Does Chris McDaniel Know What a RINO Is?

 Mississippians Want to Know!

In Mississippi, it's always RINO season, but especially in election years. The announced retirement date (April) of Senator Thad Cochran has created the extraordinary circumstance that Mississippi will elect two new United States Senators next November. Senator Roger Wicker, the junior Senator, is up for re-election and faces a primary challenge from state Senator Chris McDaniel who challenged and almost beat Sen. Cochran in 2014. 

However, Senator Cochran's retirement could change things. Governor Phil Bryant has the power to appoint an interim Senator to take office upon Sen. Cochran's retirement. However, whether the interim Senator seeks to retain the seat or to hold it only till the general election, only the winner of the election in November can fill the remainder of the Cochran term (which expires in January of 2021.). 

This creates a decision for Sen. McDaniel. Press on in his primary challenge to Senator Wicker? Or, drop the challenge to Wicker and run in November for the open seat created by Senator Cochran's retirement?

Either way Senator McDaniel and his supporters such as Ryan Walters, Melanie Sojourner. Keith Plunkett, and the Senator's multitude of Facebook followers have already used the term "RINO" approaching ad infinitum and can be counted on to continue using it till, the rest of us, like the Israelites consuming the quail in the wilderness, have heard it ad nauseum.

"RINO" is one of those terms that is used so much that many seldom stop to ask the meaning of the term and the appropriateness of its use. It stands for "Republican in name only," but what kind of Republican is one in name only? It is an interesting question that, it seems to me, deserves a little reflection.

One consideration is who have been the Republican Presidential nominees since the end of World War II and the Roosevelt era? They are:

1948 - Thomas Dewey, Gov., NY

1952 - Dwight Eisenhower, Sup. Allied Commander, European Theater, WW II

1956 - Dwight Eisenhower, POTUS

1960 - Richard Nixon, Eisenhower's V.P.

1964 - Barry Goldwater, U.S. Sen., AZ

1968 - Richard Nixon, former V.P.

1972 - Richard Nixon, succeeded by V.P. Gerald Ford

1976 - Gerald Ford, POTUS

1980 - Ronald Reagan, former Gov., CA

1984 - Ronald Reagan, POTUS

1988 - George H.W. Bush, Reagan's V.P.

1992 - George H.W. Bush, POTUS

1996 - Bob Dole, Sen., KS

2000 - George W. Bush, Gov., TX

2004 - George W. Bush, POTUS

2008 - John W. McCain, Sen., AZ

2012 - Mitt Romney, former Gov., MA

2016 - Donald Trump, Businessman, NY

Who among them is not a RINO by McDaniel standards? Goldwater, Reagan, and they hope (though I doubt it) Trump. I think what they really like about Trump is not his conservatism but his combativeness. They like people who "blow things up." The more Trump adjusts to political realities in order to accomplish his agenda, the less they will like him.

Another way, specific to Mississippi, that we might look at this matter of the "RINO" is to remember who were the founders of of the MS Republican Party. This is especially relevant since the "true conservatives" in MS talk about "taking our Party back." The Jackson Daily News once referred to the reborn Republican Party as "scalawags." The Clarion Ledger warned voters not "to play with fire" by voting for Republicans. Who were some of the prominent men involved in the rebirth of and growth the Republican Party in MS? Among them were: 

Wirt Yerger - first Chairman, kept segregation out of platform

Clarke Reed - second Chairman, delivered MS delegation to 1976 Convention to Ford

Jim Herring - ran for Governor, member National Committee, believer in 11th Commandment

Rubel Phillips - ran for Governor, moderate who later moderated on race, Meridian Star called him "no conservative"

Charles W. Pickering - prosecuted the Klan

Gil Carmichael - gentlemanly moderate

Billy Mounger - Trent Lott, a protege

Leon Bramblett - ran for Governor, an aid to Sen. Cochran

Who among these or who not listed above would Sen. McDaniel acknowledge as non-establishment true conservatives who created the modern MS Republican Party?

Who led the Republican Party to its present success, holding super majorities in the State Senate and House? Holding every statewide state office but one? Holding both U.S. Senate seats and 3 of 4 House seats? Haley Barbour. "Nuff said" for the McDaniel loyalists.

Senator McDaniel has declared war on the Republican "establishment" and is ready for a fight with all who are "liberal-moderate-not true conservatives." He has proclaimed himself a Taft-Goldwater-Reagan conservative. But is he? 

True, Taft was known as "Mr. Conservative" and opposed much of the New Deal. But Taft also supported the federal housing program and federal aid to education. While, Mr. McDaniel may agree with Sen. Taft's opposition to American involvement in WW II and the creation of NATO, Taft would find strong opposition from Reagan and would find himself out of step with mainstream Reagan conservatism.

Goldwater was the "conscience of conservatism." But Goldwater was both respected and liked by almost all his Senate colleagues. He served in the position Senator Wicker just held, Chairman of the Republican Senatorial Committee, and supported all Republican incumbents including the unabashed liberal, Jacob Javits. Goldwater pronounced Bob Dole the heir of Goldwater-Reagan conservatism and joked to Dole, "We're the new liberals of the Republican Party. Can you imagine that?"

What about Reagan? There is no doubt that Reagan is the embodiment of modern Republican conservatism who spoke the conservative message winsomely, eloquently, and forcefully. But, even in his first term, Reagan had to defend himself against those who believed he had sold out. He replied to some of his critics: 

I’m not retreating an inch from where I was. But I also recognize this: There are some people who would have you so stand on principle that if you don’t get all that you’ve asked for from the legislature, why, you jump off the cliff with the flag flying. I have always figured that a half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not going to always get everything you want.
Reagan also said the kind of thing that drives McDaniel loyalists crazy: "The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally - not a 20 percent traitor."

So what is a RINO? I am a big tent Reagan Republican who wants more, not fewer, Republicans. I am more interested in drawing circles than lines. But, it seems to me that history makes it plainly evident thar, if there are any RINOs in MS, they are the McDanielites.

The War on Lent

Knoweth They What Upsetteth Them?

Every year as Christmas approaches (say as soon as Walmart pulls the costumes and candy and cues the songs of which we will soon be sick), we start hearing some Christians complain about the War on Christmas. These Christians get upset about efforts to suppress the use of the word "Christmas" and the pressure not to wish others a "Merry Christmas." After all Christmas is a "Christian" observance or holiday, celebrating the birth of Jesus the Christ. Political correctness pressures us not to use words and greetings that might offend the sensitivities of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Kwanzaa observing Blacks, and atheists. One of the reasons evangelicals support President Trump is because, though he never feels the need to confess his sins, from which Jesus came to save us, he has determined that there will be no governmental support for the War on Christmas. "Merry Christmas!" is back.

Of course, we Episcopalians, being the odd ducks that we are in "do whatever you darn well please" America, are not supposed to say "Merry Christmas" till  December 25. We say it from the day our true loves gives us single partridge in a pear tree through the day our one and only gives us twelve drummers drumming. The comes Epiphany on January 6, at which time we allow the Magi to arrive in Jerusalem.

But there is another war on the holy conducted at this time of the year. It is the War on Lent, the period that begins on the first day of Lent, which many call Ash Wednesday, and concludes on the Saturday before Easter Day. It is conducted not by the unbelieving world, which could not care less, but by Christians. Every year I can count on friends such as Darryl Hart, Rachel Miller, and Scott Clark to protest the observance of Lent. This year, to my knowledge, Rachel has been silent about Lent, though in the past she has seen it as a sure sign of a drift toward Romanism (If It Looks Like Rome...). Darryl has, to my notice, made only one snippy remark about Lent and that only in passing in his comments about a conference being held at Redeemer NYC (At Least It's Not a Conference about Lent). But Scott has rolled out the heavy guns to bombard the observance of Lent. He offers 21 Resources on Lent, all opposed.

There are two sorts of objections to the observance of Lent. There are those who consistently hold and observe the "regulative principle of worship" which means in the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith that "the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture." This principle rules out not only any observance of the Christian year, but many other practices that are accepted by other Christian churches, including most Presbyterian and Reformed ones.

Last Sunday I attended a Presbyterian church that practises conservative "traditional worship" including a call to worship, the Creed, the Doxology, the Gloria Patri, the Lord's Prayer, the confession of sins, the assurance of pardon, and hymns sung from The Trinity Hymnal, as well as the reading and preaching of the Word, led by a minister dressed in a Geneva gown. But, then at the top of the order of worship I found "Second Sunday in Lent" and around the minister's neck I observed a purple stole. This is one illustration of a problem I pointed out in an previous Blog, The Regulative Principle Doesn't Work.

The other kind of objection to Lent is that it is a "bridge too far" for those who fear a drift toward Roman Catholicism. The "Christmas season," Christmas carols, even Christmas decorations of the church and a Christmas musical program are acceptable. So, too Easter, and perhaps even a Maundy Thursday Communion service and/or a Good Friday service. Protests would be heard if Easter were not observed, but Lent is just too Romish.

First, let's be clear what the word "Lent" means. It comes from a secular Old English word which means "to lengthen" and came to be used of "long days" or spring. While Lent is not a spring observance, we can at least say that it occurs during the lengthening of the days that lead to the spring season.

Second, let's note what are some the "Romish" associations with Lent. One point that is made, which does not have much force, is that it is a time of temporary self-denial, when in fact, the whole Christian life is a life a self-denial. But, to quote, Lee Corso, "not so fast." According to the New Testament temporary times of self-denial are not inconsistent with a life of self-denial Matthew 16:24, 6:16-18; 1 Corinthians 7:5).

Another objection is that those who observe Lent use it as a time for the temporary repentance from certain sins which are normally indulged, while Jesus calls us to repent of all sins all the time. It may well be that some poorly instructed Christians view Lenten practice in that way, but in my experience I have never heard anyone who observes Lent speak of a temporary giving up of sin.

The most serious objection to Lent is that Christians look upon whatever practices they may observe (going to Lenten services, various sorts of self-denial) as meritorious - good works that gain us God's favor. It should be noted that there are a great many Christians who so look upon their private devotional practices, their abstinence from alcohol, or their tithing in exactly the same way. But the point about Lent is that, as it is observed by Protestant Anglicans and others, there is not a word about merit. Quite the contrary.

In the interests of helping my friends know what upsets them, I have printed below the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels appointed for the Sundays of Lent. It should be noted that the Collect for the first Day of Lent is said every day of Lent and the Collects for each Sunday are repeated every day of the week through Saturday in connection with the Daily Office (Morning and Evening Prayer). For those not familiar with the word "collect," a Collect is a compact prayer that gathers together in one sentence an address or invocation (to God, usually the Father), a divine attribute or action that relates to the petition, a petition (asking for one thing), an aspiration or purpose (the desired result of God's granting the petition), a pleading or basis for approaching God and making the request (such as "in the name of thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ"), and a response by the people ("Amen").

I understand that strict or consistent "regulative principle" people, will likely respond that in and of themselves there is no objection to the pairing of the Epistles and Gospel and no theological objection to the content of the prayers. Still, they will, say,"It is will worship" - that is worship imposed by the will of an ecclesiastical authority on the wills of the people without any clear Scriptural authorization, that is, apart from or contrary to God's will. It is impure worship when practiced by Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Protestants. It is for Presbyterians (and some other Reformed) a clear violation of church doctrine derived from Scripture. I understand where you're coming from. We disagree. And, while that's not OK with you, it's OK with me.

But both strict observers of the regulative principle, as well as those who object to Lent just because is sounds and feels "Romish," should find it at least worth knowing what the ecclesiastical observance of Lent is about. The Epistles, Gospels, and Collects below are from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which remains the legal Prayer Book of the Church of England today and are the readings and prayers of the Book of Common Prayer of the communion in which I hold membership.

Three questions: 1. Is there anything at all "Romish" below? 2. Is this much Scripture read in your church each Sunday? 3. Is there as much substance in the free prayers of your church as there is in the Collects?

The Season of Lent
Collects, Epistles, Gospels

The First day of Lent,
Commonly Called Ash Wednesday

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (This Collect is said every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.)

For the Epistle: Joel 2:12 (This is an example of a Sunday when a reading from another portion of Scripture is substituted for either the Epistle or Gospel.)

Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

The Gospel: St. Matthew 6:16.

When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The First Sunday in Lent
The Collect

O Lord, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: 2 Corinthians 6:1

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

The Gospel: St. Matthew 4:1

Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

The Second Sunday in Lent

The Collect

Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 4:1

We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit.

The Gospel: St. Matthew. 15:21

Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

The Third Sunday in Lent
The Collect

We beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: Ephesians 5:1

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

The Gospel: St. Luke 11:14

Jesus was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

The Fourth Sunday in Lent

The Collect

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: Galatians 4:21

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

The Gospel: St. John 6:1

Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world.

The Fifth Sunday in Lent
The Collect.

We beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: Hebrews: 9: 11.

Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

The Gospel: St. John 8:46.

Jesus said, Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

The Sunday next before Easter,
Or, the Sixth Sunday of Lent,
Often Called Palm Sunday

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: Philippians 2:5

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Gospel: St. Matthew 27:1

When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me. And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

MLK Day:A Civil Solution

Should the Church Celebrate Celebrate MLK Day?

President Ronald Reagan, a conservative Republican, signed into law an official Martin Luther King, Jr, Day in 1983. In 1986 Martin Luther King Day, as a Federal Holiday, began to be observed on the third Monday of every January. MLK Day has largely supplanted in the South Lee-Jackson Day intended to honor the two great generals of the Confederate States.

Let it be said that Martin Luther King is a hero. He is not a man of the moral caliber of Lee and Jackson, but he is an American hero because the the role he played in the too long delayed attainment of the civil rights of all American citizens, black and white. He deserves a day to honor his memory and accomplishments.

MLK Day seems to have become a carefully, if unofficial, religiously observed day. I have noted for several years that bulletin services have offered a special Martin Luther King, Jr., bulletin cover. I assumed that these special covers appealed primarily to Black congregations. But perhaps I was wrong.

If I counted correctly, on MLK Day there were five articles at The Gospel Coalition, in one way or another, in praise of Dr. King. There was also an article exposing and condemning the racial views of Robert L. Dabney, Southern Presbyterian theologian who for a time served as chief of staff to Gen. Jackson. On the same Day, Dr. Russell Moore, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, published an article that can be described only as a grounding of Dr. King's positions in Scripture. 

But there are realities, doctrinal and moral, that tell against the treatment of Dr. King as a theological hero or a man to be honored by an unofficial ecclesial calendar. The truth is that Dr. King was theological heretic (Is Martin Luther King in Heaven?) and a moral philanderer (a subject I deliberately avoided but which is acknowledged by Ralph Abernathy).

So my question is very simple: why observe MLK Day as though it were a religious observance when there is every reason to observe his day as a civil holiday as we do with Washington's, Lincoln's. and Columbus' Days?