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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Puritans & Political Change

Political change in this world and age is only temporary even when it has gone well.   While it sometimes brings about benefits, this fallen world is still under the curse of sin.  In the Old Testament there were times of blessing and times of judgment.

In Britain, things changed back and forth from Roman Catholicism to Anglicanism, but there was still the vestiges of Roman Catholicism that brought about persecution and trouble for those who were Christians who held to a stricter belief in what the Bible teaches.

It eventually became so bad that Christians could not teach the Biblical truth of the doctrines of grace (which had been widely accepted previously).
At one point there was actually a civil war where the Puritans finally got control.  Right or wrong methods, this was similar to how the U.S. began.

In the 1600s, the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell were able to make some good church reforms when they took control of the British government (the previous government had already had control over the churches), but after 10 yrs. the positive changes ended (after the death of Cromwell). Sadly, the reforms were undone by the bringing back of a king who did not believe rightly. Not everything that Cromwell did was great even though some good came during that time.  Even the good changes didn't last, although there is some good in the Westminster Confession that some still read today.

Similarly, the U.S. has fallen away from it's Puritan separatist roots that began with the Puritan Pilgrims and others like them.
Even in the early days of the formation of the U.S., some people only held to a form of religion - like Thomas Jefferson who only admitted to deism.  

Some people in America still make a claim to Christianity these days (though a lot don't even pretend anymore since they aren't), but the churches have strayed from the truth.  The world has infiltrated,. Instead of the church conforming to the Word of God, they try to conform the Bible to the world.

Liberalism, sentimentality, emotionalism, and many false teachings have crept back into the "church" like the heresies of old.
So, when we hear about all the "evangelicals" who vote for dishonest and corrupt politicians, or they accept immorality within their church membership roles,  or they claim women as pastors and elders and teachers of men, or they unify with Roman Catholics and other religious groups, or they have strange practices that look like mysticism and other pagan religions ... well, we need to realize that all that glitters is not gold.

Many will claim to be Christians, but they believe and teach strange doctrines that are not from the God of the Bible.  These are not believers, though perhaps some true Christians may be wallowing in their midst.  They should be considered the mission field of the true church.  Praying a prayer, but denying God's truth by your life and beliefs, demonstrates that your faith isn't real.

So,  for Christians who are discouraged due to the political circus and downward spiral of this nation, we can be encouraged that God is still sovereign over the bad times and trials that come.   Much earlier in church history, many Christians suffered and died, and some denied the faith ... it was so bad.  Thankfully, those times did not last forever.
Times of relief and mercy did come for Christians. In Sodom, it was so bad that God's judgment was the destruction of the city.  Still, He rescued Lot and his daughters.

Even if dire persecution comes...which it has come in some countries,  God will give His children grace to endure and shine brightly even if it costs us our temporal lives yet never our eternal life.   Sometimes, faithful Christians have died even for specific truths of the Bible.  Oh, that we should love the truth and despise error so boldly and with such holy zeal!

I admit, I physically do miserably under even a little stress (feeling like passing out even at times due to my physical condition), but God has never failed me yet - though I think I can't endure.
He either gives escape and rescue, or He gives strength and endurance through trials which aid in spiritual growth.

So, my hope isn't in whether we get someone good in the White House though we can pray and ask for mercy.
We have to accept God's will, and it isn't as though America doesn't deserve wicked, dishonest, and corrupt leaders.
But for the sake of all of those of us who are His, we pray to live peaceably.  We don't enjoy misery. We must be a light shining the Gospel in this dark place.

America is a mission field.  The church needs to act like it.  This world is only temporary, so we need to make the most of our time as the days are evil.
I hope that I can be a light, and I hope this post is encouraging to other Christians reading it today.

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