Discretion will guard you, understanding will watch over you,
To deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things;
From those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness;
Who delight in doing evil and rejoice in the perversity of evil;
Whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways;
To deliver you from the strange woman, from the adulteress who flatters with her words;
That leaves the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God;
For her house sinks down to death and her tracks lead to the dead;
None who go to her return again, nor do they reach the paths of life.
So you will walk in the way of good men and keep the paths of the righteous.
For the upright will live in the land and the blameless will remain in it;
But the wicked will be cut off from the land and the treacherous will be uprooted from it.
“What we see in Genesis 2 is not only an account of the creation of Adam and Eve. In the garden, God and man entered into an agreement. God bestowed certain benefits upon Adam; He gave him life and all the provisions he needed to sustain life in the garden. He creates man sinless and in a state of joy and fellowship. Moses recounts the boundaries wherein this agreement is binding: the garden of Eden. Finally, God establishes the conditions whereby man might remain in this “estate”: care for the garden and do not eat of the tree.
“This arrangement between God and Adam was fully determined beforehand by God; man in no way takes part in negotiations with God over this agreement. God has given life to man, and man is expected to honor God’s just requirements in order to remain in the estate in which he was created. This arrangement between God and Adam has major implications for us today. Paul tells us that we are either in Christ or in Adam. Where Adam was unfaithful and broke his agreement with God, securing that all of his children would be born in bondage to sin, Christ is faithful, redeeming His church from bondage to sin.”
excerpt from the lesson I recently taught at Sovereign Joy: The Shorter Catechism - A Baptist Version, Question 13
Q.15: What special act of providence did God exercise towards man in the estate wherein he was created?
A. When God created man, He entered into a covenant of life with him upon condition of perfect obedience forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death.
The Baptist Catechism of 1693
(cf. Question and Answer 12 from the Westminster Shorter Catechism)
That settles it. The expert has weighed in.
In The Federalist Papers, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were most concerned with the issue of factions. From a 21st century perspective and after only cursory read, one might come away with the impression that political parties are the modern equivalent of what Hamilton and Madison called factions. However, parties and factions are treated as different entities in the Papers themselves and the political climate at the founding of the nation leaves little doubt as to what Hamilton and Madison meant by factions. Considering the French and American revolutions at the end of the 18th century, the concern for federalists was the preservation of a united central government and the simultaneous preservation of personal liberty. They saw the proposition of a confederation of autonomous states with a loose council representing each state as the largest threat to the stability of the union. What role then do political parties play in the United States? The two-party system dates all the way back to the founding of America as a nation but, still to this day, it is seen by many independent voters as the biggest problem with the American politics today.
The Origin of the Two Parties
The Democratic and the Republican parties have undergone drastic changes since they were first conceived. The Democratic Party, it is posited, dates all the way back to the country’s founding. By the Civil War, it had become the party of the South. It was a party that was most known for pushing for states’ rights, with slavery and the right to secede as the most prominent of the states’ rights issues being touted. During the civil rights movement, Southern Democrats provided the most ardent opposition to desegregation. However, some remarks made by prominent Republican politicians forever branded the Republican party as racist and insensitive in the minds of many minorities.
Ironically, the Republican Party was the party of Abraham Lincoln and the abolitionists. It was also the party that fought for a strengthened union and less states’ rights. Today, while minorities en mass are migrating from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, it is also the only party where any mention is made of states’ rights. Early on, issues such as Socialism vs. Capitalism, conservatism vs. progressivism, and interventionism vs. anti-interventionism, were not the major issues that divided the two parties. In fact, many of these issues were not even on the radar for them. These issues came much later. These are the issues with which the Republican and Democratic parties are concerned today.
The Two Parties Today
There are basically three major issues that are used to try to determine the major differences between the two parties: the economy, foreign policy, and social issues. On the economy, both parties are largely made up of progressives, those who wish to push for more government intervention in the nation’s economy. Granted, socialists are more prominent in the Democratic Party and capitalists are more prominent in the Republican Party, but neither is controlled by either of these two ideological factions. Thus, the controlling ideologies in both parties, one might observe, are so similar in forward direction as to provide the voter with little ultimate difference. Though the Democratic Party gets the nation to its eventual destination at a faster rate of acceleration, both parties are pushing the party in toward that same economic destination.
On foreign policy, both parties are interventionistic and largely concerned with the propagation of democracy in the broader world. However, when dealing with the ideologically and religiously driven Middle East, neither party seems willing to recognize that the fact that the problem is not political but ideological. They both believe that democracy is the solution, but neither seems willing to ask what type of government a people who affirm Sharia law would vote into place.
Social issues really seem to be the only area of real difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans, by and large, tend to take more conservative stances on social issues, but they also tend to shy away from discussing them in political debate as they concede these issues as being already lost to the radical left. Democrats are much more outspoken about the social issues. They have made much progress in recent years in getting laws passed that undermine the traditional and biblical views of marriage, sanctity of life, and the education of children on issues such as religion, sex and sexuality, and evolution.
The major differences, then, of the two parties, is to be found in their stances on social issues. On the other issues, they bear a striking resemblance to one another. For this reason, many independents are torn. They desire to vote for conservative capitalists in the Republican Party, but the progressive elite that govern that party make such a choice counter-intuitive. Independents, then, see themselves as having no party and no real choice.
The Federalists, not being concerned with political parties but with primarily being concerned with what would result from a loose confederation of states, set up a system in which two parties would perpetually duke it out in a federal, centralized government. In this system, however, there will always be two parties that are primarily concerned with their own agenda that may or may not provide a clear choice to the public. This is the situation in which America finds itself today. The political parties provide independents with no real, clear choice. The question remains, “Should an independent voter support the party with which they agree the most, even though that party is increasingly moving away from the principles the voter holds dear?”
Listening to Kevin DeYoungs new book “The Hole in Our Holiness - Filling the Gap Between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness” for a review… good good stuff so far!