Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Rutherford Proven Right

(External pdf file from Lt Klingerschmitt can be downloaded from above link)

Chaplain Klingenschmitt's recent battles with the Navy over not being allowed to pray "in Jesus Name" are proving that pluralism is not really about tolerating other relgions. It's more accurately characterized as nothing less than a direct attack on Christ and his disciples.

How right Rutherford was when he noted: "man should remember, there is a Christian external peace, which, in an ordinary providence, can not be kept where there be divers religions, and sundry ways of worshipping Christ."

This seems downright harsh to us today. What, we exclaim! Isn't America proof that this is not so? Well, I would point to our country as proof that it is so. During the first 185 or so years of our country's existence, the culture was dominated by Christian thought. I realize that over those years many political and religious leaders may not have been Christian, but they had to act like Christians if they wanted to stay in power. Even today, despite the fraility of the American church, no President has yet dared to swear their oath of office on anything other than the Word of God -although that day is probably not far away. It is only in the last two generations that our cultural framework has become explicitly non-Christian. True to Rutherford's words, it is in this time frame that we have seen the concurrent rise of "culture wars" over Christianity.

This is no surprise. Christ claims to be the Only Way, not just a way to the Father. No man comes to the Father except through him. That is saying there is no life outside of Christ. That is saying that every other religion is wrong.

Given Rutherford's position, it should be no surprise that the Westminster Divines, of whom Rutherford was one , considered tolerating a false religion to be a greivous sin for a civil magistrate.

According to the Westminster Larger Catechism, one of the sins forbidden in the 2nd Commandment is "tolerating a false religion".

Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature: Whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense: Whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God has appointed.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, I should add that since not all people exercise the same authority, the culpability in tolerating a false religion does depend on one's position.

Lt. Klingenschmitt, an episcopal chaplain in the US Navy, merely wants to pray as scripture commands him to pray, In Jesus Name. He is quite willing to allow others to pray to their heathen gods in place of his prayer, as long as he has a turn to pray to the true God. As much as I admire Lt. Klingenschmitt, such a notion would have be considered a transgression of the 2nd commandment. This is to consider it acceptable for people to incur God's wrath on themselves. While we may not be in a position to stop other people from so doing, we should never be on record as considering it acceptable for them to do so. We wouldn't stand idly by, if we could do otherwise, while someone broke the 6th Commandment against their own body. Why would we think and act any differently in regard to the 1st and 2nd Commandments?

The Church of Jesus Christ has to start believing their King is what he says he is, King above all other kings and Lord above all other lords. All men born of Adam are responsible to worship the Jehovah and sin when they fail to do so. There is no true law by which to regulate society apart from God's law.