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Michael Milton (Lex Rex) Ace Collins (Hymns About Heaven)

Janet Mefferd Today / Janet Mefferd
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2019 9:00 am

Michael Milton (Lex Rex) Ace Collins (Hymns About Heaven)

Janet Mefferd Today / Janet Mefferd

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November 11, 2019 9:00 am

In 1644, Scottish churchman Samuel Rutherford gave the world a biblical defense of politics in his seminal book, "Lex Rex." How can Christians today recapture this truth that "the Law is King" in defending our republic today? I'll talk it over with Dr. Michael Milton, interim provost at Erskine Theological Seminary and author of, "Foundations of a Moral Government." Plus: Ace Collins talks about his book, "Stories behind the Songs and Hymns about Heaven." That and more on the next JANET MEFFERD TODAY.


This archived broadcast of Janet Mefford today is brought to you by Tri-Star pictures. A beautiful day in the neighborhood based on the true story of a beautiful day in the neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks and Matthew Reese rated PG parental guidance suggested in theaters November 22, our confidence is in Christ alone again in Scottish churchman Samuel Rutherford published a book challenging the idea and another book of the time that the king is the law and is only answerable to God Rutherford's book was called Lex Rex which means that the law is king, and it began in time to change the very structure of nationstates and was one of the most influential books in the founding of the United States and at a time when America has seen the rise of political power, grabbers, and anarchists and Marxists, and at a time when we are under siege over the role of governance and the rule of law. It really is a critical time for Christians to go back and to re-examine Rutherford's biblical defense of politics as it should be stored in a do that with my next guest who is out with a great book to help us do it. Dr. Michael Melton is interim Provost and James H. Ragsdale tariff missions and evangelism at Erskine theological seminary. He is out with a wonderful resource, a new annotated version in contemporary English of Lex rack so you can read it. The book is called foundations of a moral government. Dr. Milton, it's so great to talk to you again. How are you very well Janet, thank you as always, great meal. Always wonderful to have you here, you know, I am aware that there will be listeners who will be familiar with Lex Rex and Sammy Rutherford and maybe even some brave souls have read it often teeth and the antiquated language of the time, but tell people a little bit if you would about Samuel Rutherford and how it was that he came to write this book.

Lex Rex will kill 1661 and most English because no national Scotland will know as recruits through real cold so down on the question was put divine right of legitimate really. Over and over life calls question was, shall we have a government that is imposed upon us to have a government that actually proceeded to put the people truth claims shows there's evidence in Scripture so he could questions and answers which was in response to all defense of the divine light member of the times cold by Parliament to answer the question what should worship look like in England.

What should government look like an and was very much a part of that. But in addition to that, he wrote this magnificent work which has implications for everyday life around the world.

As governments emerge as dictatorships and as you mentioned in our own culture. We are increasingly divided of our government meanings are found.

Rutherford was extraordinarily influential in answering the questions while he was you point out as well that it wasn't that he was opposed to monarchy is a concept right. It was just that he can believe in the absolute right of monarchs as having the divine right to dictate to the people what everything ought to do to be in terms of the law. That's right, Lex Rex did monarchy monarchy can people allow it out of that constitutional monarchy. She practiced all the other, will many of the Commonwealth nations like Australia also concept of public government by the people monarchy and was so implementable that you inspire all people like for instance John Locke wrote about keep treaties on government viewing dealing with the fact that government has to recognize all people and that we must live out our natural income to one another under the rule of law from Rutherford so I will finish the calls twofold.

I think we need truth will set you free.

John eight and the Bible speaks to the area of government and politics as much as it speaks to their marriage or the human soul. Secondly the good work is so foundational to our understanding of our Republic of human government. The role and the limitations of human government but it was delivered in a way that was a polemic that is was finally response to another argumentative essay and it also is filled with references to other contemporary issues which are to be lost on the reader to show what's interesting we always have to go back and forth talking about trends in world history and try to put ourselves in the shoes of the people who were living there at the time, and I'm sure for a lot of listeners. It's just out of the realm of understanding why in the world you would look at a king and say this guy has the divine right to tell us what to do, but what did people at the time, believe in the king as law.

I mean other than the fact that monarchy was the norm and people just kind of accepted it, was there any kind of deeper reason that they accepted that promise that all of the author of the book of longing to using plenty of Scripture to save the King is the best and absolute monarchy was the best of former government because imitating God and that was a bit of sloppy thinking episode, Rutherford, and so it did have precedent. Many of the people were told that this is the way it is because it's a reflection of the role of God that God rules over us through the king would point. For instance, to the theocracy in the Old Testament before Israel and then when Israel took kings: David and those who follow yesterday. They tried to derive a government based on biblical examples, but they were not careful in their scriptural exegesis and as a result they misted, we are not like God. There is no human being here like God. In fact, were sinners saved by grace and the whole concept of diffidence towards self. That is a distrust of self created the concept.

What was Samuel Rutherford of a division of branches within a government that was what we call checks and balances all the way back to 1644. Kind of interesting because if you're trying to make a biblical case that there is a divine right of kings, it would seem that the Old Testament itself would argue against that. Just when you look at history of how many horrible kings there were in the history of Israel mean there it is right in plain sight that absolutely if they were to say they had a divine right. They certainly didn't display divine behavior yeah and so there is natural there should be a distrust the other. The other part of that though use of the social contract.

This was very thick with wealth carefully put together by Hobson and John Locke, particularly in the social contract is that I have rights my rights must be lived in relationship to your rights so I can't obliterate right the government to take a very quick break will come back with Dr. Michael Melton his book foundations of a moral government. Stay with us will be right back in an effort to Tri-Star pictures comes. Beautiful day in the neighborhood based on the true story of the real-life friendship between Fred Rogers I am a cynical journalist showing kindness and love broken people is so if you're a medical professional. Here's a way to move from success to even greater significance. Mercy ships has an urgent need for pediatric registered nurses you'll be joining dozens of volunteer medical professionals blessed by the opportunity to get more information by visiting mercy mercy ships bringing hope and healing to the world's forgotten the millions of Americans to feel uncertain when it comes to healthcare as a Christian are you looking for healthcare that doesn't violate her morals and convictions are happy to inform you that there is a solution and that solution is liberty healthcare liberty healthcare is a community of like-minded Christians who work together to pay for their medical costs allows you to decide how, when and where you will access healthcare so you can make the best choice for you and your family. Starting at $249 for a single up to $529 a month for a family that's mom dad and all the kids. This is how healthcare should be for more information call 855-585-4237 or visit light your that's like your and regain control over your healthcare costs 855-585-4237 for light your Together were changing healthcare for good today and if you want to understand the foundations of the United gates in the way that we think about government.

You need to know about Samuel Rutherford, in his classic book, Lex Rex, the law is King not the king is law, as was a popular view, it is in his own day, and now Dr. Michael Melton is out with a new annotated version in contemporary English of Lex Rex foundations of a moral government document and you are saying something really important before we had to go to the last break and that was that the social contract was very bad with Samuel Rutherford this idea that I have rights, but those rights have to be lived out in relationship to your rights while yeah why was that such a real change in the way that people had expressed how to live out your life, especially as a Christian because Romans 13 I know has been interpreted different ways depending on the divine right of kings argument versus Lex Rex but can you get into that a little bit and explain why is he came to that conclusion.

From a biblical perspective will remember they were in the midst of war we are today in the midst of an ideological Civil War believe the notion of. They certainly were split. Importantly, thinking that flows from a divine right of kings, kings, you should do it. You should call it, and therefore she says.

Karen spent their dated issue. Anglicanism, or maybe in the form of Anglicanism product of the Protestant faith has to be lived closely, you must worship socially. Rosenberg says no that's not right king, it does not have absolute authority and therefore each and every human being must charge for himself or herself whether this is not whether it's good for me and for my family social contract is the instantly that word doesn't occur until all John Locke that will show John Locke was taking his ideas from Rutherford that we live in concert with one another, allowing each other to express ideas of what George Washington would coin is cooperation without compromise in terms of the way we group speaking of religion, but it was a government people all the people were able to express their opinions and express your ideas in concert with one another. Yes, the government was to protect that law. What he felt was the right of conscience, and so government was there indeed is a representative according to Romans 13 to protect the natural rights of God is a God given rights that were not government granted, says very silly or doesn't answer to every American listening yeah exactly you had summarized Samuel Rutherford's political philosophy by citing this line man by nature is under government paternal, not politic properly, but by the free consent of his well again a very American idea very biblical idea. I mean, this is going back to the word of God, which I think is so important to emphasize whether talking about work as a minister. Whether you're talking about John Locke. He was a position.

First, all surgeon what you're talking about Benjamin Franklin you're talking about other they were peeling the religion if you will of Jesus Christ. Christian faith which was pervasive and we could form Western civilization that we can still work out. My main difference ideas all achieve their greatest settlement in the Constitution of the United States which is dutifully social contract underneath the creator, that's right, that's right, it's interesting.

Another points that is so significant that Rutherford took up was the fact that if the state is contradicting God's law and that's an act of tyranny. This was another big thing of the founders. They said the same thing.

They fought an American revolution over what they rightly called Tierney from the British crown. So what you want out of this. What typical defense did he give because you cite in the book 1st Chronicles 12 David defending himself against King Saul was that Rutherford's justification as well for the question course book about Peter's monarch ought to shut up not preach. Use shaker also noted several decades ago, something that must be opposed. We we cannot allow to happen divine right of kings, philosophy reemerges whenever dogs show people the right again a God given right of conscience and that conscience must be exercise government is not there, but to all allow it to flourish.

That was unique and the glorious brilliance of the American Constitution. Now, how would he deal with issues like limited government and the rule of law. How did he address those issues in Lex Rex, limited government, that government is there to provide, protect property to protect life project conscience. All the God-given rights which you sent so country argument about socialism. He of course would absolutely reject it, is what all of them lives because it simply stealing is nothing. It's not from God. God is property rights, free rights of conscience and so forth. But God is given us, and so government is should be doing that you shouldn't be doing things we don't have time necessarily to go into all that, but he certainly declares limited government is his representative government. People say they can do no more. Yeah yeah exactly well. Unless people think that he was just embraced and applauded across the spectrum's book was burnt, right, and he was charged with treason he got in big trouble for saying these things in his day in big trouble and interestingly enough he was against the regicide of Charles I troll not go along with the more radical elements, Sentry, Wales and Scotland was against as were most of the Scottish commissioners they work absolutely supportive of monarchy, but they wanted constitutional monarchy when Charles II King returns from Spain that the restoration of use.

As we got to burn this book because you simply got to return to a divine right of kings. This man, this breading sedition and he's got he's got to be removed from St. Andrews University where he was and furthermore he should not be allowed to die a natural.

However, old intervened and Rutherford died an old man that I'm actually told his relative right yeah what did I mean, that's a significant thing for people to understand that those who are our forebears and fighting for principles we take for granted did not get off easy and trailblazing.

The way that they did. In particular, Rutherford what you think Rutherford would think of the state of the United States at the moment you cited the fact that we have all this political you know insanity going on some more and more support for socialism. We have more and more political resistance that is turning violence and an lesson last adherence to the U.S. Constitution as originally given to us less adherence to the principles that made America great in fact there's a huge I would say fight against what has made America great to dissembling and I what are your thoughts on that, even reflecting as a theologian on what's going on in the United States wouldn't know exactly what I can guarantee you that he would likely divine judicial response to the sinfulness of the United States whether the insertion portion of sensual allowing sensuality to rule in our lives, and he would respond to likely a judicial judicial protection whereby we were thinking when we use only print only to sex male and female chromosomes. We can't talk about 1/3 gender right and yet we can't, nor can we talk of political philosophies in the nonsensical leads to oppression leads ultimately to God's creation and that is a pastor want to speak to issues for pastor to speak to because it deals with God's creation and God did not tell minister to stop at the shoreline, ecclesiology, or the church but every area of life should be subject to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

That's right that so well said and I couldn't agree with you more, and I think this is such an important book for people to read Dr. Milton. I'm so delighted that you put this into English that everybody can understand and that it will give people more access to the ideas in Lex Rex. Let me get out the title again. It's called foundations of a moral government by Dr. Michael Melton. It went so fast. But thank you so much Dr. Melia. Keep up the good work. Lord bless you.

God bless you for today right after this. This archived broadcast of Janet Mefford today is brought to you by Tri-Star pictures.

A beautiful day in the neighborhood based on the true story. A beautiful day in the neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks and Matthew Reese rated PG parental guidance suggested in theaters November 22 for today one of my favorite things to think about is the promise of heaven think about some of these great lyrics from the old hymn when we all get to heaven. What a day of rejoicing that will we all see Jesus was saying, and shout the victory tardy to say that I like singing it, but if you ever wonder what the back story is on some of these great songs and hymns about heaven to talk about it today with award-winning author Asa Collins as he discusses his book stories behind the songs and hymns about and it's great to say sorry doing all doing well. Talk about this book from my literary agent.

He had been to his mother in law came back to a lot of stories behind books stories behind my head and working on this particular book. I found myself also wishing much earlier on three years ago my father died of cancer in my mother was a social club where my wife teaches us all green Jesus ward out there that my mother was at that time, no problem. That really did project the power of the to be imprinted almost on our file and therefore putting up a short nature endured in spite of the tragedy was much much more meaningful absolute. I mean that's what you say that a lot of these hands really have kind of a sad back story that the person who wrote the hymn was struggling in different ways in different hymn writers were struggling in different ways. Eliza Hewitt's because Eliza Hewitt wrote when we all get to heaven which I just quoted what's the story behind that one right. You call her educated to question, to put herself in class women working for me was caught that she had a purpose: the teacher in the classroom working with underprivileged kids ultimately met with correct white and knocking her down badly.

Termination herself walk a few steps at a time blocks outside crap and she began to develop writing skills, and trigger point time.

Poetry was a lot of that question, and eventually one of those poems. Sunshine was published, followed by more about Jesus, followed my Christian faith began to go, what we would call big white people were circulated throughout the Bible we call she came up after meeting friendly great blogging of the concept of what happened with the words and fortunately that one of these meetings and the clincher was donning Christians to come together without walls and I think that was the big thing for her. She was a very vibrant movement that time she was working with ex-wife someone who believe in the quality of all now that's what God taught in the Bible and what pork she actually created her life, which I think legalistic with all of the verses you know, fighting off crippling pain. The second growing actually trying to reach out to go work here on earth last first combined.

It really felt that so interesting.

Well there so many others that you highlight.

For example, and I try to pick out some of the ones that most people will probably know but you think of the Negro spiritual swing low Sweet chariot.

I think everybody knows that when Wallace Willis, who pens that one.

But what was the story behind that. Because, you know, in all honesty, I never really knew the story behind swing low Sweet chariot until I picked up your book mobile interesting life began like oh ironically enough, I talked to Alabama when Choctaws were forced to go turkeys in the crib appears in property. Willis was property and so you go to follow his master, Oklahoma territory and he was the Bible with a local children's school as a janitor was somebody constantly looking way to take the many of whom were Native American and give them something to learn more about the faith that he had embraced the Christian and in the process he thought about the about the great story. The chariot combined that a little bit to do with with the knowledge that was common with a lot of African-American the Jordan River was important you know there's another to grow spiritually in this book is adapted into a Negro spiritual goal that emphasizes that as well and on the other side of the river was finally changed and go to heaven or you would be treated as an equal work, God love you were, you wouldn't be classified as personal worth it. Trigger point children, we should not know what it somebody that will Spencer you Alexander grabbed onto it and took it back to and gave it to this, the greatest spiritual choir in history. No doubt about it. They were led by man. The collective spiritual that this is one of the closures used in concert and it was so popular that the claimant will clean and so probably the best known of all our garden to grow spiritual can actually Wallace will become freedom and American Indian. What we now know so interesting and yet you also say even though this was a song inspired by the Old Testament. It has a New Testament message which is absolute report. No, I think Jordan mentioned to me in the Bible, and most of us crossing Jordan was important part of the sleep for Moses, but we have used it symbolically for as getting from this life to the Negro slaves would soon Jordan roll the field. It was a sign that they were going to try to escape that night and get across the Ohio River and the Ohio River symbolic and therefore to cross the river you you release to change your 40 so that all of the relate to think that we have to pause for a quick break stories behind the size and hymns about heaven will be right back. I was afraid I was skiing.

I know what to do?

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All gifts are tax-deductible to donate down 1855402, baby. That's 855-402-2229 or there's a beautiful day in the neighborhood based on the true story of the real-life friendship between Fred Rogers I am a cynical journalist showing kindness and love broken people is serving as a volunteer on the Mercy ship is like no other. Julie serving on the largest nongovernmental hospital ship in the world, providing free care to some of the world's poorest people.

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The book is called stories behind the songs and hymns about heaven and I love so many of these hymns and songs that even included in the bookcase we were talking a little bit about in particular swing low Sweet chariot Wallace Willis in the Negro spiritual that everybody will now in the back story there but you know when we talk about rivers and you mentioned how important was the theme of the Jordan River and the Jordan River in the Bible and how much this imagery comes up you got another hand that you mentioned in the book. Shall we gather at the river.

Can you talk about that one and and what her back story is to that one Robert Lowry was a writer River obviously was very important to life was back when America was going west and everything you where you and the western territories so he looked at the river as a conduit as a child that took you to great adventure and printer and was in the midst of the Civil War River also took people way to work. It never came back.

And so he was in the midst of a time when three people max one of her work not in the days of before the Civil War country were everybody with the church about 30% of people build and so he was congregation that was coming in was because of the support people who normally couldn't come to church and have lost loved ones to come up with an answer and so the book of Revelation. 1 billion is cool off and he began to think.

I think the miracle of this thing was most preachers who are going to go back and scare the congregation with death, what what they say. You know, here's a man that would soon bring comfort. The congregation little life where was leading to a place where we all gather again to gather hand. Therefore a picnic on the grounds that was so coming back together along the river. Another picnic something great for you and so when he wrote that he was using Revelation in the very much different way than most people do.

He was announcing was really announcing not much wrath and the other in the comfort that went with you, especially because I want to make stored I came back to me and I will work all okay. One favor to ask. You can cut out what songs you want to cut out what the book has to begin with) printer and those were my directives in writing and I one of the kingdom goes to solve the book in this project will really tell the.

Worry not just going to have but most of the songs talk about bringing a bit of heaven to earth and our ability as Christians to do that for people who are lost. Talk about those two hands. Then when you talk about wayfaring stranger and victory in Jesus, you know, people will know these songs. But what makes them bookends which you say I sort of way.

Stranger because I think it is a story of a man or woman who wrote the song going from place to place. Obviously, there are probably very poor and are looking for someone to reach out and comfort them and offer them a hand someone offer them close and get passed by. They have permit the slave they know when they get to heaven will be passed by Jesus welcome them with open arms and give them they will be locked for the first time they will be accepted for the first time and I think way.

Wonderful story song format is much like the good Samaritan we need to be looking for these people not looking. The rear is much in looking outside the window for people who literally are no pressure what the hell here on earth and we need to. Some of them and they don't have to wait till I die.

They can actually experience some of it right now and the way that happens is for sure a bit of our faith are Bovard R will start the book with that Jesus. Meanwhile the book with I think and I think it is because the story behind Eugene Bartlett, one of the greatest writers of all time 500. This is a man who was his ability to shape thoughts into music Kaddish you know anybody like him I would wait if people saw the recent PBS Hank Williams gospel music because he could take things that were simple, put them in a simple format and give us complex thought.

And he wrote so many great so everybody will be happy with their camping in chain of my soul and fire like he was earning 53 years old from eight across the world before King important person in the great depression.

He never got poor because of how as well as social and people always set up you whatever challenge what all this train coming back. He had a stroke and by the time he got to his home, not even a word.

He was stuck in his bed. He could go nowhere going from room and a brief instant, and people watching to find out when Bartlett was displaced and they watched him over the course of several weeks for his hand and waiting for him to wait for God, what you done this to me that he jammed a pencil that finished the course of the next two month to month 1520 of constant work and sweating while his testimony did show he had not lost his no longer sing gave us victory in Jesus and victory in Jesus. If you read the words first and second verse talks about his trial talks about the weakness talk about the mere fact that at the end there is victory. Most powerful powerful song I've ever come across actually ever published. What a great legacy.

Do you have a particular favorite out of all the hymns and songs about having that you studying all the stories that you came across what did one just just as I can that you would sing in church or sing at home. Is there one in particular that you like the best stories, each one of the bill came out, working with children and each one different surface sewing for God stored in your life would be on the sun with Amanda couldn't see you in the midst of a thunderstorm rolling you all the things you watch the sunset with his mind over the water and told the songwriter the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen and I think when when you're looking at that you you're looking at the ability of a believer to see beyond what you can visually cross therefore go into a place where were here to show you will in his mind all the beauty and glory to the seven think that's maybe an example of what a lot of us lost in a world of well with you will and failed to see the opportunities to help. I was struck as I wrote this book and in the strict Scripture.

The came back to me time and time again was Christ corrective to the disciples in Matthew 25, 35, the least of these, because it least of these songwriters were the least of found grace gospel ship which was written.

But what that is what people can read all of these stories in the book is called stories behind the songs and hymns about heaven by Ace Collins Ace. It was so good to have you here.

Thank you very very much for being with us to know what you two got my suitcase. Thanks for joining us on Janet Mefford today.

We always appreciate you tuning in and are grateful for. You will see next time right here

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