July 3, 2020
For the past twenty-nine weeks, we have dealt with this nation’s
earliest founders, the covenant they made with each other, and the covenant
they made with the Lord to establish a nation under God, a nation that would
spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ around the world. We have talked about the fact that every one
of the 13 colonies established the fact that their existence was due to the
favor of God. The fact is that everyone of the 50 states that now exist pretty
much followed the example of those first 13 colonies who began the formation of
Today and for next two weeks, I want to deal with Thomas
Jefferson, his letter to the Danbury Baptist church, his faith, and the
subsequent abominations to his letter by the FDR Supreme Court.
is the religion of those who trust in the government of man; it is the religion
of those who want to make man's government to be God; it is the religion of of
those who truly hate God, who hate Jesus Christ (they won't admit to that, and
in fact will argue just the opposite) and oppose with every corpuscle of their
being a supreme, final, "buck-stops-here"
authority that is higher than theirs.
years I've had more discussions than I can count with people who want to argue
their religion with me. I'm not interested in arguing religion. Any
religion! There isn't a religion known to, or formed by, man that's worth
a grain of salt!
All of my
conservative friends and associates, please bear with me. I'm warning you
that my next statement is likely to raise the hackles on the back of your neck
so just stand back for a minute and let me explain.
Jefferson was right when he wrote the Danbury Baptist Church that, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act
of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
"make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church
& State." What
blow your lids, let me explain. The pastor of the
positions come and go. Doctrinal positions are the atrophied thoughts of
men and women etched in stone without regard to the reality of relationship.
Churches and denominations and organizations think through a position, and then
set that position down on paper as a marker of where they stand on an issue --
based on where they are or are not in their relationship with God and with the
Lord Jesus Christ. That begins the definition of religion.
digress for a minute. We all know how the FDR Supreme Court in 1947 and
1948 ruled in McCollum v. Board of Education that, "in the
words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was
intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'"
Since McCollumforbade religious instruction in public schools, it
appeared that the court had used
people seem to be aware of is that the final text of Jefferson's letter to the
years ago, when Louis Freeh was still FBI Director, he was approached by the
then-director of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress with a
request for the FBI to use its state-of-the-art technology to restore
Jefferson's obliterated words on the original manuscript of his letter.
Freeh agreed, and the FBI was successful in restoring
Jefferson was no God-hater. He was, however, the target of religious
zealots and extremists who sought to label him an "atheist" because
he refrained from using his pulpit as President to make religious
declarations. I won't take the time today to put his letter to the
Danbury Baptists in its entire historical context, but suffice it to say that
he took the opportunity to use that letter to answer his accusers.
from the Library of Congress essay on Jefferson's letter, "One of the most
obnoxious features of the Federalists' American monarchy, as the Republicans
depicted their putative project, was a church established by law, and Jefferson
doubtless expected those who read his message to understand that, by supporting
"British" fasts and thanksgivings, the Federalists were scheming, as
always, to open a door to the introduction of an ecclesiastical tyranny.
indicting the Federalists for their "Tory" taste for thanksgivings
unedited draft of the Danbury Baptist letter makes it clear why
somewhat gone astray from my original purpose for today's discussion.
religion into government decree or mandate secularizes and waters down the
entire purpose for faith and relationship with God. Government does not
exist for the purpose of furthering religion. Government exists for the
exclusive purpose of providing "a quiet and peaceable life
in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the
sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto
the knowledge of the truth." (I Timothy 2:2-4)
exists exclusively as God's plan to bring about an orderly society in which the
Gospel of Jesus Christ has free intercourse. It has always existed for
that Jefferson, despite his obvious rancor against his accusers and attempt to
use the Danbury letter as an answer, saw how polluted the Gospel became under
the English church-state, and under the rule of despots throughout history who
attempted to misuse and abuse the Gospel for personal gain and power. He
determined that worship should be the free exercise of people in a relationship
with God -- not a state or government-sponsored religion.
subsequent acts as President demonstrated that.
repeat something I've probably said dozens, if not hundreds, of times.
is nothing more and nothing less than man deciding the terms of his
relationship with God (or some false god) in order to avoid responding to the
Lord Jesus Christ on His terms within the framework of a
love-relationship. It matters not whether the religion calls itself
"Christian" or not. Every single church denomination, whether
it be Evangelical, Pentecostal, or
single religion is such because it negates personal responsibility and personal
responsiveness to the Lord Jesus Christ. The world today is filled with
religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Animism and fistfuls of
others far too numerous to name. Some of these religions promote the
worship of false gods. Others supposedly honor God Almighty, but propose
ways to please God that are neither based in reality nor relationship.
one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ changes everything.
Christianity, when it departs from the religious concept, goes from being a
religion to being a personal relationship with a living Lord and Saviour.
Once that takes place, everything changes perspective.
I was four
years old when I began to have personal experiences of seeing and being visited
by angels. When I was seven years old, I saw Jesus for the first
time. The Bible went from being theoretical to being real.
the truth of the statement made by the apostle Paul, "All
scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God
may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
may have indeed been penned by men, but they wrote under the direct inspiration
of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not some mystical, ethereal being:
He is a real personage, a part of the triune Godhead. He speaks directly
to those who will listen. He leads -- again, directly -- those who will
follow. He teaches and prepares those who will submit to become like the
Lord Jesus Christ so that individuals may enter into a real one-on-one place of
fellowship with Him.
isn't theoretical. It isn't mystical. It isn't some kind of
philosophy. It is a practical record of the plans and purposes of the
Lord Jesus Christ for a people who are willing to enter into a personal,
living, day-by-day relationship with Him. It serves as a guide to bring
us to that relationship.
doesn't work for people who try to use it for philosophical purposes, or for
people who try to equate it with the Quran, or the writings of Confucius, or
any other philosopher who lived throughout history. It is set apart from
every other single written work by virtue of the fact that it is the
authoritative word of God, spoken to and through men who lived a personal
relationship with Him.
sets it apart is that there is nothing written in Scripture that cannot be
tested and proven. Jesus made some bold and stupendous statements which
are either true or they are not. If they are true, they can be
proven. If they are false, then everything He ever did or said was a
said, "I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh
to the Father but by me." (see John 14:6)
Him apart from every other leader that ever lived. Mohammed never claimed
that he was the only way to God. Buddha never claimed to be anything but
a prophet. Confucius never claimed to be anything but a
philosopher. No one else in history has ever said, "I AM THE
WAY." No one else in history has ever said, "NO MAN COMETH TO
THE FATHER BUT BY ME."
statements are either true or they are false. They either stand on their
own merit as truth, or they fail because Jesus was a fraud. Jesus was not
"a good man." He was not just "a prophet." He
was not, as Mohammed suggested, "another messenger sent from
God." Jesus Christ either was the Son of God, or He was a raving
lunatic. There are no two ways about it.
He was and is the Son of God, if indeed He did provide the only way of
redemption so that man could enter into a genuine relationship with God the
Father, then that relationship is not religious, and it is not a religion: it
is reality. That, in summary, is what separates true Christianity from
religion: it is a relationship with the Lord God -- not a religion in which you
hope to please God.
Those who argue
religion fall on their own merit. Their arguments make clear the fact
that the Bible -- to them -- is simply a book of religious statements or
arguments. The argument they often propose that it wasn't written by God
is simple proof in itself that they do not know the Lord personally.
When I speak of a
relationship with the Lord, I am talking about entering into and enjoying every
thing Jesus promised to "those who believe." That said, now
being past my 78th birthday, I have experienced over the past sixty-plus
years virtually every single promise that Jesus ever made to His
believers. I have been healed of numerous diseases. I was raised
from the dead at age 41 after dropping dead of a heart attack. I have
seen broken bones healed instantly. I have seen the deaf made to hear,
the blind made to see, the crippled made to walk. I have seen cancers
disappear, tuberculosis vanish, Parkinson's Disease wiped into
nothingness. I have seen countless thousands of people's lives changed
beyond description because they entered into a personal relationship with Jesus
Christ and allowed Him to become the Lord of their lives.
This is not a
religion: it is a relationship. And, my friends, it is a relationship
open to you if you are willing.
In case you
are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday
worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:30AM
Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the
access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings
available on video usingZOOM. If you wish
to participate by video on ZOOM, our login ID is 835-926-513. If you miss the live voice-onlycall, you can
dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded –
not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76502
Email Contact: CapenerMinistries@protonmail.com
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