Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Proverbs 22:28; remove not the ancient landmark

28 ¶ Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

On a physical basis this Proverb had significance under the Law given to Moses and even before that (the Job reference.)

Proverbs 23:10 ¶ Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:

Deuteronomy 19:14 ¶ Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.

Deuteronomy 27:17 Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Job 24:2 Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.

Clearly then, this is a statement about honoring property rights. As has been noted previously, the phrase in our Declaration of Independence “the pursuit of happiness” was a condensation of George Mason’s notes on the Virginia Declaration of Rights which ensured the right to private property; to use, to dispose of, and to enjoy in any reasonable way one sees fit. Under the Law the property of the orphans, presumed to be less fortunate than those with Fathers to defend them, was protected, as well.

We could leave, like Matthew Henry and John Gill, this Proverb to the realm of the worldy, the temporal as a rule to not overthrow the customs of civil law and the expectations of private property rights. Without some type of protection for the rights to private propery no country can truly succeed economically as that “pursuit of happiness” is a foundational impulse to produce and to create wealth.

But Christians don’t have a physical kingdom on earth like the Hebrews had and our laws are often as bound and determined by the sayings of pagan philosophers like Montesquieu and Locke or even by the ruthless lobbying of some wealthy interest as they are by any respect for the admonitions of God in the Bible. Our founders were as likely to be influenced by Edmund Burke and William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England or pagan writers like Horace and Cicero as they were by the Bible.

So, what about an application for Christians in this age? Well, this verse became the inspiration for a series of books published by a Pastor named Graves from Ashland, Kentucky and the name “Landmark Baptist” has its origin here. The emphasis was that , as Dr. Ruckman points out, that there are certain prominent “landmarks” that characterize Baptist beliefs from other beliefs.

For the Christian there are prominent landmarks that separate them from the world. I am not talking about the person who like Joseph Tracy, writing about the so called First Great Awakening as its greatest propagandist in 1842, who said that to be a Christian is to adhere to a philosophy rather than a risen Saviour but about those who truly believe. Don’t remove these ancient landmarks.

1. Bible reading and prayer at home.
2. Daily devotions with the family with the father as the family Pastor.
3. Praying daily with your spouse and children.
4. Regular, weekly and even several times a week, if possible, union with a church as the body of Christ.
5. Faithful submission to the word of God and trying to live one’s live in obedience to Christ as represented in the Bible, and trying to lead others to Christ.
6. Trusting in that old black backed 1611 (we actually mostly use the 1769 edition where spelling was standardized) King James Bible, the Authorized Version, against whom there is no equal or comparison (even the Harvard Literary Guide to the Bible and the 1922 William Phelps’ book Human Nature and the Bible admit that and they aren’t written by Christians).
7. A belief in the doctrines of the physical resurrection, being born again by the power of God, the virgin birth of Christ, the deity of Christ, the creation of the physical universe and life itself by God in six physical days, and the return of Christ to rule for 1,000 literal years before eternity begins among others.

By removing these landmarks from our churches we have rendered them spiritually powerless to truly transform lives and to aid in saving souls from the lake of fire, and to set the Christian’s life apart for service to God. Children of Christian parents and the parents themselves have the same rates of drug addiction, alcoholism, illegitimacy, divorce, and prison time as non-Christians according to some writers I’ve read. And I’m just talking about the liberals like the Southern Baptists. It’s worse for the so called Fundamentalists.

Fundamentalists say they believe the Bible literally but how can you believe something you haven’t read and won’t read? If you watch the news or read the testimonies on the internet Fundamentalists have exchanged honoring their wives “as being heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7) and fellow helpers in the cause of Christ (Romans 16:3) with treating them like pack animals or the same kind of victim of abuse we so easily accuse Muslims of making their wives.

Fundamentalists, if you can believe the testimonies on the internet, have traded raising their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) with proudly proclaiming a right to beat them black and blue, even infants.

Christians, in general, have removed the old landmark of sound doctrine of Titus 1:9 and 2:1 with entertainment “…lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. (Ezekiel 33:32)” for many of today’s preachers “serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:18)” because the church in this latter age is filled with leaders “whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things (Philippians 3:18)” to please congregations with “itching ears” who don’t love the truth (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

Christians from the so called Second Great Awakening on have removed the landmark of trusting in the Lord and replaced it with trusting in Washington DC (read Psalm 118:8,9). Humanism and the worship of the state are more common doctrines today than salvation by grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9).

It is time now to restore that which has been removed.

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