My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

06 December 2005

Civic Prayers

Federal Judge David Hamilton has recently disallowed prayers in Jesus' name in opening prayers before Indiana's House of Representatives; it was a case filed by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.

Here are some comments I sent to our college students:

This is a good chance to remember one of the bigger distinctives the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America has in her theology. While most think the RPCNA is set apart by psalm singing and a lack of instruments in worship, it is really our stand for the mediatorial kingship of Jesus Christ which has historically set us apart – even among other reformed denominations. Hearkening back to the faithful Covenanters of Scotland, we believe that “God has given the exercise of all authority to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the Divine Lawgiver, Governor and Judge.” (RPCNA testimony, A-70)

Because God the Father has set God the Son on the throne over the whole world (Ps. 2; 110) and not just the church, Christ has complete divine authority – not just over individuals, but nations and their rulers as well. Thus, “Every nation ought to recognize the Divine institution of civil government, the sovereignty of God exercised by Jesus Christ, and its duty to rule the Divine affairs of men in accordance with the will of God. It should enter into covenant with Christ and serve to advance His Kingdom on earth. The negligence of civil government in any of these particulars is sinful, makes the nation liable to the wrath of God, and threatens the continued existence of the government and nation.” (A-70)

Governments are not “secular” institutions, but are put in place in order to bring peace and serve the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Thus, civic prayers in Jesus’ name – prayers of rejoicing in God through Christ, prayers acknowledging Christ’s kingship, prayers submitting to the wisdom of God’s Word – are absolutely appropriate and required for our local, state, and federal governing bodies.

Well, what’s next? We first need to continue our submission to our rulers until they command of us action that is clearly unscriptural (A-75). And “It is the duty of every Christian citizen to labor and pray for his nation’s official and explicit recognition of the authority and law of Jesus Christ, Preserver and Ruler of nations, and for the conduct of all government affairs in harmony with the written Word of God.” (A-71) However, we understand Scripture to teach that “a true recognition of the authority and law of Christ in national life can only be the fruit of the Spirit’s regenerating power in the lives of individuals.” (A-70) This means that outward acknowledgement in word only is not enough; we should not be satisfied when the government allows prayer in Christ’s name. We need to pray for the conversion of the men and women who hold office, that their acknowledgement of Christ’s kingship would be truly sincere.

I hope this helps; the RPCNA testimony (pdf) actually has a lot of good things to say in this area and it does a good job backing it up with God’s Word. I commend it to you.

May God turn the hearts of our nation, individually and corporately, to our King Jesus Christ.


Jeff Kessler said...

Ah...the fruit of the attempt at pluralism. Ain't it grand? "We the People" don't need King Jesus.

The sad part is that much of the modern church agrees w/ the decision and to the extent that they don't, has to do w/ free speech and history, etc.

Another large part of the church thinks it is just a "sign of the times".

Josh said...

So. Are we going to do something about it or just sit back and shake our heads in dismay?
Knowing you Jared, I shouldn't ask this yet because I really don't have any ideas about what I can do beside pray, but I'm working on it.

Sal_et_lucis said...

Josh, If you want to become properly zealous about this issue, I would suggest reading Pastor Symmington's Messiah the Prince. It is the best book on the subject, except of course the Bible itself.