeemed by God, we should automatically expect a parallel “redemption” of that culture—for, as Mohler argues, a society should show a difference to the extent that there are Christians in it (assuming, again, the pulpit is doing its full duty). I agree.

Thus, the only problem here is the expectation of the Christians as to whether such a change will actually take place in history to any substantial extent. And that is nothing more than the question of eschatology. It is precisely here where Mohler’s doctrine of cultural engagement is mugged by Mohler’s doctrine of cultural decline. But this same relationship of cultural manifestation also means that to the extent Scripture speaks of the spread of the kingdom, to that same extent it simultaneously speaks of the redemption of culture (to use that clumsy phrase).

Thus, Isaiah 2:2–4:

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

It sure sounds to me like the advance of the Gospel ought to have profound social redemptive effect. And of course, verses like this could be multiplied (see Isa. 11:9; Hab. 2:14 for just a couple). In the end, Mohler can say there is “no biblical warrant” for speaking of redeeming culture, but the truth is that his own view of cultural engagement presupposes it. It’s just that his view of Christian social ethics and more especially his eschatological pessimism are not consistent with that presupposition.

In the end, however, it can easily be seen that Mohler’s claims about postmillennialism are historically inaccurate and that they are not representative of the position held by those in the long history of orthodox postmillennialism. Granted, there were some pseudo-Christians who used the language (just as there are secular doomsdayers who use the apolcalyptic language of premillennialism as well), but they had long since denuded their religion of biblical ethics and replaced it with various degrees of Marxist nonsense—and Marx himself openly proposed this. Once postmillennialism was out of the picture, leaders could easily run roughshod over the silent, irrelevant, and cowering pulpits—and that is the sad Christian legacy that sidelined itself and truly allowed the rise of Socialism, the Social Gospel, the welfare state, the warfare state, and yes, Hitler.

Pointing to a caricature of “postmillennialism,” therefore, does not help at all. It only serves to cover up the real, and tragic, failures of the church while certain leaders continue to perpetuate them today.


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Premillennial False Prophecies Fizzle Again…

homer_endJohn Hagee: False Prophet (and the antidote)

by Dr. Joel McDurmonAl Gore Devil

from Sept. 2015

[Pastor] John Hagee made predictions (oh yes he did!—see below). John Hagee set dates. John Hagee’s predictions and dates have failed. He is now to be regarded as a false prophet on the same order as Harold Camping.

[NOTE: If you are among those who have now seen the light due to this latest sham and scam of Hagee’s false predictions and date setting built on Blood Moons, I invite you to learn the truth about Last Days Madness.]

I have previously written about this here and here. I have demonstrated first that Hagee did indeed make predictions and set dates, even though he tried to cover himself with disclaimers. Second, I have demonstrated from Scripture how his interpretation of Joel 2 and Acts 2 cannot possibly be true. (Hint: Peter makes it clear that Acts 2 was the fulfillment then of Joel 2. There is nothing about it left to be fulfilled.)

Let’s rehearse from the previous article just exactly how Hagee set dates and exactly what he predicted:

Once the Russian alliance invades, however, as Hagee interprets, “God loses His cool. His anger and His wrath explode.” He jumps over to Ezekiel 39:2 to proclaim that God will destroy these armies Himself, leaving only one sixth of them alive. God is saying, “I am going to kill 84 percent of the Russian and Islamic military force that invades the nation of Israel.”

God will accomplish this via; 1) a great earthquake that swallows “a significant part of that army,” 2) friendly fire between the armies of these nine nations, and 3) fifty-pound hailstones.

Not since God destroyed pharaoh and his army has God ever wiped an army out likes he’s going to wipe out Russia and Iran. It will take Israel seven months to bury the dead, and seven years to burn the weapons of war.

Again, he said this will occur sometime between April 2014 and September 2015. You think I’m stretching the truth? Just recall Hagee’s outstretched hand, pointing to that chart of four blood moons, saying:

When is this going to happen? . . . Jewish scholars say Joel 2:30–31, the text, is where the four blood moons appear with the sun, is the Gog-Magog War. NASA says sometime between April 2014 and September 2015 . . .

Now that is a specific as anyone needs to be. Joel 2:30–31 does not refer to just some obscure eclipse some day in the future, but to “the four blood moons” that “appear with the sun.” This is nonsense of course—Joel 2:30–31 says nothing about four blood moons—but Hagee’s point is that it does indeed, and that the four blood moons are the ones coming beginning year. He has tied the prophecy of Joel 2, and thus the Gog-Magog War, to the four blood moons, specifically, between April 2014 and September 2015.

This means, inescapably, that Israel must attack Iran, and that Russian and Company must invade Israel, and that Russian and Iran must be, per Hagee, “wiped off the map” sometime between 2014 and September 2015.

What do I think of that? I think Harold Camping was a lightweight.

But, Hagee will dissent, “I am not setting dates!”

Disclaimers and Waffles

In a couple places, Hagee stops to put in a very stern disclaimer. He wants to preempthow to think guys like me. But pay close attention to what he says. His disclaimers are very craftily worded so as not really to be disclaimers.

The strongest disavowal he makes is this: “This is God’s prediction and NASA’s prediction. John Hagee is making no predictions. Are we clear?”

This is only to cover his rear, and will only persuade the most dedicated of his followers who uncritically accept his words without examining the substance of what he says. Such people are already raptured—intellectually.

What is he really saying? He is only trying to leave a trapdoor to evade responsibility for the clear predictions he made above. But you can’t have your bombs and explode them, too. And Hagee is actually exploding them. Yes, the dates are NASA’s, and yes, Ezekiel 38 is God’s Word. But Hagee is the one who has tied NASA’a dates together with God’s Word, interpreted the concoction to be an attack by modern day Russia and Iran, etc., and then published it. These are in fact, Hagee’s predictions, and he cannot evade responsibility for them.

Elsewhere, he is just as clever: “This does not mean the rapture is going to happen between here [pointing to April 2014] and here [September 2015]. Why?”

Why? Because, Hagee doesn’t set dates? Nope. “Because the rapture could happen before we get out of this building! This does say, ‘You’re running out of time.’”

Ahh, cute. But then he’s right back to bold predictions:

Here’s what we know for sure. . . . When it’s only happened three times in over 500 years, this is a massive demonstration from the heavens. All of the dates given by NASA—1492, 1948, 1967—deal with the Jewish people and Israel. We are about to receive a sign from God. . . . I am telling you this. Based on all I know about this book, and I have studied it every day for 54 years, there’s not one thing that has to happen before [the rapture] . . . we’re out of here. When you see these signs [pointing once again to the four blood moons] lift up your heads and rejoice! Your redemption draweth nigh!”

And so we’re back to the four blood moons being Mark 13 again, as well as Matthew 24 and Luke 21—Jesus’ Olivet prophecies of a return.

Hagee is not done. We are, he says, already seeing the unfolding of what he argues is about to take place between April of 2014 and September 2015:

Consider the scenario for the future. Iran is going to become nuclear sooner or later. When Israel hits Iran’s nuclear centers, this action is going to unite Russia, Iran, Syria, Libya, Egypt, etc., to retaliate and to invade the land of Israel according to Ezekiel. You see that happening right now on the television each night. . . . We are seeing the first stages of the Gog-Magog War — in the media.

Need more?

The nations of Gog and Magog are uniting right now. The message of the four blood moons is this: God is going to defend Israel in His time. He is going to destroy the nations that invade Israel, and Jesus Christ the Son of God could come at any second, right now.

This is getting a little squishier. But then come the waffles:

I want to ask you just a simple question, because the Bible says, “No man knows the day or the hour that Jesus Christ could come.”

That’s right. No man knows. We’re not date setting here! But. . . .

When you have very credible science agreeing with a very credible prophet Joel, and Saint Peter in the book of Acts—I don’t think that in my lifetime I’ve seen a more obvious demonstration of the unity of those two ingredients—something big is about to happen. We may not be here to see that. The church may be gone. The church may see this and be taken after. But it’s for sure, the best scientific minds in the world are saying this is going to happen, and the best prophetic voices in the Word have said this is what it looks like when it happens.

If these are not predictions, I don’t know what is. Yet he says he’s making no predictions! Nonsense. Barack Obama could not prevaricate and tell bald-faced lies any better than this. “If you like your country, you can keep your country (if it’s still there after we blow it up).” At least conservative Christians don’t believe what Obama says. They shouldn’t believe Hagee, either.

Finally, I summarized the events Hagee predicted:


There is no way this man can deny he is making clear predictions. The whole blood moon hype would be little more than a curiosity were it left a generality. But someone of tremendous profile has gotten specific—very specific. Hagee has connected the four blood moons, April 2014–September 2015, by both clearly spoken claims and multiple, clear hand gestures to a chart bearing these dates, with the fulfillment of the prophecies of Joel 2 and Mark 13, the Battle of Gog-Magog (Ezek. 38–39), the return of Christ (Luke 21Matthew 24Revelation 19), and onset of the one-world government of “The Antichrist.”

In doing so, let’s be clear, he has interpreted those events within that time frame to include:

  1. Israel attacking the nuclear sites in Iran
    2. Russia leading an alliance of Arab springs states and others to invade Israel
    3. America standing by watching, due to weakness
    4. God destroying these invaders by divine power
    5. Russia and Iran being “wiped off the map”
    [6. I now see, I should have added also the redemption of God’s people mentioned in Mark 13Matthew 24, and Luke 21.]

This [was supposed] to happen, according to NASA, the Bible, and John Hagee’s concatenation of the two — sometime between April 2014 and September 2015. (Oops!)

And he has repeatedly said that when we see the four blood moons, we should look up because our redemption draweth nigh. Again, this must take place between April 2014 and September 2015.

Folks, this is a false teacher. Period. Worse, he is a false teacher whose false teachings could help provoke warfare and the deaths of millions of people unnecessarily—and will persuade millions of Christians to sit by gleefully, consenting to those deaths.

Hagee should retract his statements and repent now. If he turns out wrong, he is under absolute moral obligation at least to confess his sin. He should also apologize publicly and then resign his pulpit. I hope he at least rethinks the seriousness of what he has actually claimed here, and that his claims clearly amount to very serious and dire predictions—even while denying making predictions.

If Hagee does none of this, his congregation should push to hold him accountable. If he persists, they should abandon him as a false and unrepentant teacher. All of his followers should.

Those were my comments made originally December 18, 2013, almost two years ago—before even the first blood moon had occurred.

Just to be sure, Hagee did not budge an inch even on the eve of his failure, September 27, 2015. In fact, he got even more candid. Calling the blood moon tetrad God’s “final, celestial, evangelistic effort” that Jesus is about to return for the Rapturehe admitted that he was setting dates:

Generally prophetic texts deal with something that might happen or could happen, but this was a situation where we could say “On this date, you can go out on your back porch, look up, and see a blood moon.” And when that happened, and people found it in the Bible, and saw it in the sky, and knew that it had been predicted by NASA, word spread across the earth like lightning, that this was a revelation from God.

It is now official. Hagee made predictions. Hagee set dates. Hagee’s predictions and dates did not come to pass. They failed. All of them. Not a single word of his prediction came to pass. Not one single word.

What will it take to break the bondage premillennial angst holds over so many American Christians? How many hypes have to fail? How many predictions have to fail? How many overt, outright, date-setting predictions like Hagee’s have to fail in absolutely every detail before Christians abandon these shysters and con-men?

As I don’t see streams of disgruntled former members quitting Hagee’s church,or even asking questions, the outlook for this does not look good. To modify the pseudo-P.T. Barnum quotation, “There’s a prophecy book buyer born every minute.” There have been hundreds of dates set and predictions made throughout church history—literally hundreds. They all have one thing in common: they have all been wrong. And yet Christians, especially American Christians these days, keep giving them their full faith and credit, and their money.

If you are among those who have now seen the light due to this latest sham and scam of Hagee’s false predictions and date setting built on Blood Moons, I invite you to learn the truth about Last Days Madness. The vast majority of Bible prophecy was fulfilled in the year AD 70. What lies ahead of us is not a rapture or a great cataclysm. What lies ahead of us is a lot of Kingdom work to do by God’s Spirit. It’s time to leave the false prophets behind. Make the paradigm shift and get to it.


O[ GospelBBQ believes Dispensational Premillennialism is a false teaching full of false prophecies that has been perpetuated on Christians for far too long. It is now evident that its hand has been played-out. Time has exposed this false teaching and it is time for believers to rethink their view of eschatology for the Kingdom of God and the future of the Christian faith.]

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…Class Struggle and the Glory of Violent Martyrdom…

gallery3[1]Romanticizing RadicalsIkilled[1]

By Seth Barron
New York City’s progressive leaders are in thrall to a revolutionary past.
September 2015

Given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend a few minutes with Pope Francis, New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito used the opportunity last week to give the pontiff a gift: a portrait of Francis painted by Oscar López Rivera. In addition to being the speaker’s friend and hero, López Rivera is serving a 55-year sentence in federal prison for seditious conspiracy against the United States because of his leadership of the FALN, the violent separatist organization that aimed to turn Puerto Rico into an independent Communist country like Cuba. The FALN’s 1975 bombing of Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan, which killed four people and injured dozens, was just the most well-known of its terrorist activities during the late seventies and early eighties. López Rivera calls himself a “political prisoner.”

Mark-Viverito has long advocated for López Rivera’s release, even though he rejected President Bill Clinton’s offer of executive clemency in 1999 because it was contingent on his renouncing the use of violence for political ends. The speaker posted pictures of herself with López Rivera on her Twitter feed, noting, “I visit Oscar in prison. Have done so 3x this year.” Mark-Viverito presented Pope Francis with López Rivera’s painting, saying, “it was discussed & I agreed that I would attempt to present the painting as a gift to @Pontifex during his visit. Today was that moment.”skulls-khmer rouge

It’s remarkable that the speaker has space in her schedule—between her legislative duties and her multiple trips this year to Puerto Rico (three times, once on vacation), Arizona (twice), Israel (for nine days), and Washington D.C.—to fly to Terre Haute, Indiana, to visit Oscar López Rivera in a federal lockup. Yet she managed to make the trip three times. And there are still three months left in the calendar year.

Mark-Viverito is not the only elected progressive in New York City who holds a torch for radical leftist heroes. Monday was the 100th birthday of Ethel Rosenberg. Along with her husband Julius Rosenberg was convicted of conspiracy to commit treason for being a Soviet spy and was executed in 1953. To commemorate her centennial, Council Member Daniel Dromm and Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer took to the steps of City Hall to award the Rosenbergs’ two grown sons proclamations in their mother’s honor. For decades, true believers on the left held fast to their conviction that the Rosenbergs were innocent, railroaded to their deaths by what Dromm called “Jew-baiting, witch-hunting, anti-Red hysteria.” But then, after the emergence of decoded Soviet cables in 1995, followed by an admission of guilt by co-conspirator Morton Sobell in 2008, the Rosenbergs’ defenders had to admit that Julius, at the very least, had significantly aided the Soviet Union with the provision of top secret information about vital military hardware. Julius Rosenberg was also shown to have recruited a number of associates into a spy ring. Among them was Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass, who pilfered nuclear secrets from his work on the Manhattan Project.

The new evidence affirms Julius’s guilt but has not directly implicated Ethel. For Dromm and Brewer, that’s good enough for two official city proclamations. One doesn’t have to approve of Ethel Rosenberg’s execution to question her fitness as a civic honoree. As the sister and wife of two blatant traitors, the circumstantial evidence alone indicates that she probably gave “aid and comfort” to spies working against her country.

In these days of progressive ascendancy in New York, the Left is in charge, and thus responsible for the humdrum management of trash pickup and school curricula. But that stuff is boring when you’ve been raised on the mythos of class struggle and the glory of violent martyrdom. Today’s leftist leaders can’t help but be wistful for a time when their side was losing and their fight was noble. They cherish the ideals of their revolutionary forebears because it makes them feel like warriors for the oppressed. Brewer even compared Cold War America with today’s circumstances, stating that “we had anti-Communist hysteria then, and we have anti-Planned Parenthood hysteria now!”


Seth Barron blogs about the New York City Council at City Council Watch.

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Obama Civil Rights Chair Calling to Free Illegal Aliens was on MALDEF Board

distant sunObama Civil Rights Chair Calling to Free Illegal Aliens was on MALDEF Board


There’s enormous controversy surrounding a new U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report calling for the release of illegal immigrants from detention centers nationwide due to widespread “egregious human rights and constitutional violations.”pathway doors

The commission is an independent and bipartisan federal agency created by Congress decades ago to advance civil rights through “objective and comprehensive investigation, research and analysis.” However, the agency’s chairman, Obama appointee Martin Castro, determined that illegal immigrant detention centers in the U.S. were cesspools of human rights violations before the commission completed its study, according to at least two commissioners on the panel.  This appears to be part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to protect and help illegal aliens at American taxpayer expense.

statue of libertyLong before any evidence was gathered, Castro’s proposal to undertake the study had already concluded that “egregious human rights and constitutional violations continue to occur in detention facilities,” Commissioner Gail Heriot, a law professor at the University of San Diego, writes in a dissenting statement attached to the lengthy report. The commission went into this particular project intent on uncovering a scandal, Heriot writes. “Instead of conducting an actual investigation, it structured its initial fact-finding simply to amplify stale rumor and innuendo. No effort was undertaken to establish whether the allegations— all of which were already public—were fact or fancy.”

This revelation may not seem surprising considering who’s in charge of the commission. Castro served as a national board member of the powerful open-borders group (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund or MALDEF) that specializes in discrimination lawsuits on behalf of illegal immigrants and has Chicago ties to Obama. In 2011 the president made Castro the first Latino chairperson in the history of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. His commission biography boasts that Castro is the “proud product of Head Start and affirmative action in higher education,” two of Obama’s signature programs for minorities.

“With the full, historic moral authority of this Commission, we identified many serious conditions at detention centers,” Castro said in a statement announcing the report this month. “All people, no matter whether they are immigrants or asylum-seekers, deserve to be treated as humans. The Commission stands strongly behind our recommendation to release unaccompanied minors and families from detention, and encourages DHS to find alternatives to the detention centers. Now, more than ever before, we need to treat fairly and humanely those persons, especially women and children, who are seeking sanctuary from violence and instability in their countries.”

But Commissioner Peter Kirsanow blasted the new report, asserting that the panel’s goal is to obtain citizenship for illegal immigrants at taxpayer expense. In his rebuttal, Kirsanow writes: “The majority’s Recommendation 13 urges that taxpayers pay for attorneys for illegal immigrants. Exactly why a nation that is 18 trillion dollars in debt should pay for attorneys for people who broke its immigration laws is unclear, particularly given that most of those heavily burdened taxpayers want recent border crossers packed off to their countries of origin posthaste. Taxpayer funding for immigration attorneys would, however, be a boon to the immigration bar and to open borders advocates. This report is primarily motivated by the interests of those two groups and the need to provide political cover to the administration’s lawlessness, so perhaps that is the only explanation needed for a recommendation that would extend plundering of taxpayers and gutting of immigration enforcement into a new realm.”

Last year Kirsanow condemned Obama’s amnesty measures, declaring that they have a particularly disastrous effect on the employment of black Americans and disproportionately impact the wages and work opportunities of African-American men. Kirsanow, who is black, has also denounced a new Obama administration policy that says criminal background checks are discriminatory against minority job applicants.


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Defunding Planned Parenthood?

Star Parker 3Defunding Planned Parenthood Takes Leadership

As Planned Parenthood leadership continues to blow smoke and deceptively say they are selling apple pie and women’s health, let’s consider who they are.

By Star Parker

Syndicated nationally by Creators

House Speaker John Boehner, who will step down at the end of October, said on “Face the Nation” Sunday, “We have got groups here in town, members of the House and Senate here in town, who whip people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know, they know are never going to happen.”women

The Speaker was referring to the latest threat by conservative Republicans to hold up spending authorization for the government if it includes $500 million in taxpayer funds going to Planned Parenthood.

According to the Speaker’s “wisdom,” and that from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other Republican establishment figures, a spending bill defunding Planned Parenthood will certainly be vetoed by the president, without sufficient votes in the Senate to override that veto. Republicans will then allegedly bear the brunt of public resentment for a government shutdown.occupy-4

But Speaker Boehner’s characterization of the situation captures why conservatives are frustrated with him and the rest of the Republican establishment.

Leadership isn’t defined by polls or head counts. It is defined by principles and courage. If polls that reflect what happened yesterday are left to determine what happens tomorrow, why do we need leaders? If politics is the art of the possible, it is leadership that takes what seems impossible and brings it into the realm of the possible.

Facts appear to bear out that it is not conservatives but the absence of principled leadership that has hurt the Republican Party. Supposedly Republicans received a black eye in the court of public opinion when government was shut down in 2013 as Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz, tried to defund Obamacare.

But the congressional elections in 2014, the first elections following the 2013 shutdown, produced massive Republican victories. Republicans picked up more seats in the House, giving them an even stronger majority, and Republicans won back control of the Senate.

black infantPro-life forces have been trying to cut off taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, for years. However these efforts have been re-energized by the latest round of videos, done by the Center for Medical Progress, documenting Planned Parenthood trafficking in body parts of the infants they abort.

Unfortunately, abortion on demand remains legal in our country. So stopping taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood doesn’t change anything they do. It just sends them to the private marketplace, like other non-profits, to find their funding.

How can a nation, who still calls itself a nation “under God,” force taxpayers to take money out of their paychecks and send it to an organization that performs some 350,000 abortions a year, and then sells body parts of these destroyed children?

As Planned Parenthood leadership continues to blow smoke and deceptively tell the American people that they are selling apple pie and women’s health, let’s consider who they are.

If Planned Parenthood had its way, partial-birth abortion would still be legal in America. They challenged the law, signed by President Bush in 2003, making this procedure illegal. Justice Kennedy, who wrote the opinion in 2007, upholding the constitutionality of that law, included a nurse’s testimony describing the procedure:

“The baby’s little fingers were clasping and un-clasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor struck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out.”

Fortunately, this is no longer legal. But similar brutalities continue. And now we learn that there is commerce in the body parts of these infants.

Courageous Republican leadership should be focused more on getting these truths in front of the American people and less on doing vote counts.


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Biblical Self-Government — Faith and Authority

AABBiblical Self-Government

By Stiles J. Watson

Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet. — Robert C. Winthrop, Addresses and Speeches on Various Occasions, 1852

Biblical Self-Government: The desire and the ability to willingly submit to God-given authority without being forced, coerced, or constantly reminded to do so.[i]

When man refuses to be self-governed, he asks to be a slave. This sums up the whole history of mankind. It started in Eden, and it is still true, even in our country today.AAD

When God created Adam in the Garden of Eden, Adam was to be self-governed, ruled only by God. God gave him the law by which he was bound, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:15–17). Once Adam had received the law, it was up to him to willingly submit to God and obey His law. God did not stage guards around the tree forcing Adam to stay away. God did not place a fence around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil keeping Adam at arm’s length. Self-government is the primary means by which man was to be governed.Travel Trend Myanmar Tourism

However, how was Adam governed after he disobeyed God? He was cast out of the garden and a guard, armed with a flaming sword, was placed at the entrance: “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Gen. 3:24). Since Adam could not govern himself inwardly, he had to be governed outwardly. He could no longer be trusted to obey, so he had to be restrained.

We see the same principle at work in the history of the Israelite people. They were established in the Promised Land as a self-governing people. They had no king, no parliament, and no president to rule over them, only the law of God. They had been taught the law and how to deal justly with the lawless by Moses, and now they were to put everything they had been taught into practice. However, once again, the people failed to exercise self-government. The people forsook God and His law and as a result, God sent judgment in the form of other nations to rule over them. Being greatly oppressed by godless nations, the people cried out to God for mercy. God then sent His messengers, judges, to deliver the people from their enemies and to call them to return to the worship of the one, true God. The people would then repent, turn back to God (until the judge died), and the whole cycle would start over again (Judg. 2:11–19).

AAFWhat was the sin of the people? “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 21:25). This verse, and its twin, Judges 17:6, is very important to our understanding of Biblical self-government because it defines for us what it is not. Doing that which is right in our own eyes is not self-government! Self-government still is, and always has been, bound by the Word of God. It is the willing submission and obedience to the Word of God that makes us self-governed.

Before we go much further, it is important to understand the role of the judges of Israel. They were not judges as we think of judges today, sitting on a bench presiding over a legal case (although in Judges 4:4–5 we see the people coming to Deborah for judgment). They were more akin to military generals. The judges had no civil authority or jurisdiction. They could neither enact nor enforce laws. They were messengers for God, called by God for a specific, but temporary, purpose (to deliver the people from their enemies). However, regardless of the number of times they were delivered, or how miraculous the deliverance was, the people refused to be governed by God’s law. As a result, we see that every generation was more wicked than that of their fathers (Judg. 2:19).

To bring the period of the Judges to an end, the Israelites asked to be like every other nation and to be ruled by a king. By studying 1 Samuel 8:5–20, we can get a clear understanding of exactly what the Israelites were asking for; they were asking to be made slaves.

1 Samuel 8:5–20

  1. 5. And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 10. And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 11. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint themfor himself, for his chariots, and to behis horsemen; and someshall run before his chariots. 12. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set themto ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13. And he will take your daughters to beconfectionaries, and to becooks, and to bebakers. 14. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, eventhe best of them, and give themto his servants. 15. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put themto his work. 17. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. 19. Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20. That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.

Here are the main points of the above text:

  1. The Israelites wanted a king to rule over them like all the other nations (v. 5).
  2. God said their desire was a rejection of Him as their King (v. 7).
  3. God tells Samuel to warn the people about what they are about to do (v. 9).
  4. Samuel tells them all the ways in which they would be enslaving themselves to a human king and that they will cry out to God because of the oppression, but God will not listen (vv. 10–18).
  5. The people refused to listen and demanded to be given a king to rule over them so they could be like all the other nations and so that the king would fight their battles for them (vv. 19–20).

First Samuel 8:5 sets the tone for the verses that follow. God had miraculously delivered His people from slavery in Egypt roughly 350 years before, yet once in the Promised Land, they quickly forgot God and “went a whoring after other gods” (Judg. 2:17). The primary desire of the people was to be “like all the nations” (1 Sam. 8:5) and have a ruler over them. Even though Samuel took this as an indictment against him, God understood the hearts of the people and judged that it was He that they rejected (v. 7). Because of their wicked hearts, God was about to give them exactly what they wanted—just as He did in the wilderness when the Israelites, unsatisfied with God’s provision, cried out for meat:

Numbers 11:1820

  1. 18. And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. 19. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; 20. But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?

God gave them the desires of their wicked hearts until it came out of their nostrils!

From reading 1 Samuel 8:10–18, we see that God warned the Israelites that they were about to enslave themselves, but they would not listen. Here is God’s warning:

  1. The king will take away your sons and put them into his service whenever and wherever he pleases. Some as military personnel, some as forced laborers to work his fields.
  2. The king will take your daughters to be his cooks and bakers.
  3. The king will confiscate your fields and vineyards and make them his own.
  4. The king will take a tenth of what you harvest as his tax.
  5. The king will take of your male and female servants and of your flocks and make them his.
  6. And last, but not least, “ye shall be his servants.”

Look at the tremendous freedom they chose to give up, and for what purpose? They thought that by alleviating themselves of God’s rule, they would be free to do as they wished. Their desire was still that of Genesis 3:5; they desired to be as gods, determining for themselves what was good and what was evil. By rejecting God, they rejected the most just and merciful master they would ever have and replaced Him with unrighteousness and oppression. They replaced Biblical self-government with statism.

This is exactly what we do when we refuse to be governed by the Word of God. We trade freedom for slavery. We trade mercy for coercion. This is the situation we are in today.

As to the Lord, and Not to Men

One great example of what Biblical self-government looks like comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 6:5–9

  1. 5. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6. Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7. With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8. Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

We are all personally accountable to God for our attitudes and actions. It does not matter if we are servants/slaves or free men/masters; everything we do must be done “unto Christ,” for He is our Master who is in heaven. If we only do what is right while others are watching, we have only deceived ourselves because God is ever-present, all-knowing, and able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart (Ps. 139:7–12; Heb. 4:12).

Nothing New under the Sun

America was the first country to be founded upon the principles of Christian self-government. But after she became a nation, the people quickly began to turn away from these principles and began to look to the civil governments for their provision and protection. As the people of America began to want more from the civil authorities, the more they had to give up in the way of their freedom. Go back and reread God’s warning to the Israelites when they requested a king to rule over them. Is there anything that God warned the people about that we are not also currently subject to?

George Washington himself said several times that the American form of government would not work if the people were not a Christian people.[ii] His statements have shown themselves to be true. Without a people who bow down only to Jesus, the Son of God, as their King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we are doomed to commit the same sin, and suffer the same punishment, just as every other nation in history who has forsaken God: slavery to the godless and the lawless. As God’s people, we get the kind of government we deserve. Therefore self-government (willful submission to lawful authority, starting with the Word of God) is a foundational part of the faith for all of life.


[i] Submission to God-given authority does not mean blind, unconditional obedience. We are never to disobey Christ in our obedience to derivative, human authorities. Our obedience is also limited to the area in which the derivative authority has jurisdiction. For instance, we do not have to obey the state when they tell parents they must put their children into the state school system, for God never gave the state jurisdiction over the education of children. Neither do we have to obey the state when they tell us not to preach certain doctrines because they have declared parts of the Bible “hate speech.” Similarly, children, even though commanded to both honor and obey their parents, do not have to obey if they are told to steal, commit murder, etc. See Rushdoony’s comments on Romans 13 for additional reading on submitting to proper authority.

[ii][T]he foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the preeminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world. I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people” (First Inaugural Address of George Washington, The City of New York, Thursday, April 30, 1789. Emphasis added.). It is important to note that when George Washington says “the pure and immutable principles of private morality,” he is NOT speaking of a morality that is invented by each person privately. Rather, he is speaking of self-government, or the act of personally applying God’s moral law to one’s own actions. This is further shown by his statement “the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” It is God alone who has ordained the “eternal rules of order and right.”

Similar statements are found in George Washington’s Circular Letter Addressed to the Governors of all the States on Disbanding the Army, June 14, 1783, “I now make it my earnest prayer … that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation” (emphasis added). *


Stiles J. Watson is the Webmaster for the Chalcedon Foundation and is a graduate of the University of Houston, where he received a B.S. in Computer Science. He has also taken courses at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife homeschool their children and attend Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC. He is also the editor of:

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Biblical Faith and American History (Part 1: The Past)

EmilyCarr-Indian-Church-1929“A New Model for the Church”

 By Rev. R.J. Rushdoony

Biblical faith, first of all, begins with the sovereign God, Who, in His grace and mercy, redeems man through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Because God is sovereign, His work of salvation is an act of sovereign grace. Anything short of this is not scriptural: it is another religion, whatever its ostensibly Christian form. Jesus Christ cannot be our Savior if He is not Lord.olivet discourse

Second, because God is the total and sovereign God, our faith cannot be only a spiritual concern. The totally sovereign God is Lord over every aspect of life. All things are created, predestined, governed, and judged by Him. As a result, the Bible legislates concerning every area of life, church, state, school, family, science, the arts, economics, vocations, things spiritual, and things material. Neoplatonism, however, regarded the material world as low and irrelevant to religion. As a result, wherever neoplatonism is in evidence, Christian faith is reduced to a spiritual religion.

Neoplatonism in the Church

St. Augustine, to whom the church owes so much for his emphasis on God’s reaching out to Godpredestination, was inconsistent as he turned from God to the world. His neoplatonism took over, and he surrendered the world and history to the enemy. The work of the Christian was substantially reduced to soul-saving. As Tuveson wrote of Augustine, He viewed religion as essentially an individual experience, an immediate transforming contact of the soul with divine truth and grace.”1 This emphasis, in Augustine and in all his successors to the present, led to a re-reading of the Bible as a book of “spiritual” comfort for the soul. Whether interpreting the laws of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, or the Book of Revelation, everything was spiritualized and made a message for the soul. The colors used in the tabernacle, and the numbers cited in prophecies, came to have spiritual messages of great import, whereas the very obvious meanings were by-passed as carnal, and intended for a carnal generation.

sunset churchAugustine, by his emphasis on God’s predestination, was a major influence on the Reformation and a father thereof. However, because of his neoplatonic elements, he was also the father of the Roman Catholic Church, and of fundamentalism, Lutheranism, and amillennial Calvinism. Because the material world was only a vale of darkness for the soul to pass through, the church came to be the only truly Christian institution and was exalted even as the state, family, and much else were downgraded. We fail to remember that very early the church, under the influence of neoplatonism, came to regard the family with distrust as a law and carnal domain.

Augustine’s influence on eschatology prevailed for a thousand years, and is again with us. With the decline of neoplatonism, there was a revival of postmillennialism. One of its consequences was the great age of exploration. There are many indications that the Americas were repeatedly “discovered” over the centuries, by Europeans and Asiatics, by Phoenicians and Arabs from the Middle East, by Chinese, Norsemen, and perhaps other Europeans. Nothing came of these “discoveries.” The thinking of the times did not make a new land significant. Only as postmillennialism began to emerge, and with it a new sense of the Great Commission, did men set out to explore and to exercise dominion. Most of the explorers, from Columbus on, whatever their faults, did have a postmillennial and missionary motivation as well as an economic one. The economic concern, in fact, was an aspect of a renewed sense of the creation mandate to exercise dominion and to subdue the earth.

Every area of life began to be viewed in Biblical terms. Early in church history, (the very strongly Hellenic) Origen, had castrated himself to escape the flesh — only to find that lust begins in the mind and heart of man. In the Middle Ages, the Song of Solomon was spiritualized and turned into nonsense. Puritan divines like William Gouge and others referred to it as a source of instruction in perfect married love. A favorite Puritan text was Genesis 26:8, which tells of Isaac “sporting” with his wife Rebekah. The Puritans used this text to attack stoical abstinence and sacerdotal celibacy, of which Gouge said that it was, “A disposition no way warranted by the Word.” Thomas Gataker, in a marriage sermon of 1620, attacked the idea that Biblical faith is indifferent to things physical or disinterested in marital joys. This false picture of Biblical faith, he declared is:

An illusion of Sathan, whereby he usually perswades the merry Greekes of the world; That if they should once devote themselves to the Service of Jesus Christ, that then they must bid an everlasting farewell to all mirth and delight; that then all their merry dayes are gone; that in the kingdome of Christ, there is nothing, but sighing and groning, and fasting and prayer. But see here the contrary: even in the kingdome of Christ, and in his House, there is marrying and giving in marriage, drinking of wine, feasting, and rejoicing even in the very face of Christ.2

Erasmus had spoken of marriage as being perfected in abstinence from sexual intercourse. The prominent Elizabethan Puritan Henry Smith declared that 1 Corinthians 7:3 is “[A] commandment to yield this duty [sexual intercourse], that which is commanded is lawful; and not to doe it, is a breach of the commandment.” William Whately said that neither husband nor wife can “without grievous sinne deny it” when the other wishes intercourse. Gouge spoke of marital sex as “one of the most proper and essential acts of marriage.” In Massachusetts, in the Middlesex County Court in 1666, Edmund Pinson complained that Richard Dexter had slandered him by stating that Pinson had broken his wife’s heart with grief because “that he wold be absent from her 3 weeks together when he was at home, and wold never come nere her, and such like.”3

Only a few generations previously, it was a mark of saintliness to be abstinent in marriage; now it was slander to be charged with it! The change was great and dramatic. The change, however, was not limited to marriage. In every area of life, man was to delight himself in God’s salvation, the joys of covenant life, physical and spiritual, and to move forward confidently to exercise dominion and to subdue the earth. The material world was now important because God created it, and because God required man to subdue it, exercise dominion over it, and to rejoice therein before the Lord.

The Mission of American Puritans

American Puritanism thus self-consciously set out to establish God’s New Zion on earth, and to make America the base from whence the world was to be conquered. The great missionary movement of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century was one result. In 1654, Captain Edward Johnson published in London his A History of New England, or Wonder-Working Providence of Sion’s Saviour in order to enlist Christians to colonize the new world, declaring:

Christ Jesus intending to manifest his Kingly Office toward his Churches far more fully than every yet the Sons of men saw stirres up his servants as the Heralds of a King to make this Proclamation for Voluntiers as followeth.

Oh yes! Oh yes! All you the people of Christ that are here Oppressed, imprisoned and scurrilously derided, gather yourselves together, your wives and little ones, in answer to your several Names as you shall be shipped for his service, in the Westerne World, and more especially for planting the united Collonies of new England; Where you are to attend the service of the King of Kings, upon the divulging of this Proclamation by his Heralds at Armes.

Could Casar so suddenly fetch over fresh forces from Europe to Asia, Pumpy to foyle? How much more shall Christ who created all power, call over this 900 league Ocean at his pleasure, such instruments as he thinks meete to make use of this place. Know this is the place where the Lord will create a new Heaven, and a new Earth, in new Churches, and a new Commonwealth together.4

The Puritans had a blueprint for the “new Heaven, and a New Earth, in new Churches, and a new Commonwealth” which the Lord planned to build in America. This blueprint was the Bible. Tuveson has observed:

The English, it has been truly said, are the people of a book the Bible. Not the least important result of their pre-occupation with the Word was that they, as well as their fellow Protestants in other countries, came into close contact with a philosophy of history far more sophisticated, far more universal and yet more flexible than any the great classical tradition provided.5

Even more, Americans became the people of the book, and the tremendous expansive energy of both English and Americans. The eschatological vitality of both came from the postmillennial faith which for a time dominated thinking in both countries.

The New Model

It was not surprising, therefore, in view of the Puritan dedication to Scripture that they looked to the Bible not only for a new model for the church but also for the state. From the very beginning, the colonies, especially in New England, looked to the Bible for their laws. Because of the royal over-lordship where colonial charters were concerned, a certain amount of English royal law was also retained to avoid conflicts with the British crown. But the Puritans essentially wanted a new model, one based on Scripture, for every area of life; we have Cromwell’s New Model Army; we have new model churches; in one case after another, things were refashioned in terms of Scripture.

According to a modern fallacy, begotten of antinomianism, Scripture is only partially law, and that law can be divided into ceremonial, civil, and moral. Such a distinction, first of all, leaves very little of the Bible as law. Second, the division is artificial. The so-called ceremonial law is intensely moral: it deals with the fact of sin and God’s plan of atonement; civil law is as moral as any law can be, since it deals with theft, murder, false witness, adultery, crime, and punishment in every form.

This fallacy does have roots in some antinomian Puritans, but the more common view of the Puritans was to view all of Scripture as the law of God. The only kind of word the sovereign God can speak, they assumed rightly, is a sovereign word, a law-word because it is a binding word. A sovereign God cannot speak an uncertain or a tentative word. As a result, Puritans searched Scripture for guidance in every area of life, because Scripture to them was indeed God’s binding and infallible word.

It should thus not surprise us that they turned to and used Biblical law. Not until the Cambridge Platonists introduced neoplatonism into Puritanism (and thereby hamstrung it) did they cease to show an interest in Biblical law. It was God’s ordained means of building His New Zion in America and using America as a means of conquering the whole world.

The medieval preacher looked for allegories in Scripture and for non-historical and spiritual meanings. The Puritan looked for laws of living, for mandates in personal, family, church, school, state, vocational, and social living. His purpose was both practical and theological, to establish God’s New Zion in America.

The Jeremiad

As a result, a characteristic complaint began to mark the American pulpit from the second generation in New England to all of America today, the jeremiad. The jeremiad is a lamentation that the nation is faithless to its covenant God. It assumes a particular responsibility by the American people to be faithful to the Lord because they have been particularly blessed by Him. Whereas in France the appeal to national renewal is humanistic and cites “the glory of France” as the impetus, in America the impetus is religious very commonly, and is theological in its concern and emphasis.

The framework of American life, thus, has been theological. We may find fault with the developments of that theology, and the departures from it, but America’s theological context is very real. Thus, whatever else we may say about The Battle Hymn of the Republic, it clearly sees America’s mission, even with, if not emphatically with, its armies to be a manifestation of God’s justice and judgment. The coming of the Armies is identified with the coming of the Lord in judgment. Its chorus is a triumphant hymn of praise, a doxology: “Glory, glory, Hallelujah, Our God is marching on!” In the twentieth century, even non-Christians spoke readily and freely on “the mission of America.” The Puritan current is still strong, even among those who reject it.



  1. Ernest Lee Tuveson, Millennium and Utopia (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith [1964], 1972), 15.
  2. Thomas Gataker and William Bradshaw, Two Marriage Sermons (London, 1620), 14, cited by Roland M. Frye, “The Teaching of Classical Puritanism on Conjugal Love,” in Arnold Stein, ed., On Milton’s Poetry (Greenwich, CT: Fawcett Publications, 1970), 104.
  3. ibid., 105f.
  4. Albert Bushnell Hart, American History Told by Contemporaries, vol. 1 (New York: Macmillan, 1897), 366f.
  5. Tuveson, op. cit., 4.

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916-2001) was the founder of Chalcedon and a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical Law to society.

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