Christians in Parliament (9)

“Here I am; bear witness against me before the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand” (I Sam.12:3-4).

Samuel was sensitive about oppression. He was clearly an authoritative leader and prophet in Israel, but as a servant of God, he wanted to be a faithful servant. The idea that he could be lining his own pockets while he served the Lord was abhorrent to him.

His approach to his service as a prophet was similar to Nehemiah, a later governor of Judah. He wrote that

Moreover, from the day that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, for twelve years, neither I nor my kinsman have eaten the governor’s food allowance. But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides forty shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of the fear of God (Neh.5:14-15).

Both of these faithful servants of God understood something of the potential for the abuse of power by leaders: political, religious or any other kind. And they would have nothing to do with it.

This is the Biblical norm. When Daniel began to distinguish himself because of his extraordinary abilities, others were envious, and wanted to find grounds of accusation against him. But the Bible says,

they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him (Dan.6:4).

These three Biblical examples show us how good administration functions: no shady deals, no broken promises, no cash filled brown envelopes being passed on at midnight, no oppression of the people, no partiality, no exploitation of an office or position. And all based on one thing: faithful adherence to the law of God.

The Messianic promises relating to Jesus Christ continue this theme:

And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what his ears hear, but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips He will slay the wicked (Isa.11:3-4).

In 2nd Corinthians 8 7 9, Paul provides his endorsement of the liberality of the Macedonian church for the poor saints in Jerusalem. He’s also aware of the need to be beyond reproach in the administration and handling of this money, which includes the carrying of it to Jerusalem,

taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift, for we have regard for what is honourable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men (II Cor.8:20, 21).

In speaking this way, Paul is really carrying on in the tradition of Samuel, Nehemiah and Daniel. Accountability with monies is a vital aspect of Christian service. Achan’s covetous attitude when he entered Jericho led to Israel’s military defeat and the destruction of his family (Joshua 7), and it was thirty pieces of silver that brought Judas down.

If we love the Lord and His Word we will want to be faithful in these matters. That doesn’t mean we are immune to the temptations of life, but we must overcome these to the glory of God, and ensure we are walking in the light.

Ancient Child Sacrifice: The Legacy of Modern Abortion

I have recently done some research on child sacrifice in the Bible for the sake of a novel I am writing about Queen Jezebel and ancient Israel in the ninth-century B.C. Most readers of the Bible do not find it controversial that human sacrifice was performed in the ancient world and that it was prohibited by the God of the Hebrews. But as always, modern scholars and skeptics try to argue away the facts with their literary theories of deconstruction. If the Bible is wrong and the ancient world was not so bad, then we can go ahead and sacrifice our own children on our altars of convenience and dismiss those nagging guilty pangs of conscience that comes from learning the lessons of history.

Child Sacrifice in the Bible

Child sacrifice was one of the abominable behaviors of Canaanites that was repeatedly condemned by Yahweh (Deut. 12:31; also, Lev. 18:2120:2-5.) It was sometimes referred to directly as “burning their sons and daughters in the fire” (Deut. 12:31; also, 2 Kings 17:17Jer.7:3119:5Ezek. 16:20-2120:31.) or “passing them through the fire” (Deut. 18:102 Kings 16:317:1721:623:102 Chron 33:6Jer. 32:35Ezek. 16:2120:263223:37), and sometimes indirectly as “shedding innocent blood” (2 Kings 21:16; also, 2 Kings 24:4Isa. 59:7Jer.22:326:15Psalm 106:38). Those innocent victims are described as food eaten by the gods (Ezek. 23:37-39).

Unfortunately, Israelites were guilty of breaking this command of God almost immediately upon entering the Promised Land.

[Israelites] poured out innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
and the land was polluted with blood (Psalm 106:38).

Judah was guilty of child sacrifice from the days of Solomon up to the Babylonian exile:

[Judahites] have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind— (Jeremiah 19:5).

After Solomon’s kingdom split, Israel too was guilty of child sacrifice that led to their Assyrian exile.

And [Israel] burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight (2 Kings 17:17–18).

Molech and his Tophet in the Valley of Hinnom in Jerusalem is the one most connected to child sacrifice in the Old Testament (see Lev. 18:2120:2-41 Kings 11:72 Kings 23:10Jer. 32:35.) But he is not the only recipient of such offerings. Baal was sometimes connected with Molech as a separate but related deity. He is spoken of as being present in Molech’s accursed Valley of Hinnom.

 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech (Jer. 32:35; also Jer. 19:5:).

Baal here could be a reference to the Canaanite deity by that name or a generic reference to “the lord” (the Baal) of the valley area. But elsewhere, high places are linked to Baal’s fertility cult, while the valley is linked to Molech’s underworld cult, two distinct locations of two distinct deities. Nevertheless, an interwoven connection between the two gods and their cults is expressed in Isaiah 57. [1]

 you who burn with lust among the oaks,
under every green tree, [Baal fertility cult]

who slaughter your children in the valleys,
under the clefts of the rocks…[Molech Tophet cult]

On a high and lofty mountain [high places of Baal]
you have set your bed,
and there you went up to offer sacrifice. [to Baal]

You journeyed to the king with oil [Molech]
and multiplied your perfumes;

you sent your envoys far off,
and sent down even to Sheol. [valley of Molech] (Isaiah 57:5-9)

The Tophet (also called Topheth) was the altar upon which children were burned in sacrifice to the deity. Everywhere the word appears in the Old Testament, it is always used in connection with the Valley of Hinnom and therefore with Molech as well.

The Valley of Hinnom, where Molech’s Tophet of sacrifice was located, became “Gehenna” (a derivative of the Hebrew), a metaphor for hell or final judgment in the Second Temple and New Testament times. [2] It is a common misunderstanding to caricature Gehenna as a garbage dump. There is no textual or archaeological evidence that it was such a thing. But it was a place of evil that was judged with fire and destruction.

In Jeremiah 7 and 19, the prophet predicts judgment upon Judah because of her worship of other gods, including child sacrifice on the Tophet in the Valley of Hinnom. He prophesies that the Babylonians will come and bring great destruction upon Jerusalem. There will be so many dead lying on the ground that the name of the valley will be changed from the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom to the Valley of Slaughter.

 … for they will bury in Topheth, because there is no room elsewhere. And the dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the beasts of the earth, and none will frighten them away (Jer. 7:32–33).

Thus will I do to this place, declares the Lord, and to its inhabitants, making this city like Topheth. The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah—all the houses on whose roofs offerings have been offered to all the host of heaven, and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods—shall be defiled like the place of Topheth (Jere 19:12–13).

Yahweh says that he will turn Jerusalem itself into a Tophet of burning destruction like a sacrifice to him because of their use of the Tophet and worship of the host of heaven. This was what indeed happened when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. And thus Gehenna (the Valley of Slaughter) became the symbol of God’s judgment upon those who violated his commands.

The Attempt to Attribute Human Sacrifice to the Bible

Recent critical scholarship has tried to argue that Yahweh himself actually commanded and accepted human sacrifice from Israelites and only later did post-exilic agenda-driven authors write propaganda into the Bible to try to discredit this “once-acceptable sacrifice.” This is an attempt to reduce Hebrew Yahwism down to evolving Canaanite religion rather than revelation from heaven. They suggest several key passages to support this contention: (1) Yahweh’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son (Gen. 22), (2) Jephthah’s vow to sacrifice his own daughter (Judges 11:29-40), and 3) Yahweh’s explicit statement that he had previously commanded human sacrifice in Ezekiel 20:25.

Yahweh’s command to Abraham is one of the most debated passages in the Bible. That command was clearly and contextually testing of Abraham’s faith that Yahweh didn’t intend for Abraham to perform. Such hypotheticals of testing are more reflective of a contrast with the Canaanite culture than an accommodation of it. Would Abraham be willing to do what he thought was wrong if Yahweh commanded it? Abraham was supposed to trust Yahweh’s righteousness and not lean on his own fallible fallen human understanding. That is a test of trust, not the validation of an evil.

Jephthah’s vow has also been debated for centuries about whether it even referred to human sacrifice rather than a life of religious celibacy (Judges 11:30). But at the end of the day, the text gives no moral judgment of Jephthah’s behavior from God’s perspective. Yahweh is not shown to approve of it any more than he is shown to condemn it. An argument from silence is not an argument for anything. The story merely describes what happened. Jephthah’s performance of his vow thus remains to be judged by scriptural passages that do make moral judgments on human sacrifice as evil.

Ezekiel’s recording of Yahweh’s strange statement about statutes and human sacrifice is surely the most difficult of the passages to address. In it, Yahweh is referencing the disobedience of Israel toward him in the wilderness.

Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the Lord. (Ezek. 20:25–26).

It sounds as if God is saying that his laws of Torah were not good and that he deliberately defiled the people by telling them to sacrifice their children. And then he gets even more strange to suggest that this was done so that they might know that he was Yahweh. It is one list of confusing contradictions against everything else written of God’s Law in the Old Testament.

The context of the passage solves the problem of misinterpretation. It wouldn’t make sense that Yahweh here would say the opposite of everything he has said throughout the Old Testament about his Law. In fact, it wouldn’t make sense to contradict what was previously said in this very same chapter of Exodus 20: that his statutes were good (v.12), that they would give life (v.11), that idols defiled them (v.7, 18), and that human sacrifice was forbidden (vv. 28-29, 31). Yahweh said very clearly that regarding child sacrifice, “I did not command it, nor did it come into my mind” (Jer. 7:31).

Context is everything. And the context of the passage is about Israel being given over to pagan control as punishment for her disobedience. The verses before Ezekiel 20:25-26 reiterates Yahweh’s warning that he would “scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries” (20:23-24). Yahweh gave them up to the godless nations around them whose gods they chose to worship.

Well, those gods had their own statutes and rules that violated Yahweh’s law. So the best translation of v. 25 is not God “gave them those statutes,” but rather as the NKJV translates, God “gave them up” to those evil laws and rules. This is what is meant by “withholding his hand” from Israel in v. 22. This is also what is meant by Paul in Romans 1 where God “gave up” the pagans to their depravity to be judged by it (Rom. 1:242628). So God gave up the Israelites to the godless nations with their godless statutes and culture that Israel was seeking after. Yahweh’s goal was that Israel would suffer from her bad choices and return to Yahweh.

The attempt to attribute child sacrifice to the Bible as if it were originally a normal part of Yahweh worship has no textual support from Scripture. The fact that many Israelites engaged in human sacrifice is simply proof of what the Bible says that they were spiritually unfaithful to Yahweh for so long that he sent them into exile precisely for sins such as child sacrifice.

The obvious connection that child sacrifice has with the modern practice of abortion is not hard to catch, and thus the parallels between Jezebel’s day and our own are instructive. Phrases like “sacrificing children in temples of Molech” or “on the altars of convenience” are used by pro-lifers of abortion clinics because the willing murder of one’s own offspring in order to bring benefit to a person’s life or to escape personal suffering is exactly what the motivation was behind child sacrifices of the ancient world. In the same way that the ancient world pleaded with the gods through child sacrifice to save them from the suffering of diseases, famine, or wars, so today’s culture pleads to Molech through abortion to “save” women from the suffering of poverty, “oppressed status,” or gender wars.

True believers in child sacrifice who were mothers of that ancient time considered it difficult but necessary to sacrifice their babies, just as true believers in abortion today will admit the difficulty of their act while demanding it a necessary right to sacrifice their babies. “Safe, legal, and rare” has resulted in a universal sacrament.

In the end, there is just no legitimate moral argument for murdering innocent children. And as in ancient Israel, the child sacrifice of abortion marks the beginning of the end of a civilization by the judgment of God.

The Modern Attempt to Deny Ancient Human Sacrifice

Outside the Bible, child sacrifice in Phoenician culture (like that of Tyre’s) has a significant presence in both textual and archaeological evidence. Among the most ancient texts that reference it are the following that wrote about the city of Carthage in North Africa, a settlement of Phoenicians.

Fourth-century BC Greek author Kleitarchos (paraphrased):

“Kleitarchos says that out of reverence for Kronos [the Greek equivalent of Ba’al Hammon], the Phoenicians, and especially the Carthaginians, whenever they seek to obtain some great favor, vow one of their children, burning it as a sacrifice to the deity if they are especially eager to gain success. There stands in their midst a bronze statue of Kronos [Baal], its hands extended over a bronze brazier, the flames of which engulf the child. When the flames fall upon the body, the limbs contract and the open mouth seems almost to be laughing, until the contracted (body) slips quietly into the brazier. Thus it is that the “grin’ is known as “sardonic laughter,” since they die laughing.” [3]

First-century BC Greek historian Diodorus Siculus:

“In their zeal to make amends for their omission to sacrifice the noblest children, they selected two hundred of the noblest children and sacrificed them publicly; and others who were under suspicion sacrificed themselves voluntarily, in a number not less than three hundred. There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus, extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground so that each of the children when placed thereupon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.” [4]

Second-century AD Greek author Plutarch:

“No, but with full knowledge and understanding they themselves offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds; meanwhile the mother stood by without a tear or moan; but should she utter a single moan or let fall a single tear, she had to forfeit the money, and her child was sacrificed nevertheless; and the whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums [so that] the cries of wailing should not reach the ears of the people.” [5]

Though these texts speak of Phoenician child sacrifice in locations geographically removed from Canaan, they actually confirm religious and cultural connection to Jezebel’s Tyre. The city of Carthage was founded by Dido of Tyre shortly after Jezebel’s death. [6] As Henry Smith explains, “The evidence indicates that the Phoenicians brought this barbaric practice to Carthage from Canaan, and therefore, evidence of child sacrifice at Carthage provides evidential support for the historicity of the biblical accounts which mention such sacrifices.” [7]

Critical scholars have recently sought to discredit or diminish the descriptions of Phoenician child sacrifice in both biblical and classical historians by complaining of prejudice in the authors who describe the sacrifices. In other words, biblical prophets used poetic hyperbole against polytheists, and Greek and Roman authors wrote propaganda about their enemies, such as Carthage, in order to paint them as barbarians and to justify their own barbarity. [8]

But this doesn’t really fit the facts. First, because authors of different eras and vastly different cultures all wrote about the child sacrifice of Carthage. That is the definition of legally sound corroborating eyewitnesses.

Second, both Greeks and Romans practiced infant exposure, leaving unwanted infants to die of exposure to natural elements. So they didn’t condemn the killing of infants—because they practiced it. Their interest was not moral but theological. [9]

Thirdly, the archaeological evidence confirms that both biblical and classical authors knew what they were talking about. Such physical evidence of child sacrifice has been found in Phoenician colonies all over the western Mediterranean. The most famous of sites is the Tophet at Carthage, North Africa, already referenced above.

Lawrence Stager and Sam Wolff, archaeologists who had excavated the site described it this way:

The Carthaginian Tophet is the largest of these Phoenician sites and indeed is the largest cemetery of sacrificed humans ever discovered. Child sacrifice took place there almost continuously for a period of nearly 600 years…we nevertheless estimate the size of the Carthaginian Tophet during the fourth and probably the third centuries B.C. to be, at the minimum, between 54,000 and 64,000 square feet. Using the density of urns in our excavated area as a standard, we estimate that as many as 20,000 urns may have been deposited there between 400 and 200 B.C. [10]

The excavation site involves several levels that cover time periods from 800 B.C. to about 146 B.C. Earlier dates are below the water level and not accessible. Each level consists of urns that contain the charred bones of children, both boys and girls, from newborn to three-years-old, mixed in with charred bones of goats and sheep. These burnt sacrifices were made to Tanit and Baal-Hammon, the patron goddess and god of Carthage. Tanit is the equivalent of Astarte in Canaan. Some say Baal-Hammon is the equivalent of the high god El. But in Canaan Astarte was the consort, not of El, but of Baal, the “Most High.” So Baal-Hammon is most likely the equivalent of the Canaanite Baal-Hadad.

Critical scholars have recently constructed revisionist theories to describe the Carthage Tophet as not being a location of child sacrifice but a cemetery for children who died of natural causes. Stager, Wolff, and Greene debunk this skepticism by explaining several aspects that mitigate such revisionary speculation. [11]

First, the natural mortality rate of children at this time doesn’t match the unnaturally high mortality rate of children in the Tophet, thus indicating deliberate infanticide rather than natural causes. [12]

Second, none of the remains of the infants show the pathological condition of the disease. [13]

Third, naturally expired infants are usually ritually buried in foundations of homes or near the adults of the family, not in a separate cemetery.

Fourth, some of the inscriptions on stela above the urns describe sacrificial vows to a deity never seen in normal funerary stela.

Finally, burial urns of charred animal bones that are sacrificial substitutions are found interspersed with the children’s urns, something that would only make sense in terms of sacrificial rites. There were no pet cemeteries, and animal sacrificial substitution for humans was common though not universal. Some children were still sacrificed. [14]

Some have suggested that animal substitution evolved out of human sacrifice, but the later levels of Carthage show an increase in human sacrifice in later years, not a decrease, thus disproving the evolutionary theory. [15]

Child sacrifice was integrated into the Phoenician culture and the Israelite and Judahite cultures in a deeply affecting way. The biblical, historical, and archaeological evidence is consistent with each other.

I sought to portray the reality of ancient child sacrifice in ancient Phoenicia and Israel in my new novel Jezebel: Harlot Queen of Israel. To show how it was integrated into their socio-economic world. In one sense, the modern reader will be shocked at how it could have been so normalized—until that astute reader realizes its analogy with the modern-day normalization of abortion, child sacrifice 2.0.

___________________________

Brian Godawa is the best-selling biblical fiction author of the new novel series of spiritual war in the Bible, Chronicles of the Watchers. The first book in the series, Jezebel: Harlot Queen of Israel is now available. This article is excerpted from the book The Spiritual World of Jezebel and Elijah that is a theological companion book to the Jezebel novel.

  1. About Molech and Baal as separate deities see John Day, Molech: A God Of Human Sacrifice In The Old Testament (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 34-36.[]
  2. See, 2 Esdras 7:362 Baruch 59:1085:13Mark 9:434547. See Day, Molech, 52.[]
  3. Kleitarchos, Scholia to Plato’s Republic, 337A: Quoted in Paul G. Mosca, Child Sacrifice in Canaanite and Israelite Religion: A study in Mulk, PhD Thesis, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 1975), 22.[]
  4. Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History, Book 20, 14:4-7, Loeb Classical Library, 1954, 153. Quoted in Lawrence E. Stager and Samuel R. Wolff, “Child Sacrifice at Carthage: Religious Rite or Population Control?” Biblical Archaeology Review 10:1 (1984), 14.[]
  5. Plutarch, On Superstition, Loeb Classical Library, 1928, 2:495. Quoted in Smith, Jr., “Canaanite Child Sacrifice,” 98.[]
  6. Stager and Wolff, “Child Sacrifice at Carthage,” 6.[]
  7. Henry B. Smith, Jr., “Canaanite Child Sacrifice, Abortion, and the Bible,” The Journal of Ministry and Theology, 93.[]
  8. Smith, Jr., “Canaanite Child Sacrifice,” 93.[]
  9. Smith, Jr., “Canaanite Child Sacrifice,” 99-100.[]
  10. Stager and Wolff, “Child Sacrifice at Carthage,” 2.[]
  11. These reasons were all drawn from several sources: A debate over child sacrifice: https://phoenicia.org/childsacrifice.html; Brien K. Garnand, Lawrence E. Stager,  Joseph A. Greene, “Infants as Offerings: Palaeodemographic Patterns and Tophet Burial,” Studi Epigrafici e Linguistici 29-30, 2012-13: 193-222; Lawrence E. Stager and Samuel R. Wolff, “Child Sacrifice at Carthage: Religious Rite or Population Control?” Biblical Archaeology Review 10,1 (1984).[]
  12. Garnand, Stager and. Greene, “Infants as Offerings, 193-222.[]
  13. https://phoenicia.org/childsacrifice.html[]
  14. Stager and Wolff, “Child Sacrifice at Carthage,” 11.[]
  15. Stager and Wolff, “Child Sacrifice at Carthage,” 13.[]

Christians in Parliament (8)

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this (Isa.9:6-7).

This Messianic promise given through Isaiah, some 700 years before Christ, began to have its fulfilment at the birth of Jesus Christ. It contains some of the definitions of godly government: a government of peace, upheld with justice and righteousness.
It is important to recognise that almost everyone believes in these terms. Peace, justice and righteousness are laudable ideals for all people. But here’s the problem. Humanists want to re-define the terms according to their own definitions, while those of the Islamic faith want to re-define them too, according to their own.

What’s to be done?

We have to stay within Biblical guidelines, being governed by God’s law. The Bible tells us that “…Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne” (Ps.97:2). We have to let Biblical standards guide us, or suffer the consequences. We are suffering those, today.

Let’s be blunt. Murder is a capital crime according to scripture, punishable by death. There are no exceptions. This originated in Noah’s day, and is reaffirmed in the Mosaic law. God said to Noah,

Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man (Gen.9:6).

Murder is the deliberate taking of an innocent life. The abortionist is a murderer, because they are taking the life of an innocent person, even when it’s in a hospital. The man or woman who asks for an abortion, is a murderer too. Western governments today sanction the murder of babies in the womb, in the same way that Pharoah ordered the Hebrew babies to be murdered in Moses’ era (Ex.1:15-22), and the Nazis sanctioned the killing of Jews, 70 years ago. Thus our nations are no less guilty before God, today.

There are no excuses for the murder of the innocent, and the Biblical language is both clear and strong:

There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood… (Prov.6:16-17).

Dropping bombs on civilians or machine-gunning them is murder. These are innocent people, not engaged in warfare, and as such are to be protected from harm. There are US Presidents and military officers alive today, who could and should be charged with murder. Innocent people perished because of their orders. We might find the brash, abusive and unwarranted invasions and attacks around the world suddenly stopped, and people were left alone.

No one is exempt from Biblical law, including kings and political leaders: “The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you” (Ex.12:49).
Humanistic law structures since before Pharoah, have been always authoritarian, oppressive and abusive. As nations have turned from God, that is how their law structures have deteriorated. Consider France today, 231 years after their Revolution. That was an evil and oppressive revolution that quickly degenerated into a blood-bath.

France’s biggest earners today pay 85% tax. You earned $1 million last year? Pay $850,000 in taxation! Could you blame the big earners of France for getting out?

Every society that rejects God’s law degenerates into oppression, and while that nation refuses to repent, it worsens every generation.

Why? Because the spiritual, social and legal seeds of regeneration, found in God, His law and the gospel, are consistently rejected; thus there is no possibility for real improvement. The scripture says that “You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from Your commandments” (Ps.119:21).

Conclusion:
When the church takes God’s law seriously again, and His law is taught in church as being godly, normal and best for society, rather than abnormal, we will begin to make progress- we’ll begin to have authority in the nations of the world.

But all that takes time, faithfulness and obedience, beginning in the church. The church will have to take Biblical law seriously, as the Psalmist did:

I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts. I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be ashamed (Ps.119:45-46).

Is that what you’re ready for?

THE CONSEQUENCES OF DARWIN’S DANGEROUS IDEA

Are some people insane or just becoming more consistent? Every day there is a new story of some whacky group protesting some corporate indiscretion like the use of plastic straws and plastic eating utensils. I can assure you that there are more troubling issues to confront.

What’s going on? What’s the root of the problem? Phillip E. Johnson was instrumental in making people aware of the moral consequences of evolution theory. He passed away on November 2, 2019.

Johnson was a UC Berkeley law professor and opponent of the pseudo-scientific theory of molecule to man evolution theory. He was also co-founder of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (CSC). “He described himself as ‘in a sense the father of the intelligent design movement.’ He was a critic of Darwinism, which he described as ‘fully naturalistic evolution, involving chance mechanisms and natural selection.’…  Johnson argued that scientists accepted the theory of evolution ‘before it was rigorously tested, and thereafter used all their authority to convince the public that naturalistic processes are sufficient to produce a human from a bacterium, and a bacterium from a mix of chemicals.’”

His work in this area has been impactful, as the following points out.

The Christian begins with the presupposition that God created the universe and man as a special creation different in kind from both inanimate and other animate creations. In fact, man is so special, the Bible tells us that he is created in the “image of God” (Gen. 1:27). One of these image attributes is the existence of the mind and the ability to think rationally (Rom. 12:1-2Col. 3:10) and to act morally (Eph. 4:24).

The consistent materialist who denies God also denies the existence of the mind and a moral center. For materialistic philosophers, the mind is an “illusion.” “The brain is a machine. We have no selves, no souls. How do they know? It has to be that way, or they must acknowledge that they’re answerable to God, and they can’t have that.”

“The brain,” insists MIT’s Marvin Minsky, is just “hundreds of different machines … connected to each other by bundles of nerve fibers, but not everything is connected to everything else. There isn’t a ‘you.’” [1] Such a view of the mind makes man nothing more than an organic machine.

With the advent of the computer, the materialists believe they have found the perfect scientific mechanism to demonstrate that the mind is an illusion. They see the brain as a superior model, somewhat more versatile than the industrial-strength Cray super-computer. The computer analogy is faulty, however. The machine is nothing without the program. The program is the product of the programmer. Who programmed the programmer? Are we to assume, following the materialist’s logic, that an inorganic machine programmed an organic machine? What kind of trust can we place in the random firing of neural synapses? No one has made this point better than C. S. Lewis:

If … I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole, then not only can I not fit in Christianity, but I cannot even fit science. If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on bio-chemistry, and bio-chemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any significance than the sound of the wind in the trees. [2]

There is no accounting for man and the world, between dreaming and waking, illusion and reality if the materialists are right. Of course, if we start with their ultimate presuppositions, how would we ever know?

Daniel C. Dennett proposes that anyone who holds a theistic view of origins should be allowed to live in America but only in “cultural zoos”:

If you insist on teaching your children falsehoods—that the Earth is flat, [3] that “Man” is not a product of evolution by natural selection—then you must expect, at the very least, that those of us who have freedom of speech will feel free to describe your teachings as the spreading of falsehoods, and will attempt to demonstrate this to your children at our earliest opportunity. Our future well-being—the well-being of all of us on the planet—depends on the education of our descendants. [4]

Not only does the State deny the teaching of creationism in public schools, but Dennett wants the very idea of creationism to be blacklisted. Dennett, like Arthur C. Clarke, considers evolution to be the State religion. Those who deny its divinity will suffer swift and sure retribution at the hands of the educational establishment and the power of the State. Phillip Johnson writes that “it is not freedom of speech that worries parents, but the power of the atheistic materialists to use public education for indoctrination, while excluding any other view as ‘religion.’” [5] We don’t have to search for long to find similar sinister applications of such a proposal. Nazi Germany can serve as a vivid reminder.

If you want to know how such threats sound to Christian parents, try imagining what would happen if some prominent Christian fundamentalist addressed similar language to Jewish parents. Would we think the Jewish parents unreasonable if they interpreted “at the very least” to imply that young children may be forcibly removed from the homes of recalcitrant parents, and that those metaphorical cultural zoos may one day be enclosed by real barbed wire? Strong measures might seem justified if the well-being of everyone on the planet depends upon protecting children from the falsehoods their parents want to tell them. [6]

No God … No Law

Some people understood the dilemma of how to account for moral absolutes in a society that officially discounts God. The late Yale law professor Arthur Leff (1935–1981) was perplexed that an agnostic culture even wants enduring values. “Arthur Leff was a professor of law at Yale Law School who is best known for a series of articles examining whether there is such a thing as a normative law or morality. Leff answers this question in the negative and follows the consequences to their logical conclusions. ” In a lecture delivered at Duke University in 1979 (“Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law“), Leff expressed the dilemma:

I want to believe—and so do you—in a complete, transcendent and immanent set of propositions about right and wrong, findable rules that authoritatively and unambiguously direct us how to live righteously. I also want to believe—and so do you—in no such thing, but rather that we are wholly free, not only to choose for ourselves what we ought to do, but to decide for ourselves, individual and as a species, what we ought to be. What we want, Heaven help us, is simultaneously to be perfectly ruled and perfectly free, that is, at the same time to discover the right and the good and to create it. [7]

How can a solution ever be found in a random, impersonal cosmos, “governed” (if the word can be used) by chance given Leff’s logic? “[W]ith God out of the picture,” Philip Johnson writes, “every human being becomes a ‘godlet’—with as much authority to set standards as any other godlet or combination of godlets.” [8] Any person who utters a moral injunction is most often met with, “Who says? Who are you to impose your morality on me?” Leff continues his logical analysis of the dilemma:

Putting it that way makes clear that if we are looking for an evaluation, we must actually be looking for an evaluator: some machine for the generation of judgments on states of affairs. PhilIf the evaluation is to be beyond question, then the evaluator and its evaluative processes must be similarly insulated. If it is to fulfil its role, the evaluator must be the unjudged judge, the unruled legislator, the premise maker who rests on no premises, the uncreated creator of values…. We are never going to get anywhere (assuming for the moment that there is somewhere to get) in ethical or legal theory unless we finally face the fact that, in the Psalmist’s words, there is no one like unto the Lord…. The so-called death of God turns out not to have been His funeral; it also seems to have effected the total elimination of any coherent, or even more-than-momentarily convincing, ethical or legal system dependent upon final authoritative, extrasystemic premises. [9]

What is the secularist’s answer? How does the modernist create a moral center in the Darwinian struggle for life? The usual answer is “doing good” that benefits the species. Being kind, for example, has a good result. But is this always true? The claim is made “that a variety of widely accepted norms, including the keeping of certain promises, the abhorrence of unjustified killing of human beings, and perhaps even the sanctity of property rights, promote the adaptation of the human species to its environment. But so does genocide.” [10]

All the “great” tyrants claimed that what they did was for the betterment of mankind. To Hitler, Jews were a world problem. Mass sterilization was first considered, then more efficient and quicker methods were proposed and carried out to rid the world of the “Jewish problem.” But in the end, it was all done for a “righteous” cause. [11]

The Birth Control League (later Planned Parenthood) founder Margaret Sanger with her eugenic ideas wanted “to create a race of thoroughbreds” by encouraging births of “more children from the fit, and less from the unfit.” [12] She purposely set up birth control clinics in poor immigrant neighborhoods to rid the world of “mongrel races.” Who’s to say, given the presuppositions of today’s Darwinian legal theorists, that any of it was wrong?

While Leff did a masterful job in pointing out the problem, and he evaluated numerous theories in finding a way out of the dilemma created by his “own kind,” he offered no solution: “All I can say is this. It looks as if we are all we have. Given what we know about ourselves and each other, this is an extraordinarily unappetizing prospect; looking around the world, it appears that if all men are brothers, the ruling model is Cain and Abel. Neither reason nor love, nor even terror, seems to have worked to make us ‘good,’ and worse than that, there is no reason why anything should…. As things now stand, everything is up for grabs” (1249).

Nevertheless,” as Leff continues, he cannot distance himself from a series of moral absolutes that he cannot account for in a matter-only world:

Napalming babies is bad.

Starving the poor is wicked.

Buying and sell each other is depraved.

Those who stood up to and died resisting Hitler, Stalin, [Idi] Amin, and Pol Pot—and General Custer too—have earned salvation.

Those who acquiesced deserve to be damned. There is in the world such a thing as evil.

[All together now.] Sez who?

God help us.

Exactly!

  1. “Is the Mind an Illusion?,” Newsweek (April 19, 1992).[]
  2. C.S. Lewis, “They Asked For A Paper,” Is Theology Poetry? (London: Geoffrey Bless, 1962), 164-165.[]
  3. On the “flat-earth myth,” see Gary DeMar, America’s Christian History: The Untold Story (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1995), 221–234; Gary DeMar and Fred Douglas Young, To Pledge Allegiance: A New World in View (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1996), 75–82; Jeffrey Burton Russell, Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians (New York: Praeger, 1991).[]
  4. Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), 519. Quoted in Johnson, “Dennett’s Dangerous Idea,” 13.[]
  5. Phillip E. Johnson, “Daniel Dennett’s Dangerous Idea,” The New Criterion (October 1995), 13.[]
  6. Johnson, “Dennett’s Dangerous Idea,” 13.[]
  7. Arthur Leff, “Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law,” Duke Law Journal (1979), 1229–1249. Phillip E. Johnson, “The Modernist Impasse in Law,” God and Culture: Essays in Honor of Carl F. H. Henry, D.A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, eds. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993), 182.[]
  8. Johnson, “The Modernist Impasse in Law,” 182.[]
  9. Leff, “”Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law.” Quoted in Johnson, “The Modernist Impasse in Law,” 183.[]
  10. Richard Posner, The Problems of Jurisprudence (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1990), 235–236. Quoted in Johnson, “The Modernist Impasse in Law,” 184.[]
  11. For a chilling reenactment of the plan, see the HBO Film Conspiracy: The Meeting at Wannsee, starring Stanley Tucci, Colin Firth, and David Threlfall. The two-hour meeting on January 20, 1942, essentially sealed the fate of Jews in Europe. The approach taken by the thirty German bureaucrats was medicinal, a straightforward outline on how to solve the Jewish problem without ever using the words “kill” or “exterminate.” The law as it existed in Germany at the time was followed, giving them proper legal cover and justification for their actions. The date of the meeting nearly coincides with the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 (January 22) which has had a more ominous effect. Safe to say that more than six million Jewish babies have been killed legally through abortion since 1973.[]
  12. Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization (New York: Brentano’s, 1922), 126. Quoted in George Grant, Killer Angel: A Short Biography of Planned Parenthood’s Founder, Margaret Sanger, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Cumberland House Publishing, [1995] 2001), 85.[]

Christians in Parliament (7)

There are a lot of people who want to get into Parliament, and their motives vary considerably. Of course, people will talk about their desire to serve the community, which is laudable and acceptable to all. But history shows us that “all that glitters isn’t gold.”

The Bible speaks about the kind of people who want to govern. I think everyone interested in this ought to be familiar with the parable that Jotham told, in Judges 9. (To get the context, you really need to read the whole chapter).

The point is, some people really do have ulterior motives. Because of original sin, secret and devious motives are normal to fallen men. Of course, people can say they want to serve the community by being in government, but as the Bible says, “…the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep” (Ps. 64:6).

As Jordan wrote,

The point of the parable [of Judges 9:7-21] is that good men do not desire to lord it over others. Good men are happy being productive for God and for their fellowmen. They realize that the road to greatness is the way of the servant, as their Lord taught (Mk.10:42-45). The only kind of men who desire political authority for its own sake are bramble men — unproductive men who seek to attain fame and fortune by taking it from others who are productive…

The bramble is not oriented toward productive work. Rather, he is oriented toward tyrannical rule. He represents the ungodly man who builds up a society based on taking what other people have laboured to produce. His is a socialistic society, based on massive confiscation of the wealth of other people, their hard earned savings and capital. His is an imperialistic society, based on the conquest of weaker people and of their production. His is a slave society, based on the forced labour of other people. The bramble society is indeed the society of the curse.

Those who greatly desire to be kings are usually the least qualified for the post. Far wiser government generally comes from those who only reluctantly shoulder the heavy burdens of office. The good, wise trees were reluctant; the bramble was anxious to rule.[1]

You don’t have to look too hard in the history of the twentieth century to find bramble rulers, whose pattern of rule was destructive. Before he and his fellow Nazis attained power, Joseph Goebbels wrote,

One should not believe that parliamentarianism will be our Damascus… we come as enemies! Like the wolf tearing into a flock of sheep, that is how we will come.[2]

A nation in rebellion against God won’t want to be ruled by the godly; just the opposite. The further a people departs from God, the more likely it is that they will choose bramble rulers. When Israel was in rebellion against God, it was reflected in who they wanted to lead them. When he was confronted by Moses over the matter of the golden calf, Aaron claimed that the people said to him,

Make a god for us who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him (Ex.32:23).

Hundreds of years later, speaking through Hosea concerning Israel, God said that

They will not return to Egypt, but Assyria-he will be their king because they have refused to listen to Me. The sword will whirl against their cities, and will demolish their gate bars and consume them because of their counsels. So My people are bent on turning from Me… (Hos.11:5-7).

Conclusion:

Fallen men are consistent: they behave as fallen men, and they want their leaders to do so, too. They do not readily welcome into their ranks those whose lives testify against them, and won’t seek such as their leaders. This creates problems for believers who are enthusiastic about representation; you won’t be universally popular. Get used to it.

 

 

[1] James Jordan, “Judges: God’s War on Humanism,” 1985, p.165-166.

[2] Quoted in M. Cohen and J. Major (Editors), “History of Quotations,” 2006, p.753.

The Original Social Justice Warriors Warriors: Hitler and Mussolini

Both Hitler and Mussolini were perhaps the original and most dedicated ideological warriors for social justice. But the German National Socialists and Italian Fascists represented more than a brutal force that sent stormtroopers and blackshirt thugs to shout down rivals, block free speech, break shop windows, throw tear gas at opponents, and bash heads. They also represented a nationalist, collectivist and Marxist-inspired ideology that sought a “socially just” welfare society by redistributing everyone’s wealth.

The Nazis threatened and bullied almost everyone, any outspoken opponent or opposition political party, including conservative-nationalist parties. During the 1932 fall elections in Germany, the Nazis were almost at war with the conservative German National People’s Party (DNVP), where according to the German historian Hermann Beck, “the Nazis broke up German National election meetings with stink bombs and tear gas” and heckled a DNVP deputy and called him “Jew boy.” The German national press retaliated with charges of Nazism awash in socialism and violence, and stern warnings of economic doom if the Nazis were to gain power. The DNVP and German conservatives denounced Nazism as “bolshevism in nationalist wrapping.”

According to German historian Götz Aly, what made German National Socialism different from earlier versions of socialism was its “drive to couple social equality with national homogeneity, a concept that was popular not only in Germany.” From the very start, Hitler made it plain that social justice was an important ingredient for a healthy state. In his 1920 speech, “Why We Are Anti-Semites,” Hitler proclaimed to thousands of Nazi followers in Munich: “we do not believe that there could ever exist a state with lasting inner health if it is not built on internal social justice.” Throughout his regime, Hitler promoted his Völkisch equality goals for society. In one speech to factory workers in 1940, Hitler promised “the creation of a socially just state, a model society that would continue to eradicate all social barriers.”

killing

This advocacy for social justice was combined with their contempt for Jewish capitalism. A Nazi propaganda poster from 1933 read: “Because Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich wants social justice, big Jewish capitalism is the worst enemy of this Reich and its Führer.” To the National Socialists, every German of pure blood was entitled to equality before the law and equality of opportunity, not as individuals, but as part of the collectivity of a “people’s community” (Volksgemeinschaft).

In essence, Nazi Germany had become a redistributive regime that sought to rob the rich to pay the poor to fashion a universal social utopia—a sort of social justice mecca that has been dubbed a “racist-totalitarian welfare state.” In fact, National Socialist “policies were remarkably friendly toward the German lower classes, soaking the wealthy and redistributing the burdens of wartime to the benefit of the underprivileged.” Götz Aly described how Hitler’s regime financed their lavish social safety net for proper racial pedigree Germans, writing that to “achieve a truly socialist division of personal assets, Hitler implemented a variety of interventionist economic policies, including price and rent controls, exorbitant corporate taxes, frequent ‘polemics against landlords,’ subsidies to German farmers as protection ‘against the vagaries of weather and the world market,’ and harsh taxes on capital gains, which Hitler himself had denounced as ‘effortless income.’”

To achieve socialism and social justice, the Nazis had to engage in extensive social welfare programs. According to Michael Burleigh in The Third Reich: A New History, “charity” was “integral to National Socialism.” He explained that their social welfare policies were an “uncomplicated reflection of human altruism” that “became a favoured means of mobilizing communal sentiment… underrated, but quintessential, characteristic of Nazi Germany.”

Joseph Goebbels applauded the generosity of Hitler’s welfare state, boasting in a 1944 editorial “Our Socialism” that “We and we alone [the Nazis] have the best social welfare measures. Everything is done for the nation… the Jews are the incarnation of capitalism.”  It was also Goebbels who defined the two opposing forces during World War II. In his “England’s Guilt” speech from late 1939, Goebbels declared that “England is a capitalist democracy. Germany is a socialist people’s state.” Proclaiming that “English capitalists want to destroy Hitlerism,” Goebbels argued that the capitalists in England are the “richest men on earth. The broad masses, however, see little of this wealth.”

To the National Socialists, wealth inequality was a horrendous injustice that had to be solved. Both German National Socialists and Italian Fascists worked feverishly to strengthen and enlarge their social safety nets. In addition to old-age insurance (social security) and universal socialized healthcare, the Nazi’s administration provided a plethora of social safety net goodies: rent supplements, holiday homes for mothers, extra food for larger families, over 8,000 day-nurseries, unemployment and disability benefits, old-age homes, interest-free loans for married couples, to name just a few. But there was more. Under the Third Reich’s redistributive policies, the main social welfare organization—the “National Socialist People’s Welfare” (NSV)—was not only in charge of doling out social relief, but “intended to realize the vision of society by means of social engineering.” In other words, the Nazi’s welfare system ushered in a menagerie of welfare programs: aid to poor families and pregnant women, nutrition, welfare for children, ad nauseam, but also put energy into “cleansing of their cities of ‘asocials,’” which ushered in a no-welfare-benefits for-the-unfit program, based on a welfarism that was committed to a sort of social Darwinist collectivism. Other asocials and underperforming workers were housed in Gestapo-operated “labor education camps,” a new category that by 1940 encompassed two hundred camps that held 40,000 inmates.

Established in May of 1933, the NSV deemed that they had created the “greatest social institution in the world.” And to keep it that way, Hitler ordered its new chairman, Erich Hilgenfeldt, to “see to the disbanding of all private welfare institutions,” which began the Nazi’s effort to both nationalize charity and control society by determining who received social benefits. And yet, the banning of privately operated welfare organizations implied far more. Such social engineering policies meant that the Nazis were entrenched in their statist left-wing beliefs that government had to be the sole provider of welfare services. By socializing welfare in Germany, the national socialists exhibited their true red-revolutionary colors, following in the socialist footsteps of the Soviet Union.  Even today most American left-wing progressives would be reluctant to deny Non-Government Organizations (NGO) the opportunity to do charity work for the community. So, does this place American Progressives on the far right because the Nazi’s social welfare programs were so extremely left-wing?

The Nazi welfare state was so massive and all-encompassing that a German businessman’s letter published in Günter Reimann’s 1939 book, The Vampire Economy, declared that “these Nazi radicals think of nothing except ‘distributing the wealth.’” The same businessman also revealed that “Some businessmen have even started studying Marxist theories, so that they will have a better understanding of the present economic system” and that the German business community “fear National Socialism as much as they did Communism in 1932.”

Mussolini, also displayed similar social justice causes.  In his early years as a Marxist, labor union leader and disciple of French Marxist Georges Sorel, Mussolini supported violence in the streets to bring about a proletarian state through labor strikes. When he started to embrace nationally-based socialism, his blackshirts roughed up and force-fed castor oil to opponents. Nonetheless, his advocacy of nationalistic socialism did not preclude him from supporting social justice issues, welfarism, public works projects, and a socialist totalitarian state. One of the components of Italian Fascism was interventionistic economics, especially during the 1930s. He supported central planning, heavy state subsidies, protectionism (high tariffs), steep levels of nationalization (three-fourths of the economy), rampant cronyism, large deficits, high government spending, steep taxes, bank and industry bailouts, overlapping bureaucracy, massive social welfare programs, crushing national debt and bouts of inflation.

As UC Berkeley political scientist A. James Gregor asserted, Italy spent considerable funds on elaborate social welfare programs which were “motivated by the ‘moral’ concern with abstract ‘social justice.’” He wrote: “Fascist social welfare legislation compared favorably with the more advanced European nations and in some respect was more progressive.”

During the early1930s, Mussolini spoke about equality and social justice and his admiration for the labor movement, declaring in a speech to workers in Milan: “Fascism establishes the real equality of individuals before the nation… the object of the regime in the economic field is to ensure higher social justice for the whole of the Italian people.”

Under the new Italian Social Republic, Mussolini’s administration enacted a “socialization law” in 1944 that called for more nationalization of industry, where “workers were to participate in factory and business management,” along with collectivized land reform. One section of the socialization law proclaimed: “Enforcement of Mussolinian conception on subjects such as much higher Social Justice, a more equitable distribution of wealth and the participation of labor in the state life.”  According to Australian historian R.J.B. Bosworth, the Italian Social Republic “obsessively emphasized” commitments to socialization and a “variety of fascist equalitarianism and an amplified fascist welfare state.”

On another occasion, Mussolini declared in one of his last interviews (March 20, 1945): “We are fighting to impose a higher social justice. The others are fighting to maintain the privileges of caste and class. We are proletarian nations that rise up against the plutocrats.”

Not only did Hitler and Mussolini engage in violence by teargassing, beating up and shouting down opponents like the modern-day Antifa, they committed atrocities against humanity in their effort to defend social justice, making them the quintessential social justice warriors of the 20th century. Now, if only the violent black-shirted activists in the Antifa movement today would realize that they are merely a resurrection of yesterday’s goose-stepping fascists.

Much of the material is excerpted from L.K. Samuels’ new book, Killing History: The False Left-Right Political Spectrum.

Christians in Parliament (6)

The twentieth century has witnessed the beginning, development, and end of the most tragic experiment in human history: socialism. The experiment resulted in tremendous human losses, destruction of potentially rich economies, and colossal ecological disasters. The experiment has ended, but the devastation will affect the lives and health of generations to come.

The real tragedy of this experiment is that Ludwig von Mises and his followers — among the best economic minds of this century — had exposed the truth about socialism in 1920, yet their warnings went unheeded. — Yuri Maltsev (1990).

The next decade is likely to be one when the West in particular, has to endure painful economic lessons. Our experiments with government largesse which have been taking place now for generations, especially with the Club Med nations, but in other places as well, are going to end in pain. They’ve brought pain already: just go to Greece.

And what will need to happen then? Nations will need sound economic leadership. When there are too many hands going into the cookie jar, it gets depleted. What do we do about it?

We will have to re-think economics, and we’ll have to re-think charity and care of the needy in the community. And that’s only the beginning.

Serious economic constraints and growing poverty, have a way of challenging people’s attitudes. The poor person wants a change of circumstances. But how can this come about?

This experience will be painful, but in the long-term, it will be good. We will have to seriously re-evaluate what government really can do, in the best interests of the community.

The liberal believes in something like political salvation. He believes in political healing of every area of life. He believes that federal power, coupled with federal money, can make society better. Therefore, he is active in politics, he puts faith in politics, and he puts a whole lot of money in politics. He sees political mobilization is the heart of social transformation.[1]

Change will necessitate grass-roots involvement. The church will have the opportunity to speak, and influence the nations of the world.

Up till now, we haven’t been good at this. We haven’t been good at it, because our focus has been so far removed from the Bible. And the nations of the world have suffered as a result. What do we have?

          Mist in the pulpit- fog in the pew.

Today, it is common to speak of “the compassionate society.” Society should be compassionate towards its needy people, but it should be a private matter for individuals, families and private institutions. Why is that?

The Bible makes no case for government hand-outs for the needy. It does make a case for smaller government, less tax, and more freedom (see I Samuel 8). Jesus’ story of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10) was about a compassionate individual with an animal, time, bandages, wine, oil and money, who chose to help a needy person, harmed by criminals. But, he wasn’t compelled to.

This was selfless assistance. The Samaritan had no guarantee of repayment. Still, he helped the man. Why? Because he understood that the man was his neighbour. They were both on the same road, facing the same risks. They shared a common environment. They were therefore neighbours. The Samaritan understood Jesus’ ethical principle, which we call the golden rule: “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).[2]

What has happened now for generations, is that communities have become addicted to welfare, and the recipients of welfare always want more. And as a consequence, the Welfare State has grown immeasurably. Its foundations were always wrong and seriously flawed, and now it’s become a monstrosity based on the politics of redistribution, requiring vast sums of our taxes (along with debt) to maintain. We’ve dug ourselves into a hole.

Christians must identify these facts:

a) The days of the welfare state are numbered.

Real charity has always been a grass-roots thing. It has nothing to do with governments, or bureaucracy. All they can do is forcibly confiscate money from some people in the community, and distribute it to others. Well, Robin Hood apparently knew something about that, too. But do we think his was the best way?

If it wasn’t the best way, why do we continue with it today, calling it Social Security? The one political mechanism around the world more than any, that has brought nations of the West to the edge of an economic abyss.

What can we learn from this? When charity becomes politicised, it’s no longer charity, just  theft and redistribution, under a cloak of legitimacy.

b) We must be those who are getting about the business of raising up viable, Biblical solutions.

Conclusion:

Now is the time for the grass-roots to begin to get ready. We’ll have to think about the ideology of true Biblical charity, it’s very distinct roots in the law of God, and how it must be implemented in the modern era.

You think it can’t be done? It has to be done, by the church. If we leave it in the hands of the politicians and bureaucrats to solve our problems, we will simply get more of the same. And is that what we really want, all over again? When what you’ve done has got you into a hole, it’s time to quit digging and change your plans.

It’s time to prepare, time to act. God’s glory requires it.

Let’s roll up our sleeves, pray and plan. Before long, we’ll be needed-desperately.

 

[1] Gary North, “Why Conservatives have lost the Political Battle for America’s Soul,” 23/4/2012.

[2] Gary North, “Treasure and Dominion,” 2000, ch.20: “The Good Samaritan and the Concept of Neighbour.”