The Marriage of Patsey Millsap

Posted by tcmgo1 on Jun 26th, 2010

The quaint, though captivating story below was told in 1818 by Calvin Smith, a young Missouri boy who lived on the road between Franklin and Athens, better known today as Columbia. It is taken again from The Centennial History of Missouri, 1821-1921, by Walter Stevens. Though it’s entertaining from time to time to revisit the simple, homespun ways of our early American culture that built our nation, there are some things in the story that really caught my attention given the economic and societal realities of today. Perhaps, you can pick them out, as well.

“One day in July there came along a party of five or six men, each leading a horse with a packsaddle on, containing camp equipage and clothing. On top of these were a number of children. There were five or six women walking behind, some of them barefooted. The company stopped at our house for a drink from the spring. After refreshing themselves, they lay on the grass for a rest, it being the heat of the day. We found out that their destination was about fifteen miles further on the mouth of the Chariton river.

One of the ladies of the party was sick and my mother agreed that she could remain at our house for a rest. So she went to one of the saddles and pulled out her clothing. Her name was Patsey Millsap. She was not related to any of the party but had joined them in Tennessee. She was about twenty-two. Next day she was better, and asked mother for work and to remain at our house. Mother said we were only newcomers and that we had only one room for the five or six children and father and mother. A few days after this a Mrs. Groom, a neighbor, called to take tea with mother, and asked if she knew of any one that wanted work. She said her daughter had just been married and they were opening a large farm.

Mother at once introduced her to Patsey Millsap. She was asked if she would take the position and she said ‘yes.’ Then the question of wages came up. Mrs. Groom said she could pay her twenty-five cents a week, and although this was very cheap, Patsey agreed to take it as she had no home. The two started off for the Groom farm. The first day’s work was washing. As the wash was behind three weeks, it took a week to catch up. The Groom family was a large one.

Patsey worked for a month or more when a young man of twenty-four came along the big road. He was from Kentucky. His name was Richard Chaney. He stopped at the spring for a drink, and, looking up, saw many tall, straight white oak trees and, as they struck his fancy, he made up his mind to camp at this place which was called Smith’s White Oak Ridge. He went to the mill, got some meal, wet it up in some green hickory leaves and in an hour or two his ‘pone’ was done. This was called ash pone. After his simple meal he went to work with his ax, cut down a four-foot white oak. Then with his ax and edge, he made four-foot clap boards which he carried to the big road where all immigrants passed.

He found plenty of customers for his boards, there being no trouble to get logs, but planks and shingles were scarce. Dick soon filled his pockets with silver and thought he would get some meat, getting tired of ‘pone.’ So he went to Daddie Groom’s place for some bacon. He saw Patsey on his first visit and it was a case of love at first sight. A few days later a match was made and Patsey told mother Groom she was going to marry Dick. Daddie called Patsey to one side and said, ‘I understand you and Dick are going to get married.’ Patsey said, ‘We so contemplate to do.’

‘Well,’ said Daddie Groom, ‘Dick is no account and you will starve.’

‘We can live on love,’ said Patsey

‘Well, go ahead,’ said Daddie Groom.

They were married and moved into a vacant schoolhouse. They bored a hole in one of the logs, had one leg of the bed in the middle of the room, laid boards on the rails and covered them with leaves. This with a quilt given by Mrs. Groom made their bed. Mrs. Groom also gave them a skillet to make pone in and fry meat. A few weeks later Patsey went to Groom’s house to buy some bacon. Daddie Groom said, ‘I thought you told me you can live on love?’ ‘So I did,’ said Patsey, ‘but a little bacon will help out so very much.’ Mr. Groom laughed and gave her a huge side of bacon and when she offered to pay for it, told her it would be a wedding present. Patsey wrapped her apron around the middle of the bacon, propped it on her head and started for home. The last I heard of them they had eight or ten children and all were prosperous and happy.”

My observations:

First, here was a vulnerable young lady in serious need of care and work who humbly receives it, without any bureaucratic fanfare or intervention, in the form of a family that did not know her from Adam yet took her in and acted as a protective covering for her in providing both her material needs and counsel, and all that at their own risk and expense. I wonder what laws would be broken today if the same arrangements were made? We might be surprised.

Though Patsey was looking for work she received much more than mere wages, but a home, and quite likely a Christian home, as it was a decidedly Christian culture back then that saw it their moral duty before the Lord (Deu. 15:11, Pro. 31:20, Gal. 2, James 1:27) to come to the aid of those who were truly in need (1Tim. 6:8, James 2:14-17). They certainly did not look to the state to fulfill this duty like we religiously do today, and rightly so, for such benevolence and mercy lies under the purview of the Church, to be administered through the local Christian community, a now largely extinct dinosaur from the so-called “puritanical” days of early America. It must be stated here that the (501c3) para-church ministries of today that minister to the needy are not the same, by any means, as they are created, regulated, and controlled by the state, wherein the local Christian community is the organic manifestation of the Lord’s church on earth when in covenantal faithfulness it seeks first His Kingdom and righteousness in keeping His commandments.

Save for the Amish and a few other Anabaptist communities scattered throughout the nation, the local Christian community, which was once the bedrock of our nation and the safe harbor for the Patsey Millsaps of the world, quietly past from the American culture several generations ago when American Christendom, having grown fat upon the blessings of God while seeping itself in the pragmatism of modern philosophy, rebelled against the Lord to seek after the “good life” via the god of “modern human progress,” better known as humanism, the religion of state worship. And should you think being pragmatic a good thing, look up its meaning in a real dictionary, like that of Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language (1828).

Like the one arranged for Patsey, for these types of arrangements to have successfully worked to the good of both parties required genuine integrity and lasting mutual trust between them. And, contrary to the history revisionism of today that maligns and perverts the rich history and tremendous influence that American Christendom had in developing our American culture, there were a myriad of success stories like Patsey’s in those days, as the local Christian community, in spite of its sins and weaknesses, was at that time the very foundation and life of a thriving culture. This is not to say things were idyllic back in those days, by any means, as there were many deceivers and plunderers who took full advantage of charitable Americans by playing either the victim or the benefactor, just as it is today, though on a far grander scale.

Today, this type of arrangement would hardly have a chance to get off the ground, let alone succeed, due to various tax issues, unseen liabilities, laws & regulations, and governmental oversight. Not to mention that we live in a perilous culture where one needs to be extraordinarily cautious in helping others. Without first doing some serious backtracking and investigation, something that is very difficult and sometimes impossible to do given the autonomous, transient nature of our culture, one often puts themselves in harm’s way to help others, a sad testimony to the near total loss of Christian morality in our declining culture. This should not keep us from our duty to love our neighbor, however, but we must exercise biblical caution and prudence about it and take whatever time is necessary to know, as much as possible, all the circumstances behind the one seeking help.

Second, with Richard Chaney being of “no account” how could he with but a few small hand tools and his own limited labor begin to prosper so quickly? To get some perspective, in today’s culture this would mean that he lacked a college degree, a “good” credit rating, a sizable nestegg, and other modern societal advantages. The answer didn’t lie in his skills or tools, as they were common in his day, nor in the availability of trees, as they were thick as molasses. The answer lies in the money. He was paid in silver coinage. For the most part, though the Rag-barons of modern banking were slowly taking the upper hand, the economy at that time was based on gold and silver money, which gave him direct parity for his labor and the products he made, a fair exchange. The same cannot be said for today where fiat currency robs the common man of both his labor and the products he produces.

In 1864, following the passage of the national bank law where the bankers were successful in having the legal tender power of the U.S. Government-issued greenbacks abolished, James Buell, secretary of the New York banker’s committee, sent a circular to the bankers of the country. In it he states, “To repeal the law creating national banks or to restore to circulation the Government issue of money will be to provide the people with money, and will therefore seriously affect your individual profit as banker or lender. See your member of Congress at once and engage him to support our interest that we control legislation.”   (M.W. Walbert, The Coming Battle – A Complete History of the National Banking Money Power in the United States (W.B. Conkey Co., Chicago, 1899) p. 44.)

The truth shall set you free. When the people possess and use lawful money in their everyday lives, they get the full benefit of it as a fair exchange for their labor in producing, buying, and selling the things of life, whereby they personally profit by it, just as God intended (Ecc. 3:12-13). When the bankers usurp real money and replace it with their fiat currency via a legalized monopoly they profit by it to the loss of the common man’s precious labor and production. That’s how it has always worked.

In fact, the plague of rag money – the spurious bank notes and paper currencies – that have been forced upon the American people by the Rag-barons of “modern banking” has actually been openly decried against for many generations in our nation. One such protest, which came with a rather sober remedy, came from a Col. Eugene Leistendorfer of Carondelet, Missouri, in the early days of Missouri following his wartime service in the United States army in the Tripolitan War of 1801 to 1805 (Bay of Tripoli).

“Col. Eugene Leistendorfer, formerly of that part of the army of the U. States which crossed the Desert, and assisted in the capture of Derne, from the Bey of Tripoli, now an inhabitant of Carondelet (near St. Loius), where he is married and where by labor the most herculean he has almost brought to perfection a vineyard and a vegetable garden, which would yield him a comfortable support were it not for the deceptions practiced on him by the circulation of spurious bank notes;

Now in order to put a stop to the further evil, he proposes to the states and territories to make laws, punishing capitally, the presidents and directors of such banks as will not redeem their notes in silver—and he, the said Col. E. Leistendorfer, will hold himself in readiness to march at a moment’s notice, to put the hempen cord about the necks of the Rag-barons, gratis.

N.B. He has a quantity of Nashville paper which he will exchange at a discount of 50 per cent for pumpkins.” (Centennial History of Missouri, 1821-1921, Volume 2, page 601)

When will we ever take to heart the painful lessons of debt-based economics? What is to become of the Richard Chaneys of today should there not be a return to the honest money of gold and silver coinage? The answer is grim, as history teaches us over and over again. Only biblical money consisting of the honest weights and just measures of gold and silver coinage fosters individual prosperity and freedom, which acts as a real check against legalized plunder and political tyranny, provided the people humble themselves under the hand of the Lord to truly see its wisdom while all the while looking to Him to live it out.

Third, the happy ending to the story where the Chaneys have eight to ten children who all were prosperous and happy would fly in the face of the family hating society of today that sees children, not as a blessing from the Lord, but as an unbearable burden and threat to personal freedom and prosperity. The gospel of “wealth without work” through interest bearing investing and corporate welfare has taught us to vehemently oppose the biblical mandate to be fruitful and multiply, to work as unto the Lord by the sweat of our brows in meaningful production, and to seek first the Lord and His Kingdom as the path to civil and economic freedom. Like the slogan from the famous Virginia Slims commercial that touted the praises of the new found cultural freedom of the 1970’s, “You’ve come a long way baby,” so America has come a long way since its inception . . . a long way down the road to judgment and oppression.

I don’t know about you, but I think we have greatly regressed from the days of Richard and Patsey Chaney, as we certainly are no where nears as biblically prosperous and free as they lived—corn pone, one room cabins, and all. —- The Rural Missourian

Living Assets

Posted by Rural Missourian on Oct 23rd, 2009

I never cease to marvel at the variety of tree species that abound in the forests and small woodlots around here. Like most Midwestern states, Missouri is rich in forests of amazing diversity with 149 native tree species and 34 species and hybrids of oak, alone. It isn’t unusual in our area to see a dozen or more species of white and red oak growing crown to crown, interspersed with elm, walnut, ash, hickory, honey locust, and maple, just to mention a few of the more common trees. The rich diversity of Missouri forests is due to various soil types and geological structures that make up 6 regions or natural divisions within the state. These same regions also explain Missouri’s diversity of fresh water fish with over 200 different kinds.

The Ozark Natural Division is the largest region and takes up about 40% of the state. It is situated largely south of the Missouri river between the eastern and western border corridors. This stunningly beautiful area is noted for its thickly forested hills, spring fed rivers, and limestone caves. Its soils tend to be rocky and not real conducive for farming, but work well for pasture. The Glaciated Plains Natural Division takes up another 30% and is situated largely north of the Missouri River. This area is not as hilly, especially the closer it gets to the Iowa border. Crop farming is dominant in this region due to a variety of rich soils, which also produce the largest hardwoods in the state, particularly in the river bottom areas. The Ozark Border Natural Division is the transition zone between the two larger regions and it takes up roughly 12%. The Osage Plains Natural Division lies along Missouri’s south western border and takes up another 8%. The Big Rivers Natural Division is found along the corridors of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and takes up another 5%, leaving the last 5% for a region called the Mississippi Lowlands Natural Division, which is situated in the “boot heel” area in the southeastern corner of the state.

Besides the many species and hybrids of oak, Missouri forests also produce 11 walnut species (which include hickory and pecan), 9 maple species (which include the Boxelder from which a delicious syrup can be made), 4 mulberry species (which include osage orange), and many more families with multiple species. Not all trees with the same name come from the same families, however, such as the honey locust, a member of the senna family which also includes the Kentucky coffee tree, redbud, and water locust, and the black locust, a member of the bean family, which includes the yellow wood tree, a little known tree that grows in southern Missouri. Appalachian settlers used it to make yellow dye and gunstocks.

There are many trees with unusual names and little known, though quite useful properties. Take for instance the gum bully tree, more commonly known as the wooly buckthorn, a small thorny tree with milky sap. Its strong wood is good for tool handles and cabinet making. Then there is the musclewood tree, also known as the hornbeam. It gets its name from two Old English words, horn for its hardness and beam for tree. A small tree with smooth grey bark, its wood is one of the strongest around, surpassing oak, hickory, locust, and persimmon, and is used to make golf clubs, mallets, cogs, levers, and wedges. The wahoo tree, also known as the burning bush is more of a shrub than a tree, though it does grow to 25 feet and is found in nearly every county of Missouri. Its straight stems were used by the Dakota as arrows, from whom it gets its name wahoo, wa for arrow and hu for wood. Native Americans used the inner bark to make a drink to aid in uterine discomfort and for making eye salves. The stem and root bark was used to a make paste for facial sores. The bladdernut is another small shrub-tree that gets its name from the popping noise made when the fruit is crushed. Its seed is similar in taste to the pistachio and is used as a replacement for walnuts in cookies. A sweet edible oil is made from the seed and can be used for cooking.

A very common and useful tree is the hackberry, though more often than not it is bulldozed and relegated to the rot pile with little consideration to its lumber value. Also known as the nettle or sugarberry tree, the hackberry is a large, fast growing, long lived tree that grows throughout most of Missouri. The Dakota ground its fruit and hard seeds to make a seasoning for meats and the Pawnee added them to parched corn and fat to make a simple, high energy confection, sometimes called pemmican. Native Americans also used it to make bows. Today, the wood is used today for furniture, veneer, pallets, boxes, and crates. Another very useful tree that is often considered a nuisance is the osage orange, known also as bois d’ arc (French for “wood of the bow”) and hedge, a remarkably strong, rot resistant tree that makes beautiful furniture, long bows, and excellent landscaping and fencing timber. A bright yellow dye can be made from its roots and its milky white sap has been used a glue and lacquer. Its fruit, the “hedge apple,” is a stinky, bright green, softball size fruit that looks like a brain. Though the fruit is inedible to humans, it contains tetrahydroxystilbene, an anti-fungicide that is thought by some to repel insects.

The strangely named farkleberry, which no one knows today where or why it got its name, has a number of useful purposes. Its wood is good for tool handles, its bark is used to tan hides, and its root bark is used to treat diarrhea. Lastly, there is the tropical looking paw paw tree with its smooth grey bark and large leaves. It’s noted for its delicious fruit, which is high in vitamin C, iron, and is a good source of potassium, which also happens to taste like a cross between custard and bananas.

I am convinced that there isn’t a tree that does not have a created purpose. Some species are particularly suited for wind breaks and to help prevent erosion along stream banks and areas of run off. Others provide vital cover and feed for wildlife. Still others provide excellent lumber for construction or woodmaking, not to mention food and various medicinal benefits. Trees are renewable resources that flourish when properly stewarded, a gift from God to be used to the glory of His name. Nonetheless, since the American people over the last 70 years have gone from being producers and innovators to consumers and spectators, we have regressed as a culture to where we know little of the real potential of the living assets that grow around us, having become content with the glued chipboard and plastic veneer products we get from China and other nations that do our manufacturing for us. To regain a productive worldview culturally, we must return to being conscientious stewards of the local resources God has blessed us with and persevering builders of local economies based upon local production and innovation. — The Rural Missourian

What’s A “Reformed Church?”

Posted by Rural Missourian on Feb 13th, 2009

Some of you in commenting on my last post on The “Agrarian” Minded Church, asked me what I meant by a “reformed church.” It’s a great question that I felt be best answered in another post, rather than as just a passing comment, though my meager answer below does not do it justice, by any means. Simply put, a reformed church is one that subscribes to the “Reformed Faith,” which says far more than what appears. As I acknowledge there are variations to the position I hold, I ask my fellow brothers and sisters that ascribe to the Reformed Faith to grant me some room here in presenting (from my postmillennial-covenantal worldview) a brief, very limited description of the “Reformed Faith.” My intention here is to help give understanding to my previous post on the “Agrarian” Minded Church, and not to start a massive diatribe or debate. It would take several lengthy posts to even begin to address the rich theology and glorious history behind the Reformed Faith, which unbeknownst to most Americans today was very common among the churches in America in its early days. It was the Reformed Faith of the Puritans, Pilgrims, Baptists, and other Calvinistic minded churches that established the early communities and colonies that eventually formed our country and the one that guided our founders to give us biblically constituted forms of government that establish executive, legislative, and judiciary branches (Isa. 33:22) as checks and balances against civil tyranny.

The Reformed faith was born of the Great Reformation that took place in Europe between the 1300’s and 1600’s and spread as light to the shores of America. Its foundation is based upon the Doctrines of Grace, otherwise referred to by many as Calvinism, which emphasizes that salvation is all of God’s grace, the sole work of the Holy Spirit unaided by any human effort or cooperation. Because fallen man is born dead (not mostly dead) in his trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-3), an enemy of God by virtue of his inherent depraved nature (Rom. 5:10, 8:7), he is utterly unable to choose life, thus, regeneration precedes both faith and conversion (Rom. 8:29-30, Eph. 2:4-10), and not the other way around as is taught in the doctrine of Decisional Regeneration, where the unregenerate man decides to exercise faith, which action leads to the Lord regenerating him.

Reformed theology employs a covenantal approach to understanding Scripture, where the Lord is Sovereign over all aspects of His creation, where Jesus Christ, King over all rulers and High Priest of the New Covenant, is seated at the right hand of Father on His throne in Heaven, exercising all authority both in Heaven and earth over all powers, principalities, rulers, and over every name that is named.

Most regrettably, however, the Reformed faith over the last several generations has for some become a tradition where application is wanting, though its organic concept stems from the biblical mandate that the Lord’s people in every generation are—by God’s grace as He works in them both to will and do according to His good pleasure (Heb. 13:20-21)—to reform all of their ways according to the Word of God, the standard for the whole of man for the whole of life, as they love God in keeping His commandments (1John 5:2-5).

The worldview born of the Reformed Faith is not one of doom & gloom and pessimistic fatalism, but is hope filled, proactive, though decidedly sober, that unreservedly advances the cause and crown rights of Christ in preaching and living out the glorious Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Neither is it a pie-in-sky worldview that sees the world through rosy glasses, since it is also biblically covenantal, which means that the Lord is faithful and just to judge His people when they rebel and break covenant, just as He blesses them when they obey and keep covenant with Him. The testimony of God’s people under both the Old and New Covenants shows a history of ups and downs, which reflects their battle with the flesh Gal. 5:16-17, where at times they flourish in obedience and only to be followed by times where they drift into generational sin and fall into captivity (a covenantal sanction) under their enemies (which is where I see American Christendom today). I highly recommend that the reader carefully read Nehemiah chapter nine, since it details the up and down history of Israel and, most importantly, gives the reason and the solution, a return to faithful covenant keeping, which the Lord mercifully works in them.

But as I am covenantally postmillennial in my worldview, I see the present dire circumstances of our nation’s rapid plunge into economic chaos and cultural destruction, not as the cataclysmic end of a world ostensively ruled by the devil (for he has already been dethroned – John 12:30-32, 16:7-11, Heb. 2:14-15), but as the Lord’s just wrath and sore chastisement (covenantal sanctions) upon America for the generational covenant breaking of American Christendom, which turned its back on Him (particularly His commandments) to embrace the peace and prosperity of our nation’s wicked economic system (Deu. 23:6, Ezra 9:12-15) that now enslaves the American people under perpetual debt (just as Thomas Jefferson warned us).

Being the ever faithful covenant keeper (Deu. 7:9-10, Psa. 103:17-19, 2Cor. 1:18-22), the Lord without fail keeps His word with His people throughout all their generations. Though we are discovering just how much that can hurt (Jer. 30:12-17, Heb. 10:29-31, 12:5-13), it is truly good news, as well, for He is merciful with His people and does leave them under His judgments without tangible hope (Psa. 35, 103: 8-19)!

Jeremiah 29:10-14

10 For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

 

Now if God was this merciful with His people under the Old Covenant, how much more merciful is He under the New Covenant, which is far better being based upon better promises (Heb. 8:6)? Contrary to popular theological pessimism, there is a biblical remedy for our dire circumstances, as there has always been for the Lord’s people when they find themselves under the yoke of the wicked (because of their generational disobedience). If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chr. 7:14). Contrary to Hollywood disaster movies where salvation and restoration happens overnight, the healing of our nation, the Lord willing (which I think He is as demonstrated throughout history), will not happen over night nor without tremendous painful cost for the consequences of our generational sins will take some time, likely a few generations, to work through (Psa. 99:8).

In attempting to answer the question first posed I know that I have likely opened the door to many more questions and plenty of doctrinal challenges, which goes with the territory. I hope, however, that I have given enough to the reader that they might know what I mean in an overall sense by a reformed church. As you can see I by no means made the attempt systematically. As there is such diversity among reformed churches, I have purposely left out church polity, worship and liturgy styles, practices, etc. Here is a link to a website where a number of articles have been posted on the subject: Reformed Theology. Here is also a link to great website on the Puritans and Puritanism, A Puritan’s Mind. — The Rural Missourian

The “Agrarian” Minded Church

Posted by Rural Missourian on Feb 11th, 2009

As I have been dialoging with various like-minded reformed denominations in seeking to find a home for CRC Rayville, a question has frequently crossed my mind. How many agrarian minded reformed churches are out there? With so many different definitions for agrarian, I need to briefly describe what I mean by an agrarian minded church, which requires that I define what I mean by agrarian. I derived my definition from the Scriptures and not from its basic dictionary definition, for the term agrarian has any number of meanings and connotations.

It’s best that I start first, however, with two dictionary definitions of the word agrarian. From Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (1988) we get the following entomological definition:

Agrarianadj. 1618, borrowed through Middle French in the phrase loy agrarienne agrarian law, from Latin agrarious of the land, from ager (genitive agri) field . . .

From the American Dictionary Of The English Language (1828) we get the following definition:

 

AGRARIAN, a. [L. agararious, from ager, a field] Relating to lands. Appropriately, denoting or pertaining to an equal division of lands; as, the agrarian laws of Rome, which distributed the conquered and other public lands equally among all the citizens, limiting the quantity which each might enjoy. Authors sometimes use the word as a noun, an agrarian, for agrarian law.

 

 

We see from the outset that the word agrarian is not talking about the vocation of farming (agriculture), as some think, but to law that deals with land, specifically with its distribution as in “the agrarian laws of Rome.” This leads to an important question. Who actually owns the land and by what terms is it to be possessed? More so, the answer to this question, since it deals with sovereignty, also will determine who decides how the land is to be used and by whom. Is it man or the Lord who has the final say? So we see already that this subject is far bigger than the word agrarian suggests for it deals with the whole of the earth and the whole of mankind.

Though fallen man ardently affirms that he is the owner of the earth, as he is ever seeking to take dominion of it through unending wars and ever increasing taxation, the Scriptures make it quite clear that the Lord, as the Creator of earth and mankind, is the sole owner of both of them (Deu. 10:14, Rom. 9:21) and, thus, the SOVEREIGN over all. The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein (Psa. 24:1). It is thus the will of our Sovereign God, as understood by His Law Agrarian, which determines who is to possess the earth and by what terms is he to take dominion of it, live and multiply on it (Gen. 1:28, Psa. 37:7-9).

We are taught by the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the earth (1Tim. 6:13-16, Rev. 1:4-5, 17:14), to pray that God’s will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven (Luke 11:2). Of course, the preaching of Gospel of the Kingdom and the discipling of the nations is central to this, but what about the earth itself? Does the Lord’s will for the earth also include specifics on how His people are to possess it, to live and multiply on it, as they live out their lives in successive generations while preaching and living out the Gospel? I say yes and contend that the two work hand in hand, for what other meaning can be given to the calling of the Lord’s people as the salt of the earth and light of the world, but that they are to act as the standard for all of mankind (1Tim. 3:15) in the building of godly cultures on earth in submission to the Lord, as the Gospel takes root in their hearts and begins to bear fruit. It is in the discipling of the nations (made from every nation, tribe, and tongue scattered throughout the earth) wherein they are taught Christ’s commandments and how to keep them (Mat. 28:20) that the Lord’s disciples learn not only how to love each other but how to live on the earth. Ought we not, therefore, to regard the earth with all knowledge and wisdom in serving the Lord as its stewards?

This stewardship began in the garden where God ordained man as the earth’s cultivator and guardian. Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend [work, cultivate it] and keep [guard] it (Gen. 2:15). The first calling of mankind in service to His Creator was as a working steward of the land from which the Lord would provide his physical needs, for the earth was specifically created to be tended and guarded by him, and that, according to the commandments of its Maker. This was in conjunction with the commission given to Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). It only makes sense that the Creator (Gen. 1-2) and Owner (Psa. 24:1) of the earth should also issue the manual for its stewardship (2Tim 3:16-17).

God created man to be totally dependent upon Him in a moral, accountable manner that has direct earthly consequences, depending upon his obedience or disobedience to His commandments, the terms of the stewardship. “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'” (Mat. 4:4) Thus, the Lord makes a very clear correlation between mankind’s conduct on the earth as its stewards and its productivity, both in bounty and barrenness.

Leviticus 26:3-4

3 ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them ,4 then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

Deuteronomy 11:16-17

 

16 “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them,17 “lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.
 

 

Every man, woman, and child on earth, no matter whether they fear God or deny his existence, whether they knowingly tend the earth as unto Him or deny that they have any such responsibility, whether dead in their trespasses and sins or alive in Christ, are by the creation mandate the Lord’s stewards of the very earth they live and multiply on, and are accountable to Him for their every action. Man is not a free agent to live on the earth as he pleases, as though it is an expendable commodity that can be exploited anyway he chooses. A man may choose to abandon his wife to live “freely” as he pleases. His escape doesn’t mean, however, that he is not still a husband and accountable for his marriage. In the same way mankind may have long ago abandoned his calling as the Lord’s steward of the earth to live on it as he pleases, but it doesn’t mean that he is not a steward and accountable for his stewardship. He may be an absentee steward, but his still a steward.

Just because the Lord is merciful, good to all, and bestows His common grace upon both the just and the unjust (Psa. 145:9, Mat. 5:43-45, Acts 14:15-17), doesn’t mean that each and every human is not directly accountable to the Lord for how they live on the earth. Appearances can be deceiving, however, especially over short periods of time where things appear to prosper regardless of faith or its absence (Psa. 73:1-18), as though it is a “neutral” subject. The Lord’s gracious longsuffering with mankind’s sin must not ever be confused with any notion that He cares not how mankind lives on earth or what by means he builds culture (2Pet. 3:9). Every aspect of human culture at every level as it is developed on the earth—its faith; ethics and moral standards; famial, ecclesiastical, and civil governments; economics and money; judicial systems and the exacting of justice and mercy; agriculture; manufacturing; technology; science, engineering, and all aspects of education; and every aspect of human life—is to be governed by the commandments of the Lord in our love and worship of Him (1John 5:3-4). The biblical statement, whatsoever is not of faith is sin, applies to all we humans do, both for the saved and the lost alike.

In a practical, down-to-earth sense we Christians, as stewards of the Lord’s earth, the salt of the earth and light of the world, who have been commissioned by Him to take the Gospel of the Kingdom to the nations to make disciples of Him and teach them to observe His commandments, are in its daily outworking to apply the whole of God’s Law to the whole of life to all we do on the earth. This is what I mean by agrarian. What ties the whole of our duties together is the New Covenant. As we keep covenant with God in seeking first His Kingdom and Righteousness, so we fulfill by grace through faith our various duties according to His will, and, as He promised, He adds unto His people all things necessary for life on earth (Mat. 6:33). The priority is God and Kingdom first, and life on earth second. Thus, the biblically agrarian focus is not on cultivating and stewarding the earth, not on preaching the Gospel to win souls and make disciples, not on any of one of our duties, important as they are, but on Christ, Whom we are to love with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength. And there is only way to love God and our fellow brothers and sisters but by keeping the commandments of God, which are not burdensome, but effectual in overcoming the world by our faith in Christ (1John 5:1-5).

Now, as much as I cringe to have given such a brief, incomplete definition, I am forced too come back to the purpose of this post. Before I finish it, I must say that I have found by experience that no matter how careful one is to define their terms and clearly present their ideas, that someone is going to take them wrong and ascribe all kinds of evil to them, or go the opposite direction and read far too much into them. This is especially true when one attempts to describe a work they are involved in. Misunderstandings will abound, nonetheless, we must communicate with each other the best we can, trusting the Lord that His will be done in these matters. To that end, I hope I communicated well enough what I mean by agrarian.

Our church here in Rayville is looking for like-agrarian-minded reformed (there’s another loaded word) churches to alliance with. We are not talking about perfect churches where everyone of its members would make the cover of Better Home Businesses and Gardens. All churches have their weaknesses, blind spots, and shortcomings. There is no believer or church that has “arrived.” All of us are somewhere in the transition between the old life dominated by the old man and carnal mind and the abundant life led by the Spirit who renews our minds. Lastly, lest we be accused of being Luddites, we are not talking about churches that are hidden in the boondocks where all its members forsake electricity, don sanctified “agrarian” clothing, and farm for a living.

But, as we do hold that covenant keeping is central to the life of the believer and the church, as the testimonies of the Scriptures bear witness as well as history, particularly the early days of colonial America, we believe that the biblical model for the local church—acting as the salt of the earth and light of the world in being the standard for human culture in proclaiming and living out the Gospel of the Kingdom—necessitates that its members live in close proximity to each other, wherein the vast majority of them in keeping covenant with each other live where they work and worship, as they labor separately and together in various vocations to be productive stewards as unto the Lord. Of course, there will be exceptions due to particular circumstances in the lives of believers and in different types of ministries and vocations, but for sure the local church is to be known by the local, visible community it has defined and built.

In its most biblically prosperous and free time America use to be covered with hundreds of such distinctly Christian communities. Except for the Amish (and a few other like minded communities), the days are long gone in America when the local church was the central hub of a local community, where its members employed a common worldview and moral ethic that shaped the character of the community, where its members worked on or near the same land they lived and could pass it on to their children in generational continuity, where they could interact daily with each other and render help at a moment’s notice, and where they could labor together and pool resources and equipment to be effectual producers of various products and services to establish a local economy, which is one of the greatest preservers of civil and religious freedom. I feel that it is from this position of strength and deep community character, that the local church can best duplicate itself in various missionary endeavors.

To their credit, the Amish publish a newspaper, The Budget, which serves the Amish-Mennonite communities throughout the Americas. On the front cover is an extensive index which lists each community by it’s location and the page where one can go to read the news specific to it. When was the last time that reformed churches in America were noted by the vibrant local communities they had formed? I believe that American Christendom is long overdue for a great reformation. Perhaps it’s time that biblically agrarian minded churches unite together by covenant in forming alliances (confederations, denominations) where its member churches live in such proximity that together they can play a role once again in forming the surrounding culture?

In the meanwhile, as the Lord directs us, we shall continue to seek an alliance such as we can. To that end, we invite inquiries by churches and denominations. May God grant us all that we come into the unity of the true faith. — The Rural Missourian

Quotes & Quips — February 5, 2009

Posted by Rural Missourian on Feb 5th, 2009

These quotes deal with the economic history of Missouri. At one time it was the mule capital of the world and the developer and source for the world famous “Missouri Mule,” a large, dependable, docile, hardworking mule that could handle the equipment necessary to work the rich, deep soils of Missouri and those of surrounding states. At one time the small family farm flourished here in Missouri and it was due almost entirely to the many advantages of the draft mule. Other than the Bootheel of southeast Missouri, the wooded, hilly farmlands of Missouri are not conducive to mono crop agriculture or large corporate farms . . . thank God . . . but to the small family farm, which I believe to be the biblical model for sustainable stewardship and generational prosperity.  I believe employing living assets to work the land that can be sustained without having to go into life long debt is the biblical model for sustainable agriculture.  What do you think?   Feel free to join in discussing where we are today and where you think we need to go.

Hired farm workers were an integral part of commercial and most family farms early in the 20th century. As employment opportunities increased with industrial development in cities, farmers found a decreasing supply of farm “hands” in their communities. This situation, combined with the mobilization of armed forces for World War I, left farmers short handed. Yet, at the same time, they were urged to increase food production. The result stimulated larger hitches (more animals per driver) and a response by machinery companies who manufactured larger machines. To pull this machinery, larger sized mules and horses were needed.

(Melvin Bradley, The Missouri Mule: His Origin and Times)

In Missouri by the end of World War II the tractor began to rapidly replace the draft animal and, ultimately, the small family farm, which augmented itself handsomely every year by breeding and raising draft mules (and horses). With the nation’s manufacturing working at full capacity in supplying the war, when it ended it had to be quickly converted to peace time manufacturing to keep the post Depression momentum going. This grew into the enormous agribusiness system of today, which, sadly, has turned farmers into consumer slaves of bigger and more complex technology, all geared around the corporate control of our nation’s farmland. The economic behemoth of corporate agribusiness was entirely built through credit (debt-based) driven economics, which is now in major decline, as the debt load has finally caught up with reality. As we are no longer a manufacturing economy, and as only a very small percentage of the populace work the land anymore, where does this leave a nation going into a depression that will far surpass the one of the 1930’s? The credit driven, corporate agrarianism of today is simply not sustainable, for it works against the God ordained scale of creation where the land is to be carefully stewarded at the local level of family and community.

The part that mule production played in the farm economy of Missouri is truly amazing. In Missouri there are a third of a million mules and they currently pass as coin. The country banker looks upon them about as he would as cash and places them first in the collateral column.

(April 23, 1913 edition of the Breeder’s Gazette)

The chief reason the mule was considered as good as coin (back when it was made of gold or silver) was because it was a form of true wealth, a tangible means of production that not only produced labor but also manure, which the farmer could put back into his land to help sustain it. Likewise, mules consumed fuel the farmer could raise himself, thus he was able to provide a good portion of his farming needs from what he produced himself off his own land, which included breeding his working mules from mare stock that earned their keep doing light farm work and jack stock that took very little to keep healthy. The small family farm back in the days of draft animal power was in many ways truly self sustaining.

Thousands of two- and three-year mules were loaned by dealers and owners to persons who could not afford to buy them for a summer’s work. The borrower “broke” the mules to work and returned them that fall after harvest. If the mules had been well cared for, they were worth considerably more to the owner than when the deal was struck. Thus, both parties usually benefited from this time honored practice and many farmers and dealers maintained this arrangement for years.

(Melvin Bradley, The Missouri Mule: His Origin and Times)

Here you have a biblically charitable form of loaning that did not enslave the borrower (Pro. 22:7). The farmer who for whatever reasons could not afford a team to work his land could borrow a young team and by adding his labor and know how to it both work his farm for a season and increase the value of the team. He gets his crop in and the mule owner receives back a more valuable asset, a win-win situation. There were no usurious agreements made that guaranteed a return to the mule owner, no matter what. The mule owner had to trust the farmer’s skill and quality of care and the farmer had to trust that the team was comprised of quality mules that had no hidden problems. They both shared in the gain and the losses. This could never happen with a tractor that begins to lose value the second it is used.

Quips & Quotes — January 15th, 2009

Posted by Rural Missourian on Jan 15th, 2009

I think it’s very important for us to try to put out the fire. I think it’s good advice in general, that if there’s a fire burning, you try to put it out first, and then you think about the fire code. — FED Chairman Bernanke’s reply to a question asked of him after his speech at the London School of Economics on Tuesday, January 13, 2009, which questoned the Keynesian inflationary policy of our nation’s central bank.

Since when do you put out a raging fire with gasoline?  Yes, there may be deflation occurring, but that happens when reckless gamblers of credit start a raging fire that undermines the economy by their various “investment” schemes of borrowing and loaning fiat currency at usury.  Naturally, as the fire burns the tinder box house of paper wealth, the floors cave in (deflation).  Then along comes the fire department that started the fire and it pumps into it the only flame retardant it knows, the explosive incendiary of inflation that comes from the powerful pumps of their enormous printing press.  This only makes the fire much worse, as we will see and history has proven, time and again.   

You say: “There are persons who have no money,” and you turn to the law. But the law is not a breast that fills itself with milk. Nor are the lacteal veins of the law supplied with milk from a source outside the society. Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in. If every person draws from the treasury the amount that he has put in it, it is true that the law then plunders nobody. But this procedure does nothing for the persons who have no money. It does not promote equality of income. The law can be an instrument of equalization only as it takes from some persons and gives to other persons. When the law does this, it is an instrument of plunder. With this in mind, examine the protective tariffs, subsidies, guaranteed profits, guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, progressive taxation, free credit, and public works. You will find that they are always based on legal plunder, organized injustice. — Fredric Bastiat in The Law (1850)

The whole idea that the Federal Government can wave its magic bailout wand over the “needy” corporations and banks to save them, of course for the salvation of everyone’s “economic interests,” is all out plunder for there is no other way to fund these massive bailouts but by putting Americans into further debt, who will have to pay through ever increasing taxes and inflation, to no avail.

Organic farming may be healthier and better for the soil, but it is not any more sustainable in the long run than chemical farming because all that happens in most systems is replacing chemical inputs with organic inputs. These inputs still come from somewhere else and still cost money. With the imploding economy, it might not be to far into the future when we just can’t afford to truck in kelp or green sand from half way across the country. At some point it seems we might exploit these resources the same we have oil. I can also see the farmer/gardener being a slave to organic input companies just like other farmers are slaves to chemical companies. — Scott Terry from his blog Homesteader Life.

I agree with Scott that we need to be self-sustainable in our agrarian endeavors, as in the realm of gardening where one produces their own fertilizers and various soil improvements from the land they work so that they are not trapped as addicted consumers of gardening input products, which can cost a fortune and become hard to find, especially in a major economic downturn.  This concept needs to be applied to all the various elements of a diversified farm, especially as it applies to preparing the fields, sowing, cultivating,  harvesting, etc.  Draft animals fit well here since they can be bred on the farm, used to raise their own fuel (feed), and their dung put back into the soil to improve it.  Yes, there are health costs involved in using draft animal labor, but the price for fuel and parts for modern machinery is far higher. 

The word sustainability is used so wrecklessly and politically today that its meaning is perforated. Sad, because we need the word or its essence to hold water for us as we work to define and understand right livelihood and the human future on this planet. We must understand that true sustainability, that capacity for systems to regenerate and sustain themselves, is at war with the gods of commerce and the corporate ethic. And in true Machiavellian-style the enemy is hard at work to usurp the word “sustainability” as its own, redefined, retooled, and priced to sell. — Lynn Miller in the Small Farmer’s Journal (Fall 2008)

The most important earthly wealth one can possess, especially if one values true political and economic freedom, is good land and the means of production with the goal of producing as unto the Lord in league with like-minded Christians, as stewards of the Lord’s earth according to His word, and sustained through the godly generational continuity that comes by being faithful to the everlasting New Covenant. 

While the USDA [following WWII when it pushed tractors as the ultimate replacement for horses & mules – TCM] unflinchingly advocated increased efficiency and greater productivity in agriculture, it also expounded the virtues of self-sufficiency and the family farm. Over time, however, efficiency and productivity won, and in the end, the “USDA did not simply propagate improved methods—it became the Church of Information and Technology (with its own missionaries) for millions of modernizing farmers. Its experts eventually embraced any machine or chemical that promised increased production regardless of how technological change would affect farm families or the environment.” The USDA did not immediately embrace technology without question, nor did department officials always wee tensions between the efficiency and self-sufficiency. Officials constantly stated and apparently believed that American farmers could have the best of both worlds. Despite the fact that a conflict had long existed between the family-farm principle and the political exigencies of modern statehood, the USDA insisted that the Jeffersonian and Madisonian ideals could be harmonized on the American farm. It was perhaps a naïve view, especially in the southern context, but one generally held by agricultural officials who, according to one scholar, had not pushed mechanization hard enough. — George B. Ellenberg in his book Mule South to Tractor South – Mules, Machines, and the Transformation of the Cotton South

It begs the question. What is true efficiency and productivity? One that turns self-sufficient family farmers into consumer slaves of agribusiness products and technology . . . or one that maintains the freedom of the family farmer through sustainable, scaled down farming that is sustainably productive, regenerative, and biblically environmentally friendly?

Free For The Harvesting

Posted by Rural Missourian on Sep 5th, 2008

I am ever delighted by the cornucopia of God’s creation. Today, my family and I took a peaceful, invigorating stroll along a meandering road that lies in close proximity to Rayville. The stretch of road we walked is bordered on one side by a dense growth of various native trees and shrubs which extends for about three quarters of a mile. They are not cared for by anyone and tend to look rather shabby and overgrown, but the fruit is free for the harvesting.  Earlier in the summer my wife and daughter picked numerous quantities of delicious mulberries, blackberries, gooseberries, black raspberries, and wild strawberries along this extended wild berry grove. With fall now descending upon us with cooler, shorter days, the time is coming soon to harvest the various nuts and nut fruit that grow along the same short stretch of road . . . walnuts, hickory nuts, and persimmons.

This, of course, is nothing unusual for Missouri, where just about anywhere you find clusters of native trees, you’ll find all kinds of fruits and nuts, which is typical for much of the Midwest. Though there are not any Pawpaw trees along the road, as it is too exposed to sunlight, I am fairly sure they are close by since not too far away there lies a deep creek bottom darkened under a towering canopy of large sycamore, maple, and oak trees, an ideal place after the first frost to find the delicious Pawpaw fruit hanging from its tropical looking branches.

Fall also means sorghum syrup time and the sorghum crop looks great this year with the abundant rains we have been blessed with, though it has been the worst year to bale hay since the floods of 1993. The annual Sorghum Festival of the Crooked River Working Horse and Mule Club is coming up the first Saturday in October. That just begins the fun and work, as there are plenty more sorghum patches to be cut, squeezed, and cooked. This has also got me to thinking about Boxelder syrup . . . that’s right, Boxelder syrup.

Though it’s considered a trash tree by many, the short-lived Boxelder is a member of the Maple family and its seeds are an important food source for deer and other animals during the winter. I must admit that it doesn’t hold a candle to the majestic Sugar Maple, which also grows in these parts, though not nearly as much as the Soft Maple, which grow like weeds around here. Many of the Indian tribes along the Missouri River made syrup from the Boxelder, not to mention the early pioneers who first settled the territory. I’ve never tried it, but I am game to give it a shot. May your fall harvest be a blessing to you with God’s blessing. — The Rural Missourian

A Continuation of “Food For thought — April 15, 2008″

Posted by Rural Missourian on Apr 17th, 2008

In reply to my recent post, Food For Thought – April 15, 2008, one of my readers, Christine, asked a very good question for which I thought I ought to publish an answer as a whole new post. Here is her question: Repentance might be heartfelt and actions might be taken in accordance to the repentance, but the consequences of sin are still strong ties that can’t be unloosed responsibly. How would you propose we start reforming our ways locally?

For sure, the strong ties of our sins must be loosed responsibly. The word responsibly is derived from the word responsible, which comes from the two words, response and able. In Christ, by the empowering of the Holy Spirit (John 14:25, Rom. 8:9, 15:13) within the regenerated believer (Titus 3:5) whose has the law of God written upon their hearts (Heb. 8:10) as new creations in Him (2 Cor. 5:17), we have been enabled by the Lord to keep His commandments (1John 5:3-4, though not perfectly 1John 1:9) as we walk after the Spirit (Rom. 8:4) in establishing the law (Rom. 3:31), that is, to make it the standard for the whole of man, for the whole of life. For Christians that are truly new creations in Christ, therefore, to responsibly loose the ties of their sins means to repent and reform their ways according to God’s law as equally yoked believers, united together as one man (Judges 20:1 & 8-11, Ezra 3:1) under the New Everlasting Covenant (Luke 22:20, Heb. 13:20-21), who repent and reform their ways together as accountable members of the one body of the local church . . . and not as atomistic individuals that happen to attend a church who rebel against the just chastisements of the Lord in autonomous independence, going their own ways out of a carnal reaction to the bad things happening around them.

Responsibly loosing our ties to sin as it applies to what is happening economically today also means that we are not to seek and protect, as though it is the highest priority, the “financial security” and monies (paper investments) we have developed in embracing our wicked economic system, as we have for so many generations. My advise is to cash out of all investments and anything comprised of fiat currency (the US dollar which is dying fast)—though the repentance price of costly penalties and taxes may really hurt—and immediately convert it into tangibles that you steward directly, such as land, animals, tools, etc. Even here, priorities must be kept right, as it is far more important to you and your family’s wellbeing that you covenant together locally in a church of likeminded believers than to acquire land and other tangibles, as important as they are. The day of lone ranger Christianity is rapidly coming to a close, as well as, the days of seeking one’s own financial and material security first over the Kingdom of God.

I’ll probably step on plenty of more toes here, but biblically lawful wealth is tangible and is to be stewarded locally according to the Lord’s commandments (Pro. 27:23-24), it is not paper (virtual) wealth that grows by means of usurious increase. Repenting economically, which is absolutely essential since American Christendom has been worshipping mammon for many generations, will mean forsaking these forms of pagan wealth and cleaving to the Lord, wholly trusting in Him to make the way to responsibly depart from evil while establishing a godly economy that uses honest weights and just measures, that is, the biblical money of gold and silver. This very difficult transition of moving into a God blessed culture will not happen overnight; it will be vigorously opposed by those who worship our debt-based economic system, both believer and unbeliever alike, so faithful patience and humble perseverance will be required for many generations to come, which is also a vital part of responsible repentance and reformation.

We must remember that the children of Israel were repeatedly judged for taking unlawful spoil or dishonest gain. When they came under the just chastisement of God for such actions and their many years of covenant breaking the people asked who will survive such fiery judgments. The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” [The answer is most interesting] He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, He who despises the gain of oppressions, Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil: He will dwell on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; Bread will be given him, His water will be sure (Isa. 33:14-16). With our economy rapidly declining the vast majority of the pensions, 401ks, bonds, and other forms of “savings” Americans are trusting in will soon be destroyed through the loss of purchasing power (inflation) or by default (deflation). This, too, is the righteous harvest of the economic iniquity sown for the last several generations. (I am about to post an article, The USS Pagan Dominion — the Ship of Fools, which deals with our iniquitous central bank, the Federal Reserve, and the credit orgy of the last 60 years).

What I mean by LOCALLY is that repentance and reformation begins FIRST at home, locally where believers live and worship together, and not at the highest levels of a central government (unbiblical) where we try to elect people who “represent our values” to fix our myriad of problems at the national level, a futile endeavor that has no biblical precedent. No, the biblical precedent is and always has been local first, as the Lord blesses the local church and community . . . the national element will follow if His people remain faithful, as we saw with the founding of the united States. In building a genuine Christian community that will bless future generations with a tangible culture and productive land blessed of God, godly government and economics must be established locally in parallel with building the local church, which over time grows by God’s blessing, displacing wicked government and culture as it goes. The last thing to be established in a godly republic, therefore, are the national authorities. And contrary to the all-encompassing salvitic purposes and power we have given them, they are to protect our national borders under very limited power and under the close vigilance of the previously established local authorities who act as strong checks and balances as interpositionary protectors. As part of their covenant breaking, one of the chief reasons Christians today are increasingly being persecuted and shut down throughout the nation, especially the public square, is not because of increasing numbers of militant unbelievers, as they are merely a symptom of the church’s growing apostasy (Deu. 28:43-46), but because God’s people will not come together and live locally by covenant to build the local church and establish lawful local government, which is the bedrock foundation by which a godly nation is built, and in our case, rebuilt.

Sadly, mainline Christians prefer to keep their unequally yoked relationships with the heathen that surround them while participating in the polytheistic pluralism of “democracy,” all the while proclaiming “God Bless America.” “Besides, to obey God in keeping covenant with Him means certain conflict and suffering and who wants any of that in the age of grace and comfort we have today, let alone threatening the many personal financial kingdoms we have worked so hard to build?” In a world where the gates of hell proactively seeks to destroy the church building Christ’s kingdom through preaching and living out The Gospel as a city set on a hill (not as individual lamps scattered among the heathen) will always come with a price. The Puritans understood this well, “Spiritual warfare made the Puritans what they were. They accepted conflict as their calling, seeing themselves as their Lord’s soldier-pilgrims, just as in Bunyan’s allegory, and not expecting to be able to advance a single step without opposition of one sort or another. [from the] The Character of an Old English Puritane or Nonconformist (1646): His whole life he accounted a warfare, wherein Christ was his captain, his arms, prairers and tears. The Crosse his banner and his word [motto] Vincit qui patitur [he who suffers conquers].” (Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were, Zondervan Publishing House, 1986)

To reestablish godly civil authority means that believers must repent of their autonomous freelance ways where they live their lives comfortably mixed in among the heathen as a small minority while embracing their peace and prosperity in building their personal financial kingdoms together with them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. According to the testimony of the Scriptures and the Law of God, God’s people are to live in unity as a locally covenanted people under Him as their Lord (King), a biblical theocracy, wherein they are able to build local godly government FIRST that acts as an interpositionary authority in protecting those under their care, as the early Puritan colonies did. Whenever God’s people have rebelled in seeking a king (or government) like the heathen nations around them they have suffered devastating consequences (1Sam 8:3-18, 10:17-19, 12:11-12), just as we are today. The answer is always the same, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Repentance, reformation, and national restoration begins first when believers come together as covenanted members of the local church where they live in close proximity to each other (a must), working together towards becoming the majority so they can elect godly rulers from among themselves who are directly accountable to them according to God’s law (Deu 17:14-20). As these lawfully established bodies grow by employing God’s law as their standard, so the Lord has promised to bless them in increase, both materially and authoritatively, as the head, and no longer the tail of the culture (Deu 28: 1-14). — The Rural Missourian

Thanksgiving — November 2007

Posted by Rural Missourian on Nov 21st, 2007

Here’s to you, your family, and all who love the great King and glorious Savior, Jesus Christ, a very blessed and most encouraging day of Thanksgiving to Him. It is a most fitting day for Christians to unabashedly gather together in His name — and His name only — to offer Him thanks by faith, and none other. May He bless your day and fellowship to His glory and honor.

Though we see, as the Scriptures put it, “the day of trouble” approaching, we know from His Word and history, which vindicates it, that He always provides for His people, even when they cannot see where, how, or when it will come. I believe the days are now upon us where we American believers in particular will learn this vital truth once again in the painful and humbling crucible of fiery trials and grevious tribulation. I say this as a biblical optimist in Christ the King, Who is faithful and will not leave us to languish in generational apostasy, but in His good timing and pleasure, according to His loving kindness and tender mercies, will set His people free from the captivity of their own making, to worship Him once again as a decidedly Christian culture. 

To that end I leave you with this convicting and uplifting poem by our faithful sister and resident poet, Jan Wyller, which she recently penned from her deep stores of personal experience with Christ the King.  Thank you Jan.   — The Rural Missourian

 

Worry is faith

that God will not provide,

That His compassions fail,

That He, the Truth, has lied;

 

True faith is worry’s death,

Grace gift,

Vow of all mercies,

Blood-bequeathed.

 

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