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1992 Issue 1

Each month the "Cross-Examination" column presents a summary statement of a Reformed and Reconstructionist conviction in theology or ethics, and then offers brief answers to common questions, objections or confusions which people have about that belief. Send issues or questions you would like addressed by Dr. Bahnsen to the editor.

God is the sovereign governor of every event in nature and human history. All things take place according to His plan and purpose. God's sovereign rule over everything that happens includes the affairs of men - indeed, even the free choices made by individuals. He has decreed in an unchangeable fashion from all eternity what events will take place and what decisions men will make.

The following message was delivered at the memorial service for Robert Dieterle who passed away Nov. 18, 1991. He is survived by wife Mrs. Naomi Neely Dieterle; daughter, Dana Weaver, Cumming; daughter and son-in-law Deborah and Mike Minkoff, Cumming; sons and daughters in law, Ernest and Christine Russell, Acworth, Dennis and Pamela Weaver, Canton, Daren and Lora Weaver of Cumming; sister Elin C. Griggs of Mobile, Alabama; and 15 grandchildren. Mr. Dieterle was carried to Erie, PA for services and internment.

In times of grief like this, it is a comfort to know that people are praying for you. But there is no greater comfort in the world than to know that Jesus is praying for you, and that he is praying for you everyday. And, be assured, Christian family, that the incomparable Lord Jesus Christ is earnestly praying for you this very moment in your time of grief and loss.

As Reformed Christians we are often asked by those outside the Reformed Faith, "What is Reformed?" A variety of short answers are available, most of which emphasize some relation to the sixteenth century European Protestant movement and its theology. But what do we think of ourselves when we attribute the term Reformed to ourselves and our churches? There is a temptation for some of us to romanticize this period of history and to think of it as our ideal, especially as it manifested itself in the Puritan movement. The problem with this tendency to think of the term reformed as old and past tense is that it can lead twentieth century Reformed Christians to a somewhat distorted view of the current goals of the church.

God's decree is His eternal plan whereby God has predetermined or foreordained everything which shall happen (Eph. 1:4-6,11). His plan includes various particulars; thus, we often refer to God's decrees in the plural when actually there is but one decree. As absolute ruler, God brings to pass all that happens for an appointed purpose. We could say that God's sovereignty is the means by which His eternal decree is realized. There are some important considerations of God's decree with regard to how it relates to prayer. First, we need to recognize that God's decree is eternal. We must keep in mind that God doesn't have a past to which He is irrevocably bound. The distinction of time has no meaning to God who inhabits eternity. Eternity is an everlasting present where the past never passes and the future is always present. In order to meet man's comprehension of time, since he is a finite creature, the Bible speaks of past decrees and a coming future.

Prosperity and Poverty: The Compassionate Use of Resources in a World of Scarcity by E. Calvin Beisner.

The modem day church is reaping what it has sown for many years. While plentiful, the harvest is anything but pretty. For the most part the church has remained silent in the midst of social issues that demand an answer. Prominent among these issues is economics.

As we look into this vision, we should remember that this is the third in a series of visions Zechariah received on one night. In the first one involving the angelic horsemen, Zechariah was granted insight into the overwhelming resources available to God's people. The multitude of God's host angels are at work in the world. In the second one involving the four craftsmen, he was informed of the coming destruction of the foes of God's people. The enemies of God would get their due, despite their present peace.

Now in the third vision of the man with the measuring line, God promises to enlarge, secure, and glorify His people. The three visions are closely related. Remember that David desired the horns of the wicked be cut off so that the horns of the righteous would be exalted (Psa. 75:10). So after Zechariah 1:18-21 comes 2:1-13. The Measuring Line vision, therefore, unfolds the development of God's glorious purposes for His people through history into the future.