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The Reformers and their Stepchildren
This is the summing-up of a book of 275 pages in which the author traces the background of true Christians (he calls them Stepchildren, who waged a "second front" during the Reformation) from its earliest times, through the Reformation, and into the 20th century (it was written in 1964). This is in line with God's assessment of the Reformation movement which is as follows:
1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis[1517-1833] write;
These things says He that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars;
I know your works, that you have a name[among men] that you live, and [yet] are dead [in My sight!] 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how you have received[at the beginning] and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you.
4 You have a FEW names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy. 5 He that overcomes[himself], the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.
6 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
The Message (MSG)
3 Write this to Sardis, to the Angel of the church. The One holding the Seven Spirits of God in one hand, a firm grip on the Seven Stars with the other, speaks:
“I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you’re dead, stone-dead.
2-3 “Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there’s life in you yet. But I wouldn’t know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God’s work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears—grasp it again and turn back to God.
“If you pull the covers back over your head and sleep on, oblivious to God, I’ll return when you least expect it, break into your life like a thief in the night.
4 “You still have a few followers of Jesus in Sardis who haven’t ruined themselves wallowing in the muck of the world’s ways. They’ll walk with me on parade! They’ve proved their worth!
5 “Conquerors will march in the victory parade, their names indelible in the Book of Life. I’ll lead them up and present them by name to my Father and his Angels.
6 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”
You may not have noticed that the famous words "so building a wall of separation between church and state" are NOT in the text!! That's because they were used in a private letter about ten years AFTER the amendment had been passed into law. You'll find more about this in Verduin's other book "That First Amendment and the Remnant".
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.
Since the Constitution was put into effect in 1789, it has been amended twenty-seven times. The first ten amendments are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. At seven articles and twenty-seven amendments, it is the shortest written constitution in force.
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