The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “president”

Down South: Southern Baptists convene amid declining overall numbers

By Thomas Kidd

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) held its annual meeting in Houston in June, and although the assembly did not witness any of the spectacular controversies that have marked previous SBC meetings, it nevertheless confronted some hotly debated topics.

The meeting’s most anticipated issue concerned the SBC and the Boy Scouts. Some had predicted that the SBC would endorse a full-fledged boycott of the Scouts for the group’s recent decision to admit openly gay boys as members. But the actual resolution stopped short of a boycott, expressing “opposition to and disappointment in the decision” and calling for the removal of Boy Scouts executive leaders who supported the change.

SBC representatives (called “messengers”) also passed a resolution exhorting member congregations about their “legal and moral responsibility to report any child abuse to authorities.” Its sponsor, Peter Lumpkins, crafted the statement in response to a lawsuit alleging abuse cover-ups by leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), including its founder, C.J. Mahaney. A judge dismissed the case against SGM pastors in May, citing statute of limitation requirements. Mahaney stepped down as president of SGM in April. Prominent Baptist leaders Albert Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church expressed their individual support for Mahaney in a public statement in May. Read more…

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Why Americans Always Choose the Wrong President

By Luke Welch

Constitution

The United States Suggestitution

We seem not to know who we are, and we do not know who we are looking for. We have been surprised to find out whom we have already chosen. Most of us are under the impression that we can correctly identify political candidates and the promise they hold by an old idea we had about their parties.

I know many democrats who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about abortion, they don’t think anyone will get out of poverty without assistance. If this were true that the choice were between assistance and exploitation, then it would be understandable that people would swallow the bitter democrat pill.

I also know many republicans who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about the weak promise keeping of past candidates, they keep on voting (R), becuase they think America will never be free of hard times with all the enforced social assistance. If this were true that the choice were between a meddling government and freedom, then it would be understandable that people swallow the giant rotten elephant.

One of the most pressing problems when facing the future of America under the weight of her own political machine is the problem of the continuous stream of Statism. Read more…

Marx, Emanuel, and Obama, Oh My!

* Matt Bianco is an elder in the PCA. He is a married, homeschooling father of three. 

Karl Marx had a certain theory of ideas, one that we see in play even today. Well, Marx had a lot of ideas and theories that we see being enacted and lived out today, but one specifically I want to consider in this post.

Karl Marx believed that ideas resulted from our experiences, specifically the situations we faced in life. What is he saying? Well, first, what is he not saying? Marx is not just saying that there are ideas, norms, that make up life–that allow us to make sense out of life–whose interpretation and application are simply colored by our experiences. For example, as a postmillennialist, I believe that history is heading in a certain direction, to wit, a positive direction in which the rule of Jesus Christ will be experienced and known in history. I believe this; it is a norm in my life, but my interpretation and application of it can be colored by my experiences. If my life goes fairly well, I have a successful career and a Godly, happy family, I see these as the fruits of history heading in that direction. If my life is a bit rougher, and I experience the pain and suffering of sickness and death in my family, then I see these as the crosses by which the Kingdom will be made manifest. In both cases, I continue believing in the norm of a postmillennial future. In the former case, I see that happening without too many hiccups, while in the latter case, I emphasize the cross as the means to that future. This, however, is not what Karl Marx is describing.

Read more…

The Eagle’s Constitution – A Story of Liberty

Once upon a time, all the eagles had forgotten they were eagles. They used to live in high mountain eyries, but someone had convinced them they ought to be living on a farm. They still called themselves eagles, but they had little memory of what their make up was capable of; they had little imagination that their very constitution would allow them to fly. Instead they hunted and pecked. They were sometimes called back to books about the old mountain life, books written by their founding feathers, but mostly the eagles mentioned these ideas in passing, and with little reference to the actual books.

The eagles would get together to vote on important matters. When they would get together, they were often led by a couple of strange birds named Main and Grand. They were odd eagles. They didn’t look like eagles, but they did a really good job of doing what they said was a really good job. They were experts at hunting and pecking for corn.

One of the eagles was not like the others. He was not content to walk slowly around the farm, and to scratch at the dirt. He was alway suggesting they should try to move faster. We should run – he would say, looking to the skies. Read more…

The American Presidents BEFORE George Washington

Presidents Before The Constitution

The American Revolution was a counter-revolution against the encroachment of the British Parliament. The independence movement released the thirteen colonies from foreign control. It is important to remember the American Revolution was a battle between Britain and the thirteen individually sovereign states, each with their own state governments. During the War, the state legislatures granted enumerated portions of their own limited sovereignty to an entity called the Continental Congress.

A congressman was elected by the other delegates to serve as this body’s President-his role was largely as an impartial moderator. Later in the war, the States transferred more responsibilities to the central government in the Articles of Confederation (1781). This stood as the nation’s first established constitution until the Constitutional Convention ratified the current U.S. Constitution in 1788.

Fourteen Presidents Before George Washington

George Washington was the first President to be elected under the 1788 Constitution Model. While many know of George Washington, the Presidents under the Continental Congress are largely unknown to modern Americans. They were men of great moral vigor, who stood strong for liberty, and held at the center of their ambition the glory of God.

Below is a list of the pre-constitution Presidents, along with inspiring quotes from these men who did not shy away from leadership when times were trying.

First Continental Congress

Peyton Randolph, Virginia (Sept 1774 – Oct 1774)

Often called the “father of our country,” the courageous Peyton Randolph led the charge against the Stamp Act as one of the most revolutionary Patriots. He also intitated the practice of prayer before conducting of government business.

In a letter to British General Thomas Cage, Randolph protests his occupation of Boston,

“Your Excellency cannot be a stranger to the sentiments of America with respect to the Acts of Parliament, under the execution of which those unhappy people are oppressed, the approbation universally expressed of their conduct, and the determined resolution of the Colonies, for the preservation of their common rights to unite in their opposition to those Acts. In consequence of these sentiments, they have appointed us the guardians of their rights and liberties…” [1]

Henry Middleton, South Carolina (October 1774)

Only serving four days, Middleton resigned in opposition to independence to Great Britian. He was succeeded in Congress by his son, Arthur Middleton (1742–1787), who was more radical than his father and became a signer of the Declaration of Independence.[2] Middleton’s first official act, was to execute a letter as President supporting the efforts of oppressed colonists. In the letter Middleton wrote,

“So rapidly violent and unjust has been the late conduct of the British Administration against the colonies, that either a base and slavish submission, under the loss of their ancient, just, and constitutional liberty, must quickly take place, or an adequate opposition be formed.” [3]

Second Continental Congress

John Hancock, Massachusetts (May 1775 – October 1777)

Hancock was President of the Congress when the Declaration of Independence was prepared. He was the first to sign what most men understood to be a note of their own death. The Declaration was received as treasonous by the British, making the signers traitors to the crown.

“In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent Measure should be taken to ward off the impending Judgements….All confidence must be withheld from the Means we use; and reposed only on that GOD who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose Blessing the best human Counsels are but Foolishness–and all created Power Vanity…” [4]

Henry Laurens, South Carolina (November  1777 – December 1778) Read more…

Obama’s State of the Union, Green Ribbon, Sandy Hook, and the Wizard of Oz.

State of the Union Obama Money Wizard Green Ribbon

President Obama outlined plans Tuesday night at his State of the Union address. His speech was mostly the same old thing, continuing to play heavily on support for the middle class while proposing regressive taxes that directly attack middle class incomes. Unique to tonight’s speech was the presence of green ribbons worn on the lapels of guests and members of Congress. This green ribbon was meant to memorialize the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. NPR commentators noted that the green ribbons were particularly important because of the President’s push for gun control legislation.  It was also noted that while Vice President Joe Biden was wearing a ribbon, Speaker of the House John Boehner was not.State of the Union Green Ribbons Obama Biden Boehner

What happened at Sandy Hook was a tragedy, and nothing should take away from our sympathy for the families who lost their loved ones. But at the same time, this sort of political manipulation because of a real tragedy is simply disgraceful. The ribbons and children they represent are being used as tools to bolster the President’s anti-2nd Amendment agenda.

The State of the Union address is a particularly troubling event. Thomas Jefferson stopped the practice of giving presidential speeches to Congress because he felt that it made the president out to be an imperial figure. He instead would send a written note about the current affairs of the country to those who needed it. The presentation this year makes it clear that it is only about political posturing. Members seek out aisle seats hours before the event, hopeful that they may get a picture hugging the president or shaking his hand, hoping to pander to the constituents who might be watching.

Many came adorned with green ribbons to hear lofty promises about how our President is going to put our nation back on track. It was very appropriate that all this posturing was represented with green. You may remember L. Frank Baum’s famous Emerald City of Green deception: Oz. Obama’s America is a new Oz.

“Even with eyes protected by the green spectacles, Dorothy and her friends were at first dazzled by the brilliancy of the wonderful City … There were many people – men, women, and children – walking about, and these were all dressed in green clothes and had greenish skins. They looked at Dorothy and her strangely assorted company with wondering eyes, and the children all ran away and hid behind their mothers when they saw the Lion; but no one spoke to them. Many shops stood in the street, and Dorothy saw that everything in them was green. Green candy and green pop corn were offered for sale, as well as green shoes, green hats, and green clothes of all sorts. At one place a man was selling green lemonade, and when the children bought it Dorothy could see that they paid for it with green pennies.”

And the new Oz has a new wizard, President Obama. A fool’s magician, yet  just as all  the good citizens of the Emerald City were forbidden to remove their green-tinted glasses, each American watches the state of the union through the comfort of a pair of their own colored glasses.

When will America discover that her President is no better than the false Wizard of Oz? Baum’s imperial ventriloquist is too much like our own head of state. What we need now is not more speeches from this talking head, but we need the brainless, the cowardly, the heartless, and those who are lost to break down the wizard’s chambers to discover the man behind the curtain and demand that he stop misleading the citizens. Back in Oz it went like this:

“You must keep your promises to us!” exclaimed Dorothy.
The Lion thought it might be as well to frighten the Wizard, so he gave a large, loud roar, which was so fierce and dreadful that Toto jumped away from him in alarm and tipped over the screen that stood in a corner. As it fell with a crash they looked that way, and the next moment all of them were filled with wonder. For they saw, standing in just the spot the screen had hidden, a little old man, with a bald head and a wrinkled face, who seemed to be as much surprised as they were. The Tin Woodman, raising his axe, rushed toward the little man and cried out, “Who are you?”
“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible,” said the little man, in a trembling voice. “But don’t strike me – please don’t – and I’ll do anything you want me to.”
Our friends looked at him in surprise and dismay.
“I thought Oz was a great Head,” said Dorothy.
“And I thought Oz was a lovely Lady,” said the Scarecrow.
“And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast,” said the Tin Woodman.
“And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire,” exclaimed the Lion.
“No, you are all wrong,” said the little man meekly. “I have been making believe.”
“Making believe!” cried Dorothy. “Are you not a Great Wizard?”
“Hush, my dear,” he said. “Don’t speak so loud, or you will be overheard – and I should be ruined. I’m supposed to be a Great Wizard.”
“And aren’t you?” she asked.
“Not a bit of it, my dear; I’m just a common man.”
“You’re more than that,” said the Scarecrow, in a grieved tone; “you’re a humbug.”
“Exactly so!” declared the little man, rubbing his hands together as if it pleased him. “I am a humbug.”

One day we will realize that Obama, our Wizard, and the Government, our Oz, offer no solution to our needs. The true solutions are but “make believe.” The government exists at the expense of the Munchkins. Our presidential Wizard squanders the national wealth and starts unjust wars against foreign peoples who are not doing us any harm. It wrecks our families, tramples on our rights, invades our communities, and steals from our bank accounts. It skews the culture toward decadence and trash. It tells lie after lie. The president is not a powerful wizard, but a conniving liar who has tricked us into submission.

It is the obligation of every patriot to denounce the Obama humbug. The federal government has overstepped its boundaries, making promises it cannot keep. When will Americans awaken and realize that the president is not the magician he claims to be? He has no solutions for the economy, for crimes, for gun violence, for peace, for any of those things he campaigns for. The president, like the Wizard, is after one thing: expanding the power of his office and maintaining his great and powerful image. Once the wizard is exposed, the power is gone.

Let’s look behind the curtain, exposing the man behind the smoke and mirrors, sending him off in his own balloon full of the hot air he so much enjoys billowing.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a link is given.

The President and the Killing of Americans

It is abundantly clear to most folks by now that President Barack Obama has claimed the authority to kill American citizens without a trial. One of the qualifications for such a determination is that the person have posed “an imminent threat” to the United States. The same Department of Justice (leaked) document that exposed all of this also says that the government is not required to “have clear evidence that a specific attack on US persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

Some have responded by noting that this just makes it more important to elect the right president in future elections. Surely we want to elect someone who won’t decide that WE are an imminent threat!

This just misses the real point, though, doesn’t it? Responding in this way simply concedes that the government has the authority to make such declarations and judgments. It makes the Executive Branch not just judge, jury, and executioner, but also legislator. The point is not to vote in the person who will do the least harm with authority he shouldn’t have, but to elect someone who will acknowledge and give up the supposed authority the office had previously claimed.

The point, moreover, is that the Church and the Christians who constitute her need to speak prophetically to such abuses of power and false claims on authority that only the Triune God can exercise and delegate. And, we must do these things regardless of whether the Supreme Court–which sits comfortably in the pocket of the Executive–says the Executive has this right Constitutionally or not.

Now that President Obama was re-elected, what should we do?

By Kuyperian Commentary Special Contributing Scholar, Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr.

The church, after President Obama’s re-election, finds itself in serious trouble. Part of the good news is that at least she is beginning to recognize the trouble she is in. One wonders how many Christians would have been dancing in the aisles had the election turned out differently, and if we would have actually been in appreciably less trouble. During previous moments of mass fear within the church I have been asked what we’re supposed to do. When the housing implosion looked set to topple the entire economic house of cards under President Bush, when President Obama started racking upWeimerRepublicsized debts, and now again my counsel has remained the same. Yes, by all means we are to discern the times. Having done so, however, we find that what God calls us to do is what He calls us to do in all times.  Fearful of the economy? Spend less than you make. Want to benefit from the booming economy? Spend less than you make. Inflation running rampant? Spend less than you make. Deflation rattling its saber? Spend less than you make.

This, however, is but a specific application of a broader principle. Whatever the nature of the trouble, however broad its scope, when the national economy is just one ship among many, the national morality; the national defense; the nation’s unborn; circling the drain our calling is the same. The call to the individual Christian, to the Christian family, to the local Christian church, to the whole of Christendom is ever and always this- repent and believe the gospel.

We have abortion in this country not because we can’t agree on the right political strategy to end it, but because we are at ease with abortion in this country. We need to repent of our comfort, our complicity, our complacency over the murder of the unborn. We need to repent that we in the church have embraced the world’s notion that children are a burden, rather than a blessing. We need to repent that so many of us became politically aware, politically active not because President Obama changed the abortion landscape, but because he threatened our 401ks. We have shown where our treasure lies.

We repent, however, not for the power of our sorrow but to look to the power of the gospel. We believe the gospel when we move from mourning our sin to dancing His grace. The election of the President does nothing to impact your election. We are to believe we are sinners. (And so are due a far worse President than the one we now have.) We are to believe that our sin makes a mess our lives, our homes, our cities and our nation. But just as our Lord is remaking us, so He is remaking the world. The gospel promise is that He will bring all things into submission. The gospel promise is that He will break every obstreperous knee of every ruler that bucks against His rule. The gospel promise is that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.

It is true enough that our President defends and protects the murder of God’s littlest image bearers. Such is indeed an abomination of the highest magnitude. It is likewise true that had God ordained the election to end differently there might have been fewer victims of the carnage. It is also true, however, that there is much we can do for the babies besides voting for the less bloodthirsty man every four years. That this battle went badly doesn’t mean we can’t win the war. Because our King is the very one who determined that we should lose the battle. Jesus chose our President. Repent and believe the gospel, because Jesus changes everything.

(Original piece can be found here. Also visit R.C. Sproul Jr. at his new website)

Two Criteria for Elections that Actually Matter

I suspect there are two things that come into play, providentially, when God assigns us a ruler.

  1. the image of the people
  2. the maturity of the people

Allow me to explain. We probably wish that our rulers be elected based on their qualifications and fidelity, fidelity to justice, to commitments, to principles, to the Constitution, etc. That the ruler, once elected, then leads the nation according to his qualifications and fidelity, making the nation either great or not (depending on the degree to which he is qualified and faithful or not). In other words, we think the ruler makes the nation in his image.

It is more likely, I suspect, that–in America, at least–the people elect a ruler, not based on his qualifications and fidelity, but based on their image. We create a ruler in our image, electing the ruler who will rule according to our wants, desires, lusts, ideologies, and principles (or lack thereof).

I say this happens in America, at least, because I don’t think that was the case in ancient Israel. Kings were anointed primarily based on the laws of succession, not the will of the people. In that arrangement, it was more likely that a good king would lead the nation toward the good, and a bad king would lead the nation toward the bad. In fact, this is exactly what we see with good kings like Hezekiah and Josiah, and with bad kings like Ahab and Manasseh.

In America, though, we elect rulers in our image. We get what we are.

Likewise with the second argument: the maturity of the people. Egypt was an immature nation. Pharaoh has a dream that none can interpret; Joseph interprets it. Joseph then tells him how to plan as a result of the dream, something the Pharaoh acknowledges no other in the land could do. Egypt, in its immaturity, lacked wisdom. Joseph is installed as the Pharaoh’s right-hand man to lead the nation through plenty and famine. What Joseph proceeds to do is shocking to Christian conservatives and libertarians alike. He leads the country into socialism. During the years of plenty, he taxes the people from their grain and crops. During the years of famine, he sells back for money what he took from them without payment. He does so to the point where they end up selling him their cattle, homes, and property in order to eat. The government ends up owning everything (except for the church–the property of the priests, coincidentally). Joseph ruled an immature and unwise nation the way it needed to be ruled.[1]

If we are unwilling to live with freedom–and the great responsibility that brings–then God is going to give us rulers who will not allow us to have that freedom. We will be given the rulers our maturity and wisdom demands or allows. We do the same with our children, don’t we? When they are young, lacking maturity and wisdom, our rules are stricter (tyrannical by a teenager’s standards). As they mature, we give them more freedom. Sometimes, we have one child who earns freedom that our other child, at that same age, has not matured into. It seems we have not only elected a president made in our image (again), but we have elected a president who will take away the freedoms we don’t even want, that we haven’t matured into. God is sovereign. Maybe we should start with repentance and teaching our children how to live with the responsibility of freedom.

[1] Jordan, James B. Primeval Saints. Canon Press, 2001, pgs. 141-149. James Jordan explains much more clearly what I have muddled through here, regarding ruling the mature or immature.

The Biggest Problem after Tomorrow’s Election

The biggest problem I will have with the results of tomorrow’s election is not who wins. As much as it pains me to say this–especially because I know so many object to it–there is not a dime’s bit of difference between the two candidates. The biggest problem is the continuing problem with short term memories in America.

Tomorrow, if Obama is re-elected, Americans will be admitting to the whole world that everything they grumbled against George W. Bush for (indefinite detention, not closing Guantamo Bay, troops in the Middle East, criminalization of marijuana, etc.) really weren’t that important.

Tomorrow, if Mitt is elected, Americans will be admitting that they only opposed what was happening because it was Obama doing it instead of another Bush (healthcare–remember Medicare Part D?, education–remember No Child Left Behind?, wars, detention, lack of transparency, etc.)

What I want is more men like John Piper, who criticized Bush and the Gulf War even when it cost him congregants. I want men like Greg Bahnsen, who opposed the First Gulf War, at odds with GOP. It was Greg Bahnsen who first demonstrated such character to me. From him, I learned how to judge war, not according to whether it was a Republican or Democratic war, but whether it was Biblical.

My biggest problem, however, could be my biggest surprise. Regardless of tomorrow’s results, maybe I will see men who will oppose tyranny and injustice because it is happening, not because of who is doing it. Maybe, after tomorrow, I will see Christian leaders stand up for what is right, not for who is saying it.

Or, maybe, I’ll just see a new four years that will tick by until I can be told again, “The 2016 Presidential Election is the most important election you will face in your lifetime.”

Either way, I can say with fellow blogger Steve Macias, “Christ is still faithful and Christ is still King.”

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