Christians in Parliament (4)

It is not the fundamentals of government that have let Australia down. It is the structure of practice; our failure to give honest application to the principles by which we claim to live; our tolerance of mediocrity in government and public administration; our disinclination to regard politics and public administration as proper employments of our finest talents; our naïve belief that, despite poor government, we will nevertheless prosper…[1]

Jesus made it clear in Matthew 13:33: He expects the leaven of the kingdom of God to be at work in the communities of the world, through His people and the gospel. When that leaven is not present, the cooking process of the bread continues without it, and the bread finishes up entirely different.

We should not be surprised that a process of steady deterioration is taking place in the nation of Australia, and right across the world. Why? Because the leaven of the kingdom is rarely present. God’s people rarely have anything to say of merit about public affairs, frequently because they have a false belief about a supposed dichotomy: “The church and politics don’t mix.”

The church and almost anything won’t mix, when God’s people have learned to do without His Word as their first principle of faith and practice in all spheres of life. Is it any wonder we are considered irrelevant? Our problem has been that we are.

But it hasn’t got to be this way. 2,700 years ago, a little girl from Israel knew she could make a difference.

Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper. Now the Arameans had gone out in bands and taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel” (II Kings 5:1-4).

This little girl had something to say to her master’s wife. Her master took note of this, went and saw the prophet, took his advice and was healed. How easy was that?

This should show us this fact: the God of the Bible has the solutions to personal, family, community and national problems. When God’s people will go to His Word to find those solutions, He will reveal them. And this has reference to the totality of life: education, health, welfare, government, foreign affairs, economics, defence. The Bible speaks of all these things.

Jesus said to the Sadducees, “You are mistaken, not understanding the scriptures or the power of God (Mat.22:29). If we don’t understand the scriptures, of course we’ll be ignorant.

This means that we’ll have to go back to square one, and find God’s solutions to all these issues. It will require humility and a willingness to be taught.

Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord, and whom You teach out of Your law; that You may grant him relief from the days of adversity, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not abandon His people, now will He forsake His inheritance. For judgment will again be righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it (Ps.94:12-15).

Are you ready for this?

This takes time and the study of scripture. It means comparing scripture with scripture, reflection and debate among believers. It means we have to master the critical texts, such as the Ten Commandments, the law of the Lord, and I Samuel 8, and others. It means we have to figure out from scripture, what are the Biblical functions of government.

We’ll soon see that government today, is expected to do a lot of things not found in scripture, which are actually the responsibilities of individuals, the family and the church. What’s happened is that in our ignorance and Biblical rebellion, we’ve tried to implement the Saviour State, only to find that the true Saviour has been at war with our foolish attempts, and brought them to nothing.

That’s what Samuel predicted in I Samuel 8, and nothing’s changed since then. So, we have to change our expectations considerably, accepting a lot of responsibilities, we’ve been foregoing for many generations.

And that will take time, along with a steady growth in Biblical knowledge, and a lot of  patience, because growth is often slow, just as the Reformation was a steadily developing process.

Is that what you are willing to prepare for? It’s the only way, and it will be rewarded.

 

 

[1] J.W.C. Cumes, “A Bunch of Amateurs,” 1988, p.188.

Secularism Cannot Account For Moral Absolutes But Claims To Be Absolute

Why does it seem that the world is running amok? It’s simple. We are sinners in need of redemption. How do we know we are sinners? Because there is a fixed set of moral principles by which we can compare our thoughts and actions and adjust our thoughts and actions accordingly. Steadily over time, we’ve convinced ourselves that such fixed moral laws do not exist since there is no way to account for them.

There is no neutrality. Dispensing with God and His fixed moral laws does not mean that morality is done away with. New gods are enthroned with new laws. We’re seeing it every day. N.T. Wright made the following comments:

One of the things I reflected on in the two or three years subsequent to the [9/11] attacks was this sudden interest of evil on the parts of the western leaders.  This told me something about the post-Enlightenment mindset which seemed to assume that because we had modern science and technology and modern democracy, the world was becoming a better, safer, and nicer place.

Most people who have seen the film The Ten Commandments on television have never seen Cecil B. DeMille’s introduction. DeMille had something more in mind than just making a film about a religious figure from the Bible. He considered his production to be so important that he came out on stage to deliver a short but powerful statement on the nature of freedom under the law of God:

The theme of this picture is whether men ought to be ruled by God’s laws or whether they are to be ruled by the whims of a dictator like Rameses. Are men the property of the State or are they free souls under God? This same battle continues throughout the world today.

The film’s elaborate souvenir book that was made available in theaters includes a preface with the title “The Law by Which Men Live”:

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS are not laws. They are THE LAW. Man has made 32,000,000 laws since they were handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai more than three thousand years ago, but he has never improved on God’s law.1

Law is an inescapable concept. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Every religion consists of moral precepts, and of dogmas.”2 There is a corollary to Jefferson’s observation: “Every non-religion consists of moral precepts, and of dogmas.” Jefferson himself proved this by compiling a moral philosophy in his Literary Commonplace Book.

Even the most lawless person has his own sense of justice. We hear people talk about “prison justice.” Prisoners will often judge other prisoners, especially those involved in child abuse cases. There are some crimes that even murderers will not tolerate. Someone is ultimately in charge: the sovereign individual where “every man does what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6), a single ruler who claims a “divine right” (Acts 12:20-23), the call for a political savior by the people best exemplified in the way Israel asked for a “king like all the other nations” (1 Sam. 8:22–23), a “we the people mentality” where the decisions of the majority become law or placing the final arbitration of what is right or wrong in the hands of five unelected Supreme Court judges.

President Harry S. Truman voiced the common and prevailing sentiment of his day:

The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don’t think we comprehend that enough these days. If we don’t have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody.3

We cannot live within the fluid boundaries of legal relativism. There must be a definitive and final legal standard of appeal to justify moral decisions at the personal and governmental levels. If not, then one judge’s opinion is as good (or as bad) as another’s.

The Ten Commandments, a summary statement of a broader body of revealed laws, have been a fixed summary standard in America since before its official founding. Nightline host Ted Koppel stated the following in a 1987 commencement address at Duke University:

What Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai were not the Ten Suggestions. They are commandments. Are, not were. The sheer brilliance of the Ten Commandments is that they codify in a handful of words acceptable human behavior, not just for then or now, but for all time. Language evolves. Power shifts from one nation to another. Messages are transmitted with the speed of light. Man erases one frontier after another. And yet we and our behavior and the commandments governing that behavior remain the same.4

Now if we can only become a nation that believes all of this.

The following is a brief summary of the Ten Commandments related to their limiting nature regarding the civil magistrate.

The First Commandment states that there is only one God, and only He can save us. The State believes it is god and only it can save. Empowering the State has always been the goal of tyrants.

The Second Commandment forbids idolatry. The State has become an idol and is worshiped as a god when the Bible declares that the civil magistrate is designed to be a “minister,” a servant, of God to us for good (Rom. 13:4). The State continues to grow with the promise of political salvation and mandating its own definition of what good means.

The Third Commandment forbids taking God’s name in vain. Politicians appeal to God all the time and yet violate His commandments in the same breath. President Obama made reference to God – even singing “Amazing Grace” – in his eulogy for Rev. Pinckney and soon after celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling making same-sex marriage the law of the land. This is taking God’s name in vain.

The Fourth Commandment sets one day a week aside for rest. The interesting thing about this commandment is that it’s written into the Constitution at Article I, Section 7, Clause 2.

If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sunday excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

The State does not own our time. The French changed the calendar from the seven-day creation week to a ten-day week.

The Fifth Commandment defines the family. As we’ve seen the courts have redefined the family, and by redefining the family they can now rewrite all law in terms of that new definition. In addition, the State has become our new parents. “Honor the State as your real father and mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the State lets you live on.” Herbert Schlossberg develops this point in his book Idols for Destruction:

The paternal state not only feeds its children, but nurtures, educates, comforts, and disciplines them, providing all they need for their security. This appears to be a mildly insulting way to treat adults, but it is really a great crime because it transforms the state from being a gift of God, given to protect us against violence, into an idol. It supplies us with all blessings, and we look to it for all our needs. Once we sink to that level, as [C.S.] Lewis says, there is no point in telling state officials to mind their own business. “Our whole lives are their business” [God in the Dock, p. 134]. The paternalism of the state is that of the bad parent who wants his children dependent on him forever. That is an evil impulse. The good parent prepares his children for independence, trains them to make responsible decisions, knows that he harms them by not helping them to break loose. The paternal state thrives on dependency. When the dependents free themselves, it loses power. It is, therefore, parasitic on the very persons whom it turns into parasites. Thus, the state and its dependents march symbiotically to destruction.

The Sixth Commandment was legislated out of existence decades ago by the sanctioning of perpetual war and the legalization of abortion.

The Seventh Commandment in its prohibition of adultery is a summary statement about all marital relationships. The law prohibiting adultery rests on the creation mandate of marriage being between one man and one woman (Gen. 1:27-282:20-25). The complement of man and woman is what’s “suitable” (biologically and spiritually), not a man and man or a man and a woman. Jesus confirmed the creation of a marriage mandate (Matt. 19:1-6).

The Eighth Commandment prohibits stealing. Our nation’s outrageous taxing system is based on theft when people are given the right to vote to take money from some people so it can be given to other people.

The Ninth Commandment prohibits bearing false witness. Politicians bear false witness with almost every word they speak.

The Tenth Commandment indicts the modern State because it covets everything: life, liberty, power, property, authority, money, prestige, privilege, and our souls.

  1. The Ten Commandments Souvenir Book, Paramount Pictures Corporation (1956, 1957), was published by The Greenstone Company, New York, N.Y. []
  2. Quoted in Paul Grimley Kuntz, The Ten Commandments in History: Mosaic Paradigms for a Well-Ordered Society (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004), 170. []
  3. Harry S. Truman, Harry S. Truman: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States Containing the Public Messages, Speeches, and Statements of the President—January 1 to December 31, 1950 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1965), 197. []
  4. Ted Koppel, The Last Word, Commencement Address at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (May 10, 1987). Quoted in Robert H. Bork, The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law (New York: The Free Press, 1989), 164. []

Christians in Parliament (3)

Jesus reminded the devil of the requirement for maintaining the kingdom grant: obedience. Prosperity is not a matter of power; it is a matter of covenantal obedience. His power over the stones was unquestioned. The devil did not suggest otherwise. In fact, the temptation rested on the presupposition that Jesus possessed such power. The nature of this temptation was an appeal to power. This was one more example of the power religion vs. the dominion religion. Jesus refused to invoke power rather than ethics.[1]

Almost inevitably in human history, the getting of power leads to the abuse of it. We don’t need to go to the conventional text-books of history to discover that: it’s in the Bible. Before David became king of Israel, he essentially had charge of hundreds of armed men.

On one occasion when a deputation from him to a wealthy landowner seeking assistance was offensively rejected, he very nearly abused his power, in a nasty display of vengeance (see I Samuel 25). The fact was he had military power, and only the intervention of a shrewd and wise woman in the person of Abigail, prevented him from murdering innocent people.

The abuse of power, and even the threat of it, is commonplace in the modern world. Some years ago, US Presidential candidates were being interviewed. The Republican candidate Ben Carson (purportedly a believer) had this to say years ago, about his views on defence:

… if we get defense wrong, nothing else matters, because we live in a hostile world. So you’re going to see our military capabilities improve quite substantially… Recognizing that we have a 14 percent decrease in people applying for our volunteer military. That’s going to hurt us badly in the long run.

You’re going to see us beef up our cyber capabilities substantially, you’re going to see us respond to people who attack us in a way that they will never forget.

You’re going to see much more proactive stance towards someone like Putin, you know, we’re going to be much more active throughout the whole Baltic basin area, Eastern Europe, we’re going to reestablish missile defense program, we’re going to have more than one or two armored brigades in that area. We’re gonna stand up to him, every place in the Middle East, we’re not gonna back down.[2]

Ben Carson doesn’t know it, but the Middle East is reeling from the abuse of power by the US, over generations. The last thing it needs is more US meddling and warmongering; more “armored brigades” in the area. The best thing for the US would be to leave the Middle East alone.

Pride in an individual’s heart is what leads to the abuse of power. This was Uzziah’s sin, when he foolishly entered the temple and tried to usurp to himself the role of a priest (II Chron.26:16-22). God judged him with leprosy.

There is one thing that can keep a political leader from the abuse of power: the law of God. When God instructed Israel concerning the legitimacy of it choosing a king, He gave specific conditions for this (see Deut.17:14-20). He commanded that when this man became king, he

Shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing the words of this law and these statutes, so that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen… (Deut.17:18-20).

This was the difference shown by Jesus when He was tempted by the devil. The scripture shows (Mat.4:1-11) that His first recourse was the law of God. In response to temptation, He quoted from Deuteronomy.

Power never corrupted anyone, but it surely reveals what’s in people. When corrupt people are given power, they very quickly manifest their true nature.

If a leader really wants to do people no harm, his first recourse should be the law of God. Why? Because it will be a restraining influence. It confronts any tendencies he has to think too highly of himself. The Bible promises,

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers (Ps.1:1-3).

Consider Joseph. He’d already shown he’d be faithful to God under pressure, and he never made expansive claims of his own abilities. When he was brought before Pharoah, who had heard he could interpret dreams, he immediately acknowledged, “…It is not in me; God will give Pharoah a favorable answer” (Gen.41:16).

Joseph knew he didn’t personally have the solutions to Pharoah’s difficulties. He was merely a communicator of God’s truth to Pharoah, which is just what every believer ought to be. He had to pass on some facts that God has shown him. As a result, Pharoah promoted him.

Conclusion:

You really want to serve God from political office? There’s nothing wrong with that. But there will be a lot wrong with that, if you don’t read the law of God, every day of your life, and obey it.

 

 

[1]Gary North, “Priorities and Dominion,” 2000, ch.1.

[2] Quoted in Laurence Vance, “Ben Carson: Welfare/Warfare Statist,” (www.lewrockwell.com), 20/10/2015.

The American Love Affair With War

Donald Trump’s recent assassination of Iranian Maj. General Qassem Soleimani was not an exceptional act of madness by a deranged president. It was instead the continuation of a long, unfortunate American tradition. Military aggressiveness has been a feature of U.S. foreign policy for a very long time.

As I detail in my book , Americans love to portray themselves as the “greatest,” the “good guys” in each of their nearly continuous foreign skirmishes. While it certainly appears to any disinterested observer that we are the initiator in most, if not all, of these conflicts, the official mantra is that we are never at fault. We are only defending ourselves, even if the opponent is smaller and weaker to a laughable degree, as it usually is.

Abraham Lincoln set so many horrific precedents, and his manipulation of events that resulted in the South technically firing the first shot at Fort Sumter, paved the way for false flags like “Remember the Maine” in 1898, the sinking of the Lusitania  which “forced” us to enter World War I, the “sneak” attack on Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin incident which is now universally acknowledged to have never happened, the “weapons of mass destruction” lie under Dubya Bush, and many other less obvious ones.

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Each time one of these false flags occurred, or stories demonizing the latest flavor of the month in some far-flung land appeared in our state-run media, the overwhelming majority of the American people swallowed the propaganda. H.L. Mencken defined it perfectly nearly a century ago when he said, “the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

In just the past few decades, this “endless series of hobgoblins” has included Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi,  Slobodan Milosevic, Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-un, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, and now Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani was that rarity; a bogeyman who literally came out of nowhere to be suddenly categorized as one of the world’s most dangerous characters. Who had even heard of him before he was assassinated by our forces? And how did he cause the “hundreds” of deaths of Americans which are now routinely attributed to him? Hundreds of Americans were killed in Iran by this guy? Are there even hundreds of Americans in Iran presently?

And, like all modern bogeymen, Soleimani has been described as a “bully.” Alex Jones, now a pathetic shell of what he once was, declared that we couldn’t keep letting Iran “push us around.” Exactly how has Iran ever “pushed us around?” And how do you describe an officer with a military that is only a fraction of ours, in size and power, as a “bully?” That is like Mike Tyson assaulting a kindergartner, claiming they “started it,” and thereafter castigating him as a “bully.”

We definitely “started it” with Iran with the 1953 overthrow of their democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. This was perhaps the CIA’s first foray into replacing elected officials in other countries with U.S. puppets. Patrice Lumumba of Congo would be assassinated in 1961, three days after the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic was gunned down six months later, and in 1973 Salvador Allende died of supposedly self-inflicted gunshot wounds during a coup d’état engineered by the CIA. There were others, but suffice to say it is beyond ludicrous to be outraged by the alleged (and totally imaginary) interference by the Russians in our 2016 presidential election.

In 1976, due to the revelations from the U.S. Senate hearings chaired by Frank Church, which first exposed the above plots, as well as the CIA/Mafia efforts to assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro, to the public, Gerald Ford was pressured to sign an executive order stating: “No employee of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire in, political assassination.” Less than forty years later, “liberal” President Barack Obama would not only assassinate American citizen Anwar al Awlaki, who had not even been charged with any crime, he bragged about it publicly, and then killed his sixteen year old son the next month for good measure. Talk about impeachable offenses!

Well-meaning liberals still talk about the assassination attempts on Castro, and other American efforts which were successful, as if we “learned” something from that post-Watergate 1970s era. Many of these same people presumably voted for Obama and Hillary Clinton for president. Obama, as noted, bragged about assassinating an American citizen, and Hillary memorably gloated, “We came. We saw. He died.” Were they just appalled by assassination in their youth? They certainly seem to approve of it now.

When pre-Chelsea Bradley Manning exposed the shameful conduct of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the response on the part of most Americans wasn’t favorable. Public opinion polls don’t give us much confidence about America’s collective moral barometer. We just don’t like whistle blowers. Donald Trump’s pardon of Navy Seal Edward Gallagher demonstrates that both “liberal” and “conservative” leaders support the kind of behavior that was also exposed in all those leaked photos of smiling U.S. military men and women, posing next to dead corpses, and engaging in various forms of often sexually-themed torture of enemy prisoners.

Most of these travesties took place at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and were condemned by most of the world. The photos released to the public were shocking enough, but reporter Seymour Hersh has long alleged that American troops raped Iraqi children in front of their mothers. It’s hard to imagine a worse “war crime” than that, but many in this country would find a way to justify it. How else are we supposed to make them stop “hating our freedom?”

What we saw in those horrific photos of U.S. troop members, posing happily next to dead bodies or piles of naked male Iraqis, should have outraged the general public. Instead, a majority probably approved. The prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba came to represent all that’s true and just in America 2.0: torture, human rights abuses, all inflicted on “detainees” who are the modern manifestation of the northern citizens locked up by Lincoln during the Civil War for opposing his tyranny. Barack Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay, but once elected this promise became as empty as all those Donald Trump made about immigration and ending “all these senseless wars.”

The “liberal” mainstream media is noticeably silent on Trump’s assassination of Soleiamani. A commentator for NBC called it “the smart thing to do,” and absurdly maintained that “Whether most Americans knew it or not, Soleimani was already waging a shadow war with the West and its regional partners.” This “shadow war,” along with the mythical “sleeper cells” right-wingers have been warning about for decades, certainly was waged from the shadows, because no one provided the slightest evidence for it.

We remain the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons on another, when we dropped the bomb on an utterly defeated people, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That hasn’t stopped us from lecturing “rogue” nations like Iran, who our leaders assure us “can’t be trusted” with such deadly weapons. Israel, of course, has had an impressive nuclear program since the Kennedy administration, when JFK was engaged in a behind-the-scenes, increasingly vitriolic fight with then Israeli President David Ben-Gurion about it.

Our citizens love the military. Uncle Sam wants you. Plant those victory gardens. Buy those bonds. Support the troops. Thank you for your service. There was little public outcry when it was revealed that our government pays NFL teams to promote our military industrial complex during its games.

It’s easy for our leaders to support war. It’s always popular, and no one they love will be fighting in one. The $300 “rich man’s exemption” which was instituted during Lincoln’s war of northern aggression- yet another terrible precedent- still figuratively exists. It’s always been the sons (and now daughters, in yet another “advance”) of the poor and working class dying in the trenches, and firing off the missiles. The children of the wealthy are always safely ensconced at college, or getting Donald Trump-style deferments. That doesn’t stop them from developing into adult chicken hawks like Lindsay Graham, Dick Cheney and countless others, none of whom ever sniffed a battlefield but have never seen a war they don’t love.

Ambrose Bierce said that patriotism was the first refuge of a scoundrel. Nothing brings out the “USA! USA!” chants better than waving the flag. Just assure the masses that they’re always right, and the most generous, intelligent people in the world. Young Bill Clinton, fervent anti-war protester during the Vietnam War, the only war in our history that garnered any appreciable amount of public opposition, learned how to salute the troops as well as anyone else. Ronald Reagan, noted nonparticipant in WWII himself, started this ridiculous tradition of a civilian commander-in-chief saluting actual troops.

Our founders never intended for America to have a standing army. They certainly never envisioned a monstrosity like the military industrial complex and its nefarious intelligence agencies. But the public doesn’t seem to mind. Give them the pomp of a good flyover or cannon blast. Watch them tear up at staged reunions between soldiers and their young children. They used to call it bread and circuses.

There are no voices for peace with a large public platform, unless you count Tulsi Gabbard, who has her own questionable baggage. But there are millions willing to beat the war drums when ordered to do so. Mark Twain, who said so many memorable things, noted that “God created war so that Americans would learn geography.” So perhaps it does serve a constructive purpose, although Americans still seem woefully ignorant about geography (and pretty much everything else).

Sun Tzu, who wrote is still quoted widely by our sociopathic leaders in business and government. John F. Kennedy’s timeless 1963 commencement address at American University, where he advocated for peace as no other American president ever has, was probably the final nail in his coffin, on the other hand.

John Quincy Adams spoke for virtually every American leader during the revolutionary era when he said, “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Our leaders have constructed a foreign policy that does nothing else.

Christians in Parliament (2)

Christians must confront the fact that God requires them to impose His law for the state upon all men, whether men like it or not. The universe is not a democracy, but a Kingdom.  If Christians do not impose God’s laws upon non-Christians, then non-Christians will impose man’s laws upon Christians… The law of man bares its fangs of iron increasingly against the righteous.[1]

There is not a person on the face of the earth who is religiously neutral. Every one of us in born a sinner “in Adam,” the Bible says. All men are sinners, but all men want law, and when men are rebels against God, they most certainly don’t want His law.

It’s not likely that society will want God’s law, until a greater proportion of the community is Christian. And even then, the great majority of Christians today are most ambivalent about the law of God being used in the community. This requires that there be willing teachers in the body of Christ, and a massive change of attitude in the Christian community in relation to God’s law.

This will take time and effort, and there are few good things in a community that take place overnight. We believers have to be prepared to be tireless workers. The church in the West has got to its low level, not over months, years or decades, but many generations. And if it requires generations for there to be long-lasting positive changes in the West, so be it. The high-point of Protestantism in the West that was represented by Puritanism, was preceded by steady growth in the church.

For how long? For over a century after the Reformation commenced.

Jesus explained this to us:

First the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head (Mk.4:28).

Every one of us needs to know the place of God’s calling, and political service is certainly a legitimate place of Christian service. But we must be warned: humanists believe in salvation by politics, something the Bible has no time for.

Why is that? There is no political solution for sin. It’s only remedy is the grace of God, through the blood of Jesus.

When the crowds saw the signs that Jesus performed, their response was immediate:

…They said, “this is truly the prophet who is to come into the world.” So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force and make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone (Jn.6:14-15).

Jesus would have nothing to do with political solutions for Israel. Of course, Israel had its political problems, just as every nation does. But like all other nations, its political problems were a result of its spiritual state, which was awful. It needs cleansing from the inside out, and that was precisely what Jesus was going to bring. But in that too, Israel rejected Him.

The “quick-fixers” deny the Bible. They resent its teaching that all men are sinners, and that Biblical law has a place within modern society. Thus they believe that there are political answers to social problems, which history shows is just ludicrous. The would-be political messiahs keep turning up, and foolish people keep choosing and voting for them, with painful results.

For the sinner’s solution for political problems is inevitably more sin, because he cannot deny his own nature. This means that Christians must develop a balanced approach to political life, which accepts the legitimacy of political representation, but keeps it in proper perspective.

What is that?

All of society needs the leavening of the kingdom of God, from the bottom up. Christianity, especially when embraced amongst the middle class- the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the grass roots of the community, will lead to lasting community change. When Christians are functioning in their place of God’s purpose in the community, that’s where they will be most effective.

To begin with, this means their vocation- their place of work. Christians ought to be people who are gainfully employed. And out of their faithfulness and productivity, they can accomplish much. Then there’s church.

Paul hinted at this. He said

This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men…our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful (Titus 3:8,14).

Conclusion:

Every society needs Christians working from the grass-roots to effect change, and some of that change will inevitably be political.

Our work amongst the grass-roots may seem unrewarding and slow, but the promises of God is sure: “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech.4:10). Patiently working and leavening our sphere in society is what we’re called to do. And as this takes place through the efforts of a multitude of tireless Christians throughout a society, steady social change really is possible.

Is that what you’re ready for?

 

 

[1] James Jordan, “The Law of the Covenant,” p.29.

Should Pastors Address The Subject Of Politics?

For decades pastors have been timid about preaching politics from the pulpit. The Old Testament prophets would have been stunned by such timidity. A good many modern-day churches believe that they have some very good biblical reasons for not touching on the subject of politics from the pulpit. Many believe they are prohibited from doing so because it will jeopardize their tax-exempt status. It won’t, but even if it did, so what? Faithfulness to the Bible is every Christian’s calling regardless of the financial consequences, including the loss of your church’s tax-exemption. Such a development might clear out the “almost Christians.” Then there are the typical arguments for non-involvement that I deal with in my book Myth’s, Lies, and Half-Truths:

  • Jesus didn’t get mixed up in politics. (He didn’t own a house, get married, or have children).
  • Politics is dirty. (What isn’t?).
  • Our citizenship is in heaven. (True, but it didn’t stop Paul from demanding justice from the Roman Athorities [Acts 16] and using his Roman citizenship [Acts 22]).
  • You can’t legislate morality. (Every law is the legislation of someone’s view of morality).
  • Christians should remain neutral. (Impossible. Not to be involved only gives more power to those who are involved).
  • We’re living in the last days. (How long have we been hearing this excuse?)

Ministers of another era saw it their biblical duty to preach about politics from the pulpit because the Bible addressed every sphere of life, civil government included. Harry Stout opens a window into the colonial era by pointing out the effect preaching had on the young nation:

Over the span of the colonial era, American ministers delivered approximately 8 million sermons, each last one to one-and-a-half hours. The average 70-year old colonial churchgoer would have listened to some 7,000 sermons in his or her lifetime, totaling nearly 10,000 hours of concentrated listening. This is the number of classroom hours it would take to receive ten separate undergraduate degrees in a modern university, without ever repeating the same course! The pulpits were Congregational and Baptist in New England; Presbyterian, Lutheran, and German Reformed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey; and Anglican and Methodist in the South. But no matter the denomination, colonial congregations heard sermons more than any other form of oratory. The colonial sermon was prophet, newspaper, video, Internet, community college, and social therapist all wrapped in one. Such was the range of its influence on all aspects of life that even contemporary television and personal computers pale in comparison.1.

These colonial pastors were well aware of the politics of the day, both in America and in their country of origin. Many of them made the trek to the New World because of politics. It was Old World preaching on the nature and limits of civil government that led the Pilgrims to embark on an effort to create “a city on a hill.” These early founders brought their worldview preaching to an unknown but promising new land. “They hoped—and this was the point of the New World mission—that England would take note of this decentralized but sill coherent ‘nation’ and imitate it. In the meantime, New Englanders would keep the covenant alive in their own corner of the New World and signify that fact on election day.”2 It is no less true today.

All discussion of the duties of the citizenry and those called to minis­ter in the civil sphere must begin with the Sovereign God of Scrip­ture. Any opinion that civil government is an autonomous work of nature cannot be supported by a faithful reading of the Bible. There is no neutral “social contract” whereby men and nations agree to legiti­mize civil government. The “social contract” theory of the origin of civil government is the religion of Babel (Gen. 11).

Family, church, and civil governments are not contractual. For example, marriage is a divine government, instituted by God at creation (Gen. 2:22-25). The covenant that men and women make in marriage is modeled after the divine model of relationships, the duties of which are set forth in Scripture. The husband, therefore, is to model the love for his wife after the love Jesus has for the church in giving Himself up for her (Eph. 5:25).

Ecclesiastical government (church government) results from Christ’s institution. Jesus declares that it is His church that is to be built (Mat­t.16:18). When Christians establish local churches, the divine blue­print must be followed. There are earthly rulers in the church (Acts 20:28Heb. 13:17), but Jesus is the head (Eph. 5:23). There are many locales where churches operate, but the living Christ is their authority (Matt. 28:18Rev. 2:12-17).

As in family and ecclesiastical governments, civil government is an extension of God’s rule over nations: “For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:28). Man, on the other hand, copies or images the government of God in the civil sphere: “Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:6); “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rom. 13:1). The specifics of civil govern­ment, like those of marriage and ecclesiastical governments, are set forth in Scripture. Governmental principles do not flow “naturally”; they, too, are ordained by God.

Four primary duties proceed from the biblical model established for civil government:

First, the people must understand their obligations as citizens. Be­cause governmental power is God-ordained, certain obligations are part of the governmental process. There can be no autonomy among the citi­zenry. Anarchy—power invested in the individual to do what he or she feels or believes is right—is not tolerated by God. The Zealots of the New Testament sought the overthrow of tyrannical civil government through the power of the sword placed in the hands of the “chosen” few. Gamaliel recounts the history of such attempts: “For some time ago Theudas rose up, claim­ing to be somebody; and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. And he was slain; and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away some people after him, he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered” (Acts 5:36-37).

Second, those who minister in the civil arena must understand that they derive their authority from God Himself. Civil government is not an independent government outside the jurisdiction of God’s sovereign rule. But rulers are not directly chosen by God as were Moses and Joshua (Num. 12:1-8Deut. 34:9-12). God made provision for the ratification of leaders through a godly citizenry.

Third, in a Christian society, the people endorse those who rule by voting them into office and they confirm the laws they enact by keeping them in office. This is why Jethro instructed Moses to “teach [the people] the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk, and the work they are to do” (Ex. 18:20).

Fourth, there is no legitimate claim to a “divine right” whereby rul­ers can enact any law. All rule must be in terms of God’s revealed law. It is important to note that citizens, especially Christian citizens, have an obligation to question unbridled and autonomous political power. This is why at the death of Solomon “Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Reheboam” about the tyrannical rule of the king (1 Kings 12:3). A Christian society, as a “holy” and “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:59; cf. Ex. 19:6), has a duty to confront the unrighteous in civil government.

One of the problems with respect to obedience is that too many commentators are still under the influence of a medieval and reformation perspective which at this point is very faulty. This influence is the divine right doctrine, which assumes that di­vinely ordained authority is beyond questioning. The divine right of kings gave way, for many, to the divine right of hus­bands, an equally pernicious idea. Indeed, all legitimate author­ity is established by God, but this does not entitle authorities to the unquestioning obedience God alone is entitled to. All human authorities are to be obeyed in the Lord, i.e., in terms of a questioning and devout attention to the word of God as superior to man.3

Christians are obligated to obey those in authority, leaders are re­quired to rule in terms of God’s Word, but no earthly authority must be obeyed in all cases. There are times when “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Again, the Bible is our guide. Human government, there­ fore, resides under the control of God. Justice reflects the righteousness of God, while the need for retribution reflects the sinfulness of man. The temporal powers, when exercising authority as a ministry of justice, must know and enforce the parameters of justice. This makes for the working of a just society (not a perfect society). There is to be no bias judgment; no favorable treatment under the law; no partiality in judgment. Righteous­ness is the standard.

Just as God, the supreme Judge, is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34Rom. 2:11Eph. 6:9Col. 3:25) and is Himself absolutely righteous, so too those who exercise governmental authority on earth are required to display impartiality towards all with­out exception—otherwise they show themselves to be betray­ers of the power entrusted to them and despisers of the law they administer. Thus the judges of Moses’ time were solemnly charged, “You shall not be partial in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike; you shall not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God’s” (Deut. 1: 7).4

In this way citizens and civil representatives know the extent of juris­diction. Freedom and security prevail under such a system when the peo­ple realize rulers “do not judge for man but for the Lord” (2 Chron. 19:6). The fear of the Lord should guide the heart of all who rule. Citizens have a duty to remind rulers that “the Lord our God will have no part in unrighteousness, or partiality, or the taking of a bribe” (v. 7).

The Bible gives many examples of Christians involving themselves in the political process. Many Christians consider politics a dirty business, an area where Christ has no business. If politics is “dirty,” it becomes nec­essary for Christians to involve themselves. Here are a few examples of political involvement from the Bible. Noah, as an agent of the civil mag­istrate, is given authority to execute murderers (Gen. 9:1-7); Joseph is made ruler in Egypt (41:38ff.); Israel is kept in bondage by a political ruler who sets himself up in opposition to the kingdom of God (Ex. 1:85:1-21); God gives instructions to both priests and kings (Deut. 17:14-20); the book of Judges shows the interrelationship between religion and rule; First Samuel 8 shows how the rejection of God as Israel’s true King leads the people to choose an earthly king as a substitute (an attempt to equate the State with the kingdom of God); the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles tell the story of the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms; and individual kings are singled out for special counsel (Jer. 38:17-28). The list could go on.

That God is vitally concerned with political affairs is quite easy to demonstrate: it is God who ordained governments in the first place (Rom. 13:1Rom. 2:21). He is the One who establishes particular kings (Prov. 16:12Psa. 119:464782:12). Therefore, He commands our obedience to rulers (Rom. 13:1-3). Rulers are commanded to rule on His terms (Psa. 2:10ff. ). Even in the New Testament activity of political import is discoverable. Je­sus urged payment of taxes to de facto governments (Matt. 22:15-22). In response to reminders of King Herod’s political threats against Him, Jesus publicly rebuked the king by calling him a vixen (Luke 12:32). He taught that a judge is unjust if he does not fear God (Luke 18:26). John the Baptist openly criticized King Herod (Luke 3:1920). Peter refused to obey authorities who commanded him to cease preaching (Acts 5:29). The Apostle John referred to the Roman Empire as “the beast” (Rev. 13).5

The denial of political involvement is the denial of most of the Bible. Christians are responsible to act righteously as citizens and, if God so calls, to participate in politics in a ministerial capacity. Every regenerate man is a priest, a minister of God (Isa. 61:666:211 Peter 2:59Rev. 1:6). Citizenship is closely tied to righteousness. Jesus Christ is King of the church and “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Rev. 17:14).

  1. Harry S. Stout, “How Preachers Incited Revolution,” Christian History, Issue 50 (Spring 1996), 3 []
  2. Harry S. Stout, The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 29. []
  3. Rousas J. Rushdoony, Salvation and Godly Rule (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1983), 390-391. []
  4. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, Christian Ethics in Secular Society (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1983), 185. []
  5. Kenneth Gentry, “The Greatness of the Great Commission,” in The Journal of Christian Reconstruction, Symposium on Evangelism, ed. Gary North, 7:2 (Winter, 1981), 45. []

The Case for CCC: Concealed Carry in Churches

By Gary North (www.garynorth.com), January 02, 2020

A man with a concealed shotgun killed two people in a Texas church. He did not make it out alive. Another man who was part of a defense team had a concealed weapon. He shot the shooter dead.
The shooter was immediately dispatched to the Supreme Court from which there are neither appeals nor plea bargaining. There will be no long, drawn-out appeals costing Texas taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. There will simply be a burial of a murderer. Attendance will be sparse.
This is from The Christian Chronicle.
As the attacker turned toward the front of the auditorium, he fired a third shot. It ended up in a wall to the right of the pulpit stage where the congregation’s children normally bring change — part of a “Coins for Christ” ministry — after communion.
Just as Kinnunen fired his third shot, church security team leader Jack Wilson pulled his own trigger.
Wilson’s single shot struck Kinnunen, who immediately fell to the ground. A bullet hole was visible Monday in the side wall by the pews where the gunman stood. The smell of gunfire remained strong.
“The events at West Freeway Church of Christ put me in a position that I would hope no one would have to be in,” Wilson wrote on Facebook, “but evil exists and I had to take out an active shooter in church.”
Other church security team members with handguns approached Kinnunen as the six seconds of gunfire ended — the loud blasts replaced with screams and crying from the shocked congregation.
Police arrived within two minutes. However, Farmer said it felt like an eternity.
“The citizens who were inside that church undoubtedly saved 242 other parishioners,” Jeoff Williams, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Sunday. “The true heroes are the people who were sitting in those pews today — the immediate responders who saved their fellow citizens. I just can’t overstate how critical that is for everyone to recognize. It is truly heroic.”
This was reassuring.
The West Freeway church beefed up its security team after the Nov. 5, 2017, massacre at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, in which 27 people died — including the gunman and an unborn child.
Typically, anywhere from 25 to 30 West Freeway members carry concealed handguns on any given Sunday, Farmer said.
The gun-grabbing liberal media did not give sufficient attention to the implications of this case. They had recovered to some extent, because it really was click bait, but it faded from the media rapidly.
Here is a map of states where you are allowed to carry a concealed weapon in church. It is legal in blue states unless prohibited by the church. The yellow states require you to get permission. One red state makes it illegal: Mississippi.

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https://www.concealedcarry.com/law/concealed-carry-in-churches
Your church should make it legal. There should be a security team, as there was in the Texas church.
My church is across the street from a police station. I like this.