Counsel of Chalcedon
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2001 Issue 1

In my late twenties I finally laid to rest the pessimistic, rapturistic view of the future in which I had been raised, and adopted a victory-oriented view of the kingdom of Christ in history before the Second Coming. It happened after a struggle and with much serious study and prayer. What finally pushed me into the postmillennial camp was the Biblical doctrine of the preaching of the Word of God. What the Bible taught about the nature and triumph of the preached Word made any defeatistic, pessimistic view of the future of Christ's kingdom in history impossible.

It was what the Sixteenth Century Puritans and the contemporary French Calvinist, Pierre Marcel's book, THE RELEVANCE OF PREACHING, said that God used to help me see what the Bible taught about the nature and power of preaching.

We have all been taught to think of Greece and Rome as the models of classic nobility, freedom, honor, courage, and the source of all the good things we enjoy in Western civilization. Even Christians have echoed the refrain of the world that for enlightenment, democratic values, and culture, the civilizations of Greece and Rome are unexcelled. We are told that the West owes its ideas of freedom and dignity, as well as its political structure to the Greek and Roman models. If one does not genuflect to the Greeks, one is incurably barbaric. It is vital that we get a more accurate understanding of the so-called "classical" world.

Whenever you find a man or culture nearly universally praised, you should learn to ask the question "Why?" Why do unbelieving historians love Greece and Rome? The answer is of course, that they love them because they epitomize the culture of unbelief or, in R. J. Rushdoony's phrase, "the society of Satan." Here was a great culture that was quite open about its unbelief. It rejected Israel's Jehovah with impunity and became great anyway (at least "great" as defined by men who reject the Scriptures).

Self defense is assumed by most to be a self-evident right. One need only think of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution that describes the right to avoid self incrimination, or arguments that would allow for abortion to save the mother's life (her own self preservation). It is simply taken for granted that the individual has the right to defend his own life. For those desiring to base their thoughts upon the Bible, there are three areas to explore. Is self defense consistent with the teaching of the Bible? If so, is it personal only, or does it have broader implications? And finally, what are the limits or qualifications that restrain it?

When we think of the "Pastoral Epistles," most of us have been taught and trained to think of Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus. However, a number of commentators refer to Peter's first epistle as a "pastoral epistle." E. G. Selwyn called I Peter "the model of a pastoral charge." Peter Davids, commentator in the NIC series, wrote, "First Peter is a significant work of NT theology and pastoral care." Jay Adams states, "In this letter, Peter's concerns are distinctly pastoral."

Paul's epistles to Timothy and Titus are called "pastoral" in an entirely different sense than Peter's pastoral epistle. The letters to Timothy and Titus are not pastoral because they directly addressed the needs of the congregation, but because they were written to pastors, to equip Timothy and Titus, to pastor their respective congregations. 4 Peter's epistle is truly an example of pastoral preaching because it was written to feed and strengthen the sheep. Peter never forgot Jesus' words, "Feed my sheep;" John 21:15ff. Peter's first epistle is truly an example of "pastoral preaching," its necessity, nature, and prerequisites.

The account of Noah in verse 7 teaches one primary lesson: faith in God's Word leads to life while unbelief leads to death. These Hebrew Christians were thus confronted with two choices: remain faithful to Christ during hardship and thereby obtain life and salvation, or turn away from him and forfeit the same. Before descending to the particulars of the text, there are several additional facts the Bible gives about Noah's life that we should notice: (1) His birth was accompanied by a prophecy of deliverance (Genesis 5:29). The Church, being grieved by the wickedness with which she was surrounded, was led by God's Spirit to see in Noah the hope of deliverance from the evil that was then engulfing the earth. (2) Noah was walking in a justified state before the flood (Genesis 6:8, 9). God had graciously called Noah unto himself. Noah responded to God's grace by "walking with God," just as Enoch had done. Hence, we see that the building of the ark is not the reason that Noah was justified,but the proof that his heart was right with God, or, the fruit of true faith. (3) Throughout his life, Noah was employed as a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). This ministry was exercised daily while he was building the ark. Hence, the people of that day not only saw the outward evidence that God was angry with the world, but they heard God's Word warning them of judgment and offering them salvation through the ark. (4) Noah was the leader of a group of eight people, all of whom were family members, who survived the great worldwide flood..