There is nothing more important than the Gospel message. -cr
Larry P. Arnn
President, Hillsdale College
The following is adapted from a speech delivered at a Hillsdale College reception in Rogers, Arkansas, on November 17, 2020.
On September 17, Constitution Day, I chaired a panel organized by the White House. It was an extraordinary thing. The panel’s purpose was to identify what has gone wrong in the teaching of American history and to lay forth a plan for recovering the truth. It took place in the National Archives—we were sitting in front of the originals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—a very beautiful place. When we were done, President Trump came and gave a speech about the beauty of the American Founding and the importance of teaching American history to the preservation of freedom.
This remarkable event reminded me of an essay by a teacher of mine, Harry Jaffa, called “On the Necessity of a Scholarship of the Politics of Freedom.” Its point was that a certain kind of scholarship is needed to support the principles of a nation such as ours. America is the most deliberate nation in history—it was built for reasons that are stated in the legal documents that form its founding. The reasons are given in abstract and universal terms, and without good scholarship they can be turned astray. I was reminded of that essay because this event was the greatest exhibition in my experience of the combination of the scholarship and the politics of freedom.
My thoughts on President Arnn’s article:
I think it is a very good article. Included is part of Ronald Reagan’s Farewell Address as president in January 1989. In his life, Reagan had seen enough of a change in American society to make this comment:
“Younger parents aren’t sure that an ambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children.”
Then, Mr. Reagan issued a warning. (You’ll have to click on the link to the article above to see it.)
President Arnn goes on to discuss a few unknown facts about Thomas Jefferson. Before his well written short conclusion, he writes:
“To present young people with a full and honest account of our nation’s history is to invest them with the spirit of freedom. It is to teach them something more than why our country deserves their love, although that is a good in itself. It is to teach them that the people in the past, even the great ones, were human and had to struggle. And by teaching them that, we prepare them to struggle with the problems and evils in and around them. Teaching them instead that the past was simply wicked and that now they are able to see so perfectly the right, we do them a disservice and fit them to be slavish, incapable of developing sympathy for others or undergoing trials on their own.”
Having read some of what our forefather’s wrote, I cannot help but think of how much better prepared they seemed to be to handle what lay ahead. Like Mr. Reagan, I think we have gone backwards in many ways. In spite of technological, medical, and other amazing advances, Americans seem more divided and less content than ever. The rough, unkind, and unwise rhetoric that spills from many different sources fuels a fire that seems like it will be long lived.
Anyone who has read much of this blog at any length knows that I believe our problems lay in our disobedience to the authority of God’s Holy Word, the Bible. It is the greatest history book, one of the most owned and least read. One cannot read it and not see the importance of adhering to the protections God gave us in the Ten Commandments alone. The results of ignoring such valuable protections have proved devastating to many peoples of the past. Americans today are no more special in the eyes of God than those who have come before us. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. To think otherwise is to put too much faith in human strength and ability.
The Words of Jesus put life in prospective:
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
(Tune: The First Noel)
The first Noel of this new decade
Sees nations divided, people sick and afraid
Truth and Myth are thrown in the same heap
And “they” tell us that prejudice runs very deep
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is The King of Israel!
But today is not very different from then
The shepherds were not highly thought of by men
Out alone with the sheep on a cold winter’s night
While the cities were bustling, Caesar’s soldiers on site.
And lo, a bright Star shown upon earth’s plight
Those poor “lowly” shepherds saw angels that night!
Theirs was the privilege to go forth and tell
That King Jesus was born, Emanuel!
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is The King of Israel!
Praise God that His ways are much different than ours
He’s not impressed by political powers
Timing and healing are in His Control
Yet He’s more concerned for the state of our souls.
While this year might seem a nightmarish long night
Our Hope is the One Who said, “Let there be Light”
We don’t know what the next year will bring
Maybe we’ll see the return of THE KING!
And so from the Reimers, A Joyous Noel!
We’ve been mostly homebound, not much else to tell!
It’s peaceful and quiet here out in the woods
It’s been 25 years now, Isn’t God Good?
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is The King of Israel!
“My people shall dwell in quiet resting places.”
Peace and rest belong not to the unregenerate, they are the peculiar possession of the Lord’s people, and of them only. The God of Peace gives perfect peace to those whose hearts are stayed upon him. When man was unfallen, his God gave him the flowery bowers of Eden as his quiet resting places; alas! how soon sin blighted the fair abode of innocence. In the day of universal wrath when the flood swept away a guilty race, the chosen family were quietly secured in the resting-place of the ark, which floated them from the old condemned world into the new earth of the rainbow and the covenant, herein typifying Jesus, the ark of our salvation. Israel rested safely beneath the blood-besprinkled habitations of Egypt when the destroying angel smote the first-born; and in the wilderness the shadow of the pillar of cloud, and the flowing rock, gave the weary pilgrims sweet repose. At this hour we rest in the promises of our faithful God, knowing that his words are full of truth and power; we rest in the doctrines of his word, which are consolation itself; we rest in the covenant of his grace, which is a haven of delight. More highly favoured are we than David in Adullam, or Jonah beneath his gourd, for none can invade or destroy our shelter. The person of Jesus is the quiet resting-place of his people, and when we draw near to him in the breaking of the bread, in the hearing of the word, the searching of the Scriptures, prayer, or praise, we find any form of approach to him to be the return of peace to our spirits.
“I hear the words of love, I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice, and I have peace with God.
‘Tis everlasting peace, sure as Jehovah’s name,
‘Tis stable as his steadfast throne, for evermore the same:
The clouds may go and come, and storms may sweep my sky,
This blood-sealed friendship changes not, the cross is ever nigh.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)
(Mr. Spurgeon finished this devotion with a portion of the Hymn “I Hear the Words of Love” by Horatius Bonar.)
My favorite contemporary scientist for years has been Dr. Robert Gentry. He went into the presence of the Lord in January. I respect him greatly because of the personal sacrifices he made to follow where the scientific evidence led him.
Now, among living scientists, I would have to put Dr. James Tour as my favorite. His resume far exceeds that of Dr. Gentry which in no way lessens the greatness of Mr. Gentry in my mind.
This is a very interesting discussion between two Scientists who happen to be Christians. (Or should I say “Christians who happen to be scientists?”)
The other day I was talking to a young man about last days issues. It is a subject which is on the minds of many these days. The Rapture is one of the topics that usually comes up in such a discussion. Why spend time on the possibilities when someone with far more knowledge than I has made a concise video that does an excellent job of helping others understand the main four Christian views? Brother Dorgan not only describes the prospects, he does it in a very appropriate manner. He thinks that Christians should not be arguing over the different theories and his goal is to interest and inform those who never hear the topic discussed from their pulpits. He is not trying to convince anyone of his view (which he spends little to no time on in this video.)
I have studied this topic (the Rapture) enough to know that I do not hold a strong view in any direction. This video interested me enough to go on to view Mr. Dorgan’s next two sessions (where his view is spelled out) and I plan to eventually get to the final three sessions to complete the series.
I always appreciate kind, simple, and knowledgeable instruction. It is why I recommended this video to my young friend. If you are interested, I recommend it to you as well.
Currently, I hold to the “Pan-Trib” view. It will all pan out just the way God has planned it. In spite of my indecisiveness, I do think it is important to know the possibilities.
“Thou art my hope in the day of evil.”
The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. True, it is written in God’s Word, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;” and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be “As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” yet sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer’s sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light. There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the “green pastures” by the side of the “still waters,” but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, “Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen.” Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness. The best of God’s saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of his children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.
Charles H. Spurgeon
When I read this today, the verse seemed to fit our day in other ways as well. The deity of Christ is under attack perhaps more today than ever. Just this week, I’ve stumbled across several different religious leaders who do not give Jesus his full position as God as the Bible teaches. (30 “I and the Father are one.” – John 10)
Add to that the many false prophets, prosperity teachers, New Apostolic Reformation leaders, New Age thought, Unitarian positions, cults, etc. (I’m not even including other religions here) and we have a time where Bible verses are twisted to make Jesus someone to fit personal wishes instead of the true Jesus found in scripture (Tota Scriptura).
We need to be familiar with the entire Word of God so that we are not fooled by these impostors. I think it’s time for all of us to go back to the basics and study why we believe the things we do believe. I think this because basic Christian Orthodoxy which has spanned the ages is in question (i.e. the diety of Christ).
Just like my church (and yours) Parkside Church is full of empty seats until further notice. Pastor Begg gives a sermon to his congregation through his church’s website. It is relevant to our times. The message starts at 16:45. May God bless you by His Holy Spirit through this recent lesson.
It may be of great service to us, before we fall asleep, to remember this mournful fact, for it may lead us to set loose by earthly things. There is nothing very pleasant in the recollection that we are not above the shafts of adversity, but it may humble us and prevent our boasting like the Psalmist in our morning’s portion. “My mountain standeth firm: I shall never be moved.” (Psalm 30:6) It may stay us from taking too deep root in this soil from which we are so soon to be transplanted into the heavenly garden. Let us recollect the frail tenure upon which we hold our temporal mercies. If we would remember that all the trees of earth are marked for the woodman’s axe, we should not be so ready to build our nests in them. We should love, but we should love with the love which expects death, and which reckons upon separations. Our dear relations are but loaned to us, and the hour when we must return them to the lender’s hand may be even at the door. The like is certainly true of our worldly goods. Do not riches take to themselves wings and fly away? Our health is equally precarious. Frail flowers of the field, we must not reckon upon blooming forever. There is a time appointed for weakness and sickness, when we shall have to glorify God by suffering, and not by earnest activity. There is no single point in which we can hope to escape from the sharp arrows of affliction; out of our few days there is not one secure from sorrow. Man’s life is a cask full of bitter wine; he who looks for joy in it had better seek for honey in an ocean of brine. Beloved reader, set not your affections upon things of earth: but seek those things which are above, for here the moth devoureth, and the thief breaketh through, but there all joys are perpetual and eternal. The path of trouble is the way home. Lord, make this thought a pillow for many a weary head!
Charles H. Spurgeon
Morning and Evening Devotional