Between 1859 and 1880 four presidents served the United States, but as they came and went, one emperor reigned in the United States . Lincoln, Jackson, Grant, and Hayes were all president of the United States during that time, but Emperor Norton I was Emperor of the whole United States and Protector of Mexico.
“Back East” there were significant events that were shaping the growing nation, such as the Pony Express sending mail from coast to coast. The Homestead Act opened the fly-over states resulting in a population surge (including many Covenanters) along the prairies and fields of grain. The Emancipation Proclamation freed Southern slaves and eventually the United States would work on healing herself following a war of ideologies. And who could forget the fact that the National League was founded as a cradle for Dodger’s baseball (go Blue!).
Many things were changing in the United States between 1859 and 1880, but one thing remained a constant. Emperor Norton was the self-proclaimed rightful heir of the United States and Mexico. Read more
In these United States, we have just celebrated Memorial Day, D-Day is just around the corner, and summer is here. So, it’s time for a few musings on history, freedom, culture, and the need to remember:
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Recently my daughter Emory, a freshman nursing student at Purdue University, traveled through the night with friends to attend an event in Washington D.C. Upon her return, after I listened to her describe her experience over the phone in the tears and raw emotion of uncalloused youth, I asked her to put her thoughts into writing. They follow below.
The agonizing cries, which can only proceed from the most tortured of human souls, pierced the silence of my imagination. I could almost smell the reek of unwashed, decaying, and burning human flesh. Haunted figures and hollowed eyes presented themselves before me wherever I turned. There was no escape from the overwhelming sense that I was experiencing no small taste of hell.
Such were the thoughts and emotions which flooded over me as I walked through the National Holocaust Museum in our nation’s capital. After being confronted with the acute depravity of mankind, museum visitors are quoted saying, “This can never be allowed to happen in any form again.” We leave appalled, but comforted with the fact that we would never participate in such horrific evil. We think that our nation is so much more advanced and we have come so far as a society. Read more
State lawmakers and executives take up their work in earnest in January in Indiana – and probably in most states. God’s people need to be earnest in making supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way, as the Lord commands us through Paul. How can we more effectively pray? Read more
As our leaders drive us down the road toward the fiscal cliff, we need help understanding the vast debt we are accruing as a nation. The video below [HT: Tim Challies] helps us visualize it, along with emphasizing the Biblical truth that debt enslaves and imprisons people. We need to pray for our land.
Many thanks to Barry York, James Faris and Nathan Eshelman – and by extension to Dr. Joel Beeke! – for your heartfelt articles pertaining to the national elections (forgive me if I missed any authors!). Thanks for being willing to step into the virtual minefield of this volatile topic with the courage of your convictions as well as the kindness and humility which demonstrate your sincere love for Christ and desire to serve Him. Thanks for leading by example in ensuring that Gentle Reformation is able to address fiery topics with the fruit of the Spirit.
Now that the election is over, Read more
There has been a number of election-related posts over the past several months here on Gentle Reformation. Some authors have questioned whether we should vote for a Mormon. One has encouraged us to remember the etymology of “vote.” We have been asked to write in a candidate instead of protesting. There’s been some controversy… but Lord willing, it’s all been in the spirit of gentlemen and churchmen. But the question remains: What should we as Reformed Christians do? What should be our guide?
Whether you choose to vote or not to vote in the upcoming elections, below are some paragraphs from the Reformed Presbyterian Testimony that ought to assist you in making a biblically informed decision in (or outside of) the voting booth. Read more
As the political election approaches in America, many Christians boldly proclaim that Jesus is King. Such a statement is often coupled with a declaration that they will not be voting, especially given the apparent choices in the presidential election. For perhaps different reasons, Thabiti Anyabwile writes at The Gospel Coalition: “I’m ‘voting’ by not voting.” But is abstaining the obedience to which the Jesus of Scripture has called us? Does it honor him as the King he shows himself to be? Read more
During this election season, so often we ask or are asked the question, “Who are you going to vote for?”
Yet is there not a more elementary question we should be asking?
What is a vote?
How would you answer that question? Though not often discussed explicitly by politicians and pundits, it is not difficult to discern what the majority of people think voting means in our culture. Here briefly are three common expressions of what Americans consider a vote to be. Read more
Gendercide is the newly coined term for the selective killing of people of one sex. Most often it refers to the practice of nations which encourage for cultural and/or for governmental reasons the aborting or killing upon birth their daughters in the hope of having male children instead. Usually we think of this atrocity occurring in nations such as China and India, where their practice of gendercide is well documented. These nation’s gendercide practices have led to a birth ratio of 6:5 males to females. Some of the more obvious long-term consequences of gendercide are falling birth rates, national aggression, increased crime, polyandry, and a heightened sex slave trade.
Yet this practice does not only occur outside the borders of the U.S. As the organization Protect Our Girls has been revealing, increasingly abortion is being used in our country for gender selection. This week videos shot in Austin, Texas, and New York City by Live Action show Planned Parenthood counselors helping undercover reporters, posing as pregnant young women, work through the steps of a gender specific abortion. You can see the video of the Austin interaction below (go to the links in this paragraph for the other video).
What is so chilling in watching these reports are not the graphic images (there are none) or the explicit language (again none is present). Rather, it is seeing the two women counselors speaking so friendly and reassuringly about safety even as they are discussing the murder of unborn girls. Who is truly being “anti-woman” here?
Surely Christians will debate over the ethics of these women reporters posing as something they are not. Yet before condemning them, it would be good to remember that Rahab’s faith and Corrie Ten Boom’s courage employed dealing crookedly with those bent on taking human life.
Do you delight in paying taxes? That’s a tough question as April 17 stares us in the face. The income tax deadline looms in the United States as we sort through piles of W-2s, 1099s, receipts, mileage records, various forms, the tax code, and perhaps TurboTax. Jesus commands us to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” (Matthew 22:21). God has appointed civil government, and Jesus himself paid taxes (Matthew 17:24-27). Obedience should always involve joy. Therefore, paying taxes ought to be a thing of joy for the believer. Certainly, some duties, like disciplining our children, or submitting ourselves to discipline, do not call for giddy ecstasy, but doing God’s will should be our delight even when difficult. Hebrews 12:11 reminds us that: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Read more
How often have you read the news and wondered, perhaps aloud: “Has the world gone insane!?” The answer to that questions is Yes…Yes we have. Read more
Yesterday, I recounted the prayer service at the Indiana Statehouse. I suggested that, humanly speaking, it was such a success because Matt Barnes has worked to serve God by building trust with many leaders over many years. You might ask, “How can I minister to civil servants who God calls his servants?” Or “How can I go beyond talking and theorizing and actually be involved in seeing Christ glorified in civil government?”
Here are a few Scriptural guidelines to get you started:
Senator Dennis Kruse Leads in Prayer
Today began the new legislative session in the Indiana Statehouse. For the eighth straight year, my good friend Matt Barnes hosted the annual Capitol Commission prayer service in the atrium just before the opening of the session. Each year in this service, a mix of pastors, legislators, and others lead in prayer for families and churches in the state, for public safety officials, for the media as they cover legislative session, for the staff and lobbyists, for the judiciary, and for the governor, the senators, and the representatives of the house. The purpose is to obey 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (ESV).