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1995 Issue 10

Knowing that Peter and the others now have the kind of mind-set that is required of a true disciple, Jesus answers Peter's confession of sin with this glorious promise, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men."

Time and again Jesus uses the images of fishing and dragnets to denote the preaching of the gospel, Mat. 4:19; Lk. 5:10. The manner in which the fishing is done is the focus of Jesus' attention. "First the net is dragged through the sea, and only after this work has been sufficiently performed, do the fishermen go to the shore to inspect the catch and make proper selection. This is an image of the way by which the kingdom comes. Preaching reveals the kingdom, for it is the Christ in whose service the 'fishers of men' are employed. But the kingdom will come in a different way from what might be supposed. This mystery is the real subject of the parable. Christ, (and the kingdom with Him), first comes to gather, and then afterwards, only after the gathering has been completed, does He make the definitive separation and reveal Himself in His perfect glory." - Ridderbos, pg. 140.

Men do not fight against overwhelming odds for money (greed will only take you so far). Anger and frustration melt away when the foe is seen as virtually indomitable. Even fame and power have their limits when it comes to their power to motivate men to do what to all the world seems impossible. This being the case, what was it that motivated the patriots of the 18th century to take on the most powerful military force in the world of that day? This is a question that has not been asked frequently enough. If you have the opportunity to ask one of our modern secular experts, you normally get a blank stare.

Twelfthly: All my strength, bodily, health, and my appointed time, together with those abilities which God hath bestowed on me as the God of nature, and likewise all the supernatural gifts, such as knowledge, faith, zeal, usefulness, utterance, fear, love, enlargement of heart, &c. which God is the best judge of, and which he hath freely and undeservedly bestowed on me, as the God of grace, as also the joy, peace, happiness, or felicity which he hath graciously given me in hope, as the God of glory, I desire with my whole heart to offer the whole of them up entirely to the service of my only master, Christ Jesus the Lord, to be disposed of to the honour of his own name, and the good of his own elect.

There is an unfortunate recurring opposition to theonomic ethics among many reformed Christians. It is unfortunate because reformed Christians operating under the Westminster Standards ought to be the first to recognize the legitimacy of theonomy. I have prepared this brief and somewhat sketchy paper to provide some insights into why reformed Christians, particularly within my own denomination (the Presbyterian Church in America), ought not be opposed to theonomy. I hope that these ideas, laid out in brief form, might be helpful to those reformed Christians who need to provide a response to their reformed brethren who find it necessary to resist theonomy.

When Jesus began His public ministry he said, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand," Mark 1:15. Peter preached at Pentecost, "This Jesus...God hath made both Lord and Christ - this Jesus whom you crucified: Acts 2:32, 36. The Gospel was proclaimed in the context of the O.T. Scriptures and promises of God. There was a context for hearing and understanding the message. What is the context in which we must proclaim the Gospel today! Do people believe in the authority of Scriptures! Are many people like the man who responded to the proclamation, "Jesus is the answer" with "What's the question!" Jim Peterson, the author of Living Proof, said "I finally realized that there were many people in my community...for whom the church and its message no longer held any interest," and "The idea that the Christian faith could serve as a basis for living never even crosses the mind of most people," (Jim Peterson, Living Proof, pp. 13-14, 21-22). Alan Bloom in his opening sentence to The Closing of the American Mind, said, there is one thing a (university) professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes...that truth is relative." These statements reflect something of the cultural context in which we live and in which we must proclaim the Gospel.