Counsel of Chalcedon
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1990 Issue 10

John Calvin begins his theological summa, the Institutes of The Christian Religion, as follows: "Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts; the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But, while joined by many bonds, which one precedes and brings forth the other is not easy to discern" (I:1:1 ). He then goes on to say that without a knowledge of one's self, and his debased and needy state, there is no knowledge of God. But to know one's state (and the whole world in general), there must first be a knowledge of God (i.e., self-knowledge is derivative) (1:1:1-3). Is such knowledge possible? Yes, by divine self-revelation: general and special (1:2-12).

On October 11, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law Public Law 100-482, which, according to the Senators who introduced it, urges the people of the United States to observe the Bicentennial of the French Revolution and the historic events of 1789. Their reason for this law was that the more we learn about the French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen the more we learn about our own past.

In 1908 Russian anarchist, Prince Propotkin wrote, "What we learn today from the study of the great Revolution in France is that it was the source and origin of all the present communist, anarchist, and socialist conceptions."

I am so proud of you. As I watched you play soccer tonight I realized once again what a blessing you've always been to me and our family. You have such a passion for life, such concentration and drive. You are so determined at whatever you set out to do, and you almost never do things half-way. When you are playing soccer, your good plays are very good and when you do something wrong, its a major goof-up. But that's OK because your mistakes are getting fewer and farther between. Above all else, John, you fascinate me. There is nothing boring about your personality. Thank you for always being a light shining on a dark day for me.

This is the season of Messiah! At this time of year Handel's great oratorio will be performed in churches and concert halls throughout the world. For almost 250 years audiences are moved from the grave overture to the majestic Hallelujah Chorus. It truly is a musical masterpiece.

George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany, within a month of Bach's Birth, 1685. His father was a barber/surgeon and desired that his son become a lawyer. His mother was the daughter of a Lutheran pastor. About the age of 17 he went to Hamburg and discovered opera with its great amalgamation of French, German, and Italian styles. From Hamburg he moved to Italy then to Hanover and finally to London in 1712 where he remained the rest of his life. Handel had developed a reputation with his operas but it is his 26 oratorios that are the most known of his vocal works.

You may think that a book about the growth of a coal company would be uninstructive. Think again.
Otto Scott's recently published (1989) Buried Treasure distributed by Ross House Books, P.O. Box 67 Vallecito, CA. 95251 provides many astute observations and economic insights for the reader.

Buried Treasure is the story of the formation and growth of Arch Mineral over a nineteen year period (1969-1988). Formed in a time when it was very difficult to get into the coal industry, Arch has grown to a point when it has good coal reserves, good contracts for that coal, and employs 3,000 people while providing an excellent return to its investors.

We have been thinking together about the beatitudes and how they depict the Christian as a person quite unlike the natural man. The first four beatitudes describe the initial exercises of the heart in one who has been awakened by the Spirit of God. First there is that realization that one is utterly poverty stricken when it comes to personal righteousness. The Spirit of God quickens the true seeker after God to his uncleanness in the sight of a holy God. Like Isaiah when he saw the Lord high and lifted up and confessed "Woe is Me, for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips."

When our Lord Jesus Christ quoted from the second table of the law to the rich young ruler, He said, Thou shalt do no murder." (Matthew 19:18). In I John 3:15 we read, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." Clearly, the sixth commandment forbids murder and warns against the hatred which is its root. We live in a day of vengeance. It is frequently the theme of novels, plays, and films. It is regarded as the way of life by many, particularly terrorist groups that justify their actions by saying that they are simply reacting to the so-called violence of the state. Such people are murderers. In God's law-order, killing born of hatred, revenge, and rebellion against the authority appointed by God, is forbidden. Against the perpetrators of such deeds, the state, as God's minister of justice, must act, not simply as a matter of vengeance, but primarily in obedience to the Law of God which requires the highest penalty--death. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Romans 12:19). There is an illegal killing which meets with the wrath of the Almighty through the instrumentality of God-ordained and obedient human authority. Unless the state acts to execute murderers, the nation which it serves will die. It is a matter of life or death.

"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent word. What more can He say than to you He hath said to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled."

These words are one of the earliest memories of my childhood. From the time I was a very little girl my precious grandmother, Anne Fuller Anderson, would sing this and other of the great old hymns. The melody would drift throughout the rooms of her small house along with the delightful aroma of the country breakfast she was preparing. My senses were awakened: the smell aroused my body--the sound of the song stirred my young soul.