Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Reformation and Revival a la John Armstrong

Reformation and Revival: What Is It?

In the spirit of transparency whenever anyone states that they are for Reformation and Revival, I always manage to ask that uncomfortable question:

What do you mean?

In my experience it is best to determine definitions in any dialogue. Sad but true, what we know is not so much what hurts us; it’s what we think we know that isn’t so is the real problem.

I did inquire of John Armstrong of Reformation and Revival Ministries fame what he meant by stating he was “for Reformation and Revival.” The question was precipitated by an article he wrote and published on his web site which states that Judge Roy Moore, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, is a law breaker by taking the actions he did in protesting the federal government’s invasion of the Alabama Supreme Court building.

I simply asked Armstrong to provide for me the Biblical basis for his assertion. I did send him the speech by Sam Adams which appears on this blog and asked if his position was in sync with Adams’ position.

The interchange that ensued was disturbing. I could not get a straight answer and as my nature is when I detect evasion I pursued it.

Finally I did get somewhat of an answer. Armstrong’s answer, in my opinion, is yet another example of the historical disjunction which is the mark of evangelicalism and fundamentalism these days.

With regard to unlimited submission to government Armstrong stated he disagrees with Samuel Rutherford in his book “Lex Rex,” and therefore disagrees with the position of our Founding Fathers and the entire basis for the War of Independence.

I asked of what does his Reformation and Revival amount to? In other words, reform the present to what? What is the goal?

His response?:

“My view of the place for law in society recognizes nuances in this discussion that embrace both Jeffersonian "walls" (with certain limitations) and Kuyperian cultural impact (or a limited sphere sovereignty ideal) by Christians. If you follow Rutherfoird's (sic) view then the only Law a government can legally enforce is the Ten Commandments. I do not, obviously, agree. Law has a foundation in God, yes, but English Common Law is a tradition broader than the Ten Commandments and includes the role of the courts to make orders for restraint, etc.”

Armstrong’s only rationale for NOT resisting unlawful court orders is that “you will end up in jail.”

So, John Armstrong’s Reformation means much more, and much less, than Reformation to historical, biblical Christian creed, faith and practice. His Reformation, what he is working for tirelessly, is an innovation of accommodation.

When was it that the God of the Bible gave him or anyone else the discretion to create law which is in disagreement with and contradiction to the Law Giver?

“Jeffersonian Walls,” “Kuyperian Cultural Impact…” I am very familiar with both of these men and their actual writings. I am at a loss to see how anything they have written comes close to giving government unlimited jurisdiction and invasion power.

John Armstrong’s Revival and Reformation will be the death of us. Caveat Emptor!

John needs to listen to Sam Adams:

“Our glorious reformers when they broke through the fetters of superstition effected more than could be expected from an age so darkened. But they left much to be done by their posterity. They lopped off, indeed, some of the branches of Popery, but they left the root and stock when they left us under the domination of human systems and decisions, usurping the infallibility which can be attributed to Revelation alone. They dethroned one usurper only to raise up another; they refused allegiance to the Pope only to place the civil magistrate in the throne of Christ, vested with authority to enact laws and inflict penalties in his kingdom. And if we now cast our eyes over the nations of the earth, we shall find that, instead of possessing the pure religion of the Gospel, they may be divided either into infidels, who deny the truth; or politicians who make religion a stalking horse for their ambition; or professors, who walk in the trammels of orthodoxy, and are more attentive to traditions and ordinances of men than to the oracles of truth.”


“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, - go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen! ”

Beware those who use religion as a stalking horse for their ambition!

1 comment:

Chris P. said...

Good stuff David!
I love the quotes fom Adams. dead on!!