Counsel of Chalcedon
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1995 Issue 7

The Christian community is inundated with books about relationships. But there is one relationship about which Christian authors are silent. And tragically, this relationship is one of the most important in the Christian life. I am speaking of the Christian's relationship with his elders. This is an important subject about which the New Testament has an enormous amount to say. Few Christians, however, understand the importance of developing a biblical relationship with their elders, and even less know how to do so. It is no exaggeration to say that the failure of Christians to involve their elders regularly and joyfully in their lives has led to inconsistent Christian living, the breakdown of the Church's piety, influence, and worship, and in congregations of Christians around the world who have no biblical concept of the role the elders are to play in the life of a Christ-centered Church. Often a family sees its elder only when a crisis arises, they want to baptize a baby, or they seek to leave one congregation in favor of another.

His word, written and preached, is still the instrument He uses as the exalted Christ, to control and overcome evil in the world. He speaks through the mouth of His church as His church faithfully expounds and bears testimony to His Word. His Word still overcomes evil and the demonic in your life, as you believe it, obey it and bear witness to it.

"Because Jesus Christ has defeated and overcome Satan, so also shall CHRIST'S PEOPLE gain the victory over Satan (and the demonic). His work is no real threat to the progress of God's kingdom. Satan has been bound by Christ, and now his house is being plundered." - Bahnsen, pg. 39. Christians do not have to fear Satan and his demons, but we must take them and their activity seriously. And here is why.

As important as the economic and legal issues were, they, in and of themselves, would not have brought about the War. The spiritual convictions which prevailed in 1775, were crucial in convincing the people that they must fight to preserve their independence. These convictions were present largely as a result of the Great Awakening of the 1740's.

The Great Awakening was a revival brought about by God through the preaching of such men as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Gilbert Tennant, and others. The spiritual foundations of Puritanism had eroded over the previous 50 years (from around 1680 to 1730) though the people still held to the same moral and ethical standards set by the Puritans (the Biblical morality and a basically Biblical world and life view). But the heart of the faith - love for the living God and His Word - had been lost. The Great Awakening changed all this.

I called your church yesterday hoping to speak with your wife: as one pastor's wife to another, one mother to another, in hopes she might better understand whereof I speak. I got one of your daughters instead, and tried to have a non-confrontational, intelligent conversation with her, but that quickly proved to be futile. (I did not get her name, but she did tell me she has seven children.) Within a few sentences any attempt to talk to her in a civil manner soon became impossible. I tried - in vain - to give her the following history of myself in order to allay any fears that mine was an harassing phone call. I know well myself what those calls are like. But she was geared for a fight - and she gave me one.

When you came and protested at Randy Shilts' memorial service my husband and I were out of the country - but our children were not. As a result of your protest our children got so many death threats that they had to leave our home for several days and sleep at someone else's house. When they did come back home they still received death threats, and one of the men in our church had to literally sit up all night for two nights - keeping watch over them and the house. This is not a new experience for us, you will find, if you read the rest of this letter.