Wednesday, January 22, 2014

22 January 2014

Presbyterians Week Headlines

The Very Definition of Tyranny: A Pen, a Phone, and the Accumulation of Powers

[2] South Carolina Pastor Mulls U.S. Senate Bid

Free Presbyterian Church (Ulster) Opposes “Shared Education”

Church of Scotland Youth Publishes Ethical Living Guide

Banner of Truth 2014 US Ministers’ Conference Registration is Open

[6] Interdisciplinary Conference “Matthew Henry: The Bible, Prayer, and Piety” Scheduled 14-16 July 2014 at the University of Chester in Chester, England

[7] "Reframing Presbyterian Worship: A Critical Survey of the Worship Views of John M. Frame and R. J. Gore," by Frank J. Smith, Ph.D, D.D. and David C. Lachman, Ph.D. Available in PDF on The Confessional Presbyterian Website


The Very Definition of Tyranny: A Pen, a Phone, and the Accumulation of Powers

By Dr. Michael Milton

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” – James Madison, New York, February 1, 1788. The Federalist (373).

“But one of the things that I’ll be emphasizing in this meeting is the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.” Barack Obama, Washington D.C., January 14, 2014.

The President of the United States has challenged the Congress of the United States on repeated occasions by invoking executive power to enact social initiatives that would otherwise require the legislation of a representative government. At the very least, he is testing the Constitutional limits of his office.  But at the worst, he has overstepped the boundaries of discretion and given the appearance of a repugnant, presumptuous license by assuming powers not granted. The latest episode leaves him vulnerable to the charge of a Federalist-style tyranny. One can understand the critique given Madison’s clear statement on the matter and then taking Obama’s words, context and repeated offense.

As a pastor, I would advise the President that continually pressing the “executive order” card is neither helpful nor endearing. The country and the Congress do not need the appearance of raw power grabs. Strength is more easily born by one who is comfortable in exercising authority.

The President has not had experience in command authority and I am afraid that it is showing. His words and actions reveal the actions of a man who governs by insecurity rather than vision. There was a king who ruled like this. His name was Saul. We know that his rule was finally cut off by the Lord because of his assumption of authority unto himself. In fact, the Bible has a lot to say, as our Founding Fathers well knew, about representative government and about the division of labor and rebellion against authority. One of the more famous lines is from 1 Samuel where God equates rebellion against authority with divination, an evil practice that led to the breakdown of societies all around Israel. Look at what God says about assuming powers unto oneself:

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:23 AV).

Indeed, the New Testament, also, underscores the importance of the lines of authority. St. Paul wrote to Titus, a “church planter” at Crete and told him that he was to “put in order the things that remain, appoint elders in every city” (Titus 1:5). Other places in Scripture are filled with admonitions concerning the importance of government and the sad state that comes to leader and people when government breaks down.

It is not just that the President is going to have bad poll numbers because of assuming powers to himself. It is not just that Washington will have “gridlock” if the President persists in violating the lines of authority (whether Constitutional or not attorneys can reckon, but an American like myself can clearly recognize, at minimum, a messy blurring of the line at our highest levels of government). It is that if the President of the United States continues to buck the authority of the Constitution, he would lose the blessing of God. That would mean our nation could suffer further trials and tribulations.

It is good that we all remember the teaching of the Bible on governmental power contained in the single greatest book on the subject by the Puritan Samuel Rutherford:Lex, Rex, or The Law and the Prince; a Dispute for the Just Prerogative of King and People (1644). Rutherford answered the question, “What does a human government look like that is based upon Biblical precepts?” In 44 questions and answers he tells us. His summary for those who rule?

“Power is a birthright of the people borrowed [by a ruler] from them.”—Samuel Rutherford.

This is our heritage as Americans. Let no man move the sacred stone of that heritage of the Free.

Mr. President, since I doubt I will have the opportunity to counsel you privately or to speak to those clergy who do, I plead with you and your counselors, publicly, to guard your hearts and your words. Model a spirit of humility before authority. You will not only demonstrate leadership, you will secure divine blessing for yourselves and Providential protection for those who have loaned you the power to govern.

Works Cited

Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison, John Jay, and John C. Hamilton. The Federalist: A Commentary on the Constitution of the United States: A Collection of Essays.Washington, DC: Regnery Pub., 1998. Print.

Rutherford, Samuel. Lex, Rex The Law and the Prince. A Dispute for the Just Prerogative of King and People. Published by Authority. London: Printed for ohn Field, and Are to Be Sold at His House upon Addle-hill, Neer Baynards-Castle, 1644. Print.

Michael Milton, Ph.D. (University of Wales) is the Teaching Pastor of "Truth that Transforms with Dr. Michael Milton," a television broadcast ministry of "Truth in Action Ministries" ("Truth That Transforms with Dr. Michael Milton;"; Sundays: NRB, channel 378, DirectTV;  - 10 PM EST). "Truth that Transforms" was founded by Dr. D. James Kennedy in 1974. Dr. Milton, a former pastoral intern under Dr. Kennedy and graduate of Knox Theological Seminary, also founded by Dr. Kennedy, is the President and Senior Fellow of the think-tank, "The D. James Kennedy Institute for Christianity & Culture." The author of 18 books, including "Silent No More: A Biblical Call for the Church to Speak to State and Culture," endorsed by Michael Reagan, David Limbaugh, and Rev. Franklin Graham, is also a singer-songwriter with four albums released, a Presbyterian (PCA) pastor, church-planter and founder of a Christian academy in Kansas City. Dr. Milton, an educator, former seminary president and professor, is also a former Top Secret U.S. Navy linguist, and is presently serving as a U.S. Army Reserve chaplain (Lt. Col.). A frequent speaker, writer on issues of faith and culture, Milton is the author of the syndicated "Dr. Michael Milton Commentaries." He resides in North Carolina with his wife and son.

Faith for Living, 3122 Fincher Farm Road, Ste 100, Box 552, Matthews, North Carolina 28105

South Carolina Pastor Mulls U.S. Senate Bid

An 8 January 2014 article titled S.C. Pastor Mulls U.S. Senate Bid reports that the Rev. DeTreville F. Bowers, Jr., preaching pastor of Christ Church of the Carolinas in Columbia, South Carolina, is considering a challenge to U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in the 2014 Republican primary. The article reports that the Graham campaign considers Bowers to be a “credible threat.”

Bowers practiced law for twenty years and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Columbia International University in the mid-1990s. He served as an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church (
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church) in Columbia, South Carolina before becoming the preaching pastor at Christ Church.

[Editor’s Note: The editor wrote a 14 August 2007 article in his
Paleohuguenot blog titled Today's Church = Gutless Cowards? which described a series of messages on Christian Courage by Pastor Bowers presented at a 2005 conference.

[Bowers] characterized the overwhelming majority of preachers and congregants at today's evangelical churches as "gutless cowards" for their lukewarm-at-best exercise of their faith and for the diluted-at-best Scripture being taught and preached at their churches. He then went on to put Scripture where his mouth was and show how accurate was his indictment and what God's solution is to the problem.

The article said “…Bowers’ political ideology is unknown…”, but the editor can vouch that Bowers’ theology is rock-solid Reformed Christianity, and his preaching is most powerful and fully biblical.]

FITSNews, Post Office Box 5230, Columbia, South Carolina 29250, 866-347-5385, Contact Page

+ Columbia International University, 7435 Monticello Road, Columbia, South Carolina 29203, 803-754-4100, Fax: 803-786-4209, Contact Page

Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1 Cleveland Street Suite 110, Greenville, South Carolina, 29601, 864-232-8297, Fax: 864-271-3729

Free Presbyterian Church (Ulster) Opposes “Shared Education”

An 11 January 2014
News Letter article by Philip Bradfield titled “Free Presbyterian Church Slams Shared Education” reports that in an 11 January 2014 News Letter advertisement, the Free Presbyterian Church (Ulster) said that the shared education program proposed by Education Minister John O’Dowd to create ten schools where Roman Catholic and secular education will be combined into the same educational institution is a front for “ecumenism” and “the secular lobby”. Citing a wide range of educational programs, the advertisement said:

“[Shared Education is] a concerted attempt to change the thinking of Northern Ireland children, particularly Protestant children, within the state system of education”.

“We believe that the present pursuit of shared education has more behind it than the saving of scarce resources. There is another agenda at work. Shared education in many cases is a front for ecumenism and also for the secular lobby to influence, change and direct the thinking of children to suit their agenda.”

News Letter, Ground floor, Metro Building, 6-9 Donegall Square South, Belfast, BT1 5JA, Northern Ireland, 028 3839 5577,

Free Presbyterian Church (Ulster),

Church of Scotland Youth Publishes Ethical Living Guide

A 21 January 2014 Christian Today article by Carey Lodge titled “A Guide to Ethical Living from Church of Scotland Youth” reports that a group of delegates from the Church of Scotland Youth’s 2012 National Youth Assembly has written a guide for ethical living for youth in today’s “throwaway” culture. Advice included in the guide includes:

-- Climate change: "Support movements that rally for environmental friendly ideas."

-- Sustainable energy: "Turn your lights off when you're not using them, and try turning down the thermostat."

-- Transport: "Taking a train or bus is much better for the environment than driving or flying."

-- Consumerism: "Look out for shops that are open about their long-term environmental policies."

-- Food miles: "One of the biggest things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint is to not waste food."

-- Boycotting: "Boycotts are a peaceful way of standing up and showing that you will not be associated with a group and its practices."

Christian Today, 200 Great Dover Street, London SE1 4YB, England, 020-7378-5705

Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN, Scotland, 0131-225-5722

Banner of Truth 2014 US Ministers’ Conference Registration is Open

The Banner of Truth 2014 U.S. Ministers Conference is scheduled for 27-29 May 2014 at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. The conference theme is “Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Ministry in Every Age”.

Registration is available at:

The Banner of Truth Trust, P.O. Box 621, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013, 717-249-5747,

Interdisciplinary Conference “Matthew Henry: The Bible, Prayer, and Piety” Scheduled 14-16 July 2014 at the University of Chester in Chester, England

In honor of the 300th anniversary of the death of Matthew Henry and his twenty-five year ministry in Chester, England, and interdisciplinary conference, “Matthew Henry: The Bible, Prayer, and Piety” is scheduled 14-16 July 2014 at the University of Chester in Chester, England.

Keynote lectures will be presented from Professor Clyde Binfield, Dr. Ligon Duncan, Dr. David Wykes, and Professor Jeremy Gregory. The conference will not only offer a fresh opportunity to appreciate Henry’s ministry within the local context of Chester, it will also evaluate Henry in a wider historical context, and consider his contribution to the interpretation of the Bible in the early 18th century and its legacy up to the present day.

A Call for Papers and registration information is available here:

University of Chester, Parkgate Road, Chester CH1 4BJ, England, 01244-511000, Fax: 01244-511300,

"Reframing Presbyterian Worship: A Critical Survey of the Worship Views of John M. Frame and R. J. Gore," by Frank J. Smith, Ph.D, D.D. and David C. Lachman, Ph.D. Available in PDF on The Confessional Presbyterian Website

A PDF of the full text of the 30,000 word article "
Reframing Presbyterian Worship: A Critical Survey of the Worship Views of John M. Frame and R. J. Gore" by Frank J. Smith, Ph.D, D.D. and David C. Lachman, Ph.D. is now available on The Confessional Presbyterian website.

The article was first published in the 2005 inaugural issue of The Confessional Presbyterian journal.

The Confessional Presbyterian, Post Office Box 141084, Dallas, Texas 75214