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1995 Issue 9

Although it is obvious, as we have seen, that Luke depended upon Mark for the general outline of his material on the public ministry of Christ in Galilee, including in his own Gospel nearly all the incidents Mark records about Christ's ministry; nevertheless, Luke departs from Mark's outline when it suits his purposes and theme.

The first such departure of Luke from Mark's outline is our text, 5:1-11, which interrupts the parallel course of the narratives of Luke and Mark with the story of the miraculous catch of fish by Christ's apostles. This is one of the six miracle stories recounted only by Luke, (5:1-11; 7:11-17; l3:1O-17; 14:1-6; 17:11-19; 22:51). Whereas this story that has as its climax Jesus' words to Peter, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.," is similar to Mark's account of the calling of the disciples by Jesus to leave their nets and follow Him with the summons, "Come after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men," (Mk. 1:16-20), nevertheless these two stories are basically so different that Luke's story cannot be a simple revision and amplification of Mark's story. Mark's story and Luke's story differ in details, location, situation, content and purpose. Furthermore, once again we see Luke's almost lack of concern for chronological sequence, for he tells this story "without establishing any connection with what precedes or what follows." - Stonehouse

It is this statement in Acts 5:29, "We ought to obey God rather than men," which lays down the principles for biblical civil disobedience. A Christian's duty to obey God is greater than his duty to obey the government; when the government requires Christians to sin and go against God's Law, it is the Christian's duty to disobey.

If Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had bowed before Nebuchad-nezzar's image, it would have been idolatry. The Hebrew midwives would have been guilty of murder if they had obeyed the king if Egypt. Likewise, if Daniel in Daniel 6 and Peter in Acts 5 had not disobeyed, they would be transgressors of God's Law. When the civil government commands the Christian to sin, disobedience is required by God. Christians must remember first of all that however ungodly a government may be, God, in His providence, ordained it to rule. Daniel 4:17 reminds the Christian that "the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." Proverbs 21:1 says, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will."

Seventhly: My daughter Naomi, the youngest daughter now living (whose name signifies agreeableness) and whom I so named to perpetuate the memory of God's providential care at the time of her birth. I had left my employ, and a ready-furnished lodging also, and had removed to Ditton, where I could get no accommodation but an empty room, though in expectation every day of my wife being taken in labor, but God raised up a few friends to furnish the place, and make it agreeable for my wife by the time it was wanted. Thus God caused the morrow to take thought for itself. Therefore Agreeableness is the name of the child. And I do give and bequeath my daughter Naomi to "The God of our father Abraham, before whom I have walked, the Angel who hath redeemed me from all evil, the God of grace and providence, who hath fed me all my life long unto this day; and fixed thee "bounds of my habitation."

It is always a difficult to measure the critical nature of the days in which one lives. There is of course, a sense in which every generation should feel itself to be crucial to posterity. For truly, it only takes one generation's unfaithfulness to undermine the future of a culture. It seems we are living in a particularly momentous juncture in our nation's history. The future of our nation depends (humanly speaking) upon how God's people respond to the challenges of the hour.

Here history and especially the history of our own nation becomes most helpful. In this article (and the next, D.V.) I want to focus upon the thirty year period immediately preceding the War for Independence. Though there are many dissimilarities, there are not a few similarities between our own day and that period which ought to be noted.