The coming of l993 brought a great sigh of relief from the organizing committee of the quincentenary of Columbus' voyage to the "New World." Seldom has a five-hundredth anniversary caused more commotion left, right, or center. Everyone, except maybe the "Adult Children of Alcoholics," took the occasion of the quincentenary to cast all sorts of accusations, allegations, defamations, and, as my Mama would say, "plain ole ugly things" upon the "Admiral of the Ocean Sea." It is impossible to relate them all but I cannot resist mentioning a few:
The Universities of the land (modern society's peculiar version of the old insane asylums) were not shy (are they ever?) to jump into this historical/philosophical fracas. The University of Illinois officially changed Columbus Day to a "Day of Mourning" while Arizona State University commemorated the day by allowing a Chicano rap group to shout obscenities about European culture. The University of Minnesota enjoyed an entire day of "festivities" highlighted by a play about the "legacy of Columbus' (it was all bad) to be held at "The Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater" (seriously, I would not make these things up).
Each month the "Cross-Examination" column presents a summary statement of a Reformed and Reconstructionist conviction in theology or ethics, and then offers brief answers to common questions, objections or confusions which people have about that belief. Send issues or questions you would like addressed by Dr. Bahnsen to the editor.
We have seen that the covenant signs of circumcision and baptism pointed to the cleansed and consecrated (holy) character of God's people, even though not everyone within the covenant community (or church) lived up to that signification in the Old Testament, just as not everyone within the New Testament covenant community (or church) lives up to it. Nevertheless the signs of circumcision and baptism retain their value and importance in the eyes of God, the Lord of the covenant.
With the announcement of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, we stand on the threshold of the most important thirty-three years in the history of the world, the time in which Jesus Christ, our Divine-Human Savior would accomplish the salvation of God's people and of the entire creation. "The appearance and activity of Jesus on earth is the central and most important event of all time. Everything that had gone before had led up to it. And everything that has followed upon it is connected therewith." - Geldenhuys.
The life and ministry of John the Baptist is the link between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In him we learn that the Old Testament revelation and the New Testament revelation are one continuous movement in the plan of God. Luke's real interest in beginning his gospel with the announcement of the birth and ministry of John the Baptist is "to show how all things have taken place in accordance with a definite plan which fulfills the redemptive history of the Old Testament. The birth of John the Baptist constitutes the end of the old covenant and the beginning of the revelation history of the new, Luke 7:28; 16:16." - Bo Reicke, The Gospel of Luke.
He Shall Have Dominion by Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. Institute for Christian Economics P.O. Box 8000 Tyler, Tx. 75711 $19.95 hb. 584 pp with index.
Many times during presbytery exams, when the examiner begins to ask questions on eschatology the one being examined replies that he is pan-mil. This often brings a wave of laughter from presbyters. While eschatology is a very difficult subject, we must realize that the Bible does speak directly to the subject. No Christian should take comfort in hiding behind a pan-mil description of his eschatology. All three (or four, including dispensationalism) cannot be correct. It is important that we study Scripture prayerfully to seek to understand what God has revealed on this important subject.
Let us turn now to our third foundation stone for the postmillennial hope: Prophecy.
God's prophetic word is power. It is not raw power, however. Neither is it brute force. Rather it is structured, sovereign might. It is guided by divinely ordained creational principle and covenantal promise. It will secure the end toward which it moves: "So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isa. 55: ll). Our's is a certain hope, not a mere wishful thought, for God says: "My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please" (Isa. 46:lOb).
Chapter XXXIV of the Westminster Confession of Faith begins with a study of the being of God the Spirit: who He is. Clearly set forth is the orthodox affirmation that the Holy Spirit is fully divine, the third person of the Triune Godhead.
There have always been those who have denied that the Spirit of God is a person. The Arians, Socinians, Unitarians, and numerous Neo-orthodox and Neo-liberal scholars claim Him to be little more than the power, influence, or energy of God. This false teaching denies the existence of the Spirit, and destroys the doctrine of the Trinity. But orthodox theology has always maintained that the Spirit is a person: a living, substantive entity. He is not merely an abstract force. In Luke 1:35; 4:l4; Acts 10:38; Romans 15:13; and 1 Corinthians l5:13, the Bible distinguishes the Holy Spirit and His power. The personality of the Holy Spirit scripturally evidences itself in the following ways.