Dean Briggs and Lou Engles discuss 2020 and the elections. Namely, the alleged widespread voting fraud, and its potential impact on our nation. These men are far from politicians, but have dedicated their lives to prayer, worship, to “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children”, and prepare this generation for the return of the Lord.
What do elections look like to modern day prophets? How does our political system in the U.S. look when viewed through a G-d’s eye lens? Where can those with an eternal perspective turn when their governmental leadership and legal structures seem to seek more and more after temporal power rather than justice or the truth?
I challenge you to take some time to hear these men, and think about what He may be whispering to you through the events of 2020. May the sweet Holy Spirit guide you into His revelations and responses. May You take action to do your part in standing for …”whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…”
Pray Through History: A New Way of Looking at History
Though this post mostly portrays my theology and touches on historiography, I want to bravely lead out with baring my heart. I pray through history out of love of Our Father. I pray because it is a calling. I’m incensed at the wrongs our human race commits towards Him. I’m humbled at my own betrayals of myself, my G-d, and others. We spend so much time academically threading the needle of who is offended by whom at what time in our past, but we rarely, so rarely, if ever look above the heads of our beloved enemies to see the offenses and betrayals committed against the “I AM”. How will we move forward as the human race if we maintain permanent grudges against each other? How do we heal the huge chasms caused by deep and real wounds, “ethnos to ethnos”, if we do not have a way to forgive, and an academy too often stuck in the same trap?
Dear and Holy Messiah, how grateful I am that You made a way! You literally gave Your blood and yielded Your life so that when we, too, are falsely accused and crucified by our neighbor(s); we also will rise again! Forgiveness may be the most costly of all the virtues You exhort us to live by. It is not a feeling that can be manufactured. It is not a commodity that can be bought or sold. It is not an exercise of the mind, or an intellectual “ism”. It is a habit of Your Kingdom; of those eternally committed to unconditional love. It is an impossibility without Your impartations of humility, revelation, and a new heart to replace our hearts of stone.
Though not in Scripture, You crystalized this human condition through the pen of English poet Alexander Pope. About 1711, he wrote a powerful poem entitled so appropriately “An Essay on Criticism, Part II”. What did You speak to us through this beautiful man’s mind but ‘To err is human; to forgive, divine’?!
May You be honored by our repentance, Eternal Father. May we break off the bitter branches of this tree of humanity. May we prune our own branches so that our neighbors may again enjoy Your light! How we love You, and need You this day to survive! Your adoring adopted son, James
A PRAYERFUL MODEL TO ANALYSE HISTORY
I. THERE ARE SPECIFIC ‘MOMENTS OF SEPARATION’ IN HUMAN HISTORY.
> For example, the Seljuk Turks attack Jerusalem.
II. ACTION-BASED JUDGMENTS IN PRESENT TIME.
> Jews to Seljuks, Jews to all Turks, Jews towards any outsider
> Seljuks to Jerusalem’s Jews, Seljuks to all Jews
III. FUTURE JUDGMENTS ARE FORMED BASED ON MEMORY, PERCEPTION, AND BITTER ROOT JUDGMENTS ARE SOLIDIFIED.
> Transference on a cultural scale.
> Perpetuation of offense.
IV. PARTIES ARE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND JUDGMENTS IN THE LORD’S JUSTICE.
> Even righteous anger betrays the victim. Even if the victim is a city, culture, tribe, or nation. We have been forgiven all, and therefore must forgive all. (This is not easy. The decision of the will may be simple, but the maintaining a heart of forgiveness is divine. )
> This is not an endorsement of living without boundaries, especially personal boundaries. Rather, it is a challenge of the rights of a human being to hold another prisoner by the maintenance of an offense.
V. WE CAN REPRESENTATIONALLY ACKNOWLEDGE HISTORICAL SIN BEFORE OUR LORD.
> Through Christ we have access to his Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence. He is present to all history, the present, and future events. He is within time, and beyond our comprehension of time. He knows all and can guide us to pray representationally, (intercession) for events of history, the present, and the future. He truly has unlimited power to forgive, heal, restore any human condition!
>His only limitation is self-imposed: He is a gentleman with boundaries. He believes in good and evil, justice and injustice, lightness and darkness, separateness and relationship. Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” We can trust in distinctions because He trusts in distinctions. Denial of sin within the context of our relationship with Him or others offends God because it denies our condition of separateness, or that we may have a need to address. Denial allows us to keep our pride, hold a grudge, or maintain anger. To use an old Baptist analogy,
“The whole world stand under the Niagara Falls of the Lord’s love. Some have their cups turned up and are filled. Others, although they under a deluge of love, can’t seem to keep a drop because their cups are turned upside down.”
VI. THROUGH ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF HISTORICAL SINS, WE SET THE PROCESS OF RESTORATION IN MOTION.
A. We become aware of historical sin through experience or education.
B. We confess it to the Lord. This is a legal admission of guilt.
C. We pronounce the Lord’s forgiveness of confessed sin. (1 John 1: 8-10)
D. He will guide it through the full process of restoration.
1. Confession leads to remorse.
2. Remorse leads to repentance.
3. Repentance leads to reconciliation.
4. Reconciliation leads to restoration.
VII. ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLES OR MANDATES THAT OUTLINE OR AUTHORITY TO PRAY THROUGH HISTORY.
A. “It is never the will of God that the judgment due the wicked should come upon the righteous.” pp 14-15 citing Genesis 18: 23,25 NIV
1.”Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” v. 23 Abraham asks.
2.”Far be it from you to do such a thing-to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” v. 25
B. “Every Christian has dual citizenship.” pp 32-35
1. “By natural birth he is a citizen of an earthly nation, and he is subject to all the ordinances and requirements of his nation’s lawful government. But by spiritual rebirth through faith in Christ, he is also a citizen of God’s heavenly kingdom. This is the basis of Paul’s statement, already referred to in our previous chapter: “We…are citizens of heaven.” Philippians 3:20 NEB
2. Example of dual citizenship: Jeremiah 1: 5,10 NIV
-”I approinted you as a prophet to the nations.” v.5
-”See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” v.10
– Jeremiah was subject as a citizen of Judah: “he did not “preach or practice political subversion or anarchy. Nor did he ever seek to evade or resist decrees made by the government concerning him, even though these were at times arbitrary and unjust. Yet on the spiritual plane to which God elevated him through his prophetic ministry, Jeremiah exercised authority over the very rulers to whom he was in subjection on the natural plane.”
Derek Prince, Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting, (Springdale, PA: Whittaker House,1973)
Mark 2:1-12 NIV
v 5. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “ Son, your sins are forgiven.”
v 10. “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…”He said to the paralytic, v11. “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
“It is interesting to note that in John 20:22-23, Jesus breathes upon his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit, and then pronounces, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Jesus is giving the church the authority to announce His forgiveness in the lives of those who come to Him in faith. We do not have the innate ability to forgive anyone’s sins against God, or to withhold God’s forgiveness of sins from anybody. But Jesus has given the church the authority to act as His regents or representatives in the world, and to speak on His behalf. We can declare that “God forgives you” with all the authority of Jesus, because we are not declaring our forgiveness, but rather His forgiveness in Christ. We are merely pronouncing the forgiveness made possible by the sacrifice of Christ.”
Timothy Tennent, President Asbury Theological Seminary
His Holiness John Paul II, First Sunday of Lent, “Day of Pardon” Presentation
12 March 2000
I. The meaning of the celebration
1. On 12 March 2000, the First Sunday of Lent, the Holy Father will celebrate the Eucharist with the Cardinals and will ask forgiveness from the Lord for the sins, past and present, of the sons and daughters of the Church.
The celebration of the Day of Pardon was expressly desired by the Holy Father as a powerful sign in this Jubilee Year, which is by its very nature a moment of conversion.
“As the Successor of Peter, I ask that in this year of mercy the Church, strong in the holiness which she receives from her Lord, should kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters. All have sinned and none can claim righteousness before God (cf. 1 Kgs 8:46)… Christians are invited to acknowledge, before God and before those offended by their actions, the faults which they have committed. Let them do so without seeking anything in return, but strengthened only by the ‘love of God which has been poured finto our hearts’ (Rom 5:5)” (Incarnationis Mysterium, 11; cf. Terno Millennio Adveniente, 33).
2. Consequently, the Church, in a Eucharistic celebration at the beginning of her Lenten journey, and thus in an act of thanksgiving to the Lord, confesses, proclaims and glorifies God’s work within her during the past two thousand years of Christianity. The Lord has been living and present in his Church, and through the Saints he has demonstrated that he continues to be at work in human history, in the midst of his community. Certainly, Christians, as pilgrims and wayfarers towards the Kingdom, remain sinners, frail, weak and subject to the temptations of Satan, the Prince of this world, despite their incorporation into the Body of Christ. In every generation the holiness of the Church has shone forth, witnessed by countless numbers of her sons and daughters; yet this holiness has been contradicted by the continuing presence of sin which burdens the journey of God’s People. The Church can sing both the Magnificat for what God has accomplished within her and the Miserere for the sins of Christians, for which she stands in need of purification, penance and renewal (cf. Lumen Gentium, 8).
3. “The Church cannot cross the threshold of the new millennium without encouraging her children to purify themselves through repentance of past errors and instances of infidelity, inconsistency and slowness to act” (Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 33). Consequently, a liturgy seeking pardon from God for the sins committed by Christians down the centuries is not only legitimate; it is also the most fitting means of expressing repentance and gaining purification.
Pope John Paul II, in a primatial act, confesses the sins of Christians over the centuries down to our own time, conscious that the Church is a unique subject in history, “a single mystical person”. The Church is a communion of saints, but a solidarity in sin also exists among all the members of the People of God: the bearers of the Petrine ministry, Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.
Courtesy Charles M. Schulz Museum. “The New Yorker” October 22, 2007
“St. Paul cartoonist Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” appears in papers and soon becomes the most popular comic strip in the United States. Clearly drawn from the “Li’l Folks” cartoons he penned for the St. Paul Pioneer Press between 1947 and 1950, Charlie Brown and company eventually take their adventures to books and television specials.” *
Commencing on October 2, 1950 this comic strip’s first publishing marked the fulfillment of thirteen years of effort. Schulz endured and yet thrived through many challenges in this span. What can we learn about his life previous to this time that enabled him to create, perhaps, the greatest and most ubiquitous cartoon of all time?
Citing a few facts from the Charles M. Schulz Museum’s website, we find some insights. ***
1940- He decides to take correspondence courses from Federal Schools based on their emphasis on cartooning.
1942- At age 20, he is drafted into the United States Army and serves in World War II. (He observed later in his life that “The army taught me all I needed to know about loneliness.”)
1943- His mother, Dena, dies of cervical cancer shortly after his induction to the service.
1945- From February through July 1945, he served in Germany.
1946-1947- He lived with his dad above a barbershop in St. Paul, Minnesota, and gained employment through his former art school, now known as Art Instruction Schools, Inc. He corrected students’ work for the cartooning division of the school, and developed his tastes and talents as to what kind of work he most wanted to produce.
1947-1950- Charles scores his first round of success publishing work for magazines: ‘Collier’s’ and ‘The Saturday Evening Post’, and for newspapers in the ‘Minneapolis Tribune’, and the ‘Saint Paul Pioneer Press’.
Now we pivot to You; the Master Illustrator and Storyteller of the Universe. We remember the Messiah’s ability and use of parables to convey in emotional pictures the deep things of our hearts. Dear Holy Spirit, how we need You today, as everyday, to come and bring revelation. Will You let us erase strife and remember the eternal joys You hold out to us right now? What do You want to say about the everyday heroism of Mr. Schulz, and his beloved storytelling through the characters of “Peanuts”?
As we reflect on this chapter of history with You, we look for a root motive from its author. The main character of Peanuts is an ordinary boy, Charlie Brown, who never stops trying to succeed, but is often hampered with failure and humiliations. His observations about life range from the humorous to the serious. His nature is just like ours; simultaneously plagued with self-doubt and yet unquenchable hope that one day he will be victorious. Let’s go to the mind of the author and see what he had to say about, perhaps, the most beloved and known character of a story of the entire 20th century?
“Charlie Brown has to be the one who suffers, because he is a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than we are with winning.” Charles Schulz **
An omnipresent symbol for generations of readers is summed up in his interactions with Lucy playing football; she holds the ball, he does a tremendous run up for the kick, and at the last second, she pulls the ball away, and he goes flying landing flat on his back. Yet, he never gives up on the notion of making a huge kick-off.
(Allow us an aside to pray this point, Sovereign Lord? Will You forgive the ways we have broken faith in You, ourselves, and others as children? Will You search our root arrogance and character deformations made in our childhood vows? Will You forever make Minnesota a place where the innocent beliefs and hopes of children are returned by their peers and communities? Will You make adults more visible and present in the lives of our future generations?)
Additionally, we see Charlie Brown living in a world of children and their pets. Adults, to my recollection, are never visible. “Peanuts” pulls back the curtain on the lives of his neighborhood kids, and demonstrates that even the very young have strong temperaments and unique character to their personalities. Maybe, this is part of what makes this story stand apart from legions of its competitors; even the small universe of a community or ordinary neighborhood is still a microcosm of our future?
So, we bring You adoration for Charles M. Schulz and the world of “Peanuts”. We thank You that he overcame so many times in the decade before his first publications and successes. He lost his mother, and yet dutifully went to the war. He, subsequently, lost his home, yet adapted to living with his father above a barbershop. He stoked the fires of his dream with commitment to his craft and desire for more for a decade. He shared what he learned with others. He believed in the characters of Peanuts, and we were blessed by his insights into their very small but exceedingly important world(s).
As Minnesotans, we thank You for the fun and “5 cent Psychology” stand lessons of Peanuts! We thank You for a man who, like Charlie Brown, never broke faith on his dream to tell an Odyssey-sized story four cartoon panels at a time. Will You bless our artists, observers, and story-tellers to have the persistence of Schulz? One day, they will win, they will have a glorious kick-off because You are holding the football!
“1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2Jesus invited a little child to stand among them. 3“Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.” ***** Matthew 18:1-5 BSB
* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
Please pray for me to stay centered in the Lord. I wake up most days with a sense of heaviness for our state that has publicly weighed the expression of our worship as “non-essential”. Though I know that we serve a Savior that is omnipresent, I feel remorse that we have not responded in grace and truth to the governor, and his limitations imposed on every house of worship. Where is the masculine leadership of the Church of Minnesota to kindly, respectfully, but firmly stand up to the notion that taking communion, common prayer, common worship and fellowship is as valueless to our society as pumping gas?
He is our fuel! He is our grocery store! He is the department store for our spirit! He is worthy of the respect shown to Holiday, Cub, Target, and Walmart. Lord, if Gov. Walz is truly and sincerely acting from a place of benevolence, why is there no public recognition of the sacrifice of the Church of Minnesota? Why hasn’t our Governor made statements to assure our houses of worship that they will fully retain their inalienable freedoms of religion? Where is the law or precedent that a Governor can regulate, monitor, or insert state controls on the practice of our faith and worship?
If you know the answers to any of these questions, please tell me. My understanding of our law is that it based on the idea of apportionment, the idea that we can and should expect an even and proportional application of the law. Does this mean we can expect Walmart to limit itself to 10 shoppers at time like our cathedrals and large sanctuaries? Will G-d’s house be limited to 10 guests at a time irregardless of size? Shall all food sales, whether packaged or fresh or fast foods be restricted like a communion served only through a table at the door?
What about the spiritual ramifications of touch: in prayer? in baptism? in marriage? in mourning? Are the expressions of our humanity less valued if they come in the Name of the Lord than our neighbors who handle sod, install doors, or serve coffee? Must we wear PPE to remain human?
It seems that these issues all hinge on choice and responsibility. If Governor Walz is the arbiter of health, then it follows logically that we are not responsible for our own health, and the state must make choices for us. Yet, for 244 years, the opposite is the norm. We have the precedent given us by the 9th and 14th Amendments to retain choices not expressly given to the Federal or State governments.
“In sum, the Ninth Amendment simply lends strong support to the view that the “liberty” protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments from infringement by the Federal Government or the States is not restricted to rights specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments.” Cf. United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75, 94–95.
Lord, come stand between us and Governor Tim Walz. You have made him our legal authority whom we esteem, honor, and regard. Will You resolve this painful issue between the worshippers of Minnesota, and our Governor? We do not wish to become outlaws, but we must not fail by ceasing to worship You. We need You for our survival! We need Your Body for our survival! Come Lord Jesus; show us again that worship is essential!
$15,000 buys Max Winter and Ben Berger a franchise in what becomes the National Basketball Association. Coached by John Kundla and led by George Mikan, the dominant big man in the game, the Minneapolis Lakers win six championships in their first seven years.*
In 1947, the Detroit Gems were a dead franchise of the National Basketball League. When Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen approached Gems’ owner, C. King Boring, for its purchase, all they received for their money was the equipment. Even the players had been moved to other teams in the league! ***
Berger and Chalfen came up with a new team name, “The Minneapolis Lakers”, as a hat tip to Minnesota’s moniker as “The Land of 10,000 Lakes”. Games were to be played downtown either in the Minneapolis Armory or Auditorium. Needing money and momentum, the pair brought Max Winter onboard as General Manager. ***
Winter possessed the bona fides to make a go of bringing professional basketball to Minneapolis: a first generation American by way of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he played basketball at North High School and Hamline University, and had a name recognition in downtown due to his ownership of the popular 620 Club. ****
In a great reverse, the team was blessed by the failures of the Detroit Gems; a first-round draft pick of center George Mikan. New coach John Kundla and the omnipresent sports reporter and acting general manager Sid Hartman were key in finding talent to round out the team. They didn’t go far, as many of the the Lakers starting team were recent grads from the University of Minnesota. *****
The fledgling Lakers took off from the first season, becoming the NBL champions in 1948. As the league morphed into the National Basketball Association, NBA, their dominance continued with championships in: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, and 1959.
Though game attendance was blunted with the retirement of Mikan, the Lakers’ had a stellar first decade, and went on to become the first NBA franchise on the West Coast when it moved to Los Angeles in 1960. ****** As of February 2019, the grandchild of Berger, Chalfen, Winter, and Hartman a.k.a. the Los Angeles Lakers, achieved a net worth of $3.7 billion according to Forbes magazine. (A growth of 246,666 times the original investment of 1947.) *******
Elohay Mauzi, why do our bodies matter so much to You? G-d of My Strength, we remember today that You live in eternal strength, You created us to be physically potent beings, and You even promise to inhabit our physical bodies as Your living tabernacles! You wrestled with Jacob all night, and then defeated hime with one touch to the hip! You created Samson with tremendous physical abilities; he defeated an army with the jawbone of a donkey. Even in his compromise of his Nazirite vows and moral failures, in Your mercy, You restored him to literally crush the enemies of Your people.
Much like the death of Samson led to his greatest victory, we applaud You Jesus Christ, and remember Your triumph over the false accusations of the Enemy of Humanity in yielding Your life. Though, to human eyes, it seems the Roman Empire and the Sanhedrin had snuffed out the light of Your movement of Eternal Justice; You could not be defeated! You physically died and were buried. Yet You bodily rose again, met Your disciples, and appeared to hundreds in Your Ascension! You are the Champion of the Universe!
In a similar mode, You brought an end to the Detroit Gems, and rebirthed them as the Lakers. What was Your intent in this act, will You reveal more today as we ponder basketball with You? What turned their defeat into victory?
Shall we start with gratitude? We thank You for the initiation of this team through the vision of C.King Boring. We thank You for the sale of the Gems to Berger and Chalfen. We thank You for the unending connections of Sid Hartman. We thank You for the administrative abilities of Winter. We thank You for the Providential meeting of these gentlemen and their perfect imperfections to be the team before the team is brought into existence! We bless their memories, and ask that You bring others in the present and future to envision the business and blessing that team sports bring to our State.
We remember the coaching of John Kundla, and thank You for his strategies. We remember momentary greatness of George Mikan; the ability to make the right decision at the right time. Will You bless our coaches and star players in the present and future to acknowledge and receive from each other? Both roles convey important truths essential to making our young men become better men; we are better at leading after we have practiced following.
Maybe this is where You’re pointing today, Adonai? We don’t become fathers until we have embraced being sons. Where we are rebellious towards our own dads’ leadership, we have opened a vulnerability in ourselves precisely in the areas we judge them. Why? We refused the lesson that the Coach of the Universe had for us that day. We didn’t show up for practice. We didn’t do the drills. We said, “No!” to Your invitation to be a baller.
Have mercy on our rejection of our fathers!
Have mercy on our rejection of our coaches!
Have mercy on our rejection of the captain of our team!
Have mercy on our rejection of our Eternal Father!
Forgive our rebellions, great and small, and the ways we have chosen to be defeated!
Help us be like these original Minneapolis Lakers; “I commit to do the work of a champion. I commit to think like a champion. I commit to believe, in myself and my team, like a champion.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23 NIV ********
Wordwise Hymns submitted an article that really stirred me up today. Though mostly about hymns and John Newton, the author questions our sense of wonder of G-d at the end of his article. Where is the passion of the Church in its songs? Why don’t we invite our heart (and maybe brains?) to Church or Synagogue? Below, I took a stab at one idea that may limit us. What do you think limits passion towards G-d?
HOW TO USE THIS BLOG 1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day. 2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the […]
“I believe the wonder of the modern expression of the Church is quenched through decades of passivity, or maybe a failure of curiosity.
My spiritual heritage ranges from observant to belligerent, from the first pagan Swedish converts of Ansgar to atheistic Swedish socialists, from Polish Catholics to Polish Orthodox Jews to atheistic Jews. All this inheritance from Europe was then crunched and compacted into smaller boxes of American Protestantism: Episcopal, various Lutheran synods, Baptist Fundamentalism, Assemblies of G-d, the Vineyard (Non-denominations), Messianic Jewry.
I am surely not condemning the Church that I know and love, but am aware of how effective our common enemy is at lulling us to sleep.
Many of us only know Church history as told to us through secular scholars. We don’t know the backstory of the hymns or their authors. How many of them suffered for the privilege to worship G-d in Spirit and Truth?
We have disconnected from the Old Testament, in some cases, almost entirely. We don’t connect with its’ Feasts and Holidays so we are limited in relating to the founders of the Church and our Savior.
Surely, He loves us whether we read the newspaper or Herodotus, but it seems plain to me that one who remembers only 75 years of the Lord’s faithfulness may experience less passion than those who draw on the memories of Israel and the Church over the past 5775 years. May we be ever curious and ACTIVELY meditate on our King of Kings, and his unmerited favor shown through the stories of the faithful throughout history!” PTH
“William Bell Riley was the pastor of First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota from 1897 until 1942. Riley was a theological conservative and advocate for the New Hampshire Confession of Faith of 1833.In 1919, he founded the World Christian Fundamentals Association as resource for the Church in an era of modernism. In 1947, Riley persuaded Billy Graham to become president of his university and seminary; the Northwestern Bible College (University of Northwestern-Saint Paul).” *
According to William Vance Trollinger Jr., author of God’s Empire: Wiliam Bell Riley and Midwestern Fundamentalism. (1990, The University of Wisconsin Press.), Riley was “…the dominant figure in American fundamentalism in the first half of the twentieth century. More than any other individual, it was Riley who, in the decade after World War I, marshaled the fundamentalist forces into crusades designed to purify both American Protestantism and American culture in general”. “Riley was the founder and leading spokesperson of the World’s Christian Fundamentals Association (WCFA), the first organization that attempted to unite conservative Christians of all denominations in an international association. An indefatigable polemicist, he was one of the most active and effective debaters among American antievolutionists”.***
Given this stance, it is no surprise that he was aware of a small trial developing in Tennessee that would become a touchstone of controversy in American culture; the evolution of man vs. the creation of man. Riley responded by tapping, perhaps, the greatest orator of the 20th century to defend the Church; William Jennings Bryan. It also bode well for the Fundamentalists that Jennings was a man of influence: lawyer and three-time Democratic presidential nominee, former United States Secretary of State, lifelong Presbyterian, and a man of the people.
The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and commonly referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial, was a famous American legal case in 1925 in which a high school teacher John Scopes was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the verdict was overturned on a technicality. It became a national show trial highlighting the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy. Famed orator and politician William Jennings Bryan argued the Fundamentalist position that the Word of G-d revealed in the Bible took priority over all human knowledge. Clarence Darrow, a powerful defense attorney and labor lawyer, argued the Modernist position that evolution was not inconsistent with religion. It became a theological contest between the two camps as to which should be taught in public schools.**
In Your mercy, Lord hear our prayer. We, the State of Minnesota, being comprised both of people of faith and those who believe in the supremacy of science have judged You. Our greatest offenses to You, perhaps, are judging Your ability to create, that You are not the author of all science and natural laws of the universe, and indirectly, by attempting to usurp Your benevolent moral authority as the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending of all. We, who live in the dusty bookshelf of our observations within linear history, do not comprehend the Ancient of Days, the Eternal Now, the I Am. Great One, will You forgive us; back then in 1925, now, and into the future?
Will You have mercy on the beliefs and misbeliefs of William Bell Riley, the WFCA, and the Fundamentalist movement of this era? Their root fears, in this case, likely would be that teaching evolution alongside creationism would cast doubts on the truthfulness and historicity of Your Word. To amplify further, public schools may eventually abandon teaching the Bible at all, based on the premise that it’s “unscientific” where it addresses science, and that it’s values are static rather than evolutionary. Though one needs to understand it to thoroughly grasp the greatest writings of Western civilization, it could also be deemed untenable as literature.
Granted, their fears have come true in less than 90 years. We do not currently rely on the Bible for any use in public education in Minnesota. Yet, where they closed their ears to Your voice spoken through science and evolution, will You have mercy? Will You forgive where fundamentalists’ fears may have blocked the growth of students eager to study a species’ curious abilities of adaption?
Similarly, will You have mercy on the beliefs and misbeliefs of the modernists and evolutionists of this era? They likely feared that their students would subject their minds to the shaky traditions and teaching of Your Word without the ability to “scientifically” test them to be credible. Were their suppositions of the infallibility of the scientific method and reproducible experiments even the correct means to assess any book, let alone Your Revealed Word written over a span of 2,000 years by forty different authors from three different continents? What are the correct means of testing the reliability of writing?*****
First, does a book of antiquity pass the basic principals of historiography: the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test? What type of manuscript evidence exists? How many extant copies of the book do we possess, and how close are these copies to the date of publishing? These are useful questions our educators have failed to ask of Your Word. Have mercy on our lack of curiosity!*****
Next, does archaeology support or refute the claims of the Bible? Below, two giants in the field give their testimony on the subject.
Nelson Glueck, the renowned Jewish archaeologist said, “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.” *****
“There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition.” William F. Albright ******
Again, were the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament fulfilled in Christ? Below is a brief list of Old Testament prophecies and their New Testament fulfillment:
Born of a seed of woman – Galatians 4:4
Born of a virgin – Matthew 1:18
Son of G-d – Matthew 3:17
Seed of Abraham – Galatians 3:16
Son of Isaac – Luke 3:23
Son of Jacob – Luke 3:23,34
Tribe of Judah – Hebrews 7:14
Family line of Jesse – Luke 3:23,32
House of David – Revelation 22:16
Born at Bethlehem – Matthew 2:1
Presented with gifts – Matthew 2:11
Herod kills children – Mathew 2:16
His pre-existence – Colossians 1:17
He shall be called ‘Lord’ – Luke 2:11
Shall be Immanuel – Matthew 1:23
Shall be a prophet – Matthew 21:11
Priest – Hebrews 3:11
Judge – John 5:30
King – Matthew 27:37
Special anointment of Holy Spirit – Matthew 3:16,17
His zeal for G-d – John 2:15-17
Preceded by a messenger – Matthew 3:1,2
Ministry to begin in Galilee – Mathew 4:12,13,17
Ministry of Miracles – Mathew 9:35
Teacher of parables – Matthew 13:34
He was to enter the Temple – Matthew 21:12
He was to enter Jerusalem on a donkey – Luke 19:35-37
“Stone of stumbling” to Jews – I Peter 2:7
Light to Gentiles – Acts 13:47-48
Resurrection – Acts 2:31
Ascension – Acts 1:9
Seated at the right hand of G-d – Hebrews 3:1
Betrayed by a friend – Matthew 10:4
Sold for 30 pieces of silver – Matthew 26:15
Money to be thrown in Temple – Matthew 27:5
Price given for potter’s field – Matthew 27:7
Forsaken by disciples – Mark 14:50
Accused by false witnesses – Matthew 26:59,60
Dumb (silent) before accusers – Matthew 27:12
Wounded and bruised – Matthew 27:26
Smitten and spit upon – Matthew 26:67
Mocked – Matthew 27:31
Fell under the Cross – John 19:17
Hand and feet pierced – Luke 23:33
Crucified with thieves – Matthew 27:38
Made intercession for his persecutors – Luke 23:34
Rejected by his own people – John 7:5,48
Hated without cause – John 15:25
Friends stood afar off – Luke 23:49
People shook their heads – Matthew 27:39
Stared upon – Luke 23:35
Garments parted and lots cast – John 19:23,24
To suffer thirst – John 19:28
Gall and vinegar offered him – Matthew 27:34
His forsaken cry – Matthew 27:46
Committed himself to G-d – Luke 23:46
Bones not broken – John 19:33
Heartbroken – John 19:34
His side pierced – John 19:34
Darkness over the land – Matthew 27:45
Buried in a rich man’s tomb – Matthew 27:57-60
Professor Peter Stoner used these claims as an exercise in probability. If we used only eight items in this list, …”We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power.” If we increased that number to forty eight prophecies, …”We find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10 to the 157th power.” *******
All this to say that using the suppositions of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace, and or any other scientific method is an incomplete assessment of the truthfulness of the Bible, or the proper yardstick to judge any book. Your revelations in scripture are scientific where it applies to science, but how would Darwin’s method be meaningful across all time, beyond time, and to all subjects?
Human beings are not present to all time, therefore, is it possible that modernism falls apart due to lack of presence to observe, test, and record the conditions of reproducible experiments and their results? Will You forgive these judgments based on our infinitesimal comprehension of time, or the concept that time is a creature under Your control?
Ultimately, modernism has taught us that we are a chance, therefore, not subject to the moral laws of any deity. If we are the beginning, then we are then end. If all morals are subject to the forces of evolution, then all values are the determination of each human being.There are no distinctions between lightness and darkness, cruelty and love; there is only survival of the fittest. The ends justify the means.
Mercifully, You are the Alpha and the Omega. You are not offended by our quest to understand the universe. We know love because You have demonstrated love through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. We know hate because we have experienced the absence of Your presence. We have worth built on the stability that we are declared worthy by the King of the Universe. That worth will go on after modernism, fundamentalism, or any ‘ism’ is no more.
Lord, we thank You that our society wrestled with the question of origins in the Scopes Monkey trial. In spite of its upheaval in the world of education, we have still remained a people. Will You give us the grace to continue to wrestle with our existential questions in the future? Will You bring Your Presence to all students in Minnesota?
1Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tonight, through my lack of sleep, I’m reminded of the power of the Holy Spirit through the use of Holy Water to bless and keep us from the works of the Enemy.* We have authority over the Enemy in, under, and through Christ’s perfect authority. We don’t have to submit ourselves to our Accuser’s plan of attachments and entanglements through physical objects or places such as a hotel room, hotel, airport, or the city it resides in.
Please consider reading the excellent article by Fr. Edward Looney “Priest: Why holy water comes with me whenever I travel” before using these excerpts?
Prayer to cleanse hotel room using holy water:
“Almighty God, I ask you to send your angels to be with me in this place, and protect me from all assaults of the Evil One. Please forgive any wrong that has been perpetuated in this room, and grant those who offend you the grace of conversion. Dispel the powers of darkness which may be in this room and protect me this night, and those who will sleep here in the forthcoming nights. Jesus I trust in You!.”
From the Night Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours:
“Lord, we [or I] beg you to visit this house [room] and banish from it all the deadly power of the enemy. May your holy angels dwell here to keep us in peace, and may your blessings be upon us always. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”**
Christ has died! Christ has risen! Christ will come again! May you and yours be blessed and kept from the Devil and his works. May all hindrances in our places and spaces go up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ!
“Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water.” Numbers 5:17 NIV***
“Governor Winfield S. Hammond dies only eight months after taking office, when he suffered ptomaine poisoning on a trip south and died of a stroke in a little bayou town in Louisiana.” *
Governor Hammond was “a staunch Democrat in Republican community”, namely, the city of Mankato and Watonwan County. His ambitions politically were to minimize the bureaucracy of our state government, and eliminate waste. He achieved his political office with bipartisan support. **
What draws me to his story today is that he lived as a political minority in his hometown, yet achieved the highest post of leadership in the state. Politics, both in his era and the present, is more often a game of division than multiplication. The effects of partisanship, past and present, often turns friend against friend, spouse against spouse, and family against family.
What is Your wisdom for us in this, King of Kings? Each day, each moment, we are offered choice by You; will we make relationship, or break relationship? Daily You offer us this insight:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is One.” Deuteronomy 6:4***
On the personal level, we can have a thriving connection with someone who disagrees with us. We often are married to such a person, work daily with them, or live nearby. We know that person so well, and love them, so we choose to agree to disagree in select areas for the sake of relationship.
Yet when it comes to politics, and its seasons of heated rhetoric, we allow our disagreements over knowledge to supersede our relational “knowing”. Why is this? Why does information trump partnership?
Eternal Father, have mercy on this condition, both in Hammond’s era and the present. We have asserted our superior knowledge against our resolve to continue relating in the context of relationships. We have broken faith with each other over the letters “D” or “R”.
Will You have mercy on on us? Will You help us to “love our enemies”? Will You especially give us grace for our beloved enemies; members of our own household whom we cannot reach agreement?
We offer thanks for Governor Hammond, and his propensity to listen and unite with his opponents. Will You bless him, his progeny, and those who work and especially listen to those across the aisle? Will You fulfill his incomplete visions to create a responsive system of leadership in Minnesota? Will You overcome the acceptance of faction and partisanship as a necessity for the civic leadership of our society? Will You replace knowledge with knowing, and make us one people? Amen!