New Evangelical Viewpoint ... 07
From Jerry Beavan ... here is today's Evangelical Viewpoint (NEV-7), and as usual, we ask that you hit the "Forward" key and send a copy to friends on your personal email list. We're not building a mailing list for NEV—rather we are sending each issue to just a few special friends, and all we ask is that you—as one of those friends—forward these thoughts for today to all (or at least some) of the members on your list.
And here is a personal word of explanation—or perhaps it can be considered to be an apology. When I felt it best to cease publication of American News Commentary (ANC) after 10 years on a weekly basis, one of the factors involved was my physical condition—which isn't good—I agreed with many ANC readers, and promised to issue a commentary on an "occasional" basis—no set schedule. The first six issues of New Evangelical Viewpoint (NEV) were produced and appear to have been warmly received. NEV-6 was sent on Jan. 30, just about a month ago, and it is time for NEV-7.
Those health problems I mentioned have severely limited the time I can spend at my desk-top computer, and this is where some Christian friends stepped in. A retired minister in Oregon ... an Evangelical writer in Virginia ... a still active but ready for retirement in Arizona ... have together re-configured a "retired" lap-top computer and a wireless router, all of which makes it possible for me to produce NEV from my bed. It's always a thrill to experience God's answer to prayer!
Before we get into NEV-7 here is an important but concise reminder of our approach to a major problem—it is from Gary Bauer, writing in his Internet Column "End of Day: "Immigration reform, budgets and taxes are all important issues. But I believe America's growing virtue deficit and the breakdown of the family are equally important, if not more so, to the survival of this great nation."
And another prominent voice for Evangelicals—Franklin Graham, President of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)—in the current issue of Decision magazine, took a similar approach: "The evangelical church today has grown all too accepting of sin. The church is ducking the important moral issues of our age. Rather than influencing our culture by being Gospel salt and light, the church has itself become influenced by the permissive culture in which we live."
They sound like our nation's Founding Fathers, don't they?
Yes, and here is a reminder of some of those comments:
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." – George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796
"It is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand." – John Adams, 2nd U.S. President, 1776
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
John Jay, First U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, 1816: "That they intended their convictions which established the principles upon which this new nation was founded to prevail in future years, is evident in this statement in 1819 by James Madison, our fourth president: "The origin and outset of the American Republic contain lessons of which posterity ought not to be deprived."
Moving forward to 1898, a point about half-way between the adoption of our Constitution and the present day, we find Bishop Charles Galloway delivering a series of lectures at then-Emory College, now today Emory University in Oxford, Georgia, on the subject "The Influence of Christianity in Making this Nation." Of this series of lectures Bishop Galloway said: "The object of this discussion is to ascertain how far the type of religion embraced by the American colonists affected and determined the character of our civil institutions and the course of our social progress ... Christian teachings were the seed-thoughts of our political constitutions, and Christian evangelism was the inspiration of American colonization."
And moving forward something over another century to the relevant opinions of today, we find ourselves face-to-face with the evaluation of the church as expressed by Bauer and Graham, and under the leadership (so-called) of a president who declares that we are no longer a Christian nation, and who very openly celebrates the observance of Islamic holidays in gala functions at the White House—while at the same time essentially ignoring Christian observances, of the historic, Bible-based teachings of the Christian faith.
Which brings us to our present situation and what we must do about it.
(Aside from giving up, and allowing the present to control the future.) Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D., a retired colonel, and veteran of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, labels President Obama as "Ayatollah of the United States," and explains: "Obama, America's first grand mufti of the Constitution, intends to govern by political fatwa. Unlike a genuine Muslim fatwa, which must be based on theological evidence, Obama fatwas originate from personal whim or political expediency, but is, nevertheless, regarded as a religious ruling, which is now accepted without objection by all Democrats, submissive Republicans and the mainstream media."
Mat Staver, the chief at Liberty Counsel, spoke at length concerning the president's change in expressing his approach to furthering his agenda: "Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama made this promise to an audience in Lancaster, PA, in 2008 … “I take the Constitution very seriously… The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the Executive Branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America'... Recently, defying his own words, the President sent out a message announcing his latest edict in the form of another Executive Order...'Earlier today, I signed an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.'
That 2008 promise, now laughable in its hypocrisy, has been directly contradicted by the President’s recent, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” warning to Congress and the American people. With Barack Obama, the proof is always in his actions, never in his words. In fact, most knowledgeable observers now take his words as an indication that he intends to do the opposite of what he says."
How we interpret the words of Jesus may be the root of this problem.
At the close of His earthly ministry—His "first coming"—before ascending to heaven, Jesus left specific commands for His followers, the church which He said He would build (Matt. 16:18). Through the years these commands have become known as the "Great Commission," and appear in slightly different wording in each of the four Gospel accounts. Most quoted are the words of Jesus in Mark 16:15; "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." To those who accept and believe the Bible as the Word of God, this is the firm basis for missionary evangelism. But it is only half of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. In Matt. 28:19-20, the directive of Jesus on this occasion went a bit beyond an evangelistic ministry to the teaching ministry; "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you."
My mentor when I was a young theological student, was Donald G. Barnhouse, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and in speaking of this lack of balance, he used medical terms: "Among the clergy in the church today we have plenty of Obstetricians; what we need are more Pediatricians."
In my last phone conversation with Jerry, he expressed regret that he had not completed NEV-7. He was so appreciative of the laptop that was given to him, and regretted that he had not had opportunity to use it as intended. I suggested that we simply publish NEV-7 as the last publication, leaving it, as it were, lying on the desk with pen and inkwell nearby. He agreed.
Thus, what you have read above is the raw, unedited essay Jerry was never to complete. And yet it is complete. How like him! With all of his conservative, political values, he never neglected to direct his readers to the King of Kings and His Words of eternal wisdom. ~ In that last conversation, we spoke of Jesus and of Dr. Barry Berryman, a mutual friend, and the former BGEA Director for Australia and New Zealand; for it was he, who had linked the two of us through email. Jerry is now with Jesus! He will ever be missed, until we who remain shall see our LORD Jesus Coming to snatch away His own! Fare thee well, dear brother! Indeed, we shall meet again!
— Gene L. Jeffries