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2005 Issue 3

Not long ago, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the world-famous Calvinist Rev. Professor Dr. Abraham Kuyper Sr. became the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Thereby, he became Chief Politician of the largest Islamic country in the world, the then Dutch colony of "India" (alias the present Indonesia just to the north of Australia). At that time, Kuyper could indeed still claim: "Our Queen [Wilhelmina] rules over less Christians and more Muhammadans than the Sultan of Turkey in Europe and Asia together. England with her...millions of Muhammadans in the Indian SubContinent, still leads." Since then, England and the Netherlands and Turkey have all lost their Empires. Yet Islam has today become almost the most influential religion in the world.

In 1905, Kuyper lost the General Election in the Netherlands. He then requested Queen Wilhelmina to discharge him from his office. Immediately thereafter, he began to write his impressive two-volume work Om de Oude Wereldzee [Around the Mediterranean]. Much of what he there says about Islam is still very important. More so, because the Islamic lands that were then colonies of Western nations - have become independent since the Second World War, and in many cases proclaimed Islam as the law of the land. Thus the West today ignores the warnings in Kuyper's book to its own peril.

Parents often tell their children that they must discipline them because, as parents, they must obey God, and God commands them to discipline their children. They would be disobeying God not to discipline them. The children are to obey God and God commands them to obey their parents, Eph. 6:1. Now let's apply that same logic, if you will, to another issue, the submission and obedience of church members to those who are their God-appointed overseers, bishops, elders. Obedience to God, to Christ, and to the gospel is fundamental for all believers in the new covenant, I Peter 1:2, Psalm 110:3. God commands you to submit to those who rule over you. Therefore, you must obey and submit to your church leaders. Thus, if you are to ohey God, just as your children are to obey you, you must obey those in authority over you and submit to them as church leaders.

Evangelism is difficult because unbelievers do not want to be evangelized. They do not want to believe our gospel message and so they suppress the truth in unrighteousness being dead in their trespasses and sins.

Becoming a Christian is difficult. In fact it is impossible for us to turn ourselves into Christians. Only God can do it. Living the Christian life is difficult, because pockets of resistance to God still remain within us, which we call indwelling sin.

So then where do we find the power to become Christians, to live like Christians, and to make our witness effective in the hearts and lives of those who are still lost in their unbelief? In Acts 1:8 Jesus promises us such power: ...but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

For too long, Christians have reacted to each issue (i.e. abortion) as though it was just another in a string of issues initiated by non-Christians to destroy our culture. The hectic way by which we go from issue to issue must appear to non-Christians like a Chinese Fire Drill. The Biblical way to approach cultural issues is to determine how each issue fits into God's overall plan and offer a response that conforms to that plan. As an example, suppose the Supreme Court makes a ruling that obviously conflicts with the original intent of the U.S. Constitution. Jumping up and down, writing our elected representatives, or demonstrating our dissatisfaction in front of the Supreme Court building, or even clamoring for a Constitutional amendment, will not result in correcting the problem. The basic problem can only be addressed by electing Christian representatives so that Christian judges and Supreme Court Justices can be appointed (or wayward ones impeached). Our culture's problems will not be solved by electing conservative (non-Christian) representatives to offset and outnumber liberal (non-Christian) representatives. The only solution is to work for, support, and vote for Christian representatives who will not pass any legislation that doesn't conform to God's Word (and who will also work to remove nonChristian laws from the books). Conservative common sense will not solve our problems, but Christian sense (based upon God's inerrant revealed Word) will. What we are facing is a conflict of faiths, not a series of unrelated social issues.

We live in an age where there are professing Christians who have lost sight of the purpose of the local church, who do not fully grasp the importance of its ministry in the plan of God. There are those who believe that one really does not have to be an integral part of a local church to grow as a Christian. There are those who no longer see the value or the centrality of preaching in the worship of God. It is not uncommon that "preaching of sermons" in Sunday morning services is giving way to differing types of methodologies, such as the use of overhead projectors, power point presentations, drama skits, etc. Hence, the nature of the church and its mission is undergoing a transition today. We must ask ourselves if all these innovations are biblical. We surely don't want to do anything that would be displeasing to the Lord of the church since it is His church.

The church of the Lord Jesus Christ will always be of central importance in God's plan for humanity. The church is the apple of God's eye, as it were. The church is the bride of Christ, for whom our Lord shed His precious blood in order to redeem from the ravages of sin.

Since conservative Christians in North America have become more serious about political activism beginning in the mid-1970s or so, a plethora of books has been written about the supposed threat posed by the Christian Right. And with many Christians still politically active, it's no surprise that books continue to appear warning of the peril that such Christians pose to government and society. They tend to be books "exposing" the allegedly sinister political activities of groups such as Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition. Recently, however, a more sophisticated attack on conservative Christian politics has appeared, Terror and Civilization: Christianity, Politics, and the Western Psyche (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) by Shadia Drury. This book is more philosophical than the run-of-the-mill variety. It attempts to deal with more foundational issues than whether certain Republican politicians have ties to "fundamentalist" organizations.