Counsel of Chalcedon
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1988 Issue 1

On October 4, 1982, Congress passed Public Law 97-280, which states that "Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States;" that "the Bible is 'the rock on which our Republic rests;"' that "the history of our nation clearly illustrates the value of voluntarily applying the teachings of the Scriptures in the lives of individuals, families and societies;" that "the renewing of our knowledge of and faith in God through Holy Scripture can strengthen us as a nation;" that Congress recognizes "the normative influence the Bible has been for our nation, and our national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures."

On Saturday, December 5th, I was looking through the entertainment section of the Atlanta paper. The last item under Friday and Saturday of the next week caught my attention. "Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus. Christmas works by Charpentier, Vivaldi, Bach, Thompson, Handel and Liszt comprise the program at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, in St Luke's Episcopal Church, 435 Peachtree St. $8." It is bad enough that some men are homosexual; worse yet that, in today's society, they will openly admit to being homosexual. But it is absolutely ungodliness in its worst manifestation that homosexual men will band together and form a chorus, sing the great Christian works of such men as Bach and Handel, and perform in a "church!"

According to Christopher Columbus' diary from his 1492 voyage to America, one over-riding compulsion which drove him on the risky adventure was his wish to expand the gospel of Christ to the "isles at the ends of the earth." This evangelical concern stands out boldly in his diary. Later, the earliest immigrants from Europe, those who shaped America's culture, law, tradition, and ethics, were those who came from England. Our early forefathers were Pilgrims and Puritans - men and women of devout Christian faith. (In fact, as late as 1776 when the people declared independence, Puritanism provided the moral and religious background of fully 75% of the population.) The earliest English charters of the settlements in America made unequivocal references to their intent of spreading the Christian religion in the New World. The first charter of Virginia in 1606, the charter of Maryland in 1732, the charter of Massachusetts in 1729 are a few examples. The famous Mayflower Compact of 1620, which has been called the "foundation stone of democracy in America," states, "In the name of God, Amen. We .... having undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony on the northern part of Virginia." The Massachusetts Civil Bay Code of 1640 made repeated references to Biblical law by direct citation and Scriptural annotation.

In the next few months the presbyteries of the PCA will be voting on proposed changes to the Book of Church Order that, if passed, will make the PCA congregationalist instead of presbyterian in character. And if these proposals have the effect of making the PCA a fellowship of loosely associated congregations, then they not only violate the presbyterian spirit of the Book of Church Order, but more importantly they violate the clear teaching of Scripture.

The book of Jeremiah is unique because of a group of passages known as Jeremiah's "Confessions," consisting of prayers, monologues, dialogues, and disputes with God. They are found in 4:19-21; 5:3-5; 8:18-9:1; 11:18-23; 12:1-6; 15:10-21; 17:14-18; 18:18-23; 20:7-18. All of them reveal something of the heart and inner struggles of Jeremiah, a man held captive by the word of the Lord. It is because of these confessions that he has been called "the weeping prophet."

Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers, by John Eidsmoe. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987, 416pp. Reviewed by Rev. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Reedy River Presbyterian Church, Greenville, SC.

One of the eminently important socio-political questions of our day has to do with the role of Christianity in the founding of our nation. It should go without saying to the readers of The Counsel of Chalcedon that America is adrift in the tumultuous sea of secular humanism. Such anchorless casting about on the waves of the sea of chance is sure to result in a shipwreck of monumental historical importance for America, -- unless faithful Christians can in a timely manner secure this ship of state with its original Christian moorings.

Why is there such invincible ignorance in America about the human degradation and the evil of Communism on the part of the great preponderance of the American peop1e? Why have Americans been so absolutely unwilling to confront the reality of a mortal enemy dedicated to their national destruction for almost 70 years? Why to this very day have our national leaders in the fields of government, in business, in public education, in the great labor unions, in the renowned foundations, in the entertainment industry, in the news media, and in every important institution in the nation failed to raise a ringing and persistent warning about the mortal danger of the Communist Soviet Union and all Communist nations to the American people and their historic way of life? Why does the great preponderance of the American body of Christ today refuse to stand in vigorous, adamant and unyielding opposition to Communism, the most insidious and implacable ideology of atheism the world has ever known? Why do so many avowed forces of God in America today align themselves in so many ways with the Communist voices of anti-God and facilitate the growth and spread of the Communist night of the human soul?

What is Calvinism? Or the Confession of Faith in Harmony with the Bible and Common Sense. In a series of dialogues between a Presbyterian minister and a young convert. Dialogue XII, Effectual Calling.