In our time, knowledge of the incarnate Christ can become very perplexing. Some who have been faithful church attendees for years still lack true orthodox understanding of who Christ is. I have been exposed to Gnosticism, tri-theism, bi-nitarianism and other forms of heresy in a church setting.
Beyond all these, I would like to mention briefly one that is fairly subtle. This is concerning the eternality of the logos (the word). The 4th century Creed of the church, the Nicene Creed, deals briefly with the matter of the incarnation when it says: … “came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man…” The Creed implicitly denies any variation on the status of the Logos prior to his incarnation. It “was made man!” When? When He came down from heaven.
James White makes this point clear when he states in the Forgotten Trinity that, “The Logos was not eternally flesh. He existed in a non-fleshly manner in eternity past. But at a blessed point in time, at the Incarnation, the Logos became flesh. The eternal experienced time (p.59).” The Apostle Paul establishes a starting point for that event when he says: ” But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law (Gal. 4:4 ESV).” Here Paul reiterates what he taught in Philippians 2 regarding the estate of the incarnated Christ. The flesh of the Son composes his hypostatic union. Indeed, we can say that the Son did not always possess two natures, but only when the fullness of time arrived did humanity become an essential part of who Jesus was and is and ever shall be.
In order to understand Christ we must realize that fleshness is a necessary requirement for his earthly mission. It was not needed prior to his entrance into the cosmos. This knowledge will keep us from falling into the subtleties of unorthodoxy.
By Gary DeMar
The Pledge of Allegiance is once again in the news. David Habecker, a council member in Estes Park, Colorado, has decided not to stand to say the Pledge because he has a problem with the addition of “under God” to the original version. As a result, there is a recall effort under way. Habecker would be on more solid ground if he had refused to say the Pledge because of its socialist origin. Let me explain.
The earliest version of the Pledge of Allegiance was written in August, 1892, by Francis Bellamy, a newspaperman, who wrote for Youth’s Companion magazine. The original Pledge appeared in the September 8th issue of the magazine and was first recited in public at a Columbus Day program on October 12, 1892, the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of America. To celebrate the anniversary in a big way, Chicago held the World Columbian Exposition. This was before Christopher Columbus became politically incorrect.
Francis Bellamy, the author of the original Pledge was a Baptist minister. He was the first cousin of Edward Bellamy, author of the socialist utopian novels Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897). John W. Baer, author of The Pledge of Allegiance: A Centennial History, 1892–1992, writes that “it never would have occurred to Francis Bellamy to put ‘under God’ in the Pledge, at least according to what he had to say at the time.” While Bellamy preached sermons on topics such as “Jesus the Socialist” and “The Socialism of the Primitive Church,” over which he lost his pulpit at Bethany Baptist Church in Boston, he believed that religion belonged only in the family and church.
Bellamy believed that universal public education was the great equalizer and remedy for national unity. He saw the Pledge, as it was originally conceived, to by a way for immigrants to adopt a new national identity. “Our fathers in their wisdom knew that the foundations of liberty, fraternity, and equality must be universal education,” Bellamy wrote in a speech. Consider this frightening manifesto from Bellamy:
The free school, therefore, was conceived as the cornerstone of the Republic. Washington and Jefferson recognized that the education of citizens is not the prerogative of church or of other private interest; that while religious training belongs to the church, and while technical and higher culture may be given by private institutions–the training of citizens in the common knowledge and the common duties of citizenship belongs irrevocably to the State.
Of course, at the time, public schools were generally Protestant, a carry over from the Puritan heritage of the colonies. With the rising tide of immigration, Roman Catholics became a growing segment of the population. If they sent their children to public schools, they would get Protestant indoctrination. I can remember the first time I attended public school after five years of Catholic elementary schooling. Bible reading and prayer were still said in public schools when I entered the 6th grade in 1961. The Lord’s Prayer was said every morning. But to this Catholic boy, the “Our Father” ended in a way different from the way I had learned it. This Protestant line had been added: “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
In order to counter the Protestantism in the public schools, Catholics built their own parish schools guided by Catholic doctrine. Catholic kids who did not go to Catholic school had to go to catechism classes on Saturday morning. To Bellamy, this was not what America was all about. He wanted a national religion that was civic in nature and socialist in principle.
As we’re beginning to see, the Catholics understood the problem, but as the public schools got more secular, that is, less Protestant, Catholics felt it was safe to send their children to what they believed were religiously neutral schools. Boy, were they wrong!
The biggest problem we face as a nation is not whether “under God” is in the Pledge and said in government schools, but the fact that Christians continue to send their children to government schools in the first place. Christian groups are wrangling over “under God” in the Pledge when God has been persona non grata for decades. It’s my dream that one day public schools will be sold to Christian schools for pennies on the dollar. I hope I live to see it happen.
1 Quoted in Terry Mattingly, “The Pledge of Conformity” (July 3, 2002).
I will be gone for the next few days, so there may not be any blogging. Anyway, I thought James White’ s posting of George Washington’s Yhanksgiving proclamation was appropriate, so here it is for those who have not read this great founder:
George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:
“Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted’ for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.
(signed) G. Washington