Kevin Craig
 Vine & Fig Tree
 P. O. Box 179
 Powersite, MO 65731

About Kevin Craig - Personal History

Christian Reconstructionism

Before I graduated from high school, I had come in contact with R.J. Rushdoony [Google], founder of the "Christian Reconstruction" movement. Soon thereafter, I wanted to be "the next Rushdoony" when I grew up. Some would say neither one has happened yet. I became a "Chalcedon Scholar" and wrote a regular column for The Chalcedon Report. I substituted on occasion for Rev. Rushdoony in the pulpit which he regularly occupied and from which he first delivered the contents of his magnum opus, The Institutes of Biblical Law. I was an overnight guest at his home. David Chilton and I met regularly with Rushdoony for mentoring. The Institute for Christian Economics (Gary North) also published several of my articles. North described this article as "dynamite."

Rushdoony was influential in starting the "scientific creationism" movement, by getting a book called The Genesis Flood published. Becoming a creationist was for me the first of many radicalizing departures from the status quo. My first article published by Chalcedon was on the creationist issue.

One of Rushdoony's protégés was Greg Bahnsen, who wrote the book Theonomy in Christian Ethics (1977). "Theonomy" comes from two Greek words meaning "God's Law." The alternative is man's law, or autonomy.

Vine & Fig Tree 

Beginning around 1978 I began writing for an organization I envisioned called Vine & Fig Tree, which obtained tax-exempt status from the IRS as a non-profit corporation in 1982. The name comes from the Old Testament Prophet Micah, who spoke of a day when we beat our "swords into plowshares" and everyone dwells securely under his own vine and fig tree. More Info. I received positive encouragement on this venture from Dorothy Rushdoony, and on the trip back home from Vallecito, I think I realized that my future was not with Chalcedon, but rather with Vine & Fig Tree. My "swords into plowshares" pacifism, combined with a rejection of capital punishment (on strictly "Theonomic" grounds), seemed to me to be the logical development of Rushdoony's thinking, but ran contrary to the prevailing views of the "Christian Reconstructionist" mainstream.

I graduated from USC with a degree in political science in 1979. Because of the negative things Rushdoony said about secular universities, I did not want to go to college, hoping to move more directly to a Rushdoony-like career, but my father (a USC alumnus) was insistent. Perhaps the most enjoyable class I had was a class on "Political Philosophy" with John Hospers, who had been the Chairman of the Philosophy Department until he ran for President as the Libertarian Party candidate in 1972. Hospers could be described as a "minarchist." He believed society needed a small civil government. One of his recommended textbooks was Murray Rothbard's For A New Liberty. This was a breathtaking book in the mid-1970's. Rothbard argued that society needed no "civil government" whatsoever. I didn't think Hospers defended his minimal state against Rothbard's critique. My memory of chronology fails me, but if I was not an anarchist walking into Hospers' class, I was when I walked out.

I am Not an Archist.

School Teacher

My mother taught in California public schools for 30 years. The first job I had after graduating from college was teaching in a small Christian school. Part of our ministry to the homeless was teaching English as a second language to dozens of "illegal" immigrants. One of my housemates went on to teach in public schools, and I spent many hours helping her with bureaucratic administrative paper work.

Legal Education

Rushdoony was a proponent of Christian education, frequently appearing as an expert witness in Christian school cases vs. the increasingly-secular government. I worked with homeschoolers and studied law to help defend them in court. This was when homeschooling was illegal in California. By the time I passed the California Bar Exam, it was less persecuted. But then I was told by a Federal District Court in Los Angeles that because my allegiance to God was greater than my allegiance to the State, I could not be permitted to take the oath to "support the Constitution" required of all would-be attorneys, so I could not get a license to practice law. Details

"Seminary"

I shared the pulpit at a small church in Anaheim, CA with David Chilton, until he joined Gary North, James B. Jordan and the "Christian Reconstructionists" in Tyler, TX. Greg L. Bahnsen, one of the leaders of the "Christian Reconstruction" movement and a pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, wanted to see if he could get me ordained in the OPC by apprenticing me, rather than through the modern "seminary" system. I thought that was quixotic, but I enjoyed his one-on-one mentoring. Bahnsen was a Christian scholar with integrity and a sharp mind. Scholarship is a virtue. Bahnsen taught me that we should treat our intellectual opponents with Biblical love (1 Corinthians 13:5-7), and interact with their arguments with respect. My personal library is about 10,000 volumes, becoming something of an anarchronism in the Internet age.

Homeless

After passing the Bar Exam, I spent the better part of a decade with a small group of Christian anarchists who rented a large house in the "wrong" part of town and opened its doors to those who were homeless and wanted to get clean and sober, find a job, and save up first- and last-month's rent for a place of their own. We gave shelter and encouragement to over 1,000 people during the time I lived there, with an average of about 19 people at a time sharing our home, and served tens of thousands of meals and passed out thousands of bags of groceries to the poor in our neighborhood. We held weekly candlelight vigils in front of the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station to question militarism and violence.

Our house was called "Isaiah House," and took its inspiration from Peter Maurin, a man who thought a great deal like Rushdoony. Maurin was a decisive influence in the life of Dorothy Day, a socialist agitator in the New Deal era, who converted to Christianity and founded the Catholic Worker movement, largely perceived today as a "left-wing" movement. Maurin said, "I am a radical of the right. I go right to the right because I know it is the only way not to get left." Maurin advised, "Read Our Enemy the State by Albert Jay Nock."

I moved in with these Catholic Anarchists because I saw in their kitchen and dining room the closest thing I'd seen to the L'Abri fellowship under Francis and Edith Schaeffer, a family setting I greatly admired and to which I aspired. The closest I came to the Schaeffers was seeing Francis Schaeffer live at the Anaheim Convention Center in 1977 when he was on tour promoting his book and film, How Should We Then Live.

Hospice

When my father got lung cancer, I left the Catholic Worker and helped him gulp down 70 pills a day and daily pumped into his heart two liters of an anti-cancer solution under an FDA clinical trial in Houston, TX. After his death I moved my mother back to Missouri (where she was born), and our house was destroyed by a tornado. After being taken by helicopter to the hospital, she came back to my care on a feeding tube. For six years she was immobile, and for the last three years of her life my full-time job was turning her over in bed every three hours to avoid bed sores. We buried her on May 3, 2015.

During all of the above, I have been researching and writing, preparing to advance the Vine & Fig Tree vision, and have produced in the neighborhood of 2,000 webpages and blog posts. Some of them have been duplicated on other sites by people I don't think I've even met.

2016 and Beyond

Beginning in 2002, I have been a perennial candidate for U.S. Congress, both before and after I moved to Missouri. Even though I haven't been able to get out of the house to do much campaigning recently, I've still managed to be the top vote-getter among Libertarian Party Congressional candidates in Missouri for the last few elections (FWIW). I would love to campaign full-time, and bring my brand of "Christian Reconstruction" before the press and electorate.

I am actually an "anti-candidate."

When I first decided to run, it was primarily to gain a soapbox. I knew I had no chance of winning any election (or being inaugurated into any political office). But being an "official" "candidate" presented an opportunity to appear on radio, TV, and newspaper which an "ordinary" propagandist cannot get.

My first decision was which political Party to affiliate with. I decided against the Constitution Party because of their advocacy of state violence against immigrants. I joined the Libertarian Party even though it is not an explicitly Christian party, as the Constitution Party is.

But I am not going to run as a Libertarian in 2016. I was rejected by the Constitution Party as a candidate. I'm exploring options as of April, 2016.

After my caregiving duties ended upon the death of my mother, I grabbed the first job I could find to "pay the rent." I'm now working full-time at Cox Medical Center in Branson, MO. I get decked out in a disposable "haz-mat" suit (PPE) and clean the module in the pharmacy where they put together IV's for patients, as well as the operating room in OB where C-sections are performed, and anything else that needs to be cleaned. I'm a "tech" in "Environmental Services." Some would just say "janitor." The Apostle Paul, who was more important in the formation of what we call "Western Civilization" (Christian Civilization) than Aristotle, was a maker of tents.

"Your Bible Coach"

I hope someday to fund my campaigns, propaganda, and agitation by being a professional "Bible Coach."


My Credo

Our word "creed" comes from the Latin word credo, which means "I believe." Many people have penned their "credo." Here is Einstein's Credo, which isn't Christian. Here is Cornelius Van Til's, which is. That's the soil where my creed has roots.

Cornelius Van Til stands in the Reformed genealogy of Calvin, and the Dutch branch of Bavink and Abraham Kuyper. Van Til was one of the founding faculty of Westminster Seminary and homage is paid to him and J. Gresham Machen by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, to which I once belonged, and was personally tutored for possible ordination in the OPC by Greg L. Bahnsen, a student of Van Til. Among Van Til's progeny are Francis Schaeffer, R.J. Rushdoony, and Rushdoony's son-in-law, Gary North. Van Til, Rushdoony and North are at the top of my list of favorite Christian authors. Van Til's book The Defense of the Faith is perhaps my #1 favorite book, though I've read and enjoyed all of Van Til. Likewise Rushdoony and North.

Perhaps Edith Schaeffer had more of an influence on me than Francis, and as much as Rushdoony. When How Should We Then Live came out, I saw the Schaeffers at a seminar in So. Calif., but never visited L'Abri in Switzerland. But I have always wanted to emulate their ministry. The closest I have come so far has been a decade at the Catholic Worker: Isaiah House in Santa Ana, Calif. L'Abri has always been the brass ring I've reached for. I've laid the foundation, but thus far haven't built the house.

The foundation of my credo is the "Vine & Fig Tree" vision of the Prophet Micah.


Vine & Fig Tree

The name "Vine & Fig Tree" comes from the fourth chapter of the prophet Micah, and is set forth below. You've probably heard Micah's words before -- we beat our "swords into plowshares" and everyone dwells safely under his own "Vine & Fig Tree.
 

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the L
ORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

America's Founding Fathers were familiar with this vision: "Vine & Fig Tree" is the worldview that made America "the greatest nation on God's green earth." This vision, combined with Christian morality, made America the most prosperous and admired nation on earth. The Federal Government subsequently repudiated the idea that America is a Christian nation, and the U.S. has gone from prosperity to bankruptcy, and from admiration to ridicule.

George Washington's Diaries are available online at the Library of Congress. The LOC.GOV website introduces Washington's writings with these words:
No theme appears more frequently in the writings of Washington than his love for his land. The diaries are a monument to that concern. In his letters he referred often, as an expression of this devotion and its resulting contentment, to an Old Testament passage. After the Revolution, when he had returned to Mount Vernon, he wrote the Marquis de Lafayette on Feb. 1, 1784:

"At length my Dear Marquis I am become a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac, & under the shadow of my own Vine & my own Fig-tree."

This phrase occurs at least 11 times in Washington's letters.

"And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree" (2 Kings 18:31).

"Under My Own Vine and Fig Tree, 1798" by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, Lora Robins Collection of Virginia Art, Virginia Historical Society
Under My Own Vine and Fig Tree, 1798
Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
Virginia Historical Society
Lora Robins Collection of Virginia Art

      Peter Lillback, author of a 1,000-page study of Washington's life and thought, has found more than 40 references to the  “Vine and Fig Tree” vision in Washington's Papers.
      Many other American Founders wrote of this ideal.
      "Vine & Fig Tree" is the original "American Dream."
 
The phrase occurs a number of times in Scripture. These references are visual reminders of the Hebrew word for salvation, which means
  • deliverance
  • victory
  • security
  • peace
  • wholeness
  • health
  • welfare, and
  • private property free from princes and pirates.
When today's Americans hear the word "salvation," they usually think about going to heaven when they die. When the writers of the Bible used the word "salvation," they wanted you to be thinking about dwelling safely under your own Vine & Fig Tree during this life -- much more often than they wanted you to be thinking about what you'll be doing in the afterlife.

The best place to see the Vine & Fig Tree ideal is in the book of Micah.

 Let's look at Micah's prophecy (on the left) and ask a few questions (on the right):
And it will come about in the last days
That the mountain of the House of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains
And it will be raised above the hills
  Are we in the "last days?"

When did this establishment take place?

And the peoples will stream to it.
And many nations will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD
And to the House of the God of Jacob,
Is Christianity doomed to minority status throughout history? Hasn't Christianity been growing since the first century?
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths."
For from Zion will go forth the Law
Even the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
  What should be the Christian's attitude toward the Law? Isn't every Word of a "Lord" "Law?"
And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their
swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation
And never again will they train for war.
Are we commanded to beat our swords into plowshares today? Or do we wait for the Second Coming?

Are Christians "pacifists?"
And each of them will sit under his   What is a family?
What about private property?
Vine and under his  fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid.
For the LORD of hosts has spoken.
What about technology? What about the military? What is it that really brings "security?"
Though all the peoples walk
Each in the name of his god,
As for us, we will walk
In the Name of the LORD our God
forever and ever.
  What if all the politicians, university professors, TV commentators, bloggers, newspaper editors, rock stars, scientists, CEO's, celebrities, athletes, authors, and think-tanks repudiate the Vine & Fig Tree vision and tell you not to believe it?
In that day, saith the LORD,
will I assemble her that halteth,
and I will gather her that is driven out,
and her that I have afflicted;
And I will make her that halted a remnant,
and her that was cast far off a strong nation:
and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion
from henceforth, even for ever.
Should we strive to be on top, or to help those on the bottom? Is God on the side of those who have accomplished much by their own power and initiative, or is He on the side of those who are willing to be used by God to accomplish much to His Glory?

Distilled into a single proposition, Vine & Fig Tree stands for this:

Jesus is the Christ Today

We in 21st century America enjoy the highest standard of living in human history. This is a result of the Christianization of the world, relentless in its progress, though faster in some ages than others (it's slowed down in the last 100 years, by many standards). Micah's vision animated America's Founding Fathers. It must do so again. In the 20th century, secular empires murdered an average of 10,000 people per day, every single day during the last century. In America, an additional 4,000 babies are killed every day, many times more in China and the "former" Soviet Union -- 135,000 a day around the world. Literally billions of people in our day are separated from the Gospel by tyrannical atheistic or Muslim governments.

But Christians today are anesthetized by complacency and self-indulgence. They're waiting for "the rapture." Francis Schaeffer spoke of "personal peace and affluence."

My Credo is not just what I believe, but what I want to be. Many "heresy hunters" want to find out what I believe about the Trinity, or the mode of Baptism, but for me, orthopraxis is more important than orthodoxy.

One of the deficiencies of purely theological creeds, like the Westminster Confession of Faith, is that an individual can formally agree with nearly all of its doctrinal contents, and be a moral mess in his personal life. I can make you think I'm an OK guy by telling you about my orthodox views on the Deity of Christ, while hiding the fact that I embezzle at the office, cheat on my wife, and dump toxic waste on my neighbor's property. This is why I start with the Larger Catechism's exposition of the Ten Commandments, rather than the theological doctrines in the Confession.
     Click here for the Confession.
       Click here for the Catechism.

So before we look at my doctrine, let's look at my practice. In a sense I believe that doctrine is more important than practice. A "real nice guy" who believes he is his own god is lost in a most fundamental sense. Even a person of the most extraordinary virtue is lost if he/she refuses to submit to the authority of God in the Bible. On the other hand, people often construct their theology to justify their morality. A man wants to cheat on his wife, so he comes up with a doctrine of God who says nothing about marriage.  Show me a man's morality and I know a lot about his theology. So here is a summary of my morality.

First, I generally follow the view of the Protestant Reformers on the Ten Commandments. You can find the Reformers' view in the Exposition of the Ten Commandments in the Westminster Larger Catechism. My views can be found in a syllabus for a program I have taught in various schools, churches, and other venues, of which the following is an excerpt, with language often taken verbatim from the Catechism:

The First Commandment is, “thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”

I acknowledge the Authority of this commandment to teach me:

  1. How to know and acknowledge God to be only true God, and our God;
  2. How to worship and glorify Him accordingly.
  3. How to avoid denying God
  4. How to worship God even if it’s not Sunday
  5. Five ways most people give to false gods that worship and glory which is due to the True God alone.
  6. How to remember that God sees all things, takes notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God.

Self-examination: Is my relationship with God broken because I am trying to be my own god (Genesis 3:5)?

The Second Commandment is, “thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep my commandments.”

I acknowledge the Authority of this commandment to teach me:

  1. How to develop the skills of receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in His Word.
  2. Identifying and eliminating subtle ways of worshipping God by images, or any other way not appointed in His Word.

Self-examination:  Do I cover up my character defects with religion and false spirituality?

The Third Commandment is, “thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.”

I acknowledge the Authority of this commandment to teach me:

  1. Developing the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, Word, and works.
  2. Avoiding all profaning or abusing anything whereby God maketh Himself known.
  3. Why atheists are not allowed to hold public office in a nation “under God.”
  4. Why atheists were not allowed to hold public office in America until 1961.
  5. How the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape His righteous judgment, however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men.

Self-examination:  Do I take the Lord’s Name in vain?

The Fourth Commandment is, “Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

I acknowledge the Authority of this commandment to teach me:

  1. How to keep holy to God such set times as He appointed in His Word; expressly one whole day in seven to be a holy Sabbath to Himself.
  2. Which day of the seven God hath appointed to be the weekly Sabbath
  3. How to sanctify the Sabbath by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.
  4. How to avoid profaning the Sabbath by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.
  5. Why God allows us six days of the week for our own employments
  6. The meaning of His challenging a special propriety in the seventh, His own example, and His blessing the Sabbath-day.
  7. How the Bible abolished chattel slavery.

Self-examination:  Have I been working as I should, and am I able to rest, and trust God when I should?

The Fifth Commandment is, “honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

I acknowledge the Authority of this commandment to teach me:

  1. Why the Fifth Commandment applies to:

·         Parents:

o      your birth parents,

o      your foster parents,

o      your adoptive parents

·         Superiors:

o      your employer,

o      your guard in jail

·         Those who are talented and excel you in gifts and graces

o      the guy who knows more about algebra than you do and sometimes helps you with your homework,

o      and the guy who is much better than you are at basketball and continually insults you when you miss an easy lay-up.

·         Those in authority over us:

·         family

o        your older brother,

o        your aunts and uncles,

o        grandparents

·         church

o        your priest or pastor,

·         commonwealth

o        your mayor,

o        the police

o        your popularly-elected president,

o        your unelected totalitarian dictator

  1. Why the ability to HONOR someone who excels you in some gift, grace, or authority truly separates the men from the boys.

Self-examination: Have I been angry at my parents, employers, and other superiors, and is our relationship broken?

The Sixth Commandment is, “thou shalt not kill.”

I acknowledge the Authority of this commandment to teach me:

  1. How to conquer anger.
  2. Why you should not assert your rights.
  3. Why a larger percentage of the human race was murdered in the 20th century than any previous century in history (not even including abortions).
  4. Why an even larger percentage of the human race will be murdered in the 21st century.
  5. Four ways the money to fund these murders will come out of your paycheck.
  6. Why your unsanctified emotions will cause you to voluntarily pay for genocide.

Self-examination:  Have I been willing to hurt other people to protect myself?

The Seventh Commandment is, “thou shalt not commit adultery.”

I acknowledge the Authority of this commandment to teach me:

  1. How to preserve our own and our neighbor’s chastity, in heart, speech, and behavior.
  2. How to avoid all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.
  3. How to make a covenant with your eyes.
  4. How to eliminate temptations.

Self-examination:  Do I lust and have impure thoughts and actions, and has this behavior adversely affected others?

The Eighth Commandment is, “thou shalt not steal.”

I acknowledge the Authority of this commandment to teach me:

  1. How to further the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.
  2. Why you will be held accountable for the theft of millions of dollars of private property.
  3. Why the quest for unlimited wealth is Godly.

Self-examination:  Have I cheated others to gratify myself?

The Ninth Commandment is, “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

I acknowledge the Authority of this commandment to teach me:

  1. How to maintain and promote truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.
  2. How to avoid 5 common practices that are prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbor’s good name.

Self-examination:  Have I lied to cover up my character defects, and have these lies adversely affected others?

The Tenth Commandment is, “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

I acknowledge the Authority of this commandment to teach me:

  1. How to develop full contentment with our own condition,
  2. How to develop a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.
  3. How to conquer
a)  all discontentment with our own estate,
b)  envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor,
c)  all inordinate motions and affections to any thing that is his.

Self-examination: Am I filled with resentment from envying the rich and coveting what I don’t have, and has this bitterness adversely affected others.

Having been personally tutored by R.J. Rushdoony, and strongly influenced by The Institutes of Biblical Law, his magnum opus, I would like to provide a list of some chapters in Rushdoony's Institutes. This helps show the social scope which I believe God's Law has: 

III. The Third Commandment
2. Swearing and Revolution
3. The Oath and Society
5. The Oath and Authority
IV. The Fourth Commandment
3. The Sabbath and Work
5. The Sabbath and Law
Appendix: The Economics of Sabbath keeping -- by Gary North
V. The Fifth Commandment
1. The Authority of the Family
3. The Economics of the Family
4. Education and the Family
5. The Family and Delinquency
VI. The Sixth Commandment
2. The Death Penalty
5. Hybridization and Law
6. Abortion
8. Restitution or Restoration
9. Military Laws and Production
10. Taxation
13. Quarantine Laws
14. Dietary Rules
20. Social Inheritance: Landmarks
VII. The Seventh Commandment
1. Marriage
5. Family Law
6. Marriage and Monogamy
7. Incest
9. Sex and Crime
11. Adultery
12. Divorce
14. Homosexuality
17. The Transvestite
18. Bestiality
VIII. The Eighth Commandment
1. Dominion
2. Theft
3. Restitution and Forgiveness
4. Liability of the Bystander
5. Money and Measure
6. Usury
9. Landmarks and Land
10. The Virgin Birth and Property
11. Fraud
12. Eminent Domain
13. Labor Laws
15. Prison
18. The Rights of Strangers, Widows, and Orphans
IX. The Ninth Commandment
5. Corroboration
6. Perjury
8. False Witness
11. Slander Within Marriage
13. Slander as Theft
16. Judges
17. The Responsibility of Judges and Rulers
18. The Court
19. The Procedure of the Court
20. The Judgment of the Court
X. The Tenth Commandment
1. Covetousness
3. Special Privilege
5. The System

I would like to summarize some of the practical implications of God's Law, which are briefly referred to in the section on the Law of God (chap 19). One way I advance the ideals contained in God's Law is by running for political office. Not that I ever expect to win, but simply as a platform or vehicle for propagating Biblical values, on radio, television, in debates, forums and town halls. Here is an excerpt from my campaign home page:


From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?
In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.
-- President Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address



My goal is to develop the character of Christ in my life and others. Here are my thoughts and meditations on Godly character:

Here is another glimpse at my personal morality, in an A-Z listing of a few contemporary subjects:

I Oppose I Support
  1. Abortion
  2. Adolescence
  3. Adultery
  4. Antinomianism
  5. Apathy
  6. Birth Control
  7. Capital Punishment
  8. Careerism
  9. Censorship
  10. Church "Office"
  11. Compulsory Immunization
  12. Compulsory Schooling
  13. Consumerism
  14. Covetousness
  15. Credentialism
  16. Darwinism
  17. Debt
  18. Discrimination
  19. Dispensationalism
  20. Drunkenness
  21. Duplicity
  22. Eminent Domain
  23. Envy
  24. Escapism
  25. Escheat
  26. Evolutionism
  27. Federalism
  28. Foreign Aid
  29. Formalism
  30. Fornication
  31. Fractional Reserve Banking
  32. Gambling
  33. Gun Control
  34. Higher Criticism
  35. Homosexuality
  36. Human Vengeance
  37. Humanism
  38. Iatrogenic Medicine
  39. Idleness
  40. Idolatry
  41. Immigration Laws
  42. Inheritance Taxes
  43. Institutions
  44. Insurance
  45. Intemperance
  46. Interest
  47. Interstate Commerce Commission
  48. Interventionism
  49. Intimidation
  50. Law, Man's
  51. Limited Liability
  52. Litigation
  53. Machismo
  54. Military Spending
  55. Minimum Wage Laws
  56. Missions
  57. "Mixed Economy"
  58. Nationalism
  59. Occultism
  60. Ordination of Women
  61. Ordination of Men
  62. Organized Crime
  63. Patriotism
  64. Pharisaism
  65. Politics
  66. Pornography
  67. Predestination by Man
  68. Price Controls
  69. Prisons
  70. Public Schools
  71. Racism
  72. The "Rapture"
  73. Resentment
  74. Revolution
  75. Ritual
  76. Sacerdotalism
  77. Scarcity
  78. Singleness
  79. Socialized Education
  80. Socialized Medicine
  81. Socialized National Defense
  82. Socialized Welfare
  83. Statism
  84. Strife
  85. Taxation
  86. Technocracy
  87. The Draft
  88. The Federal Reserve System
  89. Union
  90. Violence
  91. War
  92. Wickard v. Fillburn
  93. Witchcraft
  94. Zoning
  1. Accountability
  2. Adoption
  3. Agrarianism
  4. Altruism
  5. Amnesty
  6. Anarchism
  7. Apprenticeship
  8. Arranged Marriages
  9. Atonement by Christ
  10. Beauty
  11. Beneficence
  12. Breast-feeding
  13. Capitalism
  14. Children's "Rights"
  15. Civil Liberties
  16. Color
  17. Contentedness
  18. Conviviality
  19. Courtesy
  20. Creationism
  21. Creativity
  22. Discipline
  23. Dominion (Gen. 1:26-28)
  24. Drugs, FDA unapproved
  25. Drugs, legalization of
  26. Duty
  27. Extended families
  28. Faith
  29. Feasts
  30. Fidelity
  31. Forgiveness
  32. Free Energy
  33. Free Enterprise
  34. Generosity
  35. Geneva Jigs
  36. Gentleness
  37. Geocentricity
  38. Gladness
  39. God's Law
  40. God's Sovereign Grace
  41. Grace, God's
  42. Growing Without Schooling
  43. Growth
  44. Harmony
  45. Holistic Health
  46. Home Education
  47. "House Churches"
  48. Honest Money
  49. Hope
  50. Hospitality
  51. Initiative
  52. Joy
  53. Jury Nullification
  54. Just Wealth
  55. Justice
  56. Kindness
  57. Laissez-Faire
  58. Law, God's
  59. Legalization of all Drugs
  60. Lifelong learning
  61. Localism
  62. Love
  63. Maturity
  64. Meekness
  65. Mercy
  66. Midwifery
  67. Modest Dress
  68. Monogamy
  69. Natural Foods
  70. "Neighborhood Power"
  71. Patience
  72. Personal Responsibility
  73. Political Freedom
  74. Predestination by God
  75. Private Property
  76. Reconciliation
  77. Regeneration
  78. Reliability
  79. Restitution
  80. Reverence for the Aged
  81. Righteous Judgment
  82. Self-Control
  83. Settling out of Court
  84. Sovereign Grace, God's
  85. Spontaneous Order
  86. Technology
  87. Thankfulness
  88. Theonomy
  89. Trustworthiness
  90. Unity
  91. Unregulated Commerce
  92. Voluntary Communism
Note: This list was one of the first pages I put on the internet. It hasn't been substantially altered in a decade. The character traits were spun off onto the character webpages above. I am adding links that explain these concepts and why I believe they are contrary to or commanded by God's Law. Please email your nagging and I'll get your favorite word linked ASAP.

Together, orthopraxis and orthodoxy make up one's worldview.

Every day you are bombarded with billions of facts. Which facts are important? How do you interpret them?

A Worldview is the pair of glasses through which you view the world. It is the grid which filters, prioritizes, and sorts billions of facts and makes sense out of life. It helps you decide whether you view a fact with joy or with sadness. It may tell you to ignore some facts altogether. It is the foundation upon which you build the structure of your life.

Do we live in an orderly universe with predictable regularities, or do we live in a random, evolving, undependable and chaotic universe? The answer depends on which worldview you choose. "Is science possible?" is a question science cannot answer. It is an assumption of your worldview.

A Worldview is a presupposition. People don't choose their worldview because they are forced to by a neutral observation of brute facts. People choose a worldview to justify their morality. They choose a worldview to justify ignoring some facts and emphasizing other facts.

Aldous Huxley, grandson of Thomas H. Huxley (who was called "Darwin's Bulldog"), explained how he chose his worldview:

      “I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption.
      Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don’t know because we don’t want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence.
      Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because, for one reason or another, it suits their [purpose] that the world should be meaningless.
      The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves....
      For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy [worldview] of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust. The supporters of these systems claimed that in some way they embodied the meaning (a Christian meaning, they insisted) of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever.”
(Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means, Chatto & Windus: London, 1946, pp. 270, 273) 

A worldview also characterizes a society, or nation. Millions of people can be controlled and directed by the "worldview" of their government or leader. Those with an active "worldview" tend to dominate those with a passive "worldview":

A worldview perpetuates itself.

A worldview is your ultimate philosophical commitment. It is your religion. You apply your worldview to everything you think and do.

“I was already a Christian, but my worldview had not yet caught up to my Christian commitment. It can take a long time to apply the lessons of the Bible to your life, your work, and your community. Those days were the time when I began to do that.
Joseph Farah, editor, WorldNetDaily

What Joseph Farah is saying is that he grew up with the worldview of the religion of Secular Humanism, which says there is no God, that man is his own god. Farah had been applying this philosophy/religion to his own life. Then Farah realized he was not God, but Christ is Lord of Farah's life. That meant Farah had to start learning how to obey Jesus rather than Joseph Farah and other Humanists. Life, work, community. Every area of life is affected by one's ultimate worldview.

It also means that Christ had to become Lord of Farah's personal life, his work, his community: every facet of human life and society.

Kevin Craig agrees with a former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Abraham Kuyper, who proclaimed:
 
"In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, that is Mine! "

  We must use our God-given powers of reason and logic to apply Christ's model of love and justice to every area of life:

Your worldview provides answers to these basic questions:

Gary North applies these questions to your business, your nation, your world, your universe:


The original American Worldview is seen in the Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. God is here and He is not silent. He has given us His revelation in the Bible, also referred to as "The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Because we are created in the Image of God, we have a conscience (literally, "with" + "know," something man knows with God) that cannot escape knowing certain "self-evident truths," among them that God is there and He is not silent, and we must not infringe on the life, liberty, and property of others (see duties below).
He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivatng and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. This paragraph is an excerpt from Jefferson's draft of the Declaration, removed by the Continental Congress to secure approval of slave-holding states for the plan for Independence. Many Christians wanted to abolish slavery, but the so-called Christian King of Britain, George III, would not permit this. A true Christian worldview takes action against social and global injustice. There is no area of human thought or action where a worldview does not prescribe duties or reform thinking.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. Not a single person who signed the Constitution was a "deist" (one who believed in an impersonal creator-god who never involves himself/herself/itself in the creation). The God of America's Founding Fathers answered their prayers and miraculously and supernaturally intervened in America, changing the course of history. "Providence" is the act of the "Supreme Judge" intervening in history against wicked judges and on behalf of their victims; for the good and against the evil.

The Declaration of Independence provides another standard we can use to evaluate our worldview: compare it with "The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." The Ten Commandments summarize a Biblical worldview. In reverse order, here are the questions the Ten Commandments begin to ask about your worldview:

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
Am I filled with resentment from envying the rich and coveting what I don't have?
Most Political Campaigns appeal to envy, resentment, and covetousness. "Vote for me and I'll take money from the rich and give it to you!" An economy based on covetousness eventually self-destructs.
 
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Do I lie to cover up my character defects?
What would politics be without lying?
 
8. Thou shalt not steal.
Do I cheat others to gratify myself?
The essence of politics today is stealing from others to get something for nothing. "Thou shalt not steal--except by majority vote" is how politicians have re-written this commandment.
 
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Have I kept my marriage vows? Do I lust and have impure thoughts and actions?
It's astonishing how many of today's most famous politicians left their first wife for a younger, prettier lobbyist.
The Family is God's central institution, not "the State."
 
6. Thou shalt not kill.
Am I willing to hurt other people to protect myself?
"The State" is symbolized by "the sword." It kills people who get in its way.                                    
 
5. Honour thy father and thy mother:
that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Am I angry at my parents, and is our relationship broken? Do I project my anger against them onto other authorities?
 
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
{9} Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
{10} But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: {11} For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Do I work to serve God and others, or do I expect something for nothing? Am I able to rest, and trust God?
 
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;
for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Do I take the Lord's Name in vain?
Politicians say "I will support the Constitution, so help me God." They never do.                             
 
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
{5} Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; {6} And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Do I cover up my character defects with "religion" and false spirituality?                         
America's Founders warned against "false religions"
 
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Is my relationship with God broken because I am trying to be my own god (Genesis 3:5)? Do I seek to be god over others?
One of America's greatest problems is viewing the government as savior. America's Founders believed that choosing "security" over liberty was the mark of idolatry.

A campaign to reduce the size and intrusiveness of government will be futile unless it deals with the worldview question. Gary North writes:

What is the main problem we face? Conspiracies? No. The real problem is [worldview:] the set of moral, intellectual, and economic ideas that the West's voters have accepted as valid that have led to their partial enslavement. The conspirators use these false religious principles to control Western societies. These false principles include the following:

1. Mankind is essentially unified.

2. There are no conflicting moral issues that divide people permanently.

3. Man must "take control" of man.

4. Mankind will eventually evolve into a "higher species" — a "leap of being."

5. Elite planners can use the laws of evolution to speed up this evolutionary process.

6. Men can be saved through State legislation.

7. Men can be saved through education.

8. Ideology is irrelevant; only "interests" count.

9. "Deprived" individuals are not personally responsible for their acts.

10. The State is the primary welfare agency rather than the family.

11. The State should redistribute wealth to benefit "the People."

12. The State must protect inefficient producers from free market competition.

13. The State must supervise education.

14. We need to construct a one-State world in order to achieve peace, freedom, and prosperity.

When a majority of voters accept a majority of these premises, the triumph of one or another conspiratorial group is assured. It is by means of these man-worshipping, State-worshipping ideas that conspirators enlarge the power of civil government, and it is by the power of civil government that they rule. To attempt to remove the ruling conspiracies without first removing most people's confidence in these false ideas is about as useful an effort as a condemned man's switching from hanging to the firing squad. Jesus described the results of such a self-defeating "housecleaning":

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and finding none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there .... (Matthew 12:43-45a).

The owner of the house is worse off than he was when he started. This is the legacy of all political revolutions that are not grounded in biblical principles of social order. Men "throw the rascals out," only to find that a worse gang of rascals has replaced the first one.


Twelve Worldview Questions
1 - Veritology: What is Truth?
The Truth Project begins by defining truth as "that which corresponds to reality." This absolute and eternal truth, at the heart of Jesus' mission on earth, continues to be the focal point of the Cosmic Battle in our own time.
2 - Philosophy and Ethics: Says Who?
Truth is not simply an academic concept. The way we think about truth has a direct bearing upon the way we live our lives. What's more, our understanding of right and wrong is directly dependent on our worldview: is the universe God's creation or a closed cosmic cube?
3 - Anthropology: Who is Man?
The Bible tells us that man was created in God's image but fell from innocence through sin. Modern psychology, on the other hand, asserts that man is inherently good and behaves badly only under the influence of social or institutional pressure. This lesson explores the implications of both views.
4 - Theology: Who is God?
Eternal life, according to Jesus, is knowing God in an intimate, personal, and relational way. Such knowledge, which is possible only because of divine revelation, transforms us from the inside out as we begin to see ourselves in the light of His majesty and holiness.
5 - Science: What is True?
Science, the "systematic study of the natural world," brings to light innumerable evidences of Intelligent Design. But Darwinian theory transforms science from the honest investigation of nature into a vehicle for propagating a godless philosophy.
    A careful examination of molecular biology and the fossil record demonstrates that evolution is not a "proven fact." Meanwhile, history shows that ideas, including Darwinism as a social philosophy, have definite consequences – consequences that can turn ugly when God is left out of the picture.
6 - History: Whose Story?
Does the past have an objective actuality and significance? Or does it, as postmodernist philosophy asserts, exist primarily inside our heads? This question considers the meaning of history as God’s story and shows us why remembering is so important.
7 - Sociology: The Divine Imprint
The order we observe in the natural realm is even more apparent in the social systems God has established: family, church, community, state, labor, and the union between God and man. Life is a series of relationships that flow out of and reflect the Trinitarian nature of the Creator.
8 - Unio Mystica: Am I Alone?
Is it possible for the infinite, eternal Creator to dwell within the heart of an individual? The implications of this great mystery, which represents the very core of the Christian faith, are explored at length in this examination of the most intimate of the social spheres.
9 - The State: Whose Law?
Of all the social spheres, the state, to which God grants the power of the sword for the punishment of evil and the preservation of the good, has the greatest potential to go awry if it oversteps its authority. The civil magistrate must always remember his place under the sovereignty of God – otherwise, havoc will ensue.
10 - The American "Experiment in Liberty": "Self-Evident Truths" 
America is unique in the history of the world. On these shores a people holding to a biblical worldview have had an opportunity to set up a system of government designed to keep the state within its divinely ordained boundaries. Question #10 follows the history of this experiment and explores what happens to freedom when God is forgotten.
11 - Labor: Created to Create
Contrary to a great deal of contemporary popular opinion, work is not a "curse." God Himself is active and creative, and He calls man to share in the joy of His activity and creativity. Labor, economics, media, and the creative arts all have a role to play in magnifying the glory of the Creator.
12 - Community and Involvement: God Cares, Do I?
The ethical law and the meaning of the Christian life are summed up in the commandment to love God and one's neighbor. This command is the source of the believer's motivation for self-sacrificial service to the needy and their personal involvement in our culture.
Resources from Prison Fellowship:

"Worldview" and "Theocracy"

Those who advocate a Christian "worldview" also advocate "Christian Theocracy."

Nevertheless, virtually all of off-site resources listed above are able defenses of the idea of Christianity as a world-and-life-view, but they often run away from the word "Theocracy" (which is defended on this website), even as they wisely note that "theocracy" is often raised by atheists as a boogeyman to scare people away from allowing God's Law to have full sway in society.

Atheists don't want to live in a society where all other people and institutions openly acknowledge God and practice His Commandments. When religion dictates behavior in our neighborhoods, on the job, in schools, in businesses, in the arts and sciences, and in government (if there still is one), atheists see this as an intolerable "theocracy." It's just as bad as an Islamic theocracy, where religion governs everything. Atheists don't want "freedom of religion," they want "freedom from religion." That means freedom from a Christian worldview put into practice by the rest of society. To attack such a society, they accuse the worldview Christian of trying to "impose a theocracy."

A truly Christian Theocracy (a society under God's Law) is radically different from a Muslim theocracy. A truly Christian Theocracy cannot be imposed without violating Christ's command not to be like the Gentile kings ("archists"). A truly Christian Theocracy is a libertarian worldview that impacts every area of life.


OK, now we come to theological doctrines.

My background is Reformed Protestantism. This can be summed up with the "Five Solas of the Reformation":

I agree with most of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647). I've never met anyone who agrees with everything it says. How much agreement is necessary to be "truly reformed?" My credo probably tests the limits. For all intents and purposes, the Protestant Reformation is dead. I believe it had tremendous good effects, but it is no longer "the salt of the earth." Less than one person in a thousand could say anything meaningful about John Calvin or Martin Luther and their contributions to Western Civilization. We're in a new "dark ages." I believe it's time for another Reformation, another "95 Theses." Here are mine. They tend to be more political and social than doctrinal, unlike Luther's Theses.

Despite the obvious need for a new Reformation, I am sometimes asked about my conformity to the tenets of the old Reformation. Below is a short summary of each chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) with my opinion of each and appropriate links to my webpages.

Here is an outline of my most obvious agreements and disagreements with the Westminster Confession of Faith, with links to the Extended Discussion below:

   Outline   


CHAP. I - Of the Holy Scripture

I agree with all these chapters.
Click each one for more details.

CHAP. II - Of God, and of the Holy Trinity
CHAP. III - Of God's Eternal Decree
CHAP. IV - Of Creation
CHAP. V - Of Providence
CHAP. VI - Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof
CHAP. VII - Of God's Covenant with Man
CHAP. VIII - Of Christ the Mediator
CHAP. IX - Of Free Will
CHAP. X - Of Effectual Calling
CHAP. XI - Of Justification The old version of "justification by faith" has devolved into the crippling doctrine of "Justification by Belief Alone." I do not agree with this view, and I'm sure James would not either. I call my view "Justification by Allegiance."
CHAP. XII - Of Adoption

I agree with all these chapters.

CHAP. XIII - Of Sanctification
CHAP. XIV - Of Saving Faith
CHAP. XV - Of Repentance unto Life
CHAP. XVI - Of Good Works
CHAP. XVII - Of the Perseverance of the Saints
CHAP. XVIII - Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation
CHAP. XIX - Of the Law of God I adhere to the "theonomic" principle. There is debate as to whether the Westminster Confession advocates that principle.
CHAP. XX - Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience  
CHAP. XXI - Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day I do not believe that Sunday is "the Sabbath." Seems to me that it should still be the seventh day. The eighth-day/first-day is the day of Resurrection, but not rest. But I do not know for sure if we are today required to observe one day of rest out of seven, whichever day that is, or whether we are in a perpetual sabbath rest.
CHAP. XXII - Of Lawful Oaths and Vows Because I believe an oath must be made in the name of the Lord and cannot be "secular," the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied me a license to practice law in California, which now requires a secular oath. Details here.
CHAP. XXIII - Of the Civil Magistrate

This is unquestionably one of the most controversial parts of "my credo." I believe socialism in all forms is immoral. I am very consistent in my opposition to socialism and defense of capitalism. This offends many people, who believe "the State" has the right to steal from Jones to give a subsidy to Smith, or to bomb a country "back to the Stone Age" in order to help XYZ Corporation build an oil pipeline. Most people will write me off as an "anarchist" without reading the links below.

CHAP. XXIV - Of Marriage and Divorce  
CHAP. XXV - Of the Church I do not believe in anything that resembles the Roman Catholic Church. In my opinion most "reformed churches" are essentially Roman.

Given the irrelevance of the Confession in light of contemporary statism and mass murder (chap. 23), it is remarkable that the rest of the Confession -- 25% of the total chapters -- deals with ecclesiastical concerns.

CHAP. XXVI - Of the Communion of Saints  
CHAP. XXVII - Of the Sacraments I do not believe in any "sacraments."
CHAP. XXVIII - Of Baptism I believe "baptism" was a ceremonial sprinkling (not immersion) that expired with "the last days" of the Old Covenant.
CHAP. XXIX - Of the Lord's Supper I do not believe we are required to continue observing Passover.
CHAP. XXX - Of Church Censures See chapter 25
CHAP. XXXI - Of Synods and Councils
CHAP. XXXII - Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead For all intents and purposes I am a "preterist." I think the prooftexts used by the Westminster Confession apply to events in AD70. I simply don't know what exactly will happen to any individual upon death. It doesn't matter to me, as I believe God is more merciful and more just than I can imagine. I am confident no alleged prophetic events (rapture, second coming, etc.) will happen in my lifetime. I believe it would be sinful to act as though "the second coming" had not already occurred.
CHAP. XXXIII - Of the Last Judgment



Extended Discussion

Quite candidly there are many parts of the Westminster Standards that I think are more important than many chapters of the Confession itself. The Confession's latter chapters on ecclesiology and eschatology are defective, and the chapters on the "ordo salutis," while correct, are not as relevant in the 21st century as, say, the exposition of the Ten Commandments in the Larger Catechism, particularly the political application of the Sixth and Eighth Commandments. Much eschatological confusion could be clarified by ridding Christendom of the anti-christ doctrine of Christ's postponed Kingship as discussed in qq. 42-45 of the Larger Catechism.

I would also add that I feel the Anabaptists were more consistent reformers (and therefore less Romanist) than the "magisterial reformers."

A Chapter by Chapter Summary of the Primary Teachings of the Westminster Confession of Faith

Prepared by James E. Bordwine, Th.D.
I will check this column if I am in  basic agreement with the Confession.

I will explain my convictions and admit my differences in this column. Parts of the Confession that I question are in yellow. Parts that I'm sure I disagree with are in red.


Chapter I
Of the Holy Scripture

1. The Holy Scripture, given by the inspiration of God, is necessary because the works of creation and providence are not sufficient to give a saving knowledge of God. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) My views on the Bible in general.

"Natural Law"

2. God's former methods of revelation have ceased now that the Church possesses the written Scripture. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) See "Propositions on Pentecostalism," by James B. Jordan. 
3. The Scripture's infallible authority depends solely upon the fact that God is its author, and only as the Holy Spirit bears witness by and with the Word in our hearts will we become fully persuaded of this truth. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Why I Worship the Bible
4. Everything necessary for God's glory, our salvation, faith and life is contained in the Scripture and nothing, at any time or for any reason, is to be added to it. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) How to interpret God's Law-Word

5. In all controversies of religion, the Church is to make final appeal to the Scripture, which, by God's providence, has been kept pure in all ages.

checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Can Believers Criticize Church Councils?


Chapter II
Of God and the Holy Trinity

1. There is only one true God who is not dependent on any creature, but has all life, glory, goodness and blessedness in and of Himself. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Total Sovereignty
2. God exercises absolute dominion over all things and may do with them whatsoever He pleases and is due whatsoever worship, service or obedience He requires of His creatures. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. In the Godhead, there are three persons, the same in substance, equal in power and eternity. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter III
Of God's Eternal Decree

1. Although God has unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass and has predestinated some men and angels unto everlasting life and others to everlasting death, He has done so without becoming the author of sin or doing violence to the will of His creatures. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Total Predestination
Proof that even our thoughts are predestined.
2. Those of mankind whom God has predestinated unto life have been chosen in Christ and are effectually called by His Spirit, are justified, adopted, sanctified and kept by His power; the rest of mankind, from whom God has withheld His mercy, have been ordained to dishonor and wrath for their sin. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter IV
Of Creation

1. In the space of six days, God created the world out of nothing. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) "The Facts" vs. The Faith
2. Man, created in the image of God with the law of God written upon his heart, was left to the liberty of his own will having been commanded not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God

God created man to "exercise dominion" over the earth, which can also be described as "re-creating heaven on earth."


Chapter V
Of Providence

1. The providence of God, whereby he governs all creatures and actions, extends to the first fall and all other sins of angels and men so that His own holy ends are accomplished; yet He is neither the author nor approver of sin. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Providence in American History
2. God sometimes allows His own children to be subjected to manifold temptations so that they might be chastised, humbled and drawn closer to Him. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. God blinds and hardens the wicked by withholding His grace, withdrawing the gifts which they have and giving them over to the power of Satan. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter VI
Of the Fall of Man, etc.

1. Our first parents, having sinned in eating the forbidden fruit, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) "To be as god"
2. Because they were the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed to all their posterity, along with the corruption of their nature from which proceeds all the sins which we commit. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. This corruption of nature, though pardoned and mortified through Christ, remains in the regenerate in this life.   Can a Christian be Perfect?
The Confession wants to distance itself from certain groups who have claimed to be sinless. These groups have not been sinless, and they have fudged on the requirements of God's Law in order to make their claim. But this does not prove anything about the new nature of the redeemed.


Chapter VII
Of God's Covenant with Man

1. God has condescended to man by way of covenant. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. The first covenant, a covenant of works, promised life in return for perfect obedience; the second covenant, the covenant of grace, freely offers life and salvation to man by Jesus Christ.   Both Covenants require perfect obedience; both covenants grant access to the Tree of Life by grace alone. Some would criticize
anyone who denies the highly controversial Covenant of Works. Yet, the Protestant Reformed Church, following their great theologian Herman Hoeksema, denies it. Walter Kaiser, one of the prominent conservative Old Testament scholars of our day, opposes it. R. J. Rushdoony considered it “deadly wrong” (his words).
Andrew Sandlin
3. This covenant of grace, though differently administered in the Old and New Testament eras, is essentially one. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter VIII
Of Christ the Mediator

1. The Mediator, in which are joined the Godhead and the manhood, was chosen and ordained by God and does, in time, redeem, call, justify, sanctify and glorify the seed given to Him from all eternity. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. The Son of God, who was God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did take upon Him the nature of man with all of its essential properties and infirmities, yet without sin, being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. In His role as Mediator, the Lord Jesus perfectly fulfilled the law, triumphed over death by His resurrection, fully satisfied the justice of His Father and purchased reconciliation and an everlasting inheritance for all those whom the Father has given to Him. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
4. All of those for whom redemption was purchased, including the elect who lived before the incarnation, have its benefits applied to them by Christ working through His Word and Spirit. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter IX
Of Free Will

1. Having been created with a will which was determined neither to good or evil, man, in his pre-fallen state, had the power to will and do that which was well pleasing to God.   The Fall was predestined.
God works in the redeemed to will and to do His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
2. Fallen man is dead in sin, is unable to convert himself and can be freed from his natural bondage only when God translates him into the state of grace. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter X
Of Effectual Calling

1. By His Word and Spirit, and wholly of grace, God effectually calls all those predestinated unto life and translates them from sin and death to grace and salvation. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. Although others may experience some common operations of the Spirit, only the elect, including infants, truly come to Christ and are saved. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XI
Of Justification

1. God freely justifies the elect by imputing to them the obedience and satisfaction of Christ. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. Faith, which is the gift of God, is the alone instrument of justification.   Saving Faith is allegiance.
3. Although they may suffer the consequences of their sins in this life, those who are justified can never fall from the state of justification. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XII
Of Adoption

By the grace of adoption, all those who are justified are made the children of God and fully enjoy all accompanying benefits. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XIII
Of Sanctification

1. Upon regeneration, sin's dominion is broken and a process begins whereby the lusts of the flesh are gradually overcome. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Can a Christian be Perfect?
2. This process is incomplete in this life and remnants of sin remain; nevertheless, the working of the Spirit of Christ enables the regenerate to overcome and experience growth in his pursuit of holiness. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XIV
Of Saving Faith

1. The Spirit of Christ is responsible for the faith whereby the elect are enabled to believe and be saved. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Saving Faith is allegiance.
2. The principal acts of this saving faith are accepting, receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XV
Of Repentance unto Life

1. Repentance, which is an act of God's free grace, occurs when a sinner turns from his sin to God and, thereafter, determines to live according to His commandments. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. A general repentance is not satisfactory; we are to repent of particular sins particularly and, if necessary, by a private or public confession, declare our repentance to those that are offended. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XVI
Of Good Works

1. The Word of God alone determines what constitutes good works. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) The Origin of Greasy Grace
2. The good works of believers, which are evidences of true faith, are produced by the Spirit of Christ. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. Good works, although essential, do not merit pardon of sin. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
4. Even though the good works produced by the Spirit are defiled by the believer's imperfection, they are, nevertheless, accepted in Christ. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XVII
Of the Perseverance of the Saints

1. The elect, due to the immutability of God's decree, will persevere to the end and be eternally saved. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. The elect may, for a time, fall into grievous sins and suffer all the miseries which accompany such behavior. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XVIII
Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

1. Believers in the Lord Jesus can be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. This assurance rests upon God's promises, the evidences of His grace and the inward testimony of the Spirit. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. Although the assurance of believers may be shaken, in due time, it will be revived. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XIX
Of the Law of God

    As I mentioned above, I believe God's Law gives a practical blueprint for every area of life, and that following this blueprint is in many ways more important than many "doctrinal" disputes.
1. The law given to Adam, by which he and his posterity were bound to absolute obedience, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness even after the fall and was delivered by God in the form of the ten commandments. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) The difference between freedom and tyranny is God's Law. The difference between prosperity and poverty is God's Law. Every society that repudiates "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" ends up in poverty under tyranny. I am a strong proponent of "Theonomy." I don't agree with every jot and tittle of a book by that title, but I am a strong proponent of God's Law. The Ten Commandments are a summary of laws which made America a great place to live.
2. In addition to this moral law, God gave the people of Israel ceremonial laws, all of which are abrogated under the new testament, and judicial laws, which expired with that nation. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) We are still obligated to obey the "ceremonial laws." These laws can only be obeyed in Christ. (Christ is the Lamb, His people are the Temple, etc.)
3. Although the judicial laws expired, the general equity of these statutes remains applicable. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) This is dangerous phraseology. Every one of the judicial laws is binding in the appropriate fact pattern (situation).
4. God's law reveals His will and our duty and is, therefore, of great use to believers, as well as to others as a rule of life. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  The Bible is a blueprint for all humanity, whether Christian or not.


Chapter XX
Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

1. Freedom from the guilt and dominion of sin, the wrath of God, the sting of death, etc. have all been purchased for believers by Christ. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Can a Christian be Perfect?
2. God alone is Lord of the conscience so that the believer is free from man-made rules and regulations. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. Christian liberty is no pretense for sin. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XXI
Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day

1. The only acceptable way of worshiping God is that given in the Scriptures and requires the mediation of Christ. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. The ordinary parts of worship include prayer, the reading of the Scriptures, the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word, the singing of psalms and the proper administration of the sacraments (to these may be added oaths, vows, fastings and thanksgivings upon special occasions). checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. According to the commandment of God, which binds all men in all ages, one day in seven is to be kept holy unto Him during which men are to engage in the worship of God and the performance of deeds of necessity and mercy.   I am agnostic on the issue of one-in-seven rest-days.


Chapter XXII
Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

1. An oath involves calling upon God, whose name ought to be used with all fear and reverence, to witness an assertion or promise. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Oaths in the Bible

The United States requires Americans to take an oath of infidelity.

2. A vow, which is to be made to God alone and which must be in accordance with the Word, may be used to express thankfulness or to obtain what we want. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Did Christ forbid the taking of all oaths?


Chapter XXIII
Of the Civil Magistrate

1. Civil magistrates have been ordained by God for the defense and encouragement of good and the punishment of evil.  

This is unquestionably one of the most controversial parts of "my credo."

I believe in "the Free Market." Maybe you say you do too. I believe in pure laissez-faire capitalism. I'll bet you don't. I believe all forms of socialism are immoral. If you're like most Americans, you believe some forms of socialism are acceptable, even necessary. I don't believe any acts of theft or murder can be justified by majority vote. This means that I am technically an "anarchist" (or "anarcho-capitalist"). Christian anti-anarchism is a contradiction in terms.

During the 20th century more than 10,000 people were legally murdered each and every single day (on average) by civil magistrates around the world. All of these civil governments -- including that of the United States -- are overtly hostile to Biblical Christianity, and should be abolished entirely.

I realize that this position sounds nutty for a Christian. But nowhere in the Bible does God command human beings to form "the State," and everything "the State" does is a violation of God's Law. There is no legitimate function of "the civil magistrate" which God prohibits "the Free Market" from undertaking. It's time for a paradigm shift.

Those three links contain links to hundreds of webpages. This is, in my view, the most significant issue of our day. The issue is capitalism vs. socialism, life or death.

2. Although civil magistrates are forbidden to encroach upon the authority of the Church, they are obligated to protect the Church so that she may freely discharge her duties, without giving preference to any particular denomination of Christians. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. The people are obligated to pray for and obey the magistrates regardless of the magistrates' religious orientation. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XXIV
Of Marriage and Divorce

1. Marriage, which is to be between one man and one woman, was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  I generally agree with Bill Gothard on courtship, marriage and divorce.
2. It is the duty of the godly to avoid being unequally yoked with the wicked in marriage. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. The bond of marriage may not be legitimately dissolved except in cases of adultery or wilful desertion. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XXV
Of the Church

1. The invisible Church is composed of the whole number of the elect; the visible Church is composed of all those who profess the true religion, along with their children. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. It is the duty of the visible Church to gather and perfect the saints. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. The purity of particular Churches is determined by the manner in which they handle the Gospel, administer the sacraments and perform public worship. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
4. Jesus Christ is the alone head of the Church. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
    I disagree with nothing thus far stated (in the summary at left), but our meanings diverge significantly. I am for all intents and purposes "anti-church."
{6}Nor can the pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof: but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.[o]
[o] Matt 23:8-10; 2 Thess. 2:3,4,8-9; Rev. 13:6
  As we enter the 21st century, we recognize that this teaching of the confession is utterly wrong. The "orthodox" position in "reconstructionist" circles is the preterist interpretation.

Read More.


Chapter XXVI
Of the Communion of Saints

1. The saints share in Christ's graces, sufferings, death, resurrection and glory; likewise, they share in each other's gifts and graces and are obligated to pursue their mutual edification. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. The saints' communion with Christ does not make them partakers of the substance of the Godhead; nor does their communion with one another set aside the right to the private ownership of goods. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
 

It would be fair to say that I am in substantial disagreement with the remainder of the Confession.


Chapter XXVII
Of the Sacraments

1. Sacraments are signs and seals of the covenant of grace which represent Christ and His benefits to believers. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. The efficacy of a sacrament depends solely upon the work of the Spirit and the word of institution. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. Only two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, have been ordained by Christ in the Gospel.   Both baptism and passover were old testament ordinances.
{4} There be only two sacraments: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained   Baptism and passover were properly administered house-by-house without a seminary-trained "ordained" clergyman.


Chapter XXVIII
Of Baptism

1. Through the sacrament of baptism, which signifies the engrafting of the believer into Christ, and which is rightly administered by the pouring or sprinkling of water, the party is admitted into the visible Church. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Immersion was not Biblical. (Heb. 9:10,13,19,21)
2. All who profess faith in Christ, and their infant children, are to be baptized.   Paedobaptism is more Biblical than professors'-only baptism.
3. Even though grace and salvation are not inseparably attached to the sacrament of baptism nor to the moment of its administration, that which is signified will be conferred by the Holy Spirit to all to whom it is due at the appointed time. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XXIX
Of the Lord's Supper

1. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was instituted by Christ Himself as a sealing ordinance and means of grace and is to be observed in His Church until the end of the age. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) But when is "the end of the age?" (off-site)
2. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper reminds us of Christ's sacrifice of Himself but does not involve any real sacrifice itself. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
3. The elements of bread and wine are to be set apart by the declaration of the words of institution and prayer, but are not to be worshiped or adored. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
4. The doctrine of transubstantiation is contrary to the teaching of Scripture, common sense and reason. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
5. Those who partake of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper in a right manner do receive and feed upon Christ crucified after a spiritual manner. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  Those who deny Passover to baptized children are illogical.


Chapter XXX
Of Church Censures

1. Jesus Christ has established a government for His Church in the hands of officers who have the power to grant or deny admission to the kingdom.   We are all priests and kings
2. Church censures, consisting of admonition, suspension and excommunication, serve to reclaim erring brethren, deter others from similar offences and maintain the purity of the Gospel and the Church. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  


Chapter XXXI
Of Synods and Councils

1. Synods and councils ought to be convened occasionally as the good of the Church requires. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes)  
2. The determinations of synods and councils, which are ecclesiastical in nature, ought to be received as long as they are in agreement with the Word of God; however, it should be remembered that all such assemblies are subject to error. checkmrk.jpg (9502 bytes) Can Believers Criticize Church Councils?


Chapter XXXII
Of the State of Men after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead

1. At the time of death, the body begins to decay, but the soul, being immortal, returns immediately to God whereupon the righteous are received into heaven and the wicked are cast into hell.   I am agnostic on matters pertaining to the individual after death. I trust God to be both merciful and just.
2. At the last day, those who are alive shall be changed and the souls of the dead shall be reunited to their bodies; the unjust to dishonor and the just to honor.    


Chapter XXXIII
Of the Last Judgment

1. On an appointed day, God will judge the world, including apostate angels, by Jesus Christ who will require an account of every thought, word and deed.   I am agnostic on this issue, especially as regards timing. I disagree with the application of several verses used to support these ideas.
2. The purpose of this day is for the manifestation of God's mercy, in the salvation of the elect, and of His justice, in the damnation of the reprobate.   Preterism

Your comments would be appreciated.




 


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