Poll

How does/will/did your congregation incorporate Independence Day into the worship service?

Hymn(s) only.
1 (2.3%)
Hymn(s) and prayers.
19 (43.2%)
Hymn(s), prayers, and sermon
12 (27.3%)
Not at all.
4 (9.1%)
Other (please elaborate)
8 (18.2%)

Total Members Voted: 22

Author Topic: July 4th, 2010 - 6th Sunday After Pentecost and/or (U.S.) Independence Day  (Read 8043 times)

Karl Hess

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Thanks for the advice and for saving my rear end.  I could just see how the veterans in the congregation would take that.

I'll start by clarifying that I'm not really angry, so don't get defensive or artificially apologetic about your position, please defend it vigorously if you feel that way.  But as a VFW/AL veteran, and perhaps the type you are thinking of when you said that comment about how we would take that, you are correct, I am offended.  However, I'm offended not for feeling slighted or insulted, no, I'm offended that Romans 13 would be read in such a manner as that.  If that exegesis were to hold prominence then Moses too would have been in the wrong for opposing the Pharaoh.  David would have been wrong for not letting Saul capture him.  Daniel was wrong for not obeying the King... Who were the native Americans supposed to obey?  What about the disputed territories between Spain, England and France?  What about Americans who lived in territories that frequently moved back and forth between European sovereignties?

No, I'm not saying that Romans 13 is wrong, it is not wrong, but neither were any of those men of God I mentioned above wrong, those who fight against the ruling authorities when their liberty, freedom and justice are at stake, and these men, as exampled above, were directed to do such things by God himself.  Romans 13 is telling us individuals to obey the laws, pay our taxes, to accept the judgment of our governing authorities because they are appointed by God, and this is all true.  But sometimes God also directs us to flee from unjust rulers, sometimes we need to help the underground railroad, sometimes we have to join the Resistance against occupying forces, be they self appointed rulers for only months or ongoing injustice for a hundred years.  Fighting to defend the weak, fighting to create what the old government should have done but didn't do, these are not anti-Christian nor anti-Romans 13 actions either.  In the same manner that Romans 13 tells us that we should owe no one anything, I don't think it means I am wrong to have a mortgage on my house to shelter my children nor a car loan for the vehicle in my garage to transport myself to the employment I need to pay off those loans, and in the same way that I'm not breaking that rule in Romans 13, neither do I break with Romans 13 when it tells me to obey the governing authorities, and I do until they open concetration camps and steal from the poor, etc.  But if the governing authorities are stealing from the poor, or allowing the widows and orphans to starve, or persecuting the faithful (or anyone, like Jews or aboriginals etc.,), then we as Christians are under no obligation to support the ruling authority, we are under the moral examples of the biblical persons to imitate Moses, David and Daniel.  If those men were all wrong, then sometimes I would rather be wrong than be right.

Okay, now I’ll go watch, Sergeant York with Gary Cooper again, that old movie did  a pretty good job of explaining that sometimes it’s not easy to be a Christian and a Soldier, and it’s a good one for the 4th too, for all the curmudgeons  out there that begrudge the Americans their independence :P :D


Dude, Romans 13 also applies to the American government now, so really there's no reason to get offended at the suggestion that it might have been sinful to revolt against King George.

King George didn't start any concentration camps.  He was unjust ( I assume, not really being a scholar).  But there have been a lot of unjust kings, like Nero, or all the princes in Germany that the peasants revolted against. 

I don't think any of the biblical examples you cited apply.  Moses had a direct call from God to bring the people out of Egypt, and proved it by the plagues.  That was showing that Moses was not a rebel against God-ordained authority, but that God was serving notice on Pharaoh that it was time to let the israelites go.  David was anointed King by God's prophet, and God had made it know n that he was removing  Saul from office.  (Notice how David wouldn't harm Saul because he was the Lord's anointed, and how he exectued the guy who did.)  Daniel didn't lead any revolts, he just refused to bow down to the idol.  Christians are supposed to do the same thing if King George demands that we deny God's Word, and that means they have to risk death rather than disobey God.  But God does not say rebel agains tthe king and kill him. 

That aside, thank you for  your service to our country.  This is exactly the reason why it would have been a bad idea to throw this into the sermon.

BrotherBoris

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The worst July 4 Sunday service I ever attended was in 1985 at First Baptist of Dallas, Texas.  The first act of worship was to pledge to the American Flag, followed by the "Christian Flag", and, last but not least, to the Bible.   During the final hymn a giant (probably 20 x 40') US flag was unfurled from behind the choir, completely filling the front of the auditorium.   It was the most aggregious breach of the First Commandment I have ever witnessed.

Tom, I guess this begs the obvious question: What on earth were you doing in a Baptist church on a Sunday morning?!?  :o

I'll mention our country's founding in the opening of the sermon, using it as a jumping-off point to contrast independence with dependence. The seventy (two) missionaries were totally dependent on Jesus for their ministry; we are totally dependent on Christ for salvation, and so forth.





Amazing!  Lots of the Baptist churches around here deck their church grounds with American flags the entire week before the Fourth. I have counted over 100 flags at some of the larger churches.  I shudder to think what must go on inside them.  They really seem to have Christ and Caesar confused, or as an internet friend of mine explains, "for some fundamentalist, the USA IS the Church."  I thought that was a bit of an exaggeration, until I watched one of the local Baptist church's "patriotic service" on our local access channel several years ago.  The message was truly "America uber alles."

Jeff-MN

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Fr. Weedon wrote:

at the conclusion of the service we sing "God bless our native land."  The organist added his own festive flavor to the day by giving us as recessional the Washington Post March!  One little girl on her way out of church tonight observed:  "That doesn't sound like Jesus music."


FROM THE MOUTH OF BABES!

Dave_Poedel

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Like my brother Fr. Weedon, we are singing "God Bless Our Native Land" as closing, with one petition that recognizes the national holiday.  My sermon will likely not make any reference to our nation's birthday.

AB, AMN, A1C, SGT,HM2, SSGT, 2LT, 1LT Poedel

Karl Hess

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The worst July 4 Sunday service I ever attended was in 1985 at First Baptist of Dallas, Texas.  The first act of worship was to pledge to the American Flag, followed by the "Christian Flag", and, last but not least, to the Bible.   During the final hymn a giant (probably 20 x 40') US flag was unfurled from behind the choir, completely filling the front of the auditorium.   It was the most aggregious breach of the First Commandment I have ever witnessed.

Tom, I guess this begs the obvious question: What on earth were you doing in a Baptist church on a Sunday morning?!?  :o

I'll mention our country's founding in the opening of the sermon, using it as a jumping-off point to contrast independence with dependence. The seventy (two) missionaries were totally dependent on Jesus for their ministry; we are totally dependent on Christ for salvation, and so forth.





Amazing!  Lots of the Baptist churches around here deck their church grounds with American flags the entire week before the Fourth. I have counted over 100 flags at some of the larger churches.  I shudder to think what must go on inside them.  They really seem to have Christ and Caesar confused, or as an internet friend of mine explains, "for some fundamentalist, the USA IS the Church."  I thought that was a bit of an exaggeration, until I watched one of the local Baptist church's "patriotic service" on our local access channel several years ago.  The message was truly "America uber alles."

I'm reading this book called "The Family" about the people behind the national prayer breakfast.  Now, the book is written by a left winger, but nonethless its description of Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney and their role in the development of American religion is really well written and accurate.  Before reading this book I didn't fully get the conflation of America and Christianity that goes on in evangelicalism, even though half of my family is evangelical.  I

James Gustafson

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Dude, Romans 13 also applies to the American government now, so really there's no reason to get offended at the suggestion that it might have been sinful to revolt against King George.

King George didn't start any concentration camps.  He was unjust ( I assume, not really being a scholar).  But there have been a lot of unjust kings, like Nero, or all the princes in Germany that the peasants revolted against.  

I don't think any of the biblical examples you cited apply.  Moses had a direct call from God to bring the people out of Egypt, and proved it by the plagues.  That was showing that Moses was not a rebel against God-ordained authority, but that God was serving notice on Pharaoh that it was time to let the israelites go.  David was anointed King by God's prophet, and God had made it know n that he was removing  Saul from office.  (Notice how David wouldn't harm Saul because he was the Lord's anointed, and how he exectued the guy who did.)  Daniel didn't lead any revolts, he just refused to bow down to the idol.  Christians are supposed to do the same thing if King George demands that we deny God's Word, and that means they have to risk death rather than disobey God.  But God does not say rebel agains tthe king and kill him.  

That aside, thank you for  your service to our country.  This is exactly the reason why it would have been a bad idea to throw this into the sermon.

Pr. Hess, I wasn't offended by the suggestion that it might have been sinful to rebel against King George, I was saying that the argument of using Romans 13 that way could be used to call any rebellion sinful, any rebellion anywhere or at any time, we could never rebel against any government.  If Romans 13 can be used that way, then every rebellion, every where, even non-violent rebelling, could be described as sinful.  THAT was the possibility that I was offended by, that Romans 13 could be read that way at all.  

King George did not start concentration camps, but some governments do, those that do should be rebelled against, I was asserting what I hoped would be a starting point of agreement.  As to King George though, the American Revolutionaries decided that because of acts of tyranny, they could not accept his dominion nor could he claim their allegiance.  What acts of tyranny where they talking about?  Were they talking about the British soldiers sent to break up community governments, by the force of arms shoot community leaders?  Foreign troops sent to enforce Martial law in their homelands, sent to restore and regain direct control over those that attempted to create a representative government?  Only after the troops were sent was independence declared, after the troops and military tyranny took place the fledgling alliance became united.  I’m not going to sit here two hundred plus years later and say they were all wrong.   I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt because I wasn’t there, because I believe Romans 13 wasn’t meant to be applied in that manner.

If plagues are all the proof we need to overthrow governments, we would never end in our revolutions.  It could be argued that George Washington had a direct call to lead his people out of oppression, and proved it by winning against a far superior force, of biblical David vs. Goliath proportions, only God could achieve such unprecedented victory.  Thus, the assumption would be that this showed that Washington was not a rebel against God-ordained authority, but that God was serving notice on king George that it was time to let the Colonies go.
The colonist did not rebel the king and kill him.  They rebelled against a foreign sovereignty and gained representative governance for themselves, they overthrew tyranny, or so they say in their writings.

However, the main point I really wanted to address by posting again is that Yes, I know it still applies now, here, today, and against this government.  I am not defending the USA  as if it could do no wrong.  No, if this country fails, if the country forgets where liberty really comes from, then this government and country will pass away too, God decides such things, Romans 13 tells us so.  But we also know that sometimes God raises up armies to overthrow unjust rulers and change the local authorities, sometimes even pagan armies to do Gods divine will, as was the case with Cyrus.    

« Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 01:07:08 AM by James Gustafson »

pr dtp

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If I were back in the 1770's - I would probably be a Tory, and if we hadn't revolted, our taxes would be.... what 3 percent now?

That's sarcasm right?  Isn't British income taxes near 45%?

Back then, the tax on the colonies taxes were significantly less than that which the British landowners.

But being a Tory was a matter of heeding Biblical principle, and revolting a principle of what exactly?

It is interesting to consider how many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, including its author, were nominally Anglican.    They would have perhaps the hardest time (along with the presbys) of defending a revolution -both Biblically and within their own denominational polity.  Then again, noting that many were masons, its not that surprising.

Charles_Austin

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I forget the precise reference of the name of the priest who did it, but somewhere in Philadelphia is a copy of the Book of Common Prayer used in the 18th Century where the name of the king is crossed out and protection is asked instead for "this American republic."
A tip to all: Read America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story by Bruce Feiler to see what role Moses (Not Jesus, but Moses) played in the development of the whole American experience, from colonial times until now.

Brian Stoffregen

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I forget the precise reference of the name of the priest who did it, but somewhere in Philadelphia is a copy of the Book of Common Prayer used in the 18th Century where the name of the king is crossed out and protection is asked instead for "this American republic."
A tip to all: Read America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story by Bruce Feiler to see what role Moses (Not Jesus, but Moses) played in the development of the whole American experience, from colonial times until now.

It seems to be that to be a Christian nation, we would have to say something about Christ in our official documents. We don't. Rather, we talk about a god that people from many different religions can accept -- and that isn't the particular God and Father of Jesus.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Team Hesse

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King George did not start concentration camps, but some governments do, those that do should be rebelled against,

Oops.  
For the record, my mother's maiden name was Putnam, of the New England Putnams, as in 2 revolutionary war American generals:  Israel Putnam and his brother Rufus.  Another member of the family (Pearly Putnam) was one of the first ones killed during the skirmish at Lexington and Concord.  So I am hardly opposed to my own family's history, but --

Japanese Americans were interned (concentration camps) by the American government during WWII.  Pacifist Hutterites were imprisoned at Leavenworth for the duration of the war for their refusal to serve the American government during that time.  Is this cause for rebellion against American authority?

Quote
If plagues are all the proof we need to overthrow governments, we would never end in our revolutions.  It could be argued that George Washington had a direct call to lead his people out of oppression, and proved it by winning against a far superior force, of biblical David vs. Goliath proportions, only God could achieve such unprecedented victory.  Thus, the assumption would be that this showed that Washington was not a rebel against God-ordained authority, but that God was serving notice on king George that it was time to let the Colonies go.

Ho Chi Minh?  God-ordained to lead his people out of oppression?

Let us not forget that history is written by the winners.  Even after the arrival of British troops and martial law in the colonies, there were still probably over 1/3 of the people who remained loyal to the crown.  More than a few left their homes and emigrated to Canada after the British recognized American independence.  Washington out-lasted the British and it could be argued that only French intervention finally forced the British to give up.  If we're going to call the success of the American Revolution an act of God, how should we view American failure in Viet Nam?

I tend to think Romans 13 applies.  Sometimes we just have to sin boldly.
But, you know me; I have a thing about authority.   ;)

Lou

pr dtp

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King George did not start concentration camps, but some governments do, those that do should be rebelled against,

Oops.  
For the record, my mother's maiden name was Putnam, of the New England Putnams, as in 2 revolutionary war American generals:  Israel Putnam and his brother Rufus.  Another member of the family (Pearly Putnam) was one of the first ones killed during the skirmish at Lexington and Concord.  So I am hardly opposed to my own family's history, but --

Japanese Americans were interned (concentration camps) by the American government during WWII.  Pacifist Hutterites were imprisoned at Leavenworth for the duration of the war for their refusal to serve the American government during that time.  Is this cause for rebellion against American authority?

Quote
If plagues are all the proof we need to overthrow governments, we would never end in our revolutions.  It could be argued that George Washington had a direct call to lead his people out of oppression, and proved it by winning against a far superior force, of biblical David vs. Goliath proportions, only God could achieve such unprecedented victory.  Thus, the assumption would be that this showed that Washington was not a rebel against God-ordained authority, but that God was serving notice on king George that it was time to let the Colonies go.

Ho Chi Minh?  God-ordained to lead his people out of oppression?

Let us not forget that history is written by the winners.  Even after the arrival of British troops and martial law in the colonies, there were still probably over 1/3 of the people who remained loyal to the crown.  More than a few left their homes and emigrated to Canada after the British recognized American independence.  Washington out-lasted the British and it could be argued that only French intervention finally forced the British to give up.  If we're going to call the success of the American Revolution an act of God, how should we view American failure in Viet Nam?

I tend to think Romans 13 applies.  Sometimes we just have to sin boldly.
But, you know me; I have a thing about authority.   ;)

Lou

At Lexington and Concord, like in the Civil War, there were cousins fighting cousins.  It is still conveniently overlooked how the "noble" revolutionaries treated loyalists in this battle.  Those sworn to serve the King were named traitors, while those who rejected their oaths of allegiance were named heroes.

It was truly a time turned upside down.

And far too often, the idol of nationalism pokes its ugly head, and romanticizes division and discord and death.


grabau14

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Inclusion in the prayers and the closing hymn-God save the Queen, er I mean the state (LSB 965).

James Gustafson

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It seems to be that to be a Christian nation, we would have to say something about Christ in our official documents. We don't. Rather, we talk about a god that people from many different religions can accept -- and that isn't the particular God and Father of Jesus.

The first act of the new congress was to open in Prayer, which started with "Lord our Heavenly Father, High and Mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech thee, on these our American States, who have fled to thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection,..." and ended with,  "...the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Savior. Amen".

John Adams: “The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity…I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and the attributes of God.”
[June 28, 1813; Letter to Thomas Jefferson]

John Adams: “We recognize no Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!”
[April 18, 1775, on the eve of the Revolutionary War after a British major ordered John Adams, John Hancock, and those with them to disperse in “the name of George the Sovereign King of England." ]

Christian Church services were held in the "hall" of the House in the north wing Since 1800, services were held in the House until after the Civil War. The Speaker's podium was used as the preacher's pulpit.  No services besides Christian services were held there...

After the Pilgrims Compact which called on the foundation of a new land based on the Gospel (Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith), to the Great Awakening, from approximately 1735 to 1755, and Preacher Jonathan Edwards, all saw the as yet unborn American Nation as becoming the center of a country where God's kingdom and gospel held sway. The evangelical emphasis on nation building, whose foundation was poured by the first Puritans and reinforced by the Awakening, supplied the small colonists a vision of the future Christian orientated nation and freed them to break with the bondage of the past.

« Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 12:14:43 PM by James Gustafson »

James Gustafson

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King George did not start concentration camps, but some governments do, those that do should be rebelled against,

Oops.  
For the record, my mother's maiden name was Putnam, of the New England Putnams, as in 2 revolutionary war American generals:  Israel Putnam and his brother Rufus.  Another member of the family (Pearly Putnam) was one of the first ones killed during the skirmish at Lexington and Concord.  So I am hardly opposed to my own family's history, but --

Japanese Americans were interned (concentration camps) by the American government during WWII.  Pacifist Hutterites were imprisoned at Leavenworth for the duration of the war for their refusal to serve the American government during that time. Is this cause for rebellion against American authority?

How would the mistreated and abused native Americans forced by arms into the first reservations answer that question?

Quote
Quote
If plagues are all the proof we need to overthrow governments, we would never end in our revolutions.  It could be argued that George Washington had a direct call to lead his people out of oppression, and proved it by winning against a far superior force, of biblical David vs. Goliath proportions, only God could achieve such unprecedented victory.  Thus, the assumption would be that this showed that Washington was not a rebel against God-ordained authority, but that God was serving notice on king George that it was time to let the Colonies go.

Ho Chi Minh?  God-ordained to lead his people out of oppression?
 

Does God, or does God not control such things?  God didn't allow it to happen?  Then who did?

Quote
Let us not forget that history is written by the winners.  Even after the arrival of British troops and martial law in the colonies, there were still probably over 1/3 of the people who remained loyal to the crown.  More than a few left their homes and emigrated to Canada after the British recognized American independence.  Washington out-lasted the British and it could be argued that only French intervention finally forced the British to give up.  If we're going to call the success of the American Revolution an act of God, how should we view American failure in Viet Nam?

I tend to think Romans 13 applies.  Sometimes we just have to sin boldly.
But, you know me; I have a thing about authority.   ;)

Lou

We should view the failure of Viet Nam as a warning that we are not right with God, perhaps not because we lost, but perhaps because we weren't right with God as we fought the war.  The Israelites didn't win every battle, nor every war.  Neither will America, and especially so as America moves away from acknowledging where true liberty comes from and who we should give thanks to.

Karl Hess

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It seems to be that to be a Christian nation, we would have to say something about Christ in our official documents. We don't. Rather, we talk about a god that people from many different religions can accept -- and that isn't the particular God and Father of Jesus.

The first act of the new congress was to open in Prayer, which started with "Lord our Heavenly Father, High and Mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech thee, on these our American States, who have fled to thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection,..." and ended with,  "...the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Savior. Amen".

John Adams: “The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity…I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and the attributes of God.”
[June 28, 1813; Letter to Thomas Jefferson]

John Adams: “We recognize no Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!”
[April 18, 1775, on the eve of the Revolutionary War after a British major ordered John Adams, John Hancock, and those with them to disperse in “the name of George the Sovereign King of England." ]


John Adams couldn't help it that he said such things, being raised a calvinist in New England.  But I guess I thank God that we are not the Massachusetts Bay colony.  It is amazing how similar the rhetoric of Adams is to the evangelicalism of the religious right.  If we all submit to Jesus' lordship, and run the nation according to Christian principles, God will bless us  But since we've departed from God's principles, we are being smitten.