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Rev. Jonny L. Whisenant 
Sunday, November 28 2021
 
More thoughts for Thanksgiving:
 
Seven different Protestant groups came to colonize Georgia!
 
 
 
Hey Brothers and Sisters, Georgians and all,
 
Yes, seven Protestant groups who were different in denomination and nationality were recruited on purpose by the Trustees of the Colony of Georgia for the new colony. This story in Christian History is a great story but almost unknown. Read about it in "Pilgrims in Georgia" pages 42-67. https://online.fliphtml5.com/plczp/epit/
Posted by: AT 10:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 25 2021

 

 

FOR THANKSGIVING 

 

A HEROIC STORY OF TRUE PILGRIMS WHO HELPED COLONIZE GEORGIA 

 

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                

 

 

Hello Brothers and Sisters, 

 

Beginning on October 31st, 1731, twenty thousand Lutheran Protestants were expelled from their homes in the Province of Salzburg in Austria, because they refused to renounce their Lutheran Faith and return to the Roman Catholic Church. Through the work of the Christian Trustees of the Georgia Colony, eventually as many as 1200 of these refugees would make the Pilgrimage to the New World and occupy the settlement in Georgia. Their Pastor Jonhann Martin Blotzius understood their migration to be more of a religiously motivated pilgrimage than and emigration. And called it a journey “into danger, but closer to God”. And danger was correct for so many adults and children died in their first year that they abandoned their first location for another and created the first orphanage in Georgia for their orphaned children. Yet, they persevered, and the town they went on to found and grow named New Ebenezer, soon went on to become the largest in the colony, was for a time the capitol of the Colony, and produced the first Patriot governor of Georgia John Adam Treutlen. Today their town is a retreat center, and their church building, New Jerusalem, still stands as the oldest church and public building in Georgia. It still houses the oldest continuously worshiping Lutheran Church in America. Their story is a humbling and inspiring one as they and their Pastor greatly contributed to the Christian character and success of the early Georgia colony. Please take time this Thanksgiving to read the whole story of the Salzburgers on pages 44-49, and Pastor Jonhann Martin Blotzius on pages 80-81 of Pilgrims in Georgia https://online.fliphtml5.com/plczp/epit/ . It will move you to give thanks for the Christian heritage you have here in America. 

 

May God Bless, 

 

Jonny 

Posted by: AT 09:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, November 21 2021

 

 

As we approach Thanksgiving 2021

Georgia's first Thanksgiving Proclamation

The final happy result of - the end of a clash of empires, a religious revolution, and the work of Christian visionaries.

Hello and Sisters, Brothers, and fellow Georgians,

Do you believe that God was conspicuously involved in the founding of Georgia? Bet you didn't know, bet if you are a Christian, you will be surprised to read General James Oglethorpe's "Order for a Day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God". The first order of a Thanksgiving Day to be held in Georgia before it became a national holiday 120 years later. Bet you didn't know the significance attached to the reason for the Thanksgiving Day by notable religious leaders and historians alike. Bet the description of the event will awe you and will agree that God was indeed involved in this event. But …I really bet you've never heard the religious inferences about this before and all the other Christian Influence in the founding of Georgia. Neither had I, …wonder why? (sarcasm intended). But you can start by getting a glimpse today by viewing pages 76 and 77 of Georgia's first Thanksgiving Proclamation through this link  https://online.fliphtml5.com/plczp/epit/ .And I will be adding more glimpses of Christian Heritage in the founding of Georgia throughout this Thanksgiving week through my ebook "Pilgrims in Georgia".

May God Bless,

Jonny

Posted by: AT 09:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, November 15 2021

 

Thanksgiving, a specifically "American" Christian Holiday

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

Thanksgiving out of all the holidays holds a special place in my heart. It is the only holiday that is uniquely American and derived only from our own history. Unlike all the others who have their origins in the old world and speak to our global fellowship of brothers and sisters, our Thanksgiving holiday calls out to us uniquely as Christian Americans to remember what God has done for us by establishing and sustaining us here in this country. It is a call to remember who brought us from whence we came, how we got here, how we were established, and who sustained and prospered us. It is a call to pause, give credit, and give thanks to our Father for all that he has done for us as a people in this country. And this is a practice that is more important than we may realize. As the Hebrews were about to enter Canaan God gave them specific instructions for them as a people in Deuteronomy 8 below:

"Remembering" - the key to Thanksgiving.

“You shall remember", … “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land",… "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God",… "otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied",… "then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God", …“He led you", …that He might humble you",… “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ , “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth "It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish."

It would be a good practice to read the entire passage of Deuteronomy 8 for Thanksgiving as it seems to clearly reflect a similar story of the Church coming to America and our condition in America today.

Our "American" Christian story, a blessing to remember and give thanks for with our families.

Thanksgiving in 2020 should have commemorated the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in America in 1620. However, the events of last November, the controversial election, the corona virus, civil unrest, etc. all but eclipsed this historic event from the attention of most Americans and Christians Americans too. But Thanksgiving 2021 inaugurates a new quadricentennial, and a new chance to renew the practice of giving thanks on Thanksgiving! And in keeping with the spirit of Deuteronomy 8 and Psalm 78, I would propose that we do that by remembering and celebrating our specific American Christian Heritage. By remembering, learning, teaching, and honoring our American Christian history with our children, families, and churches as a means of glorifying and giving thanks to God for all he has done for us through the generations of faithfulness upon whose shoulders we still stand today.

Hear some of what the writer of Psalm 78 says:  

That…"Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God." Ps.78:1-8

But, we are a people with Christian amnesia.

Sadly, most of us have very little knowledge of what God did in the monumental work of bringing, establishing, and growing His People, our Spiritual Parents, in this country. And because of this our children's and grandchildren's generations suffer in the assurance of their spiritual identities and purposes as this very heritage today is under attack to eradicate it from our children's and all Americans consciousness.

An American Christian Heritage Month? 

Therefore, I propose that each successive month of November beginning with Thanksgiving Day 2021 we henceforth remember and celebrate as Christian American Heritage Month. A month of special attention given to the "works of God" in and through the Providence of the bringing of His people to these shores, their struggles, trials, perseverance, victories, and prosperity as they grew and dispersed through this continent. The personal and corporate stories, the institutions they created, the influence they had, the failures they experienced, the missions they sent, are all part of our Family story. A Family that we in America are in desperate need of remembering that we are a part of today.

A means I have at hand to share,  particulary for those in Georgia.

 

So, as a means I have immediately at hand to facilitate this I am providing a link here, to an online copy of my book "Pilgrims in Georgia" https://www.jonnywhisenant.net/pilgrims_in_georgia. It is about Christian pilgrims, groups, and individuals in the founding of the colony of Georgia, an almost unknown but wonderful Christian Heritage Story that in many ways equals the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims in New England. It is free, this is not an advertisement, the book is not for sale now, maybe one day. But I will begin regularly sharing items of interest from it that I believe will encourage us and deepen our appreciation of what God has done for us through our Christian forefathers in this nation.

May God Bless,

Jonny

Posted by: AT 06:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, November 12 2021
 
Hello Sisters and Brothers,
 
Teach your children that behind all that we see and touch, is the personally intelligent universe of our God.
 
The primary axiom or postulate of the Christian Faith is that behind the all the physical and chemical mechanics of creation is a universe of intelligent persona. The opening verse of the Bible sets the stage for all else in our understanding of the setting we awaken to from birth through the rest of our lives.
 
"In the beginning God created the heavens and earth."
 
This belief that there is a spiritually intelligent personal world behind our sensible nonliving material world is opposed to the present materialist/secularist worldview that pervades our present era. It is the dogma that your children will be assailed with from their earliest day forward. The materialist view dogmatically asserts that there is nothing more fundamental to be found in our cosmos than the material world and claims to be "scientific" by excluding any "evidence" except that which can be measured in the court of our five senses. Yet, this view has not been the predominant one throughout 6000 years of recorded history and has only seen widespread acceptance in the last two hundred years. And it is not "scientific" to arrogantly ignore 6000 years of experience in mankind's history.
 
But like in math, the understanding that there is a Spiritual World behind the material world is like an axiom, a "a self - evident truth, one "to serve as a starting point for further reasoning", or postulate, taken to be true without needing proof" "as a basis for further reasoning". In mathematics, without these sorts of presuppositional "faith statements" in math and geometry there is no possible further reasoning. Yet, math and geometry work very well in our world. The limitations of our finite minds and our inability to gather all knowledge require a starting point based on faith in what we do know. And what we do know corresponds to reality and works in spite of all the other possible contrary scenarios, as if it was all made to work just that way. And this is true of the spiritual as well. Our a posteriori knowledge (our experience) leads us to an a priori (inner/innate) understanding in our hearts.
 
Or as George Washington once said,
"Religion is as necessary to reason as reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose his reason, in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to; and well has it been said, that if there had been no God, mankind would have been obliged to imagine one."
 
Our experience leads to this conclusion.
 
King Solomon explained this,
"He (God) has set eternity into man's heart, yet so he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end" Eccl. 3:11.
 
We sense that there is an eternal spiritual realm, the entire worldwide history of mankind's religions and striving to reach the spiritual bear witness of this innate knowledge. Yet we cannot with our limited tools (five senses and reason) attain to it.
 
As David said in Psalm. 139,
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high; I cannot attain to it."
 
So, God must explain it to us. HE MUST COME TO US as we cannot go to Him. He must reveal to us what we are seeking to attain. And He reveals that behind the impersonal physical and chemical mechanics that He used to set the order of this universe in motion and that blocks our view of the spiritual, is the ultimate reality of a persona of intelligence. He and personally intelligent beings.
 
"Science" in the way it is being used and described is incapable of discovering this, it simply does not have the right tools. Like trying to describe color to someone blind from birth, it is simply not possible, we do not possess the faculties to apprehend it.
 
Because Jesus said it is only apprehended by Faith, that we must employ the lost sense, the faculty of Faith, we must trust in what we know in our hearts to be true. He said that like children who trust what their parents tell them, we also must trust Him when He tells us that it is real and reasonable. Faith in what He reveals to us from beyond our senses. The Personal loving Spirit, …God, is behind all the material things we see and He wants to take us into His Family as our Father. All we need do is trust Him.
 
"Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him." Heb.11:6
 
Teach this to your children. Because they too are "spiritual beings" made with/as eternal souls Gen.2:7. More on this in part 2 soon.
 
May God Bless,
 
Jonny
Posted by: AT 10:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, October 28 2021
 
What is truth? Pontius Pilate
 
“ truth has stumbled in the public squares and uprightness cannot enter” and “he who departs from evil makes himself a prey”
Is.59:14 &15
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
The questions that we all have before us in our country are not a questions of facts, “settled science", evidence, or authority. It is the question of whose “facts”, whose science, whose evidence, and whose authority we are willing to trust? For like lawyers in a court room presenting their case, the interpretation of “facts”, the “evidences”, the appeals to “authority”, all are presented to WIN their case, and we as jurors must sit and listen to, evaluate, and decide in which interpretation to cast our faith. Yes,…FAITH, because we are finite, limited, and fallible in our knowledge, experience, and understanding. And we cannot possibly choose with infallible certainty the answers to questions presented with necessarily limited evidence, in lights cast to support preconceived results. “Truth HAS stumbled in the public squares”.
Yet their remains one other way. “Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life ….” Jn. 14:5,6. and “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart”. Jer. 29:13
Are we seeking Him , His guidance, His way, above our own five senses and understanding? Are we asking for His wisdom and placing our Faith in Him to guide us through this maze of decisions because we are helpless without Him?
There is TRUTH, the question is are we actually seeking it/ Him, …and with all our hearts?
 
May God Bless,
 
Jonny
Posted by: AT 06:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, October 24 2021
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
Please rejoice and give thanks with us on our 41st wedding anniversary and share with us the lessons of Psalm 127 for our day.
 
Without the Lord you cannot build successfully.
 
Today 10/25 my wife Ellen and I celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary. In our wedding ceremony we had our Pastor preach from Psalm 127 not only for our sake but for all those who would be attending. Thankfully by God's grace on one hand those words have had prophetic rewards, but grievously on the other, observable consequences. Take them to heart we can testify from here that they are true. The Lord has been merciful and good to bless our attempts to be faithful and "build our house" with four believing and successful children and presently eight grandchildren, including two children and one grandchild who have preceded us to heaven due to miscarriage. We are not ashamed when we speak with our enemies in the gate (the world). However, we have witnessed firsthand in the lives of our relatives and friends the brokenness, futility, depravity, and deaths, of many who were there and did not seek the Lord to build their house. It is with a combination of joy and grief that we look back upon the pictures of those in attendance in our wedding album. Having the Lord be the builder of your house is irreplaceable, He alone is God.
 
You cannot build what the Lord is not building.
 
Yet there is another meaning in this Psalm which is the main thought that we wish to share with you. Allow me to put this in a metaphor.
Imagine a young prince/ruler in Biblical times seeking to build and defend his city, but he is beset with seemingly insurmountable problems in doing this both from within and without. He is faced with many natural issues such as building walls, bridges, supply and demand, but the most distressing problems come in human form as his competitors and enemies. He sits down one day outside the city walls on a hill overlooking his city, tired, dispirited, distraught, questioning why it won't come together, how will he ever be able to build what he rightly believes his city should become, and why God does not seem to be blessing him. He thinks with indignation upon the opposition and foolishness of those who out of jealously create obstacles and the mocking of his enemies from other cities and grieves for what could be but what is not.
Then an older man of his acquaintance comes and sits with him and asks of his troubles and comforts him with these words: My son, "Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain." You cannot do what God alone can do, and unless He chooses to do it, you can have little effect. So, it is not worth it for you to wear yourself out, with toil and stress to make happen what God does not choose to. "It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors"; relax a little, look to Him and trust that He cares and has a bigger plan, "For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep", and even apart from their effort.
 
The Lord does build/ is building through your children/ people a city.
 
But that does not mean that He is inactive though. Stop for a moment and LOOK at your young family. "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward." He has already blessed you and rewarded you for your faithfulness and has a plan for you and your City. Look here all these children you have, your children, you are their father, and they are yours to raise, to teach, to train, to lovingly command. They are of your house and if you raise them correctly, they will be loyal to you and to our God. They will be your allies. They are "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior," to accomplish the mission that God has given you and to defend against His enemies. "So are the children of one’s youth" and you have many! "How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." See here my son, observe, this is where He is working, under your own nose, in your own house, this is His plan for your City! Walls and houses decay and fall, city officials come and go, enemies and friends change, but God builds His City with people with eternal souls, families, and houses enduring for generations. For It is "upon this rock" of Faith which He creates it, in those who "receive" it like your own little children. Mt 16:17-18, Mt, 19:14
So, do not be so downcast, God's work is long "and our desires impatient; the work of progress immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is History (HIS STORY) that teaches us to HOPE!". Turn your efforts to where you know the ground is fertile where He is blessing and working, …in your children. Those who do so will also be blessed, and "They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate", because He intends that even "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against" THEM.
 
So today, as WE consider the city in the world before us, and the Cities in our homes, does Psalm 127 have a message for us?...just sayin…
 
May God Bless,
 
Jonny
Posted by: AT 06:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, October 13 2021
 
Hello Sisters and Brothers,
 
Are we seeing a new, a different kind of "Tower of Babel"?
 
Is the message, "REPENT" of your misplaced trusts and cling to Me alone? Is it time to be a Pilgrim again? Is God in His Providence, (IE using secondary "natural" means), to break down and disperse our over dependence and often misplaced trust/faith in many of our modern institutions? At the tower of Babel God Himself (supernaturally) intervened to nullify CO-OPERATION amongst the builders of an non-trusting, prideful effort to build a city (civilization) and tower. A civilization built by a subtle but rebellious pride upon mans knowledge and in mans name. Gen. 11: 1-9. He broke this united CO-OPERATION by confusing their language and making it impossible for them to communicate and WORK TOGETHER.
 
TODAY THE BREAKDOWN OF TRUST,
 
in all levels and corners of our society is palatable. Doubt in the trust worthiness of government, political parties, defense and law agencies, medical, pharmaceutical, military, church and denominations, education, teachers and teachers unions, news media, communications, internet, food creators and suppliers, the entertainment industry, celebrities, common folk, groups, individuals etc,etc you name it, is being shattered almost on a daily basis.
 
WHY WE MAY NOT RECOGNIZE GOD'S HAND.
 
We may not recognize Gods hand in this, (IE the bigger picture), because it is happening by natural (or secondary) means. Theologians of the Reformation explained that God had revealed Himself as the "first cause" (WCF 5:1,2) behind our lives and our universe, (supernatural). "In the beginning God"(Ps.1:1) , but that normally "He orders (events in this world) to come about according to the nature of secondary causes"(WCF 5:2), i.e., the forces, principles, and laws, He built into nature, (natural). The "first cause" being un-observable and beyond our intellectual grasp or manipulation, the "second" being within our realm of understanding and control. So we don't always immediately associate these things with God doing a major work in our day. Yet one must be careful not to over attribute to God matters that are merely the outworking of the mechanics for which God created the universe to work in, whether good or bad.
 
SO WHAT MAY GOD BE DOING?
 
However, it is always safe to say that God's Fatherly Providence in the events of the lives of civilizations and individuals is always at work for the good of those who love Him, Rom. 8:28. And if because they have confused those natural means He has provided (the list of institutions above) and His Peoples trust has too much relied on them. He may in Fatherly care remove their blinders to show them that the trusts in their hearts have too much wandered from the care that He alone can ultimately provide. And call them to repentance in a time of exodus in the desert alone with Him.
 
ARE WE WILLING TO LEAVE EGYPT IN OUR HEARTS?
 
Is God showing us that much of our civilization is terminally infected with falsehood so that we cannot trust or co-operate with it even if we wanted to as in Babel? Has He in His Providence broken and confused the language of trust in our world? Is it time to begin to forge a new pilgrimage both individually and corporately as a people of God wherever that may take us in this country or beyond? If so we can always be sure that "...He is Rewarder of those who seek Him." Heb.11:6, because He alone is worthy of our complete TRUST.
 
May God Bless,
 
Jonny
Posted by: AT 06:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, August 13 2021

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

While watching a presentation by Dr. Lee Merritt of Americas Frontline Doctors, she used a term to describe the situation that we are now in with Covid that I had not heard before but made a lot of sense to me, and I wanted to share it with you.

Dr. Merritt spent nine years as a Navy surgeon and physician , and she described the situation that we are in as a "5th Generation Uncharacteristic Unrestricted War". She also indicated that it was important to grasp this as it made the difference between our seeing ourselves as victims of circumstance or as soldiers/defenders in a conflict. That is, are these just circumstances (Providence) over which we have no recourse or are there intelligent intentional actions behind the chaos that we might oppose with some hope of success? Reading the description of this type of warfare from the article below gave me some puzzle pieces to include in my own thinking about Covid, and much more that is going on.

 https://warontherocks.com/2016/04/a-new-generation-of-unrestricted-warfare/ .

In this article you will find these quotes,

In 1999, two Chinese colonels wrote a book called "Unrestricted Warfare" , about warfare in the age of globalization. Their main argument: Warfare in the modern world will no longer be primarily a struggle defined by military means — or even involve the military at all.”.

They argued, ” that war was no longer about “using armed forces to compel the enemy to submit to one’s will", but "using all means, including armed force or non-armed force, military and non-military, and lethal and non-lethal means to compel the enemy to accept one’s interests.”

The barrier between soldiers and civilians would fundamentally be erased because the battle would be everywhere. The number of new battlefields would be “virtually infinite,” and could include environmental warfare, financial warfare, trade warfare, cultural warfare, and legal warfare to name just a few."

"They wrote of assassinating financial speculators to safeguard a nation’s financial security, setting up slush funds to influence opponents’ legislatures and governments, and buying controlling shares of stocks to convert an adversary’s major television and newspapers outlets into tools of media warfare.”

They “argued in a subsequent interview that the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden. That vision clearly transcends any traditional notions of war.”

They further” argued that the battlefield had fundamentally changed. It was no longer a place where militaries met and fought; instead, society itself was now the battlefield. Future wars would inevitably encompass attacks on all elements of society without limits. Military battles resembling those of 1991 might become secondary elements of conflict — if they even occurred at all.”

Sounds like they took a page out of the ancient book,"The Art of War" , from the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."

But consider this--they realized and wrote of this over 20 years ago at the dawning of the growth of the internet. What they foresaw was that globalization, the growing integration of our industrial world into a smaller interdependent world, would now enable a new kind of unlimited and unrelenting warfare. Much as the creation of the atom bomb ushered in the nuclear threat that bypassed the protection of our armed forces on the borders of our countries and directly targeted our cities and homes. So the channels of connectivity across the globe have opened the doors to direct potential subversion and aggression in every sphere of society and to every individual they touch.  

As Lady Galadriel says in the opening scene of the movie Lord of the Rings, "The world is changed."  We have entered a new era with new challenges where warfare doesn't need  bullets to be intentionally aggressive warfare or have lines of battle to define it. 

But who are the combatants?

As a Christian I trust the original teaching that the setting of the conflict in the world proceeds from a spiritual war of evil against good, as spoken of by Paul, and as recorded in the Book of Revelation by the Apostle John. The out-working of this has been historically displayed in the accounts of Cain and Able, the Canaanites verses the Hebrews, and the Jews and Romans verses the Christians. In summary it teaches that as long as there is history, evil will assail and assault the good in conventional warfare or in "Uncharacteristic Unrestricted Warfare" of all types. So yes, there are spiritually intelligent intentional actions behind the chaos and we apper to be in this kind of "unrestricted" war now. And the aggressors, conscious of their intentions or not, may rise and wane and change with time and they may combine or may not be allied with one another and they will use their advantage when they have it.

The difference is perceptions and actions. It is not just circumstance, it is a form of warfare, and we are combatants whether we understand it, or want it, or not. The only question for us is will we recognize it as warfare and react as soldiers of Christ or will we acquiesce and play the victim?

Seems to me that just becoming aware of this is the first step.

The next is:

Improvise, adapt, overcome!...

…because it is more than just a Marine motto…it is Faith put to action!

May God Bless,

Jonny

Posted by: Rev. Jonny L. Whisenant AT 12:54 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, August 04 2020

 

As our Forefathers were Pilgrims in the founding of America, we need to remember that we are also Pilgrims in our generation!...

 

AmericaA Tale of Two Cities

 

Charles Dickens opens his novel, A Tale of Two Cities, with the proclamation,

 

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…".

 

As we look around our country today, it is hard not to identify with the sentiments expressed in these famous lines and wonder if he was writing prophetically about our times. In fact, we may well wonder if there ever was an era in man's history when these lines did not apply in some sense. They describe an almost universal outlook on the times that people live in, no matter what the era! People from nearly any period in history could identify in some way with these words. I believe that that is because, as Saint Augustine observed, the world throughout history, including America today, has always been made up of "Two Cities."

 

Saint Augustine and The City of God

 

Early in the 5th century, Augustine of Hippo (known to most of us Saint Augustine) wrote what many consider to be "a cornerstone of Western thought," the book The City of God. In it, he outlined history as the "tale of two cities," the City of God and the City of Man. "The book presents human history as being the scene of an ongoing conflict between what Augustine calls the Earthly City (the City of Man) and the City of God." The City of God is manifested in the people and their works, who humble themselves before God, in Faith take His Son Jesus as their Savior and King and dedicate themselves to living for God's eternal Kingdom according to His eternal truths. The City of Man, on the other hand, is observed in those people and their works, who in their pride rule themselves and their societies in defiance of God, seeking to replace His Rule with their rule, and immersing themselves in the cares and pleasures of the present passing world.

Augustine depicts the history of the world as an ongoing conflict between the citizens of these two cities, who are ultimately the subjects of one of two rulers, God or the Evil one. Though the citizens of these two "Cities" may share a common era of time and geography, this metaphysical war is not limited by the centuries. It takes place in some form in every country, Kingdom, empire, or colony, throughout history. Augustine specifically was writing about Rome in his time. In the minds of many of his day, the unthinkable was happening; the mighty Empire of Rome was crumbling. Attacked and ransacked by the Visigoths, a much less civilized people, many despaired of the future; they could not imagine the fall of Rome. They also sought to blame Christians, calling this calamity a punishment from their previously worshiped gods for Rome's "defection" to the Christian God. Augustine addresses these things in The City of God, pointing out that Rome was only a temporary habitation of the presence of these two much longer enduring cities. He defended Christians by reminding their accusers that the pagan gods had failed to save Rome numerous times in the past from worldly disasters and that because of the worship of the pagan gods, Rome suffered the greatest calamity of all, that being, moral corruption. Further, the power and long duration of the Roman Empire were due not to the pagan Gods but the Christian God through the blessing of several Christian Emperors. Finally, He points beyond the life of Rome to the longevity and ultimate victory of the City of God and the ultimate end in ruins of the City of Man.

 

The City of God and 21st Century America

 

Twenty-first century American Christians today need to step back and consider the perspective of Augustine in his metaphor of the Cities as we grapple with the issues confronting us in our own country today. American is, and always was, a country occupied by those two cities. Often it has very discernably reflected the ideals of the City of God, but all too frequently, it has revealed the evils of the other as well. Many of our immigrant forefathers came to this country, bringing their Faith where it was planted and flourished, and in this cultural soil, "The City of God" became uniquely manifest. The evidence is visible everywhere, even to the casual observer. Today, the City of God is still alive, and well though a recent poll (2015) by the Public Religion Research Institute says, "that close to half of the respondents (45 percent) say the United States was once a Christian nation but is no longer so today". If this observation does, with some accuracy, reflect the condition of our country, it is indeed deeply saddening and lamentable. Still, it ultimately means but little to the longevity, durability, vitality, and enduring happiness of the City of God. Our City has endured millennia, centuries, eras, cultures, countless countries, obstacles, persecutions, poverty, and prosperity, and will continue to do so for as long as her King has ordained. An important thing for Christians in today's America to remember is the fact that our families and we are members of this enduring city. Our City is populated with a family of spiritual brothers and sisters stretching back through millennia and continuing forward into eternity. Though we love and treasure our country, America, we are not first and foremost Americans that happen to be Christians; we are Christians that happen to live in America! Our Heavenly Father has adopted us into His Family, made us members of His City. He has given us a future and mission that transcends our present country, era, and world, just like our forefathers, whether they come from Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, or Asia. This Family is, and at the same time, is becoming, our brothers and sisters in our new home in the New Heavens and New Earth. It is truly hard and sad to imagine. Still, if Rome, like so many other nations since it's time, eventually succumbed to the relentless dust of history, our beloved America is almost certain to do the same. Listen to what God says the view is from His vantage point above human history:

 

"He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble."

 Isaiah 40:23, 24

 

It is His City and His Family that will endure into eternity, and this is the foremost ground upon which Christians in any period of history, nation, or culture should sink the anchor of their identity and hope for the future. All else, as the scripture above alludes to, will be carried away in the dust of history. God did not promise Roman Christian's eternal life for Rome, and He does not promise us eternal life for our America. For American Christians, the is issue should not be about whether or not America is or was a Christian Nation, but about the fact that a Christian Nation (the People of God, the City of God) came to and is still thriving in America! "You (the people of God) are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden" Matt: 5:14. These people are the soul of the "shining "city on a hill, " that theologians and politicians have referred to when describing our country, not merely the geography or the political structure.

 

 

Why is this important?

 

We must do a better job at building God's City (Kingdom) in 21st Century America.

 

A. First, we must re-examine what it means to be spiritually separated from the world.

 

We must recognize that God calls us to be a different, separate people, seeking different goals for ourselves and our children. Not that we should rudely or pridefully call attention to our differences, but remember that in all ages, He has called us to be His City, a separate pilgrim people in this world.

 

B. We must protect our City.

 

We cannot be naive about the spiritual safety of our children, family, and ourselves in a world that our Lord has plainly told us will hate us for His sake even in “wonderful America.” We must as far as it depends on us to be at peace with all men without being naïve as our Lord gave us an example, "But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man." Jn. 2:24  We can no longer have “open minds” as the world would urge us, we must have receptive but discerning minds, especially in the education of our children.

 

C, We must not imitate the City of Man in its materialism:

 

When Moses commissioned the Hebrews to go and subdue the Promised Land for God's Kingdom, he warned them that its blessings could also be their undoing and that even their nation could be transformed from the City of God into the City of Man. The blessings of America has been and still can be some of its greatest dangers due to the deceitfulness of our hearts. We must remember Deut. 8:11-17

 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God … otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery…. you may say in your heart, 'My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.' “

 

D. We must not imitate the City of Man in its morals:

 

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

 

"Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. "Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean, And I will welcome you. "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty.   Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

 

E. We must focus on building God's City and implore members of the City of Man to become citizens of "OUR CITY", Not reduce the City of God in order to "identify" with the City of Man.

 

-To do this, we must be clear on the nature of  Christ, the church and evangelism.

 

When Jesus commissioned the Church to go into the world as He had Moses commission the Hebrews to go into the Promise Land earlier, He gave them specific instructions as to how to carry out their mission.  With Moses, He warned them that to fail to carry out His instructions would compromise their mission and lead to their failure. In a similar way in  the New Testament In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells us:

 "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. ( I have been  Crowned the rightful King over your realm and all creation). Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; (declare and offer to all people throughout the world my terms of peace and mercy, tell them to cease their warfare against Me, put down their weapons, receive Me as their King and learn to practice "ALL MY COMMANDS" )  and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

 

Jesus is The King, not a salesman!

Our Lord "is" a good, benevolent, and patient King, full of mercy, and pity who loves us, but One who also requires humility before Him, trust, teachableness, and obedience. Who also at the time of His perfect discernment "is intolerant" of rebellion, because rebellion destroys that which is good.  The prophetic images of Psalm 2, Psalm 68:17-18, Isaiah 9:6-7, Jeremiah 49:19, Daniel 7:9,13, 22, Ezekiel 1:26, then the confirmation in the New Testament Matthew 13:41, Matthew 24:30, Matthew 25:31, Matthew 26:64, Mark 13:26, Mark 14:61-62, Luke 21:27, Luke 21:36, John 5:27, Acts 7:56, Ephesians 1:20-21, Revelation 1:7, Revelation 14:14, etc...show our Lord to be a King seated at the Right Hand of God the Father for whom the Father is actively subduing His enemies. Acts 2:34–35; Hebrews 1:13; Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 10:13. " “The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”’Acts 2:34-35.

But, our Lord "is not" a celestial salesman just begging people to make a little investment His "better way"... The Church, as God's emissary in its joyful proclamation our Lords merciful clemency for those who submit to His Lordship, must not ignore or veil His coming judgment of all rebels. The Church must not be culpable of "bait and switch".  We must remember this truth concerning His Person, and present it faithfully, this "is not" the image of Jesus which is widely circulated in the church today. Again, we serve THE KING of history, ...not an impotent salesman.

 

-We are "commissioned"( sent/commanded)  to make Disciples, not merely converts/ church members.

 

Also, Jesus commissions His people to "make disciples." The means of the growth of the City of God is through the making of Disciples. "The word Disciple occurs 269 times in the New Testament. Christian is found three times...". If I  respectfully emphasize the negative, He did not say make "Christians," plant churches, hold crusades, revivals, or tent meetings,…all of which may have a valuable place in the overall process. But to fail to carry out the core of the mission, to dedicatedly train individual converts from conversion to their own commissioning, is to make a similar mistake as Martha did in the story of Mary and Martha. It is failing to consistently do what is most important at the moment, assuring the slow decline of the quality and health of the City.  Discipleship is an individually dedicated process requiring time and sacrifices and cannot be mass-produced from human means. We must, before we do all other things, not fail to grow disciples in the church, especially in the most fertile field for discipleship, which is the children of the church. The cohesion of fellowship and learning in church and family must become job one in the church again.

See: https://www.jonnywhisenant.net/highroads/view/360

 

 

F.  We must be clear that we are a FAMILY, not just a city, not an institution, not a business, club, or machine. We have a Family we belong to and must begin to act like it again. Our identity is the Family/ People of God.

As God is not a theology, set of rules, or an impersonal force, but a Person,  the ultimate “Person” in the universe and the only trustworthy example of what it means to grow in our own “personhood”, so the City of God is not an institution at heart, but a family of adopted persons, adopted into HIS FAMILY. We must steer our understanding and presentation of the church toward its Godly and human elements and away from the mechanical elements of this world which wear down and dehumanize all human institutions over time. 

“As our Maker is our Father, so our Savior is our Brother when we come into the Family of God. Now, just as the knowledge of His unique Sonship controlled Jesus’ living of His own life on earth, so He insists that the knowledge of our adoptive sonship must control our lives too.” (J.I. Packer)

https://www.jonnywhisenant.net/highroads/view/379/are_we_disciples__part_3___who_disciples_us_

 

G. And finally, having understood our identity, we must be clear about our FUTURE. No matter about whatever clouds we encounter in America or on our way, the ultimate future is gloriously bright.

“This reigning, expanding, culture-enriching purpose of God for mankind on Earth was never revoked or abandoned. It has only been interrupted and twisted by the Fall. But neither Satan nor sin is able to thwart God’s purposes. Christ’s redemptive work will ultimately restore, enhance, and expand God’s original plan.”Daniel 7:25 tells us that the saints will be handed over to the earth’s kingdoms, which will persecute them for a season. But then a stunning reversal will occur. “Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him” (v. 27). The Kingdom will be God’s, yet he will appoint his saints as rulers under him, and they “will worship and obey him.” Through adversity and opportunity, as well as in their (our) artistic and cultural accomplishments, they (we) will be groomed for their (our) leadership roles in Christ’s eternal Kingdom. Their (our) society-transforming creative skills will be put on prominent display in the new universe, where they (we) will “shine like the sun in the kingdom of their (our) Father” (Matthew 13:43). Randy Alcorn "Heaven"

https://www.jonnywhisenant.net/highroads/view/381/are_we_disciples____part_4_the_promise_of_discipleship___the_goal_of_this_life_is_not_just__this__life_

 

 

The vision our Christian forefathers and mothers had for America will never die; it endures in us and "The City" we build from generation to generation and will be victoriously consummated in the New Heavens and New Earth. Whether America endures as a political nation is a matter in the Hands of Our Father. Today, however, the health, and vitality of The City of God in our day is a matter in which we have participation. If we fail to build well in our time then it will have consequences for our posterity and our honor before the Lord. But the City itself will not fail utterly, as God will not leave Himself without a witness. Yet strangely though we build a city, the best way for us to build this city is to remember and act like we are pilgrims in a foreign land. In order to love America and to do the best thing we can for it, we must reckon ourselves as pilgrims building a city yet to be completed at a future date. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Because there are two cities in history, but only one is destined to endure.

 

May God Bless,

 

Jonny

 

Posted by: AT 07:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, June 03 2020

 

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the confusion and mayhem of our political times, it is important to have and recognize a standard, a flag, or marker that can be seen above the current political “fog of war” on the ground. In earlier times this standard or flag was crucial for a soldier to be able to see and orient himself with his own people to know where the dividing line was between his friends and his opponents. Because of the inherent clouds of dust, blinding smoke, deafening noise, fluctuations of success and confusion, it meant the difference between knowing  “who had his back” versus those who were hostile to him and what he stood for, in which direction the fight was being taken, and if he should move forward or retreat. The safety of his own life, his contribution to the safety of his compatriots, and his hope of victory were made known by the sight of his flag.  

In the early Church under Roman persecution, this political flag for Christians was to publicly confess that “Jesus is Lord”.  It was not only a confession of Faith about one’s personal belief, it was a politically militant statement in the face of Roman Emperors who demanded that their subjects confess that “Caesar is Lord”. At times under Roman rule to confess “Jesus is Lord” publicly, even with humility and submission in all other ways, meant that you recognized that you were on the spiritual battlefield with Christ and His People, and doing so would cause Caesar to draw a line in the sand against you. Because, confessing Christ, even in the face of death, was a standard or flag that a genuine believer could not back away from.  

Today, we have a different set of circumstances, …same war. Today one may say freely “Jesus is Lord” without fear reprisal, ….because it is not a matter of what you may say anymore, but what you mean by that and what you do with it in the political realm. We have a major portion of the country claiming to be “Christians” but meaning many divergent things by that claim.

So, is there a political standard/ flag for our day? …I for one believe that there is. I believe it is abortion and the war on the family. I believe it is abortion because Human Life is the “Image of God” manifest, it is the sacred means by which the invisible God makes Himself visible in this physical/political  world. Human Life is God's property and jurisdiction alone. He has the right of birth, Providence, and death in human life and no one else. Also, the Human Family because it is the womb, the school, and the launching pad for God to spread His Image throughout the earth covering it with his marvelous countenance and the object of His Great Commission. It is the sight which the “evil one” cannot stand and seeks to eradicate. It is the war that the enemy continuously seeks to divert attention from. We are swamped with abortions, 60+ million since 1973, 21% of all pregnancies (Guttmacher Institute). This is death on a scale larger or equal to Hitler, Stalin, or Mao. And it is a war on faithful families who seek to raise their children to reflect God’s image in this world, God’s means of covering the world with His Image. It is God’s Image and the faithful reproduction of it in the world that is under attack and anyone who declines to go along with that war becomes a political enemy, like it or not.

In the “fog” of this ongoing cultural/political war, when we seek to know where the flag,  the standard for Christ is being raised, we need to look for who is actually doing things to protect the unborn, the family, and their liberty to raise children into God’s Image. Because today, the right actions are clearer than the “fog” of words.

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefront besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

attributed to Martin Luther, quoted by Francis Schaeffer in The Great Evangelical Disaster

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7: 21-23

 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  James 2:17-19

The flag is a flag of right actions based on Right Words, the dividing line is where one stands with abortion of Gods Image and the Propogation of that Image through His families, no matter what political party, "christian" church, or "woke" social platform one may appeal to.

May God Bless,

Jonny

Posted by: AT 07:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email