The Trumpet Herald
Giving the trumpet a certain sound
USA Presidential Election Nears
The impending presidential election campaign in the United States has developed substantial intensity. Charges and counter charges are prominent in the news every day. As this is written, the election is less than one week away.
"I fear for the Republic, I really do," said [U.S. Sen. Sam] Brownback. "We are accused of having a radical agenda for saying that marriage is between a man and a woman and it is the best way for children to be raised. It is not about being hateful. It is about being truthful." ("Culture War Casualties," Church & State, Oct. 2004, p. 4)
At another meeting someone on the other side of the political spectrum was quoted:
Former Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton also spoke, telling church members, "Didn't nobody give us the right to vote. People lost their lives. We can't sit here 40 years later and let somebody buy the vote, somebody hustle the vote, pimp the vote. We've got to win Florida." (ibid.)
Without diminishing the importance of civil duty in a participatory government, it may be of value to note that the Bible account of an ancient king (of what is now Iraq) mentions a particular point several times:
This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. Daniel 4:17
That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. Daniel 4:25
And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. Daniel 4:32
And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? Daniel 4:35
Gay Bishop Plans To Stay On
The first openly practicing homosexual bishop of the Episcopal Church plans to stay at his post despite the disruption his election has engendered:
The first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church expressed regret yesterday over the divisions his elevation has caused among Christians, particularly in developing countries, where, he said, it was viewed as "one more unilateral action on the part of Americans."
But New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson said he is "not sorry for having followed what I perceived to be God's calling to this ministry" and has no intention of stepping down. He also said he is "very encouraged" that the worldwide Anglican Communion is considering only a moratorium, rather than a permanent ban, on the ordination of more gay bishops. . . .
"I have absolutely no hesitation in expressing my regret for the difficulty, disruption and pain this has caused in parts of the Anglican Communion," Robinson said. "And I can do that wholeheartedly and genuinely, because I do not believe it means that I have to go back on the decision I made." . . .
The other moratorium recommended by the commission, on the consecration of more bishops who are living in same-sex unions, "made me feel very sad," Robinson said.
But, he added, "I am at least encouraged, and very encouraged, by the fact they did not say this will always be wrong, that no gay or lesbian person should ever be elected a bishop. They called for a moratorium, and a moratorium is a period of time in which something is suspended but gets reinstated." ("Gay Bishop Says He Has No Plans to Step Down," washingtonpost.com, Oct. 21, 2004)
Given the Bible's condemnation of the sin of homosexual behavior, the following passage comes to mind regarding the bishop's view of his "call" to the ministry: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jer. 17:9, 10)
Catholics and Protestants Agreeing
An article in the November-December issue of Liberty notes the limitations of the recently released Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification (a Lutheran-Catholic accord):
The claim is made that the division between Catholics and Protestants on this crucial doctrine is basically over, and now they have great prospects for unity. . . . ("When 2 + 2 = 5," Liberty, November-December 2004, p. 16)
If, however, such a fundamental difference between Catholics and Protestants on justification by faith exists, how can they claim unity on it? the answer is simple: they agree on words, not meanings. By exploiting the cloudiness of language, by abusing the ambidextrousness of syntax, the signers of Evangelicals and Catholics Together, the Gift of Salvation, and The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification were able to affix their names to strings of words ("salvation by faith," "grace," "justification by faith," etc.) that - though sounding alike, reading alike, and looking alike - were, in fact, as different in meaning as [the numbers] 4 and 5. (ibid. p. 19)
The article notes that conservative Protestants and Catholics currently have a common political agenda as regards abortion, prayer in school, and pornography. Other political issues in common could be added to this list.
White it is generally prudent to have an optimistic outlook on progress toward greater mutual tolerance between religions, inspiration advises cautiousness and firm adherence to Bible truth:
The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves. The papacy that Protestants are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of their lives, to expose her iniquity. She possesses the same pride and arrogant assumption that lorded it over kings and princes, and claimed the prerogatives of God. Her spirit is no less cruel and despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty and slew the saints of the Most High. (The Great Controversy, p. 571)
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