Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mathis Manor 4: More, More & More Pix

Yes, I have more pix finally! Family and friends want to see it (if they've not been able to visit). If I could do a virtual tour I would. But that would take too much work.

The outside of the house looks nicer with landscaping! (I need to take a pic in the morning light, but you can see the nice looking conifer on the right.)

The inside looks better now with furniture.

We have our old dining room table, even if we don't have a couch yet...

The piano room is seen on the right.

The homebuilder warranty service has been good. I'm impressed with their professionalism, especially our contact man.
He's a very patient man.

But they can't seem to do anything about those killer rabbits eating our bushes...

But that is a problem I can live with!

All I can say is: Thank you Lord.


Friday, November 24, 2006

The Forgotten National Holiday

Trapped between a day of druidism and a season of commercialism, Thanksgiving receives less and less worth in our nation. Since we have collective amnesia and willful ignorance, we have slowly forgotten what this holiday is supposed to be about.
Of course, as the church goes so goes the culture. And we have no one else to blame for this collective laziness but ourselves. Churches by the thousands abandoned the faith of our Puritan forefathers for an easier-to-digest civic religion. Many pontificate against that Pagan holy-day, Halloween, but know little to nothing about the Reformation that originated on that day. Others bemoan the commercialization of Christmas, but preach an impotent Christ and an emasculated Gospel. Sin is trivialized, so the Gospel loses its worth. God is humanized, so Christianity becomes voiceless. We preach perfectionism through works-righteousness; we present pep-talks with glittering lights; we talk of relationships and subjectivism, all the while ignorant of the objective truth that God saves sinners, of whom I am the chief.

Understanding the depths of sin (as displayed, for example, in the sacrificial system) is the beginning of thanksgiving. For to truly appreciate the blessings of our covenant God one must know they are blessings! Of our own hands we have not wrought this bountiful land known as America. From the wealth of money to the wealth of plenty, this material prosperity originated in God alone. Just as our salvation from first to last consists of God’s sovereign initiative and power, so, too, the material blessings (let alone the spiritual!) flow from that Fount of Life.

Deut. 8:11 warns the church of old and the church of today, both families and individuals, not to forget God and His ways, lest we think we have the power to gain wealth! “…for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…” (v. 18). This verse alone condemns all those half-truths and false Gospels which reject the Providence of God and extol the power of the will of man. When you realize that you are but dust in the wind, then you will be truly grateful and appreciative of all that God has given you. When you realize the despicableness and wretchedness of violating God’s Law and insisting upon your own way, then you will be truly grateful and appreciative of the All that God gave, His only Son.

Dear reader, write out a list of all the material blessings you have in life. Write out the spiritual blessings you have. Which do you think of most? Which do you attribute to yourself?

Be thankful. You could have been born a Pagan in the middle of India or a Communist in the midst of China. Worst of all, you could have been born reprobate and cast into the Lake of Fire forever and ever.

What do you have that was not first given you? That is the question.


“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Col. 3:15

Thursday, November 02, 2006

October Revolution Chapters

“Happy Halloween”—This is the extent of the Reformation in the collective memory of America. The church is not much better. A local Lutheran church has an “Oktoberfest” banner inviting people for good community fun. What would Luther think? What did our Protestant forefathers suffer and die for?—so that we may be ignorant of our past and impotent in our future?

What happened almost 500 years ago was a revolution. A revolution that revived Western Civilization, propelling it into the 21st century. We are the offspring of Luther, Calvin and Knox—whether we agree with their theology or not.

This is the lost story of the October 31st Revolution—of how it started and what it meant for the church and society of Europe and America.

For God's Glory Alone: Soli Deo Gloria

1) Luther vs. Halloween
2) Religous
3) Economics
4) Science
5) Civil Government
6) Civil Government, Again
7) Personal
8) Postscript

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Reformation Impact: Postscript

More information about the Christian, and specifically Calvinistic influence, could be posted but I fear information overload. Hopefully, what you have read will motivate you to further study. For those already in the Reformed camp, I pray this was a great source of encouragement and excitement. Teach this to your children, read them to your families and live them in your lives.

Here are some more resources; the quotes I gave were to supplement these readings & authors:

Basic Readings:

1) OPC minister, Loraine Boettner, summarized the historical impact of Calvinism:

2) Professor Douglas Kelly’s excellent work, The Emergence of Liberty in the Modern World: The Influence of Calvin on Five Governments from the 16th Through 18th Centuries, (P&R), is worth buying.

3) Marvin Olasky’s book, Fighting for Liberty & Virtue: Political & Cultural Wars in Eighteenth-Century America, is a worth-while read.

4) Witherspoon was the only minister (and Presbyterian at that!) who signed the Declaration of Independence and influenced dozens of leaders at the New Jersey College (eventually Princeton), including Madison. This new book demonstrates through original letters, the influence of Witherspoon on Madison and others, even on economic issues. The Presbyterian parallels with Constitutional Republic are carefully drawn out and the resistance-doctrines of the Calvinist is further reinforced with historical evidence. Excellent book; excellent read.

Advanced Readings:

1) The History & Character of Calvinism, John T. McNeil. A standard history book.

2) Revolution & Religion: American Revolutionary War & the Reformed Clergy, Keith Griffen. This work is a short read, with a narrow topic (Middle Colony Reformed), but the first two chapters are worth the read in itself. It’s value is in the multitude of original resources (sermons, papers, etc.) that reinforce the fact of Reformed influence.

3) Politica, Johannes Althusius (abridged & translated by Fredrick S. Carney, Liberty Fund, 1995). A full-blown book on how to pattern a society and government according to God’s law and natural revelation. As the introduction notes, secular authorities are just now discovering this work and its impact upon Western governments.

4) Fountainhead of Federalism: Heinrich Bullinger & the Covenantal Tradition, Charles McCoy & J. Wayne Baker, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991. Most of the historical goodies are in the long introduction. Unfortunately, the analysis pits Calvinistic predestinarianism against covenantalism. However, they acknowledge the religious roots.

May God be pleased to revive His church once more.

Sola Deo Gloria.

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