Noah Webster had much to say about the role of government and the responsibility of citizens to administer such government. In addition to the quote above Webster also stated:
“If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes.”
“If the government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Law.”
“The Bible must be considered as the great source of all the truth by which men are to be guided in government as well as in all government transactions.”
I have been teaching through Psalms for the past 1.5 years and have made it as far as Psalm 35. I have spent the last 5 weeks in this chapter talking about the role of governments (see 35:20). Of course when you begin speaking about the role of government American Christians almost without exception state that people are to obey them completely with only minor exceptions such as when they might attempt to make you do something God commands otherwise. They don’t really believe that at all. They merely say that in order to continue to live their lives without any cognitive dissonance.
“For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Recently I was told by a Lutheran pastor that this verse cannot be interpreted in a literal sense. As you read and understand this verse, do you believe it to be understood in a figurative sense or a literal sense? Are there parts of last two lines in this verse to be understood as literal and other parts as figurative?
The basis for statements such as the one you received is theological perspective. Lutherans are Reformed in their theology and almost always amillennial in their eschatology. This means they will interpret much of the prophetic material within the Scriptures as metaphorical, symbolic, and/or figurative.
Metaphorical, symbolic, and/or figurative interpretations of Isaiah do not answer questions such as “why do the New Testament writers cite Isaiah in support of their presentation of the gospel,” if the prophetic material such as Isaiah 9:6 is not to be taken literal? With the exception of the book of Psalms, Isaiah is referenced by the New Testament writers more than any other book. This seems odd if the view of the New Testament writers was that Isaiah was not to be interpreted literally as fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Do you know anything about the “Restoration Movement” and any of the churches that came from that movement (i.e. Churches of Christ, Independent Christian Churches, Disciples of Christ, etc.)? Are their doctrines and teachings biblically sound?
The “restorationists” as they were called, were people from many different denominational backgrounds. They all held one common belief, namely that Christianity had lost its way and had fallen into apostasy. Some of these groups were originally referred to as “Campbellites.”
The Campbellites were groups led by Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone who later split to become the three main groups you inquire about – Churches of Christ (non-instrumental), Independent Christian Churches, and the Disciples of Christ, and are commonly referred to corporately under the title “Restoration Movement” today.
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This is the first in a series of teachings through the book of Psalms. It is an exposition of 119:1-4.
The Hebrew title for the Psalms is the word “Tehilim” which means “praise songs” “Psalms” in the Greek is Psalmoi and means a “collection of poems sung to musical accompaniment.” Psalm 40 seems to embody these definitions – “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and hear and put their trust in God.”
I hope you will be encouraged and gain new insight as you study through the book of Psalms with me. Enjoy!