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1994 Issue 7

Theological inertia pushes both ways: there is the tendency to remain in a static position - unmoved and unchanging, but once motion has begun, there is the tendency to continue moving in a straight line until we reach the end -- like falling down the stairs. Tumbling down the theonomic stairs has produced more than a few bumps and bruises. I was warned some years ago, as I came near the upper landing of theonomy, that I was in danger of falling. As a Baptist pastor I was especially cautioned about the logical (theological) implications of theonomy and the inevitable conclusions of covenant theology - especially paedobaptism. They were right.

The Bible is full of genealogies, and each has its distinctive purpose and function in the context of the book in which it is located, and of the Bible as a whole. So there is nothing unusual about the existence of the genealogical tables of both Mary and Joseph at the birth of Jesus. "Under the guiding hand of God, the Jews preserved their genealogical tables with remarkable accuracy through all the centuries before the birth of Jesus and also during the first century after His birth. Ever since the earliest times the lineage lists were compiled and preserved as accurately as possible. After their return from the Babylonian exile, the Jews again thoroughly fixed their genealogical tables by committing them to writing and bringing them up-to-date, and this was continued until the time of Josephus. Especially would persons like Joseph and the family of Mary, who were of Davidic descent, preserve their genealogical tables with special care because the Old Testament prophesied that the Messiah would be born of the house of David. Apart from the public registers, numbers of Jewish families kept private family trees in their homes and handed them down from generation to generation." - Geldenhuys

The States-General summoned the delegates to meet at Dordrecht, also known as Dort, on November 13, 1618. The Dutch delegation consisted of fifty-eight ministers and elders appointed by the individual classes of each province. There were five Dutch theologians present from the various universities in the Netherlands. The States-General commissioned eighteen delegates as representatives of their interest. There was a foreign delegation of twenty-six theologians representing England, Germany, Switzerland, and the Southern Netherlands. The States-General provided the funds necessary for the meeting of the Synod, including the delegates' accommodations.

The one incident that has forever marked the Puritans as incurably devilish is, ironically, their opposition to the devil in Salem. The Salem witch trials have become the epitome of Puritanism -- typical and symbolic of all that the Puritans were and did. Let me be quick to say that this incident was, in many ways, deplorable (as will be shown below). Godly men of that day and this have condemned it for the injustices allowed and excesses condoned. But it does serve again to illustrate the bias of unbelieving historians against Christianity in this country. This incident has become inseparably joined with Puritanism (if you say "puritan" they say "witch trials"). Strangely, one seldom hears of the "witch-hunting" frenzy that gripped Europe long before (and after) this incident in Massachusetts. The contrast between the two incidents is quite revealing.