The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.
But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:
But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place. -- The Last Words of David (2 Samuel 23:2-7)
Psalm 72 is thought to be the last Psalm of David because of verse 20 [Psalm 72:20]. See Psalms 2.
And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper. (2 Chronicles 13:12)
There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD. (Proverbs 21:30)
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me. (Isaiah 45:5)
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. (Isaiah 46:9-10)
For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 21:15 )
Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 8:9-14)
The simple and obvious notion that false teaching is the indicator by which we recognize false teachers clarifies and explains the meaning of this whole passage. In the verses immediately prior to verse 21 [Matthew 7:21], Jesus had been warning of false prophets. He said,Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:15-20).The trees that are cut down and thrown into the fire in verse 19 [Matthew 7:19], are the men Jesus commands to depart from him in verse 23 [Matthew 7:23]. They are the men who have done spectacular works in the name of Jesus on Earth. This implies, please note, that the fruit by which we are to know them is not primarily their works, perhaps not their works at all, but their doctrine, their teaching. We have become so accustomed to thinking of "fruit" as behavior that we have missed Jesus' point in his warning against false prophets: They are recognized by their doctrine. What they teach is their "fruit." That is why John gives us a doctrinal test in 2 John 1:7,9-11,For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. . . . Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your home or greet him, for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.The notion that fruit is doctrine or teaching, rather than works or behavior, is so clearly taught in Scripture that the dominance of the incorrect view must be attributed to our inability to read. For example, Jesus in Matthew 12:32-37 says,Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.Fruit is a metaphor for words, doctrine, speaking, teaching. Evil fruit is false teaching; good fruit is true teaching; and we are to judge men by their fruit, that is, their teaching. This is entirely consistent with the tests prescribed in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 13 and 18 [Deuteronomy 18]), for false prophets: The tests were doctrinal. The Israelites were to disbelieve false prophets even if they performed miracles and foretold the future.
Jesus prescribes a doctrinal test for false prophets because a behavioral test is unreliable. We all have known unbelievers whose behavior is better than that of some Christians. And if fruit means behavior, and we must judge them by their fruit, then we must conclude that they are Christians, despite what they say. In fact, this misunderstanding of fruit as behavior has led people to say such foolish things as "That Mormon is such a godly man"; or "He is a good Christian man," when all he is is considerate. -- John W. Robbins in a sermon on Matthew 7:21-23, "Justification and Judgment"
For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 6:43-45)
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (James 3:12-13)
Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come.
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by [his] fruit.
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:31-37)
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:19-23)
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7:51)
Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1 Corinthians 1:20b)
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:25)
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. (1 Corinthains 3:19)
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:25)
Therefore, all candidates for public office shall be required to give a public account of their works for Christ and the fruitfulness of those works.
This account shall be thoroughly and impartially investigated by an independent council. Only candidates with a fruitful Christian life will be considered true to Christ, and therefore qualified to hold public office.
If Christians in America continue to permit non-Christians to govern the country, to usurp the authority of God in matters of the State, and to make decisions according to their own wills instead of according to the will of our Sovereign God, then there will be no relief from the negative sanctions and judgment of God upon this country (Deuteronomy 28:15-68).
See also: The sovereignty of god, The doctrine of man (human nature, total depravity), Individual responsibility for corporate faithfulness and sanctification, The covenanted reformation of scotland background and history, Hypocrisy, Absolute truth and relativism, The sovereign grace of god: his everlasting mercy and lovingkindness, God's deliverance of nations, The inspiration and infallibility of scripture (the doctrine of revelation, the doctrine of plenary inspiration, the doctrine of divine inspiration, the doctrine of verbal inspiration, theopneustia, sufficiency of scripture), Epistemology of theology, the theory of knowledge, The ten commandments: the moral law, Christ's kingdom, Ethics, computer ethics, cyberethics, Heresy and apostasy (apostacy, old english), Selection of covenant heads for positions of leadership, Bible magistracy turns back the wrath of god, The doctrine of the lesser magistrates, The government role of punishing wrongdoers, Toleration, liberty of conscience, pluralism, "religious freedom," and neutrality, Oaths, ensnaring vows, promises, and covenants, bonds with the ungodly, Tyranny, and so forth, and so on.
Bibliography*Brown, John (of Haddington, 1722-1787), A Compend of the Letters of the Rev. John Brown, Late Minister of the Gospel in Haddington: On Authoritative Toleration of Gross Heresy, Blasphemy, Idolatry, Popery in Britain, and on National Covenanting; In Which the Doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith . . . and of the National Covenant and Solemn League are Candidly Represented and Defended, 1797. Alternate title: THE ABSURDITY AND PERFIDY OF ALL AUTHORITATIVE TOLERATION OF GROSS HERESY, BLASPHEMY, IDOLATRY, POPERY, IN BRITAIN. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive. Available on Reformation Bookshelf CD #7, #25, #26.
The Absurdity and Perfidy of all Authoritative Toleration of Gross Heresy, Blasphemy, Idolatry, Popery, in Britain
*North, Gary, Conspiracy in Philadelphia: The Origins of the U.S. Constitution, an e-book.
"In addition to primary sources, North relies on the work of the most well respected members of the historical community -- Bailyn, Wood, Mcdonald, Gaustad, Boller, Koch, Adair, and Rakove to name a few.
"The thesis of the book is that the key U.S. Founders -- the ones who pushed through the ideas upon which America declared independence and then constructed the Constitution -- were secret theological unitarians, whose heterodox religious creed inspired them to found American government upon the notion of religious neutrality, and consequently break the tradition of covenanting with the Triune Christian God. His book focuses on Article VI Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution (no religious tests) as the device for achieving secular government.
"From what I have researched, North is correct in his essential claim. Other scholars have noted something similar. For instance, in this post I noted Thomas Pangle and Cushing Stout, whose work North cites, concluding that there is a connection between the U.S. Constitution's benign approach to religion and the key Founders' enlightened and benign personal religious creed. Indeed, one could argue, as does Dr. Gregg Frazer, that the Founders' unitarianism or theistic rationalism was the political theology of the American Founding.
"Ideas have consequences and it was these heterodox unitarian ideas, not orthodox Christianity, that drove the U.S. Founding's approach to religion and government. However, such heterodoxy or heresy wasn't a popular creed, but rather was disproportionately believed in by the elite Whigs. Whatever the religion of a majority of the U.S. population (either nominal Protestant Christianity, which itself can tend towards Deism, or orthodox Protestant Christianity), orthodox Churches held a great deal of institutional power. With such power, they had to essentially consent to the elite Whig's new plan on government. And they did. But not all of them, for instance, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (Covenanters) to whom North dedicates his book. From the very beginning they smelled a rat in Philadelphia.
"So the notion that there was a secret coup, a bait and switch as Michael Zuckert put it, to sell a Christian audience non-authentically Christian ideas is not new. James Renwick Willson was one of those covenanters who in 1832 made arguments very similar to North's. And he was burned in effigy for this sermon which called all of the Presidents from Washington to Jackson infidels and not more than unitarians. I think Willson got at the truth, but did so by shattering a sacred cow -- a social myth. The kernel of truth that David Barton et al. have is that many folks in the 19th century did believe in the Christian America social myth as a cultural prejudice. And many of their bogus, unconfirmed quotations source back to 19th century places that pushed this social myth.
"Now the non-respectable has become the respectable and secular scholars more or less agree with the claims of James Renwick Willson and Gary North that America didn't have an authentically orthodox Christian founding. . . ." -- Jonathan Rowe, June 8, 2008 (http://www.positiveliberty.com/2008/06/gary-norths-ebook.html).
Download a copy at:
Conspiracy in Philadelphia: The Origins of the U.S. Constitution
Conspiracy in Philadelphia, an article by Gary North
*Singer, C. Gregg (1910-1999), From Rationalism to Irrationality: The Decline of the Western Mind From the Renaissance to the Present, ISBN: 0875524281 9780875524283 and a reprint of the P&R Publishing edition of 1979 (Wipf and Stock, 2006), 479 pp.
"Now, frankly students, this course is presented from obviously the Reformed Theology. I hold unabashedly, unashamedly to the whole of Reformed Theology as we find it specifically in the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
"At the same time I hold to a position in regard to Apologetics generally known as Presuppositionalism, and particularly that view held by Cornelius Van Til.
"This book is an attempt to enlarge and to broaden the scope of Van Til's own Apologetical system, and also his Epistemology. By that I mean, and I worked this book with him, so anything that I say is not to be construed as a criticism of Cornelius Van Til. I might add he wrote me a letter. He is delighted with this book. But what I did was to take his principles, both of Apologetics and of Epistemology, and apply them to all realms of modern thought.
"Dr. Van Til, for good and sufficient reason, sought to limit to the main stream of what we might call pure Philosophy, that is from Saint Thomas, well even before them, back to the Greeks, but particularly in the more modern period, from Saint Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham (Occam), down through Descartes, the Rationalists, the Empiricists, down to Kant and Hegel, and of course Modern Philosophy and Modern Theology. Very seldom has he gone into what we might call the arena of Political Philosophy, or the arena of Social Thought, or the arena of Psychology and Psychiatry, the realm of Educational Philosophy, and into Art, Music, and so on, to the Fine Arts.
"This book is an attempt to apply his system, and show what happens when the Western mind has forsaken his principles, or the principles which he has espoused, and turned into its own way. And thus the book called FROM RATIONALISM TO IRRATIONALITY. The thesis being that the Rationalism inherent in Saint Thomas and the post-Thomists, and more particularly, and more openly, in the Philosophy of the Renaissance, and Descartes, and Spinosa, and Leibniz has, as it's gained momentum in the modern world, brought Western Culture to its knees. We are living, as I would think, in the death throws of the Western Cultures, the Western Civilization." -- Dr. C. Gregg Singer, in the introductory address to his course in Apologetics soon after FROM RATIONALISM TO IRRATIONALITY came off the press in 1979
Apologetics: #01: Classical and Medieval Thought #1 [audio file]
Dr. C. Gregg Singer, Apologetics, 56 min.
"Locke endeavored to set forth a political philosophy which would anchor his democratic political thought on what he felt were the firm foundations of his empiricism. However, his insistence that nature has bestowed upon mankind certain basic and inalienable rights was an assumption quite contrary to his empiricism. His denial of conscience as an innate possession or quality makes it impossible for men to know that they possess the rights of life, liberty, and property. The very concept of a human right is moral in nature and has its basis of authority in the human conscience. It is thus impossible for men to know through the senses that they have these cherished human rights. Granted that it was far from Locke's intention to undermine or destroy the traditional English concept of personal rights, his empiricism removed from his political thought the necessary foundations on which a government could be built for the protection of these rights. His empiricism supported neither the idea that men have such rights nor that they are inalienable. (p. 61)
"Underlying the secular and naturalistic assumptions of the thought of the Enlightenment was a related and equally serious problem. In their political and economic thought the leaders of this era were passionately devoted to the pursuit of freedom, and yet they seemed to be completely unaware of this incompatibility between their quest for freedom on the one hand and their reliance upon natural law on the other. How can an impersonal and deterministic concept of law produce and sustain a meaningful concept of freedom? Blindly convinced that there was no problem involved in the contradiction, the leaders of the Enlightenment pushed boldly ahead in the quest for political and economic liberty. However, their failure to recognize the issues involved in this quest led not only to the disaster of the French Revolution but to the growth of the totalitarian political and economic philosophies which first appeared in Hegel and Marx during the nineteenth century and reached their culmination in the totalitarianism of the twentieth century." (p. 73) -- quoted at the blog, Imago Veritatis: Post-modern Reformed Paleo-orthodoxy
Singer used this as textbook for his course in Apologetics. Epistemology is a recurring theme throughout the textbook and the course. The series of 24 addresses on Apologetics is available free online. See: "Apologetics" under:
Works of C. Gregg Singer
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