But Didn’t Daniel Work for the Government?

We could be talking about Joseph and Daniel instead of about Hitler, George Washington, and Ronald Reagan. I suggest that we live now in the new covenant version of exile, in analogy to the exiles of Joseph and Daniel.  This means that, for us, exile is not a curse but our vocation. Diaspora is not a punishment but an opportunity to sing the songs of Zion in strange lands.

This means we should not appeal to the paradigm of Exodus 32 in which people ordain themselves as priests to God by means of slaying their ethnic brothers. Nor should we argue for the republished “covenant of works aspects of the Mosaic economy” to serve as the standard for those who serve as resident aliens in the regimes of foreigners.
What difference, if any, is there between the exile of us now and the exiles of the Old Testament? Does the law of Christ (the Sermon on the Mount) make anything different today? Does there continue to be a law-ordeal aspect to our getting things done in the civil kingdoms in which live as exiles today?
I would welcome an answer to any and all such questions, but my basic question now is simple. Do you think that Joseph and Daniel acted as agents of the sword for their magistrates? Why would foreign magistrates trust aliens with the sword? Do you think that Joseph and Daniel had acquired dual citizenships, not only in Israel (that was and is to come) but also as Egyptian and Assyrian citizens ?
Jeremiah 29 reads: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:  Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream.” I take it that Jeremiah was referring to the theonomists of his own time.
II Kings 5:14 reads  So Naaman went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” 16 But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. 17 Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord. 18 In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.” 19 He said to him, “Go in peace.”
On this manner of singing the songs of Zion in strange lands, I would recommend one Mennonite book: For the Nations, by John Howard Yoder (Eerdmans), expecially the chapter on diaspora, “See How they Go with Their Faces”.  And one book by a Quaker, A Biblical Theology of Exile, by Daniel Smith-Christopher( Fortress).  And by the premill evangelical Robert H Gundry, Jesus the Word According to John the Sectarian (Eerdmans).

Federal visionists (theonomists)  like Leithart are a lot more Constantinian than many Roman Catholics today even when they agree on “sacrament” making the church (or churches)  It’s interesting to me that folks like Leithart and Hauerwas  have made a case for going back to Rome, without ever doing it. They  claim to be “too catholic to be catholic”.

These same folks who want to follow the OT (“the” covenant) model for worship are not agreed about what is legitimate for the people of God when they operate in a second kingdom.

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16 Comments on “But Didn’t Daniel Work for the Government?”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    1. most who claim “two passports” still sing “God bless American”

    mark: a good reason not to claim two citizenships. I try not to sing “God curse America for its many sins”.

    2. Bonhoffer made the difficult decision in favor of God’s kingdom and against the laws of his native country.

    mark: I disagree. Bonhoffer rebelled against Hitler. Why confuse this with “in favor of God’s kingdom”?

    3. members of the Meserete Kristos church in Ethiopa continued to meet and evangelize although the church was outlawed.

    mark: so how does this make them citizens of two kingdoms? They were citizens of the church, aliens, not members of Ethiopia.

    4. Is kingdom citizenship with Christians more basic and fundamental than citizenship shared with Americans

    mark:. “more basic” is relativism, and leads to a situation ethic. We need either or—- Christ’s kingdom or not.

    Lee Gatiss—“John Owen initially flirted with Presbyterianism before becoming more persuaded by the Congregational way. He didn’t like episcopacy as a system. Yet — perhaps surprisingly for many — along with other such Independents during the 17th century, Owen did not believe in the separation of church and state….Owen thought that the State had a duty to stop anti-Trinitarians infiltrating the church, and to silence those who rejected justification by faith alone. The magistrates could enforce that, in his view; indeed it was against the light and law of nature, he said, for supreme magistrates not to exert their authority to support, preserve, and further the cause of the gospel and forbid, coerce, and restrain false teaching (e.g. Works, 13:509-510). ”

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2016/01/john-owen-was-an-anglican.php

    Lee Gatiss—In a Constantinian context, appealing to the conscience to “accept the Christ who died for you” may have had a very powerful effect on those haunted by the weighty obligation of their baptism and church membership …Many intuitively felt the significance of their citizenship in a Christian society. Yet as the ghost of nominal Christianity is driven out by modern secularism perhaps such a strategy has had its day. For Us and Our Salvation, p 118

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Gary North, “The Blessings of Serfdom.”

    Joseph, acting as the head of a pagan State, provides us with an acceptable model for a civil magistrate. The key question is this: In what circumstances is his model judicially legitimate: In a pagan State or a Christian State? I argue that his model is valid only in the former case. Pagans who break God’s civil laws deserve to be enslaved politically since they are enslaved religiously. This is the message of Genesis. Joseph did the righteous thing in extracting everything from the Egyptians in the first two years: their land, their animals, and their money. Then, when they faced starvation in the third year, he gave them a choice: either perpetual bondage to Pharaoh, plus a perpetual obligation to pay 20% of their increase in taxes, or else starvation.

    This rate of taxation was double the rate that Samuel said would constitute God’s judgment against Israel (I Sam. 8:15, 17)…. The text shows that Joseph made the Egyptians pay dearly to stay alive. He bought their lands in the name of the State. He brought them into permanent slavery. He bargained sharply.

    There was another quite obvious alternative: Joseph could simply have given away the food, year by year. The people would have retained their land and their legal status as free men. Later Joseph gave food to his family; he did not enslave them…. I argue in my commentary on Genesis that what Joseph did was tyrannical: not immoral but righteous, for he brought a pagan, God hating nation under God’s negative sanctions in history. He enslaved them.

    (Gary North, Westminster’s Confession: The Abandonment of Van Ti1’s Legacy [Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991], 274-276.)

  3. markmcculley Says:

    John Robbins responds to Gary North. 1. The first problem with North’s argument and conclusion is that the argument applies not just to pagans, but to all men. All men are sinners, and all deserve death. North’s argument, if valid, would justify, not just an ancient African despotism, but the complete slaughter of the human race in 1991. His argument, if valid, would prove too much.

    2. The second problem is this: North’s argument assumes that governors ought to judge the religious beliefs of their subjects and mete out punishments according to the truth or falsehood of those beliefs. Therefore it is not only permissible to enslave “pagans,” the enslavement of “pagans” is positively righteous.

    3. If it is righteous and moral for governors to enslave their subjects, then the civil laws of the Old Testament, such as those found in I Samuel 8, must not apply to governors. Thus, there is no Biblical restriction on the power of governors.

    4. Theonomy teaches that the Biblical civil laws are applicable to all governors even today.

    5. If God’s civil laws apply to all societies, including pagan societies, then tyranny can never be righteous or moral.

    The question is not, What do the citizens deserve? but rather, What may governors righteously do? Did Joseph, or does any ruler, have the authority to enslave his people? Whether the people deserve it or not is irrelevant. May a ruler righteously enslave his people?

    God may and has used governors, wicked tyrants, to punish sinners. That is a clear teaching of Scripture. God used the wicked nations surrounding Israel to punish Israel during the time of the judges. The whole of God’s prophecy through Samuel in I Samuel 8 consists of a warning that by rejecting God and demanding a king, the people would be getting the tyranny they deserved.

    It is an equally clear teaching of Scripture that the rulers who do such things are wicked, not righteous. The kings of Israel and Judah were wicked, almost without exception. The kings of the lands surrounding Israel were wicked. They were neither righteous nor moral, even (indeed, especially) when giving a sinful people the punishment they deserved. The issues of whether the people deserve punishment and whether rulers may enslave them are two separate issues.

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=256

  4. markmcculley Says:

    more from Robbins: “North argues that Joseph is righteous because he was a tyrant. Gary confuses God’s purposes with Joseph’s purposes, God’s motives with Joseph’s motives, God’s prerogatives with Joseph’s prerogatives, and God’s authority with Joseph’s authority.

    But Joseph did not confuse himself with God. Genesis 50:19 “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?” Joseph then distinguishes between his brothers’ purpose in selling him into slavery and God’s purpose in causing them to do so (verse 20). Joseph, for all his sins, did not make the mistake of confusing himself with God.

    (The position of the Theonomists on the power of civil governors is schizophrenic: In this same book, for example, North spends several pages quoting and approving the libertarianism of J. Gresham Machen and condemning the New Deal liberalism of some other faculty members at Westminster Seminary.)

    One of the fundamental logical fallacies that North commits is the naturalistic fallacy: attempting to derive an ought from an is. The fact that Joseph, who was undoubtedly a man of faith (see Hebrews 11:22), did something, does not mean that his action was right. Yet apparently because Joseph was not explicitly condemned by God for his actions, North concludes that what he did was righteous and moral. (North defends Rahab on the basis of a lack of condemnation of her lying.)

    Calvin warns against such faulty reasoning in his commentary on Genesis: But it may be inquired again, whether Joseph’s dissimulation, which was joined to a lying to his brothers, is not to be blamed…. Whether God governed his servant by some special movement, to depart without fault, from the common rule of action, I know not, seeing that the faithful may sometimes piously do things which cannot lawfully be drawn into a precedent. By the general command of God, we must all cultivate sincerity. That Joseph feigned something different from the truth, affords no pretext to excuse us if we attempt anything of the same kind.

    And again: Here, not by words only, as before, but by the act itself, Joseph shows himself severe towards his brethren, when he shuts them all up in prison, as if about to bring them to punishment: and during three days torments them with fear. We said a little while ago, that from this fact no rule for acting severely and rigidly is to be drawn; because it is doubtful whether he acted rightly.

    Mark McCulley: I don’t think Robbins and Calvin are despising redemptive history or being “moralists” for pointing out the problems from arguments from silence. Neither should you read too much into the lack of condemnation in the NT of the Roman soldiers’ occupation. I mean both their vocations and their territorial claims over Israel.

  5. markmcculley Says:

    1. Joseph became a dictator: “… without your [Joseph’s] consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt” (41:44).

    2. Joseph married the daughter of a pagan priest (41:45, 50). Hengstenberg says this priest of Heliopolis was the highest in Egypt.

    3. Joseph falsely accused his brothers (42:9, 12, 14, 16).

    4. Joseph swore by Pharaoh (42:15, 16).

    5. Joseph imprisoned his brothers (42:17).

    6. Joseph kept Simeon as a hostage (42:24).

    7. Joseph tormented his father (42:36; 43:14; 44:22, 29).

    8. Joseph framed Benjamin (44:2).

    9. Joseph collected all the money in Egypt and Canaan (47:14).

    10. After being begged to do so by the people, Joseph took all the animals in Egypt for Pharaoh (47:17).

    11. After being begged to do so by the people, Joseph took most of the land of Egypt for Pharaoh (47:19, 20).

    12. After taking control of the land, Joseph moved all the people into the cities (47:21).

    13. Joseph did not take the land of the pagan priests (47:22).

    14. The pagan priests received their food free from Pharaoh (47:22).

    15. Joseph imposed a twenty percent tax on all the people except the pagan priests (47:26).

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Robbins disagrees some with Calvin about Joseph. “Calvin argues that the facts that the people offered their land and animals to Joseph to avoid starvation and later thanked him for saving their lives are evidence that he was not really a tyrant. But Calvin seems to misunderstand what the text says He writes; ‘Seeing that the people had been at liberty to lay up, in their private stores, what they had sold to the king, they now pay the just penalty of their negligence.’ But the text does not support the idea that their grain was originally sold to the king or that they were at liberty not to deliver it to the king.

    The account says, “Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years” (41:34). Joseph’s imposing a 20 percent tax after the famine would seem to indicate that he imposed a 20 percent tax before the famine as well. In any event, there is no evidence for Calvin’s contention that the delivery of the grain to Pharaoh was voluntary. That being the case, the reason for his defense of Joseph vanishes.

  7. MARK MCCULLEY Says:

    Stan Hauerwas, After Christendom, p42–The Christian magistrate is in an insoluble dilemma. For the city of God as such, according to Augustine, can never go to war even in self-defense. This is true even though the death of the city is of a different order than the death of an individual. Yet the church is not dependent on any human system for her survival.

    “The only ruler who can be trusted to be politically virtuous is the person who is indifferent to the survival of the relative shapes of the existing order, because he trusts in God’s eternal and immutable providence. Politicians with virtue know about the discipline of dying and martyrdom. This truth places the church at odds with the politics of liberalism, built as it is on the denial of death and sacrifice.”

    “As Christians we will not serve God or the world well if we pretend (in the naked public square) that the church is only incidental to the world’s salvation. We must witness to God’s rule without ruling.”

  8. MARK MCCULLEY Says:

    Martin Luther: I will not oppose a ruler who, even though be does not tolerate the Gospel, will smite and punish these peasants without offering to submit the case to judgement. For he is
    within his rights, since the peasants are not contending any longer for the Gospel but have become faithless, perjured, disobedient, rebellious murderers, robbers, and blasphemers,
    whom even heathen rulers have the right and power to punish….

    If he can punish and does not, then he is guilty of all the murder and all the evil which these fellows commit, because, by willful neglect of the divine command, he permits them to practice their wickedness, though he can prevent it, and is in duty bound to do so. Here, then, there is no time for sleeping; no place for patience or mercy. It is the time of the sword, not the day of grace.

    Therefore will I punish and smite as long as my heart bears. Thou wilt judge and make things right.’ Thus it may be that one who is killed fighting on the ruler’s side may be a true martyr in the eyes of God…On the other hand, one who perishes on the peasants’ side is an eternal brand of hell…

    mark: You see, the problem is anabaptist revolutions, not reformed revolutions, certainly not German princes aligned against emperor and pope. Though the earth in theory is the Lord’s, to be practical it must be kept from the parasites and given to the nobility, who even now have it in their power to make history go in the right direction, the way God would want it to….

    https://umdrive.memphis.edu/jjsledge/public/1102%20-%20Fall%202011/Week%201/Martin%20Luther%20-%20Against%20the%20Robbing%20and%20Murdering%20Hordes%20of%

  9. markmcculley Says:

    Ted G—In the story Jeremiah tells, we see the folly of trusting in military power, in political schemes and in all-too-easily corrupted politicians. Even the great King David, chosen of God and renowned for his faithfulness, fell prey to the arrogance of power. And the later kings mostly were worse. We also see the folly of trusting in religious practices that seek to contain God and to reduce God to being, in effect, an errand boy on behalf of the king’s policies.

    We see the folly of religion that proclaims that all is well and thereby desensitizes people to the will of the true God. This God cares not so much for order and harmony on behalf of the status quo… Jeremiah does more than express anger. Jeremiah gets down to grief: “Thus says the Lord of hosts; Consider and call for the grieving women to come; send for the skilled women to come; let them quickly raise a dirge over us, so that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids flow with water. For a sound of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How we are ruined! We are utterly shamed, because we have left the land, because they have cast down our dwellings’” ( 9:17-19).

    For Jeremiah, there is no dancing on the grave of those he prophesied against. Jeremiah does not rejoice in others’ misfortune. Jeremiah does not gloat – even though he had been right in warning of coming judgment. Jeremiah deeply identified with the people even as they reaped the fruit of their false trust. He grieves at what is lost. He’s not self-righteous at being vindicated. He’s not proud that his principles proved valid.

    http://peacetheology.net/the-bible-on-peace/16-israels-fall-and-its-hope%E2%80%94jeremiah-818-22-isaiah-431-7/

  10. markmcculley Says:

    Daniel like Joseph was a captive. He did not seek the office. It was thrust upon him. With regard to Daniel we know next to nothing of his official duties. His private prayer was not connected to his office. He was not charged with violation of office but breaking an unjust and idolatrous law.

    Joseph of course embarked on an economic programme that is highly problematic for modern American Evangelicals. They wouldn’t want to consider the implications of his actions. Despite the utter repudiation of their own agendas and narratives, I don’t believe Joseph is an example that we are called to reiterate in our time.

    What of the Centurions, the one in Matthew 8, as well as Cornelius in Acts 10?

    All arguments on this point are from silence and we can just as easily say they sought to leave the legions in the days subsequent to their gospel encounters. Of course that wasn’t always easy to do. It was a hard personal lesson for me to learn but we are called where we are at and we can’t always disentangle ourselves immediately. It takes time. They may have been able to serve out their terms peacefully and retired or they may have come into conflict and ended up in difficulty. We’re simply not told.

    But we are told not to enslave ourselves to others. We are not to seek to be bound. No Christians should seek these entanglements let alone seek power over others. The military represent both and the Early Church largely understood this. There certainly were deviations from this view in the centuries before Constantine but they do not represent the norm. Post-Constantine the Church abandoned the Biblical position wholesale.
    http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-travails-of-babylonian-bureaucrat.html

  11. markmcculley Says:

    Herman Hoeksema—The theory of “common grace” teaches that God so influences the corrupt nature that in the case of the natural, unregenerated man, the evil tree brings forth good fruit. The Spirit does not penetrate to the heart of this natural man who brings forth fruits of good works in the domain of things civil, and yet God improves the nature, the mind, the will, the conscience of the natural man and so directs the thoughts, the desires, the affections, and inclinations of the ungodly, that, with a heart opposed to God and filled with enmity against Him, the natural man nevertheless lives according to the law of God and pursues after purposes that are pleasing to God.

    And thus the natural man, in whom by the restraining power of the Holy Spirit much good remained from Paradise, and who is constantly preserved by the same operations of the Spirit, finally, by this morally and ethically compelling influence of the Spirit, also comes to the performance of actual good works, even though only in the domain of things natural and civil. He lives a good world-life before God. He performs much good that is really good before God. Like the good works of the elect his deeds are tainted with sin, but they are good nevertheless. Through the magic influence of “common grace” the corrupt tree bringeth forth good fruit. Regeneration is a wonder; common grace is magical. The same fountain brings forth sweet and bitter water!

    And thus the world is full of men that are as to their nature totally depraved, but that are actually good. In actual, practical life you find no men that are totally corrupt. The difference between the righteous and the ungodly is, as far as this life is concerned, completely obliterated.

    We had written as follows—The natural man seeks himself, both individually and in fellowship with other sinners and with the whole world, and it is his purpose to maintain himself even in his sin over against God. And this is sin. And in reality his work also has evil effects upon himself and his fellow creatures. And thus it happens, that sin develops constantly and corruption increases, while still there remains a formal adaptation to the laws ordained of God for the present life. Yet, the natural man never attains to any ethical good. That is our view.

    The attempt to maintain, on the one hand, that man is wholly depraved and, on the other, that he is able to perform good works leads to the view that good may be evil and evil may be good at the same time. It leads to the conception of the relativity of good and evil. Prof. Berkhof speaks of a good that is at the same time sinful and of sin that is relatively good. He speaks of good in the full sense of the word and “what is truly good,” implying naturally that an ethical act may also be half good and half evil.

    Berkhof considers the view that maintains that the natural man can only sin, an absolutism that is to be condemned. I consider this introduction of the notion of relativity into the sphere of ethics and morality positively pernicious, and the evil effects of this view are observed but too plainly in the actual life of the people of God in the world. A sphere of transition, a common sphere of life, is created by it, a domain where the righteous and the ungodly have fellowship with one another and live the same life. And a very superficial conception is formed by this philosophy of relative good and evil, of what is good before God. True consciousness of sin is well-nigh impossible in the light of this conception, and the true fear of the Lord is rooted out.

    When one considers this view in its real and fundamental tendencies, one cannot help but shudder with horror and fear for the future of a church that follows in its direction. It is exactly the view which Berkhof condemns as characterized by absolutism, that Scripture everywhere upholds as the truth. Sin is unrighteousness. Good is that which proceeds from faith, is performed according to the law of God, and aims at the glorification of His Name. All the rest is sin. Light and darkness are not relative conceptions. God is the only criterion for what is good. Only that which is in harmony with God’s will is good,

    In as far as this good that is performed by the ungodly is ascribed to an operation of the Holy Spirit upon the natural man. It is an attack upon the very holiness of God. when this sinful good of the natural man, this withered fruit of the uprooted tree, is presented as the effect of an operation of the Holy Spirit? The “common grace” theory teaches that the good the natural man does does proceeds not from his own heart, but from the Holy Spirit, who brings forth good fruit from an evil tree. These fruits, however, are not rooted in the love of God but in the love of self; they do not aim at God’s glory, but at the maintenance of sinful man over against God. Yet, we are told that the Holy Spirit produces these fruits!

    This viewpoint is also deterministic in the strict sense of the word. For this operation of the Spirit, compelling the natural man to do good, makes him a mere tool in the power of the Spirit. The Ego proper of the natural man is not involved in his good works at all. With him the natural man is exactly like the ship that is directed by the will of the steersman, that is, he is ethically dead, he is no moral agent at all. Berkhof —“this good of the natural man must be attributed to an influence of God upon him and does not give to man any claim of reward.” But this conception is possible only if we proceed from the assumption that the natural man is really not the ethical subject of his own works.

    It is an attack upon the justice of God, a perversion of the moral order, when it teaches that the natural man performs good works that are never rewarded. The natural man performs much good. This is emphasized. He often surpasses the child of God in good works . They commit no gross sins; they live temperately and chastely; they even sacrifice themselves for the well-being of the humanity. Judged in the light of the common grace theory,their walk in the world is good before God. The Lord stamps their work as good. It is even a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

    When we set aside all attempts to show how a wholly corrupt tree may still bring forth good fruit, the bare fact remains that by this theory man, as he actually reveals himself in this world, is not totally depraved. The antithesis is obliterated and the chasm between the church and the world is removed, and the former is justified in making common cause with the latter in the things of this present life.

    The Confessions make mention of remnants of natural good, but never do they speak of an influence of God upon the natural man whereby he is improved or reformed. The Confessions teach that by virtue of this natural light man retained some knowledge of God and of natural things, of the difference between good and evil; but never do the Confessions state, or even suggest by implication, that the natural man actually performs the good. And with regard to this so-called civil righteousness it may be observed not only that the term does not occur in the Reformed Confessions, but even that they deny the very idea. The Confession declares that the natural man is incapable of using this natural light aright even in things natural and civil, nay further, that in various ways man renders this light, such as it is, wholly polluted and holds it in unrighteousness .

    http://www.prca.org/resources/publications/pamphlets/item/1598-a-triple-breach-in-the-foundation-of-the-reformed-truth

    • markmcculley Says:

      We don’t need two different laws, or two different kingdoms. We need law and gospel.

      The law-gospel antithesis is about the difference between God’s commands and God’s promises. Legalists turn the promises into the commands, and antinomians lower or eliminate the commands and penalties and threats.

      But there are many who would rather be “unencumbered” by the Sermon on the Mount, but they do not deny it as ‘first use of the law” (to create the despair that drives us to the gospel) but they make every effort to teach us how it does not apply to Christians “just as humans” or in any case in which we would be required to love the enemies of our families.

      but don’t you know Genesis 9 is not about grace or faith or the gospel, but only about all humans—natural law for everybody, including Christians—it even exempts Christians from the Sermon on the Mount

      define “natural”—-not “arbitrary”? Not given by a personal Sovereign? Is “natural” evolving?

      define “arbitrary—not “natural”? Positive and for a church, but creatures can “lice and prosper” without it?

      define “natural”—-universal and objective? For all times and in all places?

      a way to say “sin” without saying “idolatry”? Ethics without religion revealed in a book?

      it’s theism without the Trinity and without Christ?

      if the Noahic covenant is not redemptive, how is it an “administration” of “the covenant of grace”?

      Luther–“You will always be in a station.”

  12. markmcculley Says:

    Can temporary residents submit to Putin and honor Putin, without being either a citizen of his regime or a rebel against his evil regime?

    I Peter 2: 7 So honor will come to you who believe, but for the unbelieving,
    The stone that the builders rejected—
    this One has become the cornerstone,
    8 and A stone to stumble over,
    and a rock to trip over.
    They stumble because they disobey the message.They were destined for this.

    9 But you are a chosen a chosen people
    in order to proclaim the praises
    of the One who called you OUT of darkness
    into His marvelous light.
    10 You were not born a people,
    BUT NOW you are God’s people;
    you HAD NOT received mercy,
    but NOW you have received mercy.

    I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Americans and the Russians and the Turks and all other pagans so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.

    Honor everyone. Love the brothers. Fear God. Honor the Emperor. 18 Household slaves, submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel


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