Law and Society (V)

Laws grounded on the Bible do not attempt to save man or to usher in a brave new world, a great society, world peace, a poverty-free world, or any other such idea. The purpose of Biblical law, and all law grounded on a Biblical faith, is to punish and restrain evil, and to protect life and property, to provide justice for all people. It is not the purpose of the state and its law to change or reform men: this is a spiritual matter and a task for religion. Man can be changed only by the grace of God through the ministry of the word…

Humanistic law has a different purpose. Humanistic law aims at saving men and remaking society. For humanism, salvation is an act of state. It is civil government which regenerates man and society and brings man into a paradise on earth…

Only when we return to a Biblical foundation for law shall we again have a return to justice and order under law. ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain that build it.’ [1]

When ungodly men in government try to remake society, look out society. They want to change everything around us. Denying original sin which they consider just a myth, they believe that man is basically good. So, nothing that they do could ever be evil, and every remembrance of Biblical Christianity in the community has to be removed because, after all, it’s just a hindrance, isn’t it? Then, its full steam ahead for change, and yes, “We can do it!”

This has been the attitude of the revolutionaries, ever since the French Revolution. It continues today (but in more camouflaged forms), in the socialist politics of the left. And it must be said that conservative parties are influenced by this too.

But laws cannot save man; they only affect us externally. Only God can ever save us, in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Not only can God save us, He has the only true prescription for the construction of a free society, based on His law. Every other form of law quickly shows itself to be abusive, or tyrannical.

Is Biblical law ever enough? No, for that would infer that salvation by law is possible. But even Biblical law cannot save us from our sins. Why should we expect man’s law to do so? Without the grace of God in a community, there is no salvation. That’s why God’s law AND His grace are the essential components of a free and healthy community.

This illustrates something else. In a godly society, there will be a healthy interaction between preachers of God’s Word, and the lawmakers. Why? Because they both get their marching orders from the one true God, in His book, the Bible. The Church and civil government are to be interdependent institutions, working in harmony with the other essential social institution, the family, to carry out God’s purpose.

So, there must be an awareness of roles, and a willingness to stay inside the God appointed spheres of life. These spheres are identified in the Bible for our understanding and benefit. In fact, the Bible gives us clear examples of how men have sometimes got themselves into hot water (or worse, been killed) when they failed to observe the God defined spheres of institutional responsibility.

Now, some would probably be saying, “Is it really as simple as that?” Well, it is. When Christians, the Church and the community at large begin to understand the Biblically defines spheres of responsibility, and the majority of the community is willing to submit to God, observing His will, the potential for the community (wherever it may be in the world), is remarkable.

And this is the outcome He wants us to work towards, for “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” (Ps.33:12).

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Law and Liberty,” 1984, p.5-7.

Law and Society (IV)

Where men insist on their natural privileges, powers and rights before God, they will soon feel free to go their own way without God: they are confident in their own power and ability. The language of law will then shift from God’s law to human rights, and justice begins to fade. The term human rights has no definition: it means what the speaker wants it to mean…homosexuality, abortion, child molestation, the sexual revolution, drugs, and more are all defended in terms of ‘ human rights.’ Men and the state define human rights, and it can mean anything.[1]

Christians should never be ashamed or even embarrassed at what they find in the Bible. They should especially not be embarrassed at what they find in God’s law, and the number of offences that could result in capital punishment. Apparently these punishments are so offensive to many people today.

I have a message for these people, supposedly so morally offended. How would you like to have lived in the Soviet Union, or under Mao in China, or Hitler in Nazi occupied Europe, or the killing fields of Cambodia? In these four places alone, over a hundred million people suffered and died, under arbitrary, despotic, tyrannical and humanistic government, where there was no due process of law, no insistence on witnesses to verify criminal behaviour, no opportunity to appeal to a higher authority, and no protection for the innocent and the weak against predatory people.[2] What was there? A desire to kill.

Now there would be some that might say, “Well, that was those countries. It’s not like that now in the West.” My response is, “Oh, really? Try being a child in the womb in any nation in the West today. Your chances of making it out of the womb alive, before having your head crushed, or being cut into small pieces, or burnt to death in a saline solution injected into the womb of a murdering mother by a murderous abortionist, are about 80-90%. And that murderous act is sanctioned in Australia at both State and Federal level, and paid for by Medicare.”

The murderous regimes of the last century have been followed up by murderous regimes of this one. Would you have really wanted to be an unarmed woman or child in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Libya, when the US or NATO decided in their great wisdom to drop bombs or send in missiles? How brave.

Obama is drone-attacking Pakistan. He’s expanded this war greatly. One or 2 million Pakistani refugees have had to leave the Swat Valley. It’s one of the greatest refugee crises since Rwanda. Obama’s bombed Yemen; he’s bombed Somalia; he even threatened Eritrea, this tiny little country near Ethiopia, with invasion.[3]

Thousands of suspected “militants” and civilians have been executed in drone strikes so far. At least 168 children were killed by such attacks just in Pakistan over a seven year period, according to a study released last month by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The real figure is probably even higher.

But few of the targeted suspects, if any, were formally charged with committing a crime before being blown apart – often with their entire families. Even fewer had been convicted in a court of law.[4]

The US government has made war on Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, resulting in massive destruction of homes, infrastructure, and lives of civilians, all in the name of one lie or the other. In addition, the US government is conducting military operations against the populations of three more Muslim countries – Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, with extensive loss of civilian life in Pakistan, a US ally. Drones are sent in week after week that blow up schools, medical centers, and farm communities, and each time Washington announces that they have killed “militants,” “al Qaeda,” “Taliban leaders.”[5]

Imran Khan acknowledged (15/11/2011) on the ABC’s 7:30 that 35,000 Pakistanis had died in the U.S. War on Terror.

The U.S. term to describe the percentage of civilian casualties that would result from a bombing raid?  Bugsplat.[6]

The 2007 helicopter gunship attack in Baghdad, shooting 18 peaceable, unarmed, innocent civilians in broad daylight using a .50 cal. machine-gun. What was this? Not “collateral damage,” or “unintended consequences of war:” it was State sanctioned murder. Bradley Manning, the officer who correctly reported this atrocity is now… in goal.

We don’t have a lot to brag about today in the West, but we do have a lot to repent of. And that repentance has to begin right where you and I are sitting, today.

The problem? Humanism. It always brings death and disaster. How do we know this? Because the Bible warns us of it: “…he that sins against me injures himself; all those that hate me love death” (Prov.8:36).

You’re not sure about God’s law? His law ALWAYS required the testimony of multiple witnesses before conviction for a capital crime. Furthermore, false witnesses to crime would receive the punishment they were seeking to bring on a defendant, which could be death. His law protects children in the womb, and people from the abuse of power. His law protects people’s property rights, and under a truly godly government, tax rates would always be under 10%.

His law appeals to me for its justice and protection for the innocent. It appeals to me because no  government bureaucrat or thug could manipulate the economy through inflation, a Reserve Bank or fractional reserve banking, take away my property or my wife and children, send my sons to fight in foolish and evil foreign wars, stop me educating my children how I wish to, take away my opportunities to protest, to publish, or go to a public meeting, move around the country or travel internationally, or own a firearm for whatever purpose I want.

When Christians and the Church come to realise the relevance of God’s law for all societies at all times, and that God commands us to implement and obey His law in all places, we’ll really have a contribution to make to the community. Till then…

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Romans and Galatians,” 1999, p.182.

[2] See R. J. Rummel. “Death by Government,” 1994.

[3] Anthony Gregory, “On War, Obama has Been Worse than Bush,” Rockwell website, 26/8/2011.

[4] CIA has Become “One Hell of a Killing Machine,” Official Says. Alex Newman, Lew Rockwell website, 6/9/2011.

[5] Paul Craig Roberts, “Stuck Pigs and Pressitutes Squeal,” Lew Rockwell website, 16/9/2011.

[6] William Grigg, “Imperial Priorities: Obedience First, Character Last,” Rockwell website, 19/7/2011.

Law and Society (III)

The foundations of all law are in essence religious and theological: they are questions of ultimacy and moral necessity. Law without faith is an impossibility. Every law order is a moral and a theological order, a structuring of society in terms of a fundamental faith.[1]

Man without God deeply resents the idea of his dependence on God. “Don’t give me any of that God stuff!” But his problem won’t go away. He is a creature of God’s making, and the only way he can truly understand himself is when he accepts the theological and therefore practical fact that he is made in the image of God, and dependent on God.

Furthermore, man is always and at all times a religious person. When he ignores this fact and tries to be “Mr Independence,” his religious nature manifests in humanism. His faith in God is thus transferred to a faith in man-himself or other people.

Humanistic man’s relationship to law is similar. Of course he rejects the idea of Biblical law, so he come forth with a substitute: humanistic law. But humanistic law is one that quickly moves towards tyranny; it always has. Why? Because it lacks the Biblical absolutes that alone can guarantee freedom, which Jesus spoke of in John 8:31-32. The way to determine the origin of a law is to determine who we’re supposed to have faith in for its operation. And if a law is Christian, you’ll be able to find it in the Bible.

So we have to resolve two questions. Which law, and which faith? The future of any society revolves around the successful resolution of these two questions.

Culture follows from, arises from, and is dependent upon faith. Spiritual loyalty to God, in faith, must precede and be the ground of all cultural change. It not only must be, it inevitably will be. The gospel has inevitable consequences, and so does Baalism.[2]

What has the West done historically? It has been heavily influenced by Christian law, because of the West’s Christian faith. This faith has had a significant impact in terms of the development of the West. Since 1660, this faith has been progressively undermined by humanism, whilst there has been a healthy residue in the West’s common law tradition. This too is being undermined, right under the nose of the Church.

This means that Christians individually must be the advocates of change. It means that we must know what we believe, and why. It means that we cannot be passive in the face of continued cultural and national decline, but must be prepared to speak out boldly and confidently on the matters of the day, from a sound Christian and Biblical base.

This will not happen successfully, without a quantum change of attitude, and a good deal of education in what really constitutes a Biblical world view, so that a remnant is prepared to fight. And so what’s also required is time, patience and resilience in the face of a continued humanistic assaults on society and the Church; we cannot fight something with nothing. David had his band in the cave of Adullam (I Sam.22:1-2). Furthermore, the real solution is far more than something merely political. It must have its foundations in the grass roots of the community, if change is to be effective.

But we must approach this issue with faith in God. Do our present circumstances have any historical precedents? Of course, especially in the history of the children of Israel, which had a great number of setbacks and defeats, all marked by a turning from God, and His subsequent judgment.

And what brought about the necessary changes? A remnant of people who were prepared to both serve God faithfully, and also to serve as spokesmen and leaven in the community, leading the way in instigating change.

Sometime, some unlikely looking person (or people) with only five stones and a sling, will have to step out in front of a well armed humanistic giant, bring him down, and cut his head off.

Would you like to be part of a team that does this? Today, begin the process of filling your heart and mind with a Biblical world view, and prepare to receive your Captain’s marching orders.

They might come sooner than you think.

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.893-4.

[2] James Jordan, “Judges: God’s War on Humanism,” 1985, p.59.

Law and Society (II)

Without justice, what are kingdoms but great robber bands? What are robber bands but small kingdoms? The band is itself made up of men, is ruled by the command of a leader, and is held together by a social pact. Plunder is divided in accordance with an agreed upon law. If this evil increases by the inclusion of dissolute men to the extent that it takes over territory, establishes headquarters, occupies cities, and subdues peoples, it publicly assumes the title of kingdom! Augustine, “The City of God,” circa. 400 A.D.

Recently I went to a meeting of the Liberal/National Party in Brisbane. We have a meal at a Chinese restaurant, and a meeting is conducted with about 35 members. Federal and State Parliamentarians (if they are available) generally bring a report.

At my table was a barrister, who had an interesting story to tell. He claimed that his parents owned a good sized property (over a hundred acres), not far from the city of Brisbane, which they planned to leave to their children.

Some years ago, a decision was made in the Labor Party State government, that a portion of the land (many acres) would be confiscated from the family for some sort of environmental purpose. Was this spelled out? No. Was there compensation? No.

Is the family upset about what it perceives as a great injustice? It most certainly is. Does it have any recourse? Not at the moment, and this man is a barrister.

But there’s more. During the conversation, the gentleman alleged that there was no real “environmental purpose” at all. It was really a deal between the Labor Party and the Greens to ensure Greens’ support at a forthcoming State election; it would make the Greens look as though they were caring for the environment.

Now, I don’t know if this was all true or not. But it certainly is worth someone investigating. Would it surprise me? Not really. Why? Because this is what frequently happens when the people in power are God haters. “Ethics” becomes what they want them to be, because they are intent on consolidating power. And when power is the overall goal, Biblical ethics (if it was ever around) quickly gets tossed out the window.

Now, there’s nothing new about the improper confiscation of property by government for evil purposes. Ahab and Jezebel showed themselves to be quite competent at it, around 800 BC (see I Kings 21). But as I pointed out to this fellow last night (and he already knew), the protection of people’s property rights from executive abuse is what led to the Biblically based Magna Carta in 1215.

The lesson?

You remove Biblical ethics from a society’s law and government, and that society will go into a steep decline. Whose fault is this? Is it the wicked sinners in Parliament? Partially.

But I’ll tell you where most of this fault lies. In the Church, which has failed to forcefully advocate the adoption of Biblical ethics, because the Church doesn’t believe in these ethics itself. And now, society (including the Church) is suffering oppression.

The solution? “To the law and the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn” (Isa.8:20).

Could this be anything other than Biblical law?

Law and Society (I)

At the Council of Trent, in their Canons on Justification, the Roman Catholic church declared: CANON XXI.-“If any one saith, that Christ Jesus was given of God to men, as a redeemer in whom to trust, and not also as a legislator whom to obey; let him be anathema.”

Right from the Garden of Eden, mankind’s greatest problem has been his sin. The devil’s promise then, was that “you shall be as God, knowing good and evil” (Gen.3:5), and so sin has been endemic to our race.

Sin doesn’t have to spectacular. If I read the Bible and decide unilaterally that I don’t wish to obey a certain command, only God knows about it. But it’s still sin, and will have its consequences at some point.

There are of course, different manifestations to man’s sinfulness. Societies that turn away from God will quickly manifest sinfulness in the laws they enact, for an ungodly people will not long tolerate godly law. If the people and their legislators are hostile to God, they will be saying, “We do not want this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14), and they know exactly Who they are referring to.

This should serve as a warning to us. An ungodly culture is not going to suddenly turn around and embrace Biblical law. We can explain till we are blue in the face how much better it will be, and how much more liberty there will be, and how much less tax there will be under Biblical law, but I suspect it will make little difference.

Why? Because apart from the intervention of God, people want to cleave to their sinful practices. They may know instinctively that it’s wrong, and that they will suffer in the long run, but that doesn’t convince them to change; only God can do that by His grace, through the Gospel.

But before we get to that, there is an even more important thing that needs to happen. The Church, which the Bible says is to be “…the pillar and support of the truth” (I Tim.3:15), has to come to terms with the fact Jesus Christ is our legislator.

“Legislator? You mean we have to actually OBEY all that Jesus commanded?” Yes, that is correct. You see, it is easy to accept God’s promises to His people, but all His promises are conditional on our obedience. He did say “you are My friends if you do what I command you” (Jn.15:14).

Think of the time when God spoke to Solomon. “…If you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom Israel forever…” (I Kings 9:4-5).

When God spoke to Israel through Isaiah, He promised that “if you will consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land” (Isa.1:19).

Thus it is futile to think about having all that God has promised, without our consistent obedience to His Word. That means the Ten Commandments (which themselves are only a summary of God’s law) should be a part of the spiritual diet of every believer.

I know that 95% of the Church would tell me to get lost. “Don’t give me that stuff about God’s law. I don’t want to know about it. We’re under grace, don’t you know?”

And that’s why God’s people, the Church, are uncertain, confused and divided about what has to happen in the nations of the world. Our subsequent ineffectiveness can be traced to this very issue.

What happened to Solomon? The Bible clearly says that he turned from the Lord to idolatry. As a result, God appeared to him telling him He would strip parts of the kingdom from his son (I Kings 11:1-13).

What’s happened to us? God hasn’t given the nations of the world into the hands of the Church. We’re the ones trodden underfoot. We’re the ones who can rarely win a trick, and it is our fault.

Our great need? Obedience to Jesus Christ, the great legislator.