Inheriting a Notorious Legacy

The victims of Nazi atrocities included the emotional devastation it wreaked on the generations who were unfortunate enough to carry the names and genetic legacy of the monsters of Nazism.

How does one handle the chaos inside, when it was handed to you by inheriting a notorious legacy?

If there is no God, we wouldn’t really care, and our “baggage” would just fly away!

Imagine

A Hero Whose 400 Year-old Thoughts are Timely as Ever

Samuel Rutherford’s best-known work, Lex Rex, or The Law, the King, argued for limited government, and limitations on the current idea of the Divine Right of Kings.
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Samuel Rutherford – Scottish Presbyterian divine

Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661), Scottish minister and covenanter Rutherford was born about the year 1600 near Nisbet, Scotland. Little is known of his early life. In 1627 he earned a M.A. from Edinburgh College, where he was appointed Professor of Humanity. He became pastor of the church in Anwoth in 1627. was a rural parish, and the people were scattered in farms over the hills. He had a true pastor’s heart, and he was ceaseless in his labors for his flock. We are told that men said of Rutherford, “He was always praying, always preaching, always visiting the sick, always catechising, always writing and studying.”

His first years in Anwoth, though, were touched with sadness. His wife was ill for a year and a month, before she died in their new home. Two children also died during this period. Nevertheless God used this time of suffering to prepare Rutherford to be God’s comforter of suffering people.

In 1636 Rutherford published a book defending the doctrines of grace (Calvinism) against Armininism. This put him in conflict with the Church authorities, which were dominated by the English Episcopacy. He was called before the High Court, deprived of his ministerial office, and exiled to Aberdeen. This exile was a sore trial for the beloved pastor. He felt that being separated from his congregation was unbearable. However, because of his exile, we now have many of the letters he wrote to his flock, and so the evil of his banishment has been turned into a great blessing for the church worldwide.

In 1638 the struggles between Parliament and King in England, and Presbyterianism vs. Episcopacy in Scotland culminated in momentous events for Rutherford. In the confusion of the times, he simply slipped out of Aberdeen and returned to his beloved Anwoth. But it was not for long. The Kirk (Church of Scotland) held a General Assembly that year, restoring full Presbyterianism to the land. In addition, they appointed Rutherford a Professor of Theology of St. Andrews, although he negotiated to be allowed to preach at least once a week.

The Westminster Assembly began their famous meetings in 1643, and Rutherford was one of the five Scottish commissioners invited to attend the proceedings. Although the Scots were not allowed to vote, they had an influence far exceeding their number. Rutherford is thought to have been a major influence on the Shorter Catechism.

During this period in England, Rutherford wrote his best-known work, Lex Rex, or The Law, the King. This book argued for limited government, and limitations on the current idea of the Divine Right of Kings.

When the monarchy was restored in 1660, it was clear that the author of Lex Rex would could expect trouble. When the summons came in 1661, charging him with treason, and demanding his appearance on a certain day, Rutherford refused to go. From his deathbed, he answered, “I must answer my first summons; and before your day arrives, I will be where few kings and great folks come.” He died on 30th March 1661.

Source: http://m.ccel.org/ccel/rutherford?show=biography

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The Centrality of Jesus and Being Marginalized

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Been maligned and marginalized?

You aren’t the first, nor will you be the last. It feels something like this. It’s when:

  • We’re misunderstood, accused and unappreciated .
  • Our best efforts in love are suspected as being a manipulative ploy, because of our track record.
  • We are continually measured by old standards of performance, reaction, and “predicable” outcomes.
  • Our friends and family are unable to leave us free to make the progress we know we need.
  • The ugly reality is that in order to feel good about ourselves we often resort to maligning and marginalizing others. So it’s come back to bite us as well.

    Oh well. Self-defense is RARELY the hill we want to fight on. Let it go.

    Our defense is in the most maligned figure in human history – Jesus.

    Though He died well over two-thousand years ago, the malignation toward Him swells around us at an alarming pace.

    This actually serves us well as His followers. It defines the issues, evaporates lukewarmness and reveals something that His maligners despise – that His was THE MOST SIGNIFICANT LIFE EVER LIVED.

    It’s really a backhanded, unintentional affirmation of His pre-eminence. Otherwise culture would have forgotten His name long, long ago. Even if just a curse phrase, He is not forgotten.

    Instead, He is still the ultimate POINT OF REFERENCE. A glance at your calendar makes the case – 2013 years from what? (a point scientism is trying its hardest to erase insisting on the CE/BCE designation).

    But one thing will always stand: “He has been given the name which is above every name…” (Philippians 2:9)

    It’s Gods way of riveting our focus away from self unto where it belongs – Christ, the center of ALL. (Ephesians 1:9-10).

    So what if we are maligned and marginalized. Let’s get over it and make a STAND.

    For Him.

    I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history“. – H.G. Wells

    The Delusion of Entitlement, Centrality of Jesus and Erosion of Our Rights

    In addressing the larger subject of “rights” – their identity, source and permanence, it seems necessary to divide the subject into two major categories.

    There are rights that are derived from our position as citizens of a particular generation, geography, ethnicity, nationality, and other variables which all play into the identification and exercise of rights. These “derived” or secondary rights are not universal, nor are they permanent. They are subject to the turnings, and upheavals of the nations and the peoples themselves. What may be considered to be a “right” one day may not be a right at all the next day. In America, the highest court of appeals from which we may demand free exercise of our rights is the Constitution of the United States and our “Bill of Rights”.

    So what about permanent, universal rights? Are there none of those? In other words, does mankind, as a race possess any universal rights that can and are exercised by all men and women, everywhere, in every generation and every culture? Are there no what we might call, “essential”, “universal”, or “original” rights that I can claim? Do I not have a right to life, private property, the pursuit of happiness? The answer is no, not as part of your essential or original rights. To what court will you appeal if you are killed by disease or accident in the prime of life? When and by whom were you granted such a right? Nor do you have the right to freedom from slavery, private property, happy, healthy children, financial stability, a happy marriage, good neighbors and so on. You are promised the right to none of this as a permanent, foundational, universal right. Some of these rights may exist in some form or another as a set of secondary, or derived rights but it depends on the nation wherein you exist, and on the current social-political climate of that nation. As Americans under a leftist ascendancy, we are realizing a fundamental erosion of our derived or secondary rights.

    But as humans, regardless of place of citizenship or geopolitical situation, or generation, or culture, we do enjoy whatever universal, essential or primary rights we have, don’t we? Actually the whole range of universal, essential “rights” can really be boiled down to just one actual right. It is a right pictured from Genesis to Revelation. The Apostle John puts it this way: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12). We may call this one, essential, universal “right”, the “right to life in God”. That’s what John is describing here. It is the one thing we can insist, can take to the highest court and demand that we have it – and that demand is in fact, the most basic act of faith. It is a demand that will always be honored, for He says, “He who comes to me I will in no wise, cast out.”

    From Genesis to Revelation, this theme is a thread that ties the narrative of God together in a beautiful and striking manner.

    Beginning in the pre-fall, pristine experience of man in the Garden, he was given this right to life, this freedom to enjoy life. He was given access to the trees of the garden, and primarily to the “tree of life” which was in the midst of the garden. By partaking of this tree of life, he enjoyed the benefit of enduring life. He had the “right” to life. He partook of that which God provided, and thus enjoyed the life of God himself. Adam did not have the ability to perpetually sustain his own life, but was dependent on something outside of himself for life. That life was his right and it was his privilege.

    After the fall, man was banished from the Garden and forfeited his access to the tree of life. But that didn’t mean that the one essential, universal “right” itself was forfeited. The picture of man exercising his one basic right comes into sharp focus in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Not only is the term “right” (gr. exousia) used in John’s text quoted previously, “to those He gave the ‘right’ to become sons of God”, but repeatedly Jesus takes up this theme urging his countrymen to “come, eat of My flesh and have life in yourselves,” and “I am the Bread of life”. making both points, that man is not able to sustain his own life, and also that man has an unswerving, universal, unconditional “right” to get that life directly from God. In Jesus life, we have the tree of life, and an unmitigated right to that tree.

    Finally the narrative finds it’s resting place in the end chapter of the bible where we read of those who have “washed their robes, so that they may have the right (gr. exousia) to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (Revelation 22:14). In this scene all of the elements come together. You have paradise restored, man exercising his one basic right, his right to life in God in the presence of God and the Lamb for unnumbered eternities.

    in summary, our derived or secondary rights are to be cherished, fought for, preserved, exercised and enjoyed so long as we have them. But they are not, of themselves permanent or unwavering. Like a raging beast, the pressure of “Progressivism” which is at it’s heart Marxism, which is at it’s heart, Atheism and its practical expression in Statism, always needs to be beaten back in America. It has in it’s crosshairs our cherished rights, freedoms and liberties. Thank God there is one right this juggernaut can never trample – our right to the Tree of Life, who is Jesus, This, our one true right means we will never be defeated ultimately. A skirmish here, a battle there…a right preserved here, one lost there, but we cannot lose the war.

    So what are our secondary or derived rights in the end? Given that they are neither permanent nor universal, we should look at them more as privileges, or even as blessings. Every day the Father of Lights showers down His blessings upon us. We simply enjoy them, cherish them as we gather them up from the path of life. One day the path may be narrow, the blessings not so richly strewn. Who are we to murmur? We have our true right that can be enjoyed under any circumstances, any outward limitations.

    There was a day when our nation was very mindful, and held out great honor to the essential “right” and to the right-giver. That’s how we as a nation came to enjoy such a richness of secondary, derived rights. That was a time that gave birth to the Bill of Rights (1791) and spoke of the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. And so it goes. When the essential right is neglected, we forfeit our secondary rights. But the opposite is true as well. Let’s make sure we’re fighting the right battle.