Tuesday, May 29, 2007

MY MEMORABLE QUOTE -- with Mea Culpa --by humble Barb

I saw that a couple of you were wondering if anything you ever said or wrote would be "quotable" for history. Here's my attempt:

"The ACLU and those who agree with them want a state that favors their world view and behaves publically as though God does not exist and need not be heeded, thanked, or reverenced --and cannot be called upon by our leaders in times of national crisis."

Mea Culpa:

Go here: http://www.aclu.org/religion/govtfunding/26526res20060824.html

This is ACLU's page to say, "Yes, we really do defend Christians also!" I'm not sure the info here really nullifies my quote, however.

I was surprised at their defense of street preaching, in particular --and defending students who pass out lit at school in non-instructional time. I'm thinking the ACLU has sometimes been on the other side of such cases.

I can't help but think that these are exceptional cases, depending on the lawyers involved --that the ACLU also has evidence of ridiculous oppression of Christians in public places.

Would they have defended the valedictorian's right to free speech, when the plug was pulled on her mic because she wanted to tell about the relationship of her faith to her success as a scholar? The school made a lousy point in this instance and disrupted what should have been a dignified occasion recognizing a scholar's right to innocuous free speech. Had she wanted to be vulgar and cuss like a sailor, I'd say she was out of order and should have her plug pulled. But religious speech should be protected. Yes, a Jewish or Muslim student should be able to quote some good tenets of their belief in a speech, too. I wouldn't advise an atheist to say "There is no God" in such a speech --but that's what he'll do when he's a professor at the tax-supported U's. He can still state his creed of self-sufficiency and "I can do anything I set my mind to" and promote a secular philosophy of life.

The ACLU has been particularly obnoxious when it comes to the evidence of Christian heritage of American government at all levels, tampering with town seals, mottos, memorials, etc. --preparing long before necessary for the time when other religions will make up larger portions of our population than they did when crosses were erected at ARlington Cemetary for all our nation's war-dead. Without meaning to "establish religion," our Christian and Deist founders nevertheless did favor the good influence of the Bible, Jesus, and religion in general upon the citizenry. They studied the Bible in public school. They celebrated the Christian holidays in the schools. They believed in reverencing the God of Creation and Nature, the God of the Bible in their public ceremonies and courts. As one forefather said, (and I don't have the citation or exact quote in front of me and don't know where to find it): "The Constitution was written for a religious people and won't work for any other." Because those people were taught to be moral and have self-control --and had a consensus about right and wrong to which they could appeal in their decision making.

Of course, the man who made the statement was talking about the main religion of the Colonials --Christianity --because that religion teaches The Golden Rule (Treat others as you'd want to be treated) and the Ten C's (Don't kill, murder, covet, lie and adulterate, in particular.) Christ taught love and forgiveness and generosity, the equality of all before the cross, the necessity of humility (we have all sinned) and compassion with non-judgmental attitude, in "Let He who is sinless cast the first stone."

The Bible does not tell us to refrain from defining and preaching the difference between good and evil --which is now viewed as being "judgmental." No, we are still to teach our children and other people's children the difference between good and evil --and government has a role to "restrain evil."

Gov't becomes horribly confused when it no longer recognizes immorality itself --and starts to pay for gay marriage, permit gay adoptions, makes legitimate and pays for transgendering (as in San Francisco gov't.), sanctions prostitution, strip bars and unrestrained porn. Legitimizing drugs would be another example. All of these things contribute to the decline of our families --and families need to be strong and healthy and "decent" in order to be the safety net for all its members --for those who can't get work, become disabled and ill, need comforting in times of emotional stress. Family businesses employed their own. Strong families are the bedrock of strong nations --and nations need to encourage families by restraining the influences that tear at the fabric of family life. Sexual sin always does that. Raising kids without good fathers tends to do that. Redefining family as we are doing now is an offense to the creator who designed us for heterosexual reproduction in marriage and no other sexual relationships.

Our tv culture has changed American culture, and not for the better. All of a sudden our young adults think they are characters on "Friends" and "Seinfeld" and think they can sleep around and shack up --with only a giggle of mild regret about the disappointments and depressions, jealousies and angers, diseases and abortions that actually result from such circumstances. TV suggests we can easily and often sleep around, divorce, re-marry and abort without deeply affecting ourselves and our children for life.

My generation was the Hippie Generation. Tim Leary said drugs were mind-expanding; the "make love, not war" creed of the Haight-Ashbury flower children has produced the moral relativism of today--with big support from the intellectual elites of universities.

We do well to examine American cultural roots and value the religion and book which were most influential on the best strengths of American Society.

As 19C. French philosopher Alexis de Toqueville wrote: "America is great because she is good. The secret of her goodness lies in her churches with pulpits aflame with righteousness. If she ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."

Have we ceased to be great? Are we on our way to the Fall of Rome? Sodom and Gomorrah?

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


John Foust said...

You do realize there are many people in the world, as well as the United States, who don't believe exactly what you do? But let's even leave out the non-believers for a moment.

If you have insight into how to inspire the world's many religions to play nice with each other, please pass it along. Your insight could improve the lives of billions of people who are now suffering.

From what I've seen, as soon as one starts to exercise governmental powers, followers of other religions tend to take offense for being forced to pay for things they don't believe, or being required to say things they don't believe.

Pick a religion that's not your own - Imagine its fervent followers being elected to your city council and school board, and having no restrictions on the way they determine that you'd need to "heed, thank or reverence" in their notion of God. Would you like that?

Pick a theocracy, anywhere in the world: Which one would you like to live in?

Barb said...

We have been the nation that opened its arms to people of other creeds and allowed them to worship freely.

If our system wasn't broken, why fix it?

People knew they were being welcomed by "a Christian nation" --i.e. a nation made up of Christians --not one that coerced Christian belief by governmental mandate. The religious immigrants aren't the ones protesting all vestiges of our Christian heritage.

It's our home-grown atheists and agnostics who spend all their time worrying about evangelicals' influence in the public sector. They speak of evangelicals as "they" vs. the rest of America (so do "we", actually) --but in reality, America's history was evangelical --devout --church-going --agreeing about definitions of morality --and in agreement with the devout of other faiths on the moral issues.

The cultural war is fueled mostly by the liberals --not the orthodox believers of non-Christian, non-evangelical religions. The devout of other faiths feel free in a Christian nation. The liberals, however, want immorality to be sanctioned on a par with morality --such that the immoral becomes moral.

As the Bible predicted, in the last days, men would call good evil, and evil, good. That's where we are.

Barb said...

By "heed" --I mean upholding the views of morality held by most of the major orthodox religions--as though the Supreme Being by any name wanted us to be moral people and should be heeded in that regard --besides the fact that traditional morality IS best by most any objective research measure and common sense.

By "thank" --I refer to our national day and remarks of gratitude to our maker --starting with our founding fathers, even the morally liberal Ben Franklin who called for prayers for guidance and attitude of gratitude to God at the Constitutional Congress.

by reverenced --I mean a respect for the faith of others if we ourselves have none --such that we don't quibble over their prayer meetings, public ceremonial prayers and petitions for God's blessing and guidance and help.

Even the Muslims say Allah is the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob --and Jesus Christ. So the major religions should be able to come together to petition God's mercy and aid in times of crisis without the atheists getting up in arms over it.

After all, nobody can make them believe or pray. They can be a little patient while believers do what gives them hope and comfort in their times of crisis.

Barb said...

As for how to bring the religions together in peace? Well, the fundamentalist extremists who hate are not listening to the right prophets. Mohammad gave conflicting advice. Jesus, on the other hand, is really clear that we should "Love your enemies." "Return good for evil." and "Pray for those who despitefully use you" and "turn the other cheek."

That doesn't mean we ignore the plight of the needy, the injustices, and never go to war against crazed bullies like Hitler, Hussain and bin Ladin.

because Jesus also said somewhere, "Set free the captives and liberate the oppressed." We rightly protect the helpless and downtrodden if we can.

John Foust said...

I'd say both the Bible and the Koran have plenty of conflicting advice, and followers of both religions pick and choose depending on what they want to defend.

Arguably, the Bible has more conflicting advice because it's longer and there's a greater psychological gulf between the Old and New Testments.

They're both pretty good at claiming they're all about peace, right up until those moments when they're all about the smiting.

Barb said...

You wrote: "Pick a religion that's not your own - Imagine its fervent followers being elected to your city council and school board, and having no restrictions on the way they determine that you'd need to "heed, thank or reverence" in their notion of God. Would you like that?"

It's not "no restrictions" that permit a board to open with a prayer for guidance and harmony --it's not dangerous to thank the Creator for blessings --It's not wrong to reverence the object of most people's religious devotion,(a Creator God) and it's not wrong to respect the positive role of faith communities in rearing children and cultivating good citizens. It's not wrong to recognize Rabbi Jesus as the greatest teacher ever.

The orthodox believers of these major religions in America would all agree that we should "HEED" the Creator's standards of moral decency, honesty, protection and opportunity for children.

The Jews, Muslims, and Christians all worship the God of Abraham, Isaac,Jacob and Ishmael --they all claim Adam and Even and these others as their religious forebearers.

But only the Christians are taught as clearly to love and forgive --the others just had "eye for an eye." It's the eye for an eye that Jesus moderated --"You have heard it said of old, "eye for an eye" --but I give you a new commandment --that you ....return good for evil --love your enemy --forgive 70 x 7" etc.

To Christians, the "just war" is one where we are liberating people from a tyrant and helping them to have a democracy of gov't of, by, and for the people. Not one where we are simply trying to "get even" but one where we are trying to stop a villain or totalitarian regime. There are too many of those for us to take all of them on at once, so, admittedly, we focus on those regimes which have attacked us or are a threat to our interests and allies first.

As for the Bible and the conflicting advice --it's not conflicting for the Christians who take their advice from the New Testament which does not give the Christian license to smite --except for the "just war" described above.

I'd like to live in America as it is --and was --when its moral/spiritual climate was a little more wholesome. Though I am encouraged that there are so many evangelicals today who respect the Bible.

America historically opened meetings with prayer --and still opens the supreme Court and the congress with prayer, right? Ben Franklin suggested it at the Continental Congress. So what's to fear from opening the school board meeting with prayer? Nothing.

I'm not afraid to have people of other religions on the Board --but more afraid to have atheists running everything --and liberals running everything as though there were no God --like amoral and immoral sex ed courses.

John Foust said...

I am sure you are thoughtful enough and imaginative enough to imagine my point... People who feel strongly about their beliefs are the ones who will be most sensitive to being compelled, through the force or power of government, to perform or comply with directives that run contrary to your internal moral compass.

Imagine a roomful of Christians of all stripes. Around here in Wisconsin, the room would include Catholics, perhaps three different varieties of Lutherans (including one sect that doesn't like to do anything with others), Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, Mennonites, Amish, Mormons. (I'm leaving out the other religions I know are in our school district, like Jews and Jainists.) Is there even one prayer they'd agree on?

What's to fear? That any one religion feels so self-important and empowered that they stop respecting the beliefs of others.

I've known lots and lots of "liberals" who are Christians. Why do you speak of them as if you have nothing in common with them? Do they all agree with your spin on "just war"?

Barb said...

No question that Christians who believe as I do have trouble believing that social or political liberals can really be Bible-believing Christians --if they support abortion for convenience and gay wrongs and transgendering and protect porn access and a constitutional right to crummy entertainment media(woman-bashing rap artists --and immorality- promoting tv) by voting for Democrats. Democrats tend to support all sorts of "rights" as constitutional --but are most critical of free expression of religion. Except when they roll out the gospel choirs and religious rhetoric for their conventions.

It tends to be conservatives who want limitations on porn, who are more active at prosecuting kiddie porn, who want penalties on porn purveyors who refuse to confine themselves to blockable web address distinction --it's conservatives who have Parental TV concerns and try to reach the advertisers to help us promote a more wholesome culture for rearing children --including those children whose parents don't monitor their cultural influence as much as you do. It's the liberals who always think America is wrong compared to the rest of the world, who are most antagonistic toward tradition and patriotism -who like to say america was never a Christian nation, etc.(as opposed to being an atheistic, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim nation.)

The decline in morality (abortion, gay rights, porn prevalence) such as the items mentioned above are the biggest changes in our culture in the last half century and these changes were led by people who do not think the Bible's notion of morality should have any influence where our bodies and sex lives and entertainment availability are concerned.

The people in the room of religions you designated should be able to address God as "The Heavenly Father" ("Our Father who art in Heaven") and praise Him for His providence, His caring and His mercy in our lives. They should then be able to petition Him to help them be good public servants, to conduct their meetings in a manner that would please Him, in harmony, mutual respect and good will.

They might also ask Him for safety and health for their children, traveling teams, faculty with cancer, and comfort for families who have had a loss of some kind.

and close, "In Thy name, we pray."


What's controversial there for those groups?

We've been having such prayers for centuries in america --what's suddenly so impossible about it?
Even an atheist, Muslim, or Jew should not mind the good will behind such a prayer --even though he doesn't think anyone is listening.

Barb said...

I didn't mean to lump the atheist, Muslim and Jew together in that last paragraph --just the atheists would believe that no one was listening to prayers.

I think school boards can also pray that they will be mindful of their mission to cultivate good character and citizenship in the students and ask God to help them and the parents they serve and the churches in the community in that task.

John Foust said...

I don't remember that part of the New Testament that says that some people who follow Christ are better than others who also follow Christ. There are Christians concerned with the suffering caused by lack of contraception. There are Christians concerned with the lives and well-being, as they were taught, the least of our brothers. As I recall, Republicans also roll out the choir when they want support, and they're far more likely to claim they're carrying out God's will.

We don't elect or hire public servants to be our prayer leaders, we have them to run our governments and public schools. Why not leave prayer to the preachers? Why not leave prayer private? Why impose views on people who don't believe what you do? To what extent is this more false pretense, like those politicians who trot out the chior when they want votes or to fake their own piety? Is it only the hypocrites praying on the street corners?

I'm reminded of the Daily Show reporter who interviewed a politician who was pushing to have the Ten Commandments installed in public buildings. The reporter asked him if he could name the Ten Commandments. He couldn't. I think he got three.

Barb said...

Let me say, John Foust --I do like discussing with you because you do refrain from ad hominem attack --and stick to the issues.

Jesus said that "many will say unto me, "lord lord --have we not done many works in your name? --and I will say, "Depart from me --I never knew you."

so it's not about some Christians being better people than other Christians --but about having a saving faith --which we can't do if we don't believe that Jesus is the Divine Son of God who died for the sins of the world. Also We need to keep, or at least revere and try to keep, the commandments of God. He said "If you love me, keep my commandments."

Thou shalt not kill (abort?) or commit adultery are two of these. Homosex is sex outside of hetero marriage which is the only kind of sex sanctioned in the Bible. Supporting immorality is NOT keeping the commandments of God.

ALL Christians should care about the lives and well-being of everyone, and especially "the least of these, our brethern."
I am not against contraception, but orthodox Catholics and some fundamentalist evangelicals are --thinking god's sovereinty is the issue.

And yes, the republicans also roll out the gospel choirs --but more of them believe the gospel that the choirs sing about.

That is just so --more of the Bible-believers are Republicans because that party has upheld the moral standards of the Bible in their platform --taking a stand against abortion, gay marriage and pornography --in their platforms --while dems talk about diversity and choice and women's and gay rights.

Diversity and tolerance mean we co-exist and get along with people with whom we disagree. However, it doesn't mean we say that there are no family values to be reinforced by law --like protection for fetal life, restraint of porn and sex industry, promotion of decency in media, and defining marriage as between one man and one woman and marriage law and protection as applicable to that union only.

Some gov't bodies do bring in different clergy to open their events and meetings --as we used to for graduation--we had all the faiths represented by clergy --That was ben franklin's suggestion for the contintental Congress. But you asked what prayer different faiths could agree on and i believe i gave you a good example. And I think such prayer would set a good tone for meetings. I'm not saying I want to start all meetings with prayer --I'm saying when they do, who should gripe? There is a way to have prayers that offend no one --except atheists who want their way even though they are a small minority.

Ignorance of the Ten C's --all the more reason to teach them in our schools and post them in public places. Certain ones of them are very important for children to grow up knowing --that lying, coveting, murdering, stealing are wrong --that it is good to honor parents --The others you can consider quaint relics of religious belief in the history of the world if you want to --But I think a lot of our children would be benefited to believe there was a God to whom we are accountable --who wants our allegiance --and wants us to live moral lives according to HIs definitions. Wouldn't hurt our youth.

The reality shows on tv today are really corruptive --people feel justified in acting with such arrogance and disdain for others --such open hostility --such shallow values are being promoted on tv. In the absence of the Bible's influence, don't be surprised if we don't like the peer group our kids have to deal with some day.

I think of that texas military officers' school couple who murdered a girl because he had sex with her and needed to prove to his girlfriend that he didn't like that girl anymore --so together they murdered her. Obviously no belief that they were accountable to God for murder --and could go to Hell for it.

what a waste.

John Foust said...

If we recognize that mandatory prayer before meetings could understandably offend the religious sensibilities of most of the groups who didn't subscribe to the wording of the particular prayer, or even to the notion of (effectively) public street corner prayer (Matt. 6:5), it doesn't mean the atheists have won if the respectful compromise is to avoid prayers at public functions. You can reach this point without invoking atheism at all. It can be done for the simple reason of respecting everyone's freedom of belief - hence the "moment of silence" compromise as well.

If you've been to as many meetings as I have, I'm sure you can imagine how pre-meeting prayer would become a habit and would happen at each and every meeting, and how it would lead to controversy as people fought over who got to do it, who was to compose it, whether it was to be said at all, whether one religion's prayer was recited more often than another, etc.

Barb said...

Americans used to manage this sort of prayer quite well without all the fuss brought to it by persons like yourself. It all started with Madeline what’s her name who didn’t want junior to hear people pray –and didn’t want him to be excused from the opening prayer of the school day either –she just wanted everyone else to do it her way –which was to do it not at all. Which is favoring the atheistic "religion." Someone did a chart that showed the increase in social problems at schools and with our youth in general when the school children stopped praying daily in the school. It’s quite remarkable --an immediate dramatic increase in social problems among youth.

John Foust said...

Wikipedia has a great summary. You can read Engel v. Vitale, perhaps the 1960s school prayer case you're referring to. As you can see, it was brought by ten parents, not O'Hair.

It didn't start in the 1960s. There's a lesser-known case from the 1800s that took place just a few miles from where I live, again brought by religious parents who objected. Read here about the Edgerton Bible case that went to the Surpreme Court in 1890.

The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty has a great "top ten myths" page, too.

As for the graph you saw, "correlation does not prove causation." I haven't see it, but I imagine it's showing the changes that happened in the Sixties. If those kids were raised by parents who'd been exposed to school prayer, why didn't they pass that on to their kids? Did the reduction in school prayer somehow affect their parents?

steve said...

I for one look forward to the day when Prayer is institutionalized in public school.

Part of my prayer ritual to my personal god Kimbuctoo is to create a small shrine and burn candles and incense. During my prayer ceremony I burn a small sacrificial effigy of Pat Sajac and mutter "Big Money" as my mantra. If the school board tries to stop me I will obviously sue.

Barb said...

The graph showing correlation between the school prayer ban and rising social deterioration --which Wallbuilders featured in their ministry videos --suggested not just that the ban affected kids --but that God was not petitioned and thus, we had more problems. God likes to honor the faith and petitions of children --generally--though granted, not every child's prayer is answered the way he would like.

But perhaps there really is a God, John, who smiles on a nation whose children acknowledge Him and thank Him daily and petition Him for blessing and safety and the help to do good. Those school prayers never hurt anyone. It just made it harder for Madeline to convince her son there was no God --and I wonder why that was so important for her. It's important to Christians that no one teach our kids there is no God (which they do teach in college for sure ---and imply by their teaching of evolution the way they teach it) --because if our kids are atheists, they won't go to Heaven. But if HER kid would be a believer (as he turned out to be) that really doesn't threaten his eternity, does it? Her child has no Heaven to lose for not being an atheist.

My school didn't have daily prayer except for the 1st grade mid- morning snack time, as I recall. A public school.

But we had a big Easter program every year with kids wearing white squares and forming a cross on the gymnasium floor that could be viewed from the bleachers by their parents on Good Friday--and the other students in Easter clothing provided the background for the cross --and the kdgtn wore colored square collars made of crepe paper --to make them look like flowers at the foot of the cross in rows on either side of it. And they sang The Old Rugged Cross --The Holy City --IN the Garden--Battle Hymn of the Republic, etc.
Local clergy participated.

For graduation all the religions of the class had clergy representation and they gave out Bibles in the Catholic or Protestant version--whoever was in the class. Today they would give out korans and Torahs as well --and maybe just a good inspiritational book of the atheists' choosing --like michael moore.

Nevertheless, this was not a school run by nor attended by socially conservative evangelicals --just liberal Christians --no Jews in our country school. This was the city where my father's Jewish boss read the Beatitudes of Christ at the annual company picnic.

Your link had a de Toqueville quote: "In France, I had seen the spirits of religion and freedom almost always marching in opposite directions. In America I found them intimately linked together in joint reign over the same land."

RIGHT! religion and freedom were marching together --he credited separation of church and state. But he also credited our national greatness to our goodness from pulpits aflame with righteousness in our nation's churches.

Religion and freedom march together when the people agree on standards of moral decency, equality of persons, restraining evil, the definitions of good and evil, the value of faith, church and freedom --but not the freedom to do whatever we darn well please --like abortion, sodomy, porn and drug use, prostitution, indecent TV, sex clubs, etc. There was unanimity about what made a nation good and decent. Now, the biggest threat to freedom is only the Christianity.

John Foust said...

And the second half of that quote on that page says "I found that they all agreed with each other except about details; all thought that the main reason for the quiet sway of religion over their country was the complete separation of church and state. I have no hesitation in stating that throughout my stay in America I met nobody, lay or cleric, who did not agree about that."

Certainly there was a wave of religious fervor sweeping the USA at the time of de Toqueville's tour. Not long after that, there was a wave of "freethinkers", too. Immigrants were attracted to the separation of religion and the state!

Barb said...

Yes, I acknowledged the last half of his statement.

Don't miss the forest for the trees here, John. deToqueville saw our religiosity as in sync with our freedom--rather than at war with it as in France.

But if you work hard to get a secular populace, freedom will change character in the US. When it becomes licentiousness, then all order breaks down --and tyranny follows because people without a moral compass don't control themselves.

Yankee Doodle said...

Somewhere along our history, the Federal Courts and the Supreme Court have misinterpreted the U.S. Constitution.

America's founders did not intend for there to be a separation of God and state, as shown by the fact that all 50 states acknowledge God in their state constitutions; how can the fifty states be wrong?

Alabama 1901, Preamble. We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God , do ordain and establish the following Constitution.
Alaska 1956, Preamble. We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.
Arizona 1911, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.
Arkansas 1874, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...
California 1879, Preamble. We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom.
Colorado 1876, Preamble. We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe.
Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.
Delaware 1897, Preamble. Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.
Florida 1885, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution.
Georgia 1777, Preamble. We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...
Hawaii 1959, Preamble. We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance .. establish this Constitution.
Idaho 1889, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.
Illinois 1870, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
Indiana 1851, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to chose our form of government.
Iowa 1857, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings establish this Constitution.
Kansas 1859, Preamble. We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.
Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties...
Louisiana 1921, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.
Maine 1820, Preamble. We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity ... and imploring His aid and direction.
Maryland 1776, Preamble. We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty...
Massachusetts 1780, Preamble. We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe ... in the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction .
Michigan 1908, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom establish this Constitution.
Minnesota, 1857, Preamble. We, the people of the S tate of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:
Mississippi 1890, Preamble. We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.
Missouri 1845, Preamble. We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness . establish this Constitution ...
Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution ...
Nebraska 1875, Preamble. We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .. establish this Constitution.
Nevada 1864, Preamble. We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom establish this Constitution ...
New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
New Jersey 1844, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
New Mexico 1911, Preamble. We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty.
New York 1846, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.
North Carolina 1868, Preamble. We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those .
North Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...
Ohio 1852, Preamble We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common...
Oklahoma 1907, Preamble. Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty .. establish this ..
Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences..
Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble. We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance
Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing
South Carolina, 1778, Preamble. We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
South Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties ...
Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...
Texas 1845, Preamble. We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.
Utah 1896, Preamble. Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.
Vermont 1777, Preamble. Whereas all government ought to ... enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man ..
Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI ... Religion, or t he Duty which we owe our Creator ... can be directed only by Reason ... and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other .
Washington 1889, Preamble. We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.
West Virginia 1872, Preamble. Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ...
Wisconsin 1848, Preamble. We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility
Wyoming 1890, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties ... establish this Constitution.

After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, just maybe, the ACLU and the out-of-control federal courts are wrong!

"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants." - William Penn

© 2006 The Yankee Commentary
All Rights Reserved


Barb said...

BLESS YOU, MY SON! (NO, he's not really my son.)

What a great contribution!

Jeanette said...


I have just finished reading some of your comments on the French site.

Why do you say most Baptists are Calvinist?

I'm a Baptist and have never attended a church that was Calvinist and I've been to a lot of them on vacations, moves etc.

Anything with "Reformed" in the front of it is Calvinist. Where I am I don't see many Reformed Baptist churches and we reject pre-destination, as I told you before.

You seem to be painting all Baptists with a wide brush. For various reasons I could not be a Wesleyan, but I don't make a judgment of all Methodist churches on that.

Here's a little surprise: We're going to see Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, yes even Presbyterians in Heaven along with other believing Christian denominations.

I don't know what denomination God is. Do you?

Yankee Doodle said...

If I want him to remain alive until I return、what is that to you? You must follow me

Barb said...

Jeanette, I was being strictly academic and maybe out of date in saying that Baptist doctrine is usually calvinist.

When they were not, they usually called themselves "free will Baptists."

I am probably unaware of the extent to which Baptists have changed; the TULIP principles of Calvin have a lot of opposition --hard to explain to people we want to win that they may not be "chosen" or predestined for salvation. Many Baptist churches --including the So. Baptist Convention --the largest group of Baptists, is it not? seemed to possibly? have distanced themselves from their Calvinist roots, looking at their statements of faith --in which they allude to some calvinistic principles without clearly saying they believe in TULIP.

On the Baptist Press website, I found this:

"Founders Ministries formed in 1982 and seeks to recover the Gospel of Christ in the reformation of local churches through the experiential application of the doctrines of grace, also known as historic Calvinism. This year’s conference was at Bethel Baptist Church in Owasso, Okla., with the theme “The Gospel of the Grace of God.”

I realize that "reformed" is the key word now for Calvinist churches and doctrine --

See "www.baptistpress.org"

Historically, I believe I'm right in thinking that Baptist heritage is Calvinistic.

I don't mean to indict those churches but to say it is a difference we have --Someone on the French blog was using Baptist to describe evangelicals they didn't like and using the term for evangelicals in general --so I believe I was trying to broaden their awareness, saying don't think we are all like whatever un-loving persons you have known. E.G. we aren't all Baptists --who are usually calvinistic.

You say Baptists are no longer calvinistic unless they make the distinction that they are "reformed." Maybe so, but I think this Baptist Press website will confirm for you that the history of the largest group of Baptists, the SBC, was Calvinistic. If that is not so, I am always willing to be educated the easy way --rather than laborious research on my part.

I don't for a minute think that Calvinists and Baptists won't be in Heaven with a lot of other types of Christians who really believe in Jesus as His Son. But I have had some Calvinists cast doubt on those of any church who disagree with them --saying we are not believing the Bible --and therefore our salvation was in doubt to them. I think it's possible that the Baptists being decried in the Fr. blog when I made the distinction between church types, was of the Calvinist sort. I would think it would be easy when you are calvinist to chalk up people's resistance to the Gospel as a sign that they aren't chosen --and thus feel less compelled to be patient with them as regards ministry to them.

I realize you are not Calvinist and you don't think most Baptists are.

You wrote;

"Here's a little surprise: We're going to see Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, yes even Presbyterians in Heaven along with other believing Christian denominations.
I don't know what denomination God is. Do you?"

C'mon Jeanette -- you know I'm not surprised. There will also be people who are members of these churches who are NOT in Heaven. Agreed? though I hope they are very few.

Barb said...

I wrote: "so I believe I was trying to broaden their awareness, saying don't think we are all like whatever un-loving persons you have known. E.G. we aren't all Baptists --who are usually calvinistic."

I didn't mean the above as it sounded --making Baptists a bad example --the e.g. "we aren't all Baptists --usually calvinistic" --to mean that calvinist baptists were necessarily objectionable.

Someone on the blog found Baptists objectionable but I was just trying to say and didn't do it well --that "evangelicals are a mixed bag --and you don't judge the group on the individual Baptist you found offensive."

There was an inference, i guess, on the blog that all the social conserves. were Baptists.

I believe they were mainly railing against the Baptist church and Phelps? the minister who picket funerals lately. All us "Bible bashers" were being lumped with them on the blog, by somebody.

steve said...

My parents are garbc baptists and they don't believe in predestination.

Barb said...

say, here's what I said about Baptists on the French blog and still stand by the statement:

"Pardon me –I took us off-topic –except to defend Christians as different from the Baptists in the one movie. Who, by the way, aren’t even typical of Baptists. There are all kinds of Baptists. A group of young men left our church where they were raised because they learned about Calvinists’ 5 points and embraced all of them and our church wouldn’t let them teach these doctrines to our youth because we are NOT Calvinists –but Arminians–and for good reasons. They became evangelical Presbyterians of some kind –but many Baptists are also Calvinists."

I don't know if "many" means a minority or a majority at this point --but many Baptists are Calvinists even if many or most today are not.

God Hates Liberals said...

Damn straight Barb.

Jeanette said...


I have never known a Baptist who is a Calvinist. I never heard the acronym TULIP until about 3 years ago and that was from a Presbyterian.

My best friend while growing up was as Baptist as I am and switched to Presbyterian because her husband convinced her of the conceited pre-destination idea.

Each Baptist church is independent and joins a convention if they wish to do so. We vote in or out our own pastors, deacons etc.

Would you say Jerry Falwell was a Calvinist? Because he too was a Baptist and preached to everyone.

I'm telling you, we don't believe in pre-destination. We had a series of sermons on that very topic last year and our pastor was preaching about why it is wrong.

Freewill Baptist churches I usually associate as African-American churches and I haven't attended one, so I don't know what they teach.

I grew up in a Conservative Baptist Church and pre-destination was something I had never heard of. Again, I never heard of it until my friend changed and we discussed it and I told her I couldn't accept it. She told me it was difficult for her to accept also when she first went to a Presbyterian church.

Phelps calls himself a Baptist so he can get tax-exempt status. He could have called himself Methodist if he had wanted to, but he still would be an evil man no matter what he called himself.

Never mind reading sites people don't know about, but go out and actually talk to Baptists and see if they are Calvinist. Unless they are Reformed Baptists you will find a hard time finding one who believes in pre-destination.

Why do we spend so much on missions if we believe God is going to pluck the ones He wants anyway? Makes no sense.

Jeanette said...

I think this is what you are basing your conclusion that we believe in pre-destination as a Calvinist would:

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

What we believe is in Romans 8:29, the explanation of which is this:

"Paul here refers to the fact that in eternity past God knew those who by faith would become His people. Predestination here is to moral conformity to the likeness of His Son. that He would be the firstborn among many brethren The reason God foreknew, predestined and conformed believers to Crist's likeness is that the Son might hold the position of highest honor in the great family of God.

2 Peter 3:9 states: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

God did not choose in the sense he pre-destined anyone to not be saved. In His foreknowledge He knew some would reject the message of the Gospel. This is not His will, and He doesn't force anyone to accept or reject Jesus as their Savior, but He knows some will reject Him, and since He is God He knew before time ever existed who would "elect" to go with Him and who would "elect" not to go with Him. Free choice.

Hope this helps you.

Barb said...

I realize the concept you have expressed here, Jeanette. We do see the Biblical choice and predestination as a consequence of fore-knowledge also. Though some wonder how free will and foreknowledge work together. And I knew you were not Calvinist.

Nevertheless, isn't the Baptist Free Press article expressing concern that Baptists not lose their reformational roots?

Barb said...

J. posted: "Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility"

Yes, this is a sort of Calvinist statement --or else explaining that they aren't quite calvinist --in emphasizing man's humility vs. God's sovereignty. Both sides of the issue believe this but the Calvinists have a special way of understanding and explaining it --such that while man has free will, God's sovereignty overrides it --and thus man's salvation is strictly of God's choice --not man's--lest man should have any pride in his choice. They would say you can't be saved unless god initiates it in each case --But there is so much scripture that says the choice is man's to make --because of God's gracious offer of salvation to every man. God HAS initiated the process for every man--so that he alone is responsible for the choice he makes.

My calvinist friend of the reformed presbyterian stripe said, "God is not willing that any of the elect should perish, but that all of the elect should repent and have eternal life.
It's odd to me that the doctrine isn't repugnant to everybody --as it is to you and your pastor and congregation. Some derive comfort in thinking they are "chosen" and with that, cannot lose salvation. But others feel unworthy to be chosen even though it isn't about being worthy --they just feel they probably didn't make the cut --and maybe that's why they don't "feel" more that other Christians attest to by way of spiritual experience. the predestination doctrine for them is a source of depression, as they think "I'm probably not chosen--that's why I have so much trouble being victorious in my Christian walk, etc. --why God seems distant at times, etc."

Jeanette said...

How many people did Calvin and his followers even in the present day become stumbling blocks to with their cocky feeling of superiority in that they think God chose them.

I likened it to my friend as what the Nazis did. God "chooses" souls to be saved and puts them on the right and He "chooses" souls that will not be saved and puts them on the left.

When I told her this she said, in all sincerity, "Yes, that's kind of the way it works."

John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

It doesn't say the "elect" will have everlasting life if God desires it. It says anyone can have everlasting life if they believe on Jesus.

Since I found out my friend is now a Presbyterian I have researched it a bit and find that belief system to be a bit cocky and conceited.

If that's true then we don't need missionaries or ministers as those God "chose" have no choice but to follow Him.

But God gave us free choice to follow Jesus or not. Yes, He knew who would and who wouldn't but He didn't make that decision.

He is not willing that any should perish.

I would hate to have many souls lost because I was a stumbling block to them by telling them they must be "chosen". The strange thing is once one of them is "chosen" their entire families are "chosen".

Unfortunately, there are some in my family who are not saved, and it's not because I haven't witnessed to them.

While they are still alive they can still choose Jesus. Jesus chooses us all, but not all choose Him.

Paul said, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourself lest any man should boast."

Nothing we can do can save us from what we deserve except accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Jeanette said...

As an addendum, I also believe one cannot lose his salvation. Not because he is elected to be saved, but because Jesus died once for all sins.

To keep asking Jesus to save us after we have done it and meant it is the same as crucifying Him all over again.

He needed to die only once to redeem our sins.

Now, if some people continue to sin, I believe at some point He will take us so we won't commit the sin unto death.

That happened to a friend of ours. He kept being wishy-washy and going in and out of fellowship with the Lord until he died.

The only unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and that is assigning the works of the Holy Spirit to Satan or assigning the works of Satan to the Holy Spirit.

I do believe there is such a thing as sin unto death, which means God will take a saved person before He allows him to commit the unpardonable sin.

Once we are in the arms of Jesus He won't let us go. You cannot lose your salvation, if you were really saved, no matter how hard you try.

Barb said...

we are in agreement on most of what you wrote

except that I do think a person can have a beautiful faith as a child --and grow up to rebel against God and "jump out of God's hand." My uncle was that way. He claimed to have come full circle, though at the end of life, but we weren't sure what that meant to him.

No one can PLUCK one out of God's hand, the bible says --but I think one can take himself away --jump out --though god's spirit will strive with him--he will have chances to repent and return like the prodigal son --The Lord will pursue him like the lost lamb that he is as in "the 90 and 9" illustration -but he still has free will even though he was once committed to Christ --and I believe a man can willfully choose to not believe --often led astray in our fine universities on our tax dollar. Some of these will return --but I see evidence in scripture that there is a choice to run the race to the finish --or not ---"to fall away." But it's not that every sin we commit causes us to lose salvation. We are secure in that "If we confess our sin he is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." He knows our frailty.

Jeanette said...


In my own experience I have strayed in the past. I have come back to the Lord repenting of the sins I committed while not in fellowship with Him, but at the same time, if I was truly saved, I couldn't lose that salvation.

Once saved, always saved. If someone gets away and refuses to return then my guess is that person never was saved in the first place.

To ask Jesus to save you over and over again is to ask Him to die for you over and over again, and He needed die only once for the propitiation of all sins committed before and after our salvation.

We should confess our sins to Him daily so we can continue to have unhindered fellowship with Him, but those are sins unconfessed up to that point, i.e. the sins I have committed today if I am faithful and confess to Him daily.

Otherwise the prodigal would ask Jesus to forgive him or her of the sins committed while a prodigal in order to have fellowship with Him.

I just don't believe one has to ask for salvation more than once if he really means he is repenting and trusting Jesus to be his Lord and Savior.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this point.

Barb said...

This is classic calvinism, you know, Jeanette.

Calvinists say if the person stays in rebellion and sin he was probably never saved in the first place -- but we can't know that.

It is strictly a theoretical matter --because we can't prove one side or another --I can point to someone who seemed to have a solid faith in youth --who ended up in bitterness and rebellion --perhaps not even believing in God. You'll say he was never really saved probably. But we can't know that. I also don't know that he isn't still saved, but the lack of fruit would suggest he would be a branch cut off the vine. An arminian will say that he was once a disciple and saved --but chose to turn and go his own way.

where the two views come together today --is to say that the saved don't lose salvation because they give in to sin and have problems with temptation and are losing the battles. We believe they still are saved IF they DO want to be saved --DO believe JEsus is the Way --do regret and are sorry for what they are doing. And we do believe the Holy Spirit will be the Hound of Heaven calling that person to not give up but stay in the fold.

But the whole imagery of the branches being cut off when they don't bear fruit suggests that one can ONCE be in the BODY --but be cut off because his fruit is bad, not good.

But the person striving and trusting in Christ for salvation is not going to easily be cut off --and doesn't need to be saved over and over again --everytime he feels he's failed.

The Moody Bible Institute Calvinists used to attend our FM college to get certain degrees --and in the dorm, the Arminians said the Calvinists theme song was "I was sinking deep in sin....Wheeeeeee!"

And the Calvinists said the Arminian theme song was, "Ye must be born again --and again --and again --and again."

Which is of course a humorous distortion of the two views.

Barb said...

I should've not said "cut off from the vine because of the bad fruit" (because the vine is good, the fruit can only be good) but if there is NO fruit, jesus implies cutting off the branch. You might say bad fruit means the person wasn't ever part of the good vine by jesus teaching --but being cut off the vine for bad or no fruit--either way --suggests one isn't eternally secure if there is no fruit or bad fruit causing one to be cut off.

Jeanette said...


I certainly hope you don't subscribe to the idea we must have works to show in order to keep our salvation.

For by grace are ye saved by faith, and that not of yourself. It is the gift of God, lest any man should boast.

Yes, a true Christian will have "fruits" but how many fruits have we each borne? We don't know how many lives we have touched in a positive or negative way. I have often been surprised by people who have come up to me years after I met them who told me they watched me from afar and I was an example they wanted to follow, whether good or bad I'm not sure, but I pray for good.

You can tell how many you have witnessed to and how many you have led to Christ, but I don't count so I have no idea if I have borne the correct amount of fruit.

You say I made a Calvinistic statement. I have denied being Calvinist and my thoughts are my thoughts. But have it your way. I reject predestination, which is the basis of Calvinism but Barb has determined I am Calvinist, therefore I am.

Whatever. It's difficult to talk to someone who deals in absolutes of what she believes and will not consider what anyone else says.

My part of this conversation is finished.

Barb said...

whoa! jeanette --I thought we were having an exchange of views --

Eternal security is a calvinist doctrine -one of the 5 points. So YES, you made a calvinist statement. You hold a Calvinist view on Eternal security. That's OK. Many of my Christian friends do --well, some of them, I should say. And many arminians hold to that one Calvinist point TO a degree --e.g. I don't believe God intended us to be "eternally INsecure" afraid that we are lost every time we do wrong; Eternal security is a Biblically-supportable view to a point--as are all of Calvin's five points --even predestination. But the 5 points are also arguable the other way from the bible also. These are paradoxical themes that are backed up by Scripture on both sides.

The exchange of gospel songs as I posted in my last comment --was a humorous exchange from the dorms of a college with students of both viewpoints. They managed to have lively discussions and differences in perspective and still have fellowship.

I believe in deathbed conversions --and there often isn't much fruit there. But a Christian is to bear fruit or be cut off the vine. His works don't save him --but "faith without works is dead." It's not a works-based salvation at all--but simply a commitment to try to resist temptation and live by Biblical precepts and the leading of the Holy Spirit in our daily walk.

On the one hand it is true that we are saved only by grace through faith, lest any man should boast or think HE had enough righteousness to save himself, to merit salvation --on the other hand, a believer's life is to be a fruitful life and not showing terrible fruit--or YOU will doubt they were ever saved --and I will think it's possible they back-slid out of their initial belief and commitment. We can prooftext both ways.

We agree that our goodness doesn't save us --but persistent animosity toward God and the Church later in one's life might just not qualify as a saving faith if repentance doesn't occur before death. Granted such a person is hypothetical because we can't know if he really was saved earlier or not.

God is always willing to receive the prodigal who is remorseful. The question we cannot prove is this: will the prodigal always come home? Will God allow the prodigal to resist Him?

Another point of Calvinism is that God's grace for the chosen is irresistable --the person cannot refuse God if he is chosen and he cannot stay in rebellion--God won't let him if he was once saved, he is always saved. If he is chosen, he cannot resist God's plan for him. I don't believe this; but it is a Calvinist tenet.

There is so much scripture that says we can leave God by our free choice. We can fall away. We can let the cares of life choke our growth.

The Grace is ALL God's initiative and it falls on every man; He gives us free will to choose to believe and repent and follow --or we can even change our minds.

I do like to believe that God will bring the wanderers home --I don't know it for sure from the WHOLE of scriptural teaching on this topic --but FOR SURE He WILL RECEIVE the wanderer if he chooses to come back. And I believe HIs spirit will strive with that person to bring him home. But while God is ALL powerful and all sovereign, He doesn't force us to repent --that's our free choice.

I'm not saying you do or don't agree with my views above. I'm just trying to explain my view.

As for absolutes, I am considering what you say and that is a 2-way street, agreed?

I hear you --you don't consider yourself calvinist because you don't believe in predestination --but that's not all that the Calvinists believe. Eternal security is theirs also. I didn't say you WERE a calvinist --I said you made a calvinist statement --or rather, you believe a calvinist tenet.

It may be that God has left this somewhat ambiguous not so we would have church squabbles over it --but because the different views have helped different people --One young man I know felt lost every time he sinned --which was often as an adolescent boy thinking about sex all the time --when he heard that he was chosen and eternally secure because he was chosen, it empowered him. He felt wonderfully relieved.

I, in contrast, was dismayed at the idea of predestination when I heard about it --and eternal security for the chosen was no comfort if I wasn't sure I was predestined --if I didn't always feel secure in my faith. Other people would weep at the altar and have a sure spiritual experience --and my last time of feeling good about that (as a teen) was in childhood --so I doubted I was chosen --and therefore eternal security doctrine was no help either.

Later, at 18, I had a very confirming experience of the Holy Spirit --and I have not given serious doubt to my salvation since --and not because of my perfection or works --but because the Lord did give me an experience of His presence that was so wonderful, i don't doubt Him --I've had a couple of "dark nights of the soul" with depression where God seemed distant, but I wasn't haunted with the idea that I wasn't saved. The older I get, the more secure I am of His mercies and reality and the more praiseful I am.

but I do think the race must be run to the finish --in terms of my desire to be in right relationship with God. I believe that if I decided I wanted to commit adultery --knowing it was wrong --and stopped going to church--and got bitter toward the minister and the people --I could lose my salvation unless I truly repented for grieving God and my family. The problem of willful sinning of a grievous nature is that we can't be sure we'll be truly remorseful --what if we continue to enjoy the sin? Am I to presume that God has to save me anyway, no matter what I do --because I once made a commitment to Him?