Posted in self-defense

Is it Lawful or Appropriate? A Question of Governance Regarding Self-Defense and the Loss of Life

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning; from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Gen 9.5-6; ESV).

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge. My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge, and my Savior, You save me from violence. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies…He trains my hands for war; my arms can bend a bow of bronze…I pursue my enemies and destroy them; I do not turn back until they are wiped out. I wipe them out and crush them, and they do not rise; they fall beneath my feet. You have clothed me with strength for battle; You subdue my adversaries beneath me” (2Sam 22.2b-4, 35, 38-40; HCSB).

INTRODUCTION:

Today we return to the subject of self-defense. In particular, we return to the one caveat that gives people fits regarding it…the taking of the life of another. The sixth commandment: “Thou shall not kill [i.e., murder]” (Exod 20.13) is fairly straightforward in the minds of many. I noted this in my previous post. Taken at face value it appears to mean that “all killing” is wrong or unlawful in the eyes of the Lord. But taking things at face value instead of investigating deeper is what children do, not adults.

There are times when killing is appropriate (cf. Eccl 3.3a). Knowing our biblical history reveals that a lot of killing has been accomplished by the time God writes this commandment on the tablet of stone with His finger (an anthropomorphic expression which means, by His power; comp. Exod 8.19; 24.12; 31.18). A clear indicator that not all killing is deemed unholy.

I’m not sure exactly why this teaching is so offensive to our generation of Christian men and women? Don’t get me wrong I have my suspicions about why this is the case. But let us just state at the outset that I believe the reason is related to our modern generations (perhaps, the last few generations) inability or unwillingness to see the Bible as a unified, cohesive whole. Just like our corporate media here in the US cherry-picks their narratives, many professing Christians cherry-pick their Bibles. On some level, we can’t fault them. They have been taught and in many churches across this nation (at least these are my limited observations) are still be instructed to see the Bible all chopped up in verses. And so, favorite verses are chosen as representative of biblical truth, and yet, unfortunately, they have been ripped out of context. The result is a very shallow comprehension of biblical truth.

To illustrate this to the church I pastor I gave them a test where they were given various biblical terms and they had to choose whether these key-word concepts were “good, evil (bad), or both.” I will admit that Gary DeMar’s book Myths, Lies & Half-Truths gave me the idea. So I can’t claim originality. But, I did develop it further than what he did in his work and I went in a slightly different direction.1 The reactions when the tests were publicly graded and discussed were all across the board. Some were delighted to learn their thinking was in error (an eager student wants to learn and so is not discouraged by a gentle correction) but others were angered and attempted to argue the point.

What I have found is that the same is true when it comes to the matter of self-defense, specifically, when the defense in question leads to the loss of human life. However, if Christians would take the time (and put forth the effort) to study what the Bible actually teaches regarding a specific topic there would be fewer negative knee-jerk reactions to contend with. We must allow God’s Word to determine our thinking in this matter. This is why I pointed out at the closing of my last article that there are exceptions to the rule as seen in Exodus 22:2-3 (pertaining to the thief who breaks in), Exodus 21:12 (when civil authorities are authorized to kill murderers), and in Nehemiah 4:11-14 (when war is justified to protect life and property from another nation/people).

Necessary Safeguard…2

That being said, God does not allow us to wantonly take the life of a fellow creature. His law on this matter pertains to all creatures made by Him. Similarly, He protects animal life from being taken without justification. In short, no one is allowed to kill just because they feel like it.

"And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image" (Gen 9.5-6; ESV).

What do these verses suggest? That whoever takes life without cause, their life will be forfeit. Whether it be a man or an animal. Have you ever wondered why, when a pet kills someone, they put it down? This is why. The Lord God deems it necessary to put a dangerous animal down…just like He does dangerous human beings.3 Though there are many, I will cite two laws to sate the appetite of the curious mind.

"Now if an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall certainly be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished. If however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death" (Exod 21:28-29).
"He who strikes someone so that he dies shall certainly be put to death. Yet if he did not lie in wait for him, but God caused him to fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which you may flee. If, however, someone is enraged against his neighbor, so as to kill him in a cunning way, you are to take him even from my altar, to be put to death" (Exod 21.12.14).

A brief explanation of cited texts:

The first text deals with an animal4, in this case, livestock which was common in Israel at this time as a beast of burden. If the animal proved to be aggressive to the point of causing the death of a human being, then it was necessary to put that animal down. The owner was innocent of the animal’s aggression unless there had been prior cause to warn the owner to be cautious. An animal that had evidenced an aggressive nature in the past was to be put under guard. It was the owner’s responsibility to guard the lives of his neighbor and his animal. Failing to do this, if the animal killed another, would result in the owner’s life being forfeit as well; for he refused to do what was right and was therefore liable.

The only exception to this is found in Exodus 21:30,

If instead a ransom is demanded of him, he can pay a redemption price for his life in the full amount demanded from him” (HCSB).

This is a case of the victims’ desire to be merciful, something God allowed for. Please note it was not the judges’ decision but the decision of the victimized party whether or not mercy was to be shown to the guilty party. The imposition of a fine was what they deemed worthy, rather than the individual’s life, and in this case, a lawful exception was made.

The second text (Exod 21.12, 14) deals with two types of killing. The first we would recognize as murder, the other, from our understanding, would label it manslaughter. Murder is a crime against another human being where they purposefully strike to kill.5 However, as the text points out a person who takes the life of another accidentally (i.e., manslaughter) is not considered a murderer. They were allowed to flee to a city of refugee if the preceding investigation proved that they were not guilty of premeditation (cf. Num 35.24; Deut 13.14; 17.4; 19.18).

But what about accidental death due to negligence? Texts dealing with loose ax heads or not putting a fence up around a dangerous structure on one’s property make you liable if someone was injured or hurt because of your negligence (cf. Deut 19.4-5; 22.8 respectively). Even getting in an altercation where a pregnant woman gets hit and it causes her to prematurely go into labor if that baby is injured or killed whatever happened to the child was required of the attacker who hit her: accident or not doesn’t matter (See: Exod 21:22-24).

Life is sacred. It is a gift from our Creator. Therefore, it is to be protected at all times. This is the meaning of the prohibition announced after the Flood. God was declaring through Noah to the rest of the human race that whoever treated lightly the life of mankind, be it another man or beast, their life was (is) forfeit. To shed the blood of another, which is a figurative way of saying—“ending their life” is to give up the right to life. For God authorizes and requires the use of lethal force against the perpetrator.

And, no, that’s not a contradiction, for as we have seen in just these few examples not all circumstances are equal. The goal of the death penalty (another form of defense in the civil sphere of governance) is the protection of life.6 The sentences were to be carried out swiftly once the court of law had convened and determined the situation appropriately, according to the evidence. Why? Two reasons are given in Scripture. First, so that evil might be purged from the surrounding society. Second, the death penalty served as a deterrent to the other wicked in the community who might be inclined to perpetrate evil. As it is written,

"So you shall eliminate the evil among you. And the rest of the people will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. So you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot" (Deut 19.19b-21; also see: Deut 13.11; 17.13; 21:21).

Wrapping things up…

The question of defense is a governmental one. An unfortunate reality, however, is the average understanding of government is a narrow one. The majority of the passages cited in this article are taken from the case laws of the Pentateuch. They served as instructions for how the civil sphere was to respond to the behaviors of some to protect society as a whole. In this fashion then, we see the application of the apostle Paul’s words in Romans 13:4,

...be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a servant of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil” (NASB).

But is the civil government the only form of government? No. Think about this. To whom were the laws of God written? A nation or a people? A group or the individual? Both. God’s law first applies to the man or woman who is made in His image, and then, it applies to the nation as a whole. Personal government is the sphere where the individual is charged with performing the Law of God in their life. When a person’s behavior is shown to be in rebellion to this standard of holiness all sorts of vile actions are produced. Murder, the wanton taking of the life of another, is one such violation. To strike against another, to end their life without justification is a criminal offense one that aims for the Creator who gave life. One punishable by death.7

Is that the same thing when a person defends their life or the life of another and a loss of life occurs? Is that act of self-defense the same thing as murder? Another related question is this: “Is the civil government the only governing agency authorized to use the sword?” Let us make this a little more relevant to our time: “Is the civil government the only governing agency authorized to bear arms?”

I want to be careful here because it is easy to be misunderstood. I am only speaking about extreme cases. Self-defense may be a daily reality but it is only exercised on rare occasions. But on those rare occasions, as I’ve put it, is it the right of the individual to use such force in the protection of life? Not as an aggressor, but as a defender?

The text of 2Samuel 22 (and others like it) seems to suggest this is correct. Notice in vv. 3-4 that David states the Lord protects him from violence and saves him from his enemies, but later on, in the same Psalm, David also explains that it is God who “trains my hands for war” (v. 35; HCSB). And those later verses explain that David showed no mercy to those who sought his life. What are we to do with this biblical teaching? Do we ignore it? Do we pass it over? Do we rationalize this passage (and others like it) in an effort to delegitimize it? Essentially, placing it on the proverbial shelf, calling it Old, and thus, not worthy of the New?

When next we meet we shall look at a couple of Scriptural passages that have caused no small amount of confusion for Christian commentators, where Jesus offers insight into the questions I’ve been asking.

ENDNOTES:

1For example, Gary DeMar, wrote in his Introduction, “When I was very young, I remember seeing a western on television where a dispute was settled by the answer to a simple Bible question. I can’t tell you anything else about the movie, but that one scene is etched in my mind. Here’s the question: ‘Who cut off Samson’s hair?’ A smile appeared on the man’s face as he confidently responded, ‘Delilah.’ No doubt the majority of people would have given the same answer, and they like the man in the long-forgotten western, would be wrong [it was a man: Judges 16:19].” DeMar continues, “While the Samson and Delilah hair removal story is not a central doctrine of the Christian faith, it does demonstrate that if a misreading of the Bible is passed on as fact, with few people ever checking the text for accuracy, then misinformation or worse (myths, lies and half-truths) becomes a part of the biblical record.” Myths, Lies & Half-Truths: How Misreading the Bible Neutralizes Christians (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2004), xv.

2The reason why safeguards are necessary for the protection of life (both animal and human) is that human beings are violent creatures that love death (cf. Prov 8.36). We live in a fallen world where the wanton taking of a life, be it a human or animal, is a reality. But the warning is given to God’s stewards so that the faithful protect life (sometimes in its preservation, at other times in its removal).

3On this point Gary North writes, “There are no exceptions based on idiocy, temporary insanity, temporary anger, or anything else. Unless it can be proved that the death came as a result of an accident—no premeditation—the criminal is to be executed. The willful shedding of man’s blood must be punished by the civil government by execution.” The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandments (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1986), 116, PDF E-book.

4The application would go beyond livestock, for the principle in the law is in regards to an animal, even though “ox” is mentioned. Being able to draw the applying principle from the cultural consideration of the period, in which, the text was originally written to a specific audience, is of paramount importance.

5This would likewise apply to those who desired the outcome, participated in some way (like paying for an assassin), or refused to offer aid in the preservation of life (cf. Prov 24.11-12; Lev 19.17; Rom 1.32). Thus, the malicious witness falls under the category of “worthy of death” if they are testifying about a crime supposedly committed where the death penalty is applicable. Say, for example, accusing a man of rape when no rape has been committed. The penalty for rape is death, and so the malicious witness in such a scenario would, when they are found guilty through investigation, be applied to them (cf. Deut 19.16-19).

6In light of Genesis 9:5-6 North explains, “[This passage] explains the nature of the [murder] violation: man’s life is uniquely important to God, since man is made in God’s image. An assault on man is an assault on the image of God. [Moreover,] the clause explains why men, by means of the civil government, are required to execute bloody judgment on murderers. Man is made in the image of God; therefore, as God’s image, mankind can bring judgment in the name of God, the supreme Judge who executes final judgment. Man is God’s agent who exercises God’s delegated authority. He is an agent of the King. He is to exercise dominion over the earth… [as] a royal agent, and as such, he deserves protection.” Ibid., 117.

7This is why Kyle Rittenhouse’s use of a firearm had to be investigated. If he wantonly took the life of another, then he’d have been guilty of murder. However, if it could be proved that he was provoked, fearing for his safety with no other recourse, and was therefore justified in his killing, then he’d be found innocent. Which he was.

Posted in love

A Word Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance, Part III: A Christian’s Responsibility to Respond in Love

So far, in the two previous posts (A Word to be Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance: Part I and A Word Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance, Part II: The Issue and the Appropriate Response towards Civil Officials), I have laid out how God judged sin in the past at a national level through the use of water, fire and sword. God created mankind to bear His image throughout all creation, therefore, it is an act of rebellion—to the highest degree—to assume the authority to bear one’s own image without reference to His Law-Word. Rejecting God’s standard of holy living invites God’s wrathful judgment against mankind’s perceived versions of good and evil.

Civil governments are not above God’s retribution. They have been sanctioned to uphold good and to punish, and thereby, to purge evil from our society. In this fashion then, governments are meant to be protectors against the assault of godly (goodly) individuals. This is their duty as the Lord’s ministers and as our servants to be a defender and not an instigator of wrong. Remember they are ordained to serve the good of society by executing vengeance against evil, for, as it is written, “they do not bear the sword in vain” (Rom 13.4).

This means that they are severely limited by jurisdictional boundaries. It also means that the Christian—a member of Christ’s body, His Church—needs to recognize his jurisdiction of speaking God’s Truth into all areas of life. We speak not only to individuals, to families, and to Churches, but also to society as a whole, in particular, to the authorities above us in the civil sphere.

What of those entrapped by such lies or deceived by such sins?

Our duty is to speak the truth in love. This is a command from our Lord: “[to] teach [the nations] to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28.20; NET). Love is not to be defined by anything other than obedience (positive action) to (towards) the Law of God. Love is defined by God’s law for true love upholds it:

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1John 5.3; NASB).

The one thing that we do not want to do is be silent. For it is the Name of Christ Jesus that redeems and ransoms sinners from the depths of all sorts of depravity. This is why we must speak out against such tyranny and abuse of power as we witness in Canada regarding the new legislation C4. For it is an attempt to silence the people of Christ from speaking in His Name.

Nor should we attempt to isolate, and therefore, insulate ourselves from the world in which we live. Though it must be admitted that this has been the practice of some, we must resist this temptation. But as Christians, this is not something we are authorized to do in this instance. For we are commanded in Scripture to separate the leaven from within our midst; within the body of Christ, but not to separate ourselves from the world:

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people; I did not at all mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the greedy and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to leave the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is a sexually immoral person, or a greedy person, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or habitually drunk, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a person. For what business of mine is it to judge outsiders?” (1Cor 5.9-12; emphasis added).

Our goal as Christians is to bear witness to the world at large, to be salt and light (Matt 5.13-14). What good is light hidden or salt unspent? They are worthless. Does not the world need what we have? Were we not at one time just like those in the world? Were we not at one time guilty of the sins that we see the world committing? Even some of those things that are abominable to the Lord our God? Have we not been redeemed? Have we not experienced the love of God in Christ? Are we not adopted children of the Most High? How did this adoption come about? How is it that we have been redeemed? From where did we learn of a ransom price for our sin, for a life without lawlessness, a life filled with the Spirit and the love of God? Is it not because we were witnessed to? Did others who once shared in our lot not stoop to our level and proclaim to us the mercies of God in Christ? Were we not told by others who were once lost of the Savior’s sacrifice on our behalf?

“…Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1Cor 6.9-11; emphasis added).

The message of the cross is Christ crucified. He who knew no sin became sin so that we might be adopted as sons and daughters of God (2Cor 5.21; Gal 3.26). All of us came from a previous life of sin. We are all deserving of hell and the grave. No mercy ought to be shown to us. No compassion should have been forthcoming to us. For we have all besmirched the Name of God (Rom 3.23). And yet, though we were all vile sinners, in Christ we experienced being made clean, being set-apart, being declared “not-guilty” fully acquitted of our crimes against our Maker. For Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit according to the will of the Father made us new through His saving, sanctifying grace! And dare we deny telling this truth to others? Dare we be silent for fear from tyrannical despots that no neither their right hand from their left. Should we not preach the truth in love, demonstrating the grace of God in sharing the goodness (gospel) of Christ and His kingdom with a world of lost sinners. Confused by deceiving hearts and the false doctrines of men. Should we not cry out against the liars and the abusers, the swindler’s in the highest offices in our land, and declare with one voice:

Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, make your own judgment; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4.19).

Understand my brethren, my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, that these laws as seen in Canada and those currently coming our way under the guise of “hate speech” here in the US are meant to silence us from using the Name of Jesus (Acts 4.18), but we must not! We dare not! For I know not one, who knows Christ, who desires to feel His shame on that fateful day because we feared to speak His truth before those who can only harm the body but have no power over our eternal souls (Matt 10.32-33). Therefore, let us with one accord declare to the heads of state here and in Canada and across the West into the farthest corners of this world: God alone defines sin. God alone defines marriage. God alone defines sex. God alone determines male and female. God alone determines what constitutes the family. God alone determines right and wrong. And God alone determines salvation. Our desire is to go forth amidst the nations to proclaim the Word of God to all who have ears to hear and eyes to see, and no government, no organization, no bullying, no amount of hate or intolerance for our beliefs, no amount of phobia for the creation narrative will silence us. And those who refuse to listen, we do not judge, for the Word of Christ will stand against the unrepentant and judge them on that Day (cf. Deut 18.19; John 12.48; also see: Acts 17.30-31).

Amen

Posted in Truth and Error

A Word Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance, Part II: The Issue and the Appropriate Response towards Civil Officials

“To be an effective warrior in the battle for truth today, several old-fashioned, Christlike virtues are absolutely essential: biblical discernment, wisdom, fortitude, determination, endurance, skill in handling Scripture, strong convictions, the ability to speak candidly without waffling, and a willingness to enter into conflict.”—John MacArthur, The Truth War1

“Individuals should disapprove of and oppose homosexuality as immoral. Churches should decline membership and office to unrepentant homosexuals. States should restrain homosexuality rather than making it a civil right. We must equally insist that individuals not take a holier-than-thou attitude toward homosexual sin, that churches faithfully proclaim the good news of deliverance to homosexuals, and that the state not persecute them by entrapment, invasion of privacy, or intentionally selective and uneven attention…[Moreover,] contrary to common retort, disagreeing with homosexuals about their rights and disapproving of their behavior does not automatically make someone a bigot…Viewing something as immoral is not the same thing as being bigoted.” Greg L. Bahnsen, Homosexuality2

God created mankind in His image to act as His vice-regents on this earth. Human beings were given dominion on this earth as the Lord’s stewards. Meaning we are to do two things: 1) work, tending God’s creation to its utmost potential, 2) work in guarding/protecting God’s creation from sin. To do this was to obey the voice of God and live. To do its opposite was to rebel against God’s Word and die. In this sense then, living and dying are ethical realities. Our parents in the Garden refused to listen to our Maker’s instruction, resulting in their eviction from His blessed sanctuary. (Only God’s grace made a further relationship—coming to Him in humility—possible).

Since that historical event, a visible struggle has been witnessed between those who seek to bear the mark of God in their lives and those who prefer the mark of the serpent. Previously, I pointed to how the Lord dealt with the rebellion of His creatures in the past. Using water, fire and sword to execute judgment against the nations (peoples) who refuse to submit to His Law-Word.

Today, I want to briefly explain why that is the case and what is going on that has so many Christian pastors (and Christians in general) concerned here in North America; specifically, in our sister nation Canada, although, such trouble is not far from our own borders. Furthermore, I want to challenge believers in their understanding of civil government and what our response ought to look like. In my final post (forthcoming soon) I will address how we are to deal with the sins of others in light of our gospel commitment.

A Warning and a Protection Enacted…

After the flood, God added a warning to the children of Man:

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Gen 9.6; ESV).

Life is precious and has dignity because God made us. We are not accidents. We are not products of a series of evolutionary events. Chance did not bring about man, God—the Creator of Heaven and Earth—did.

Genesis 9:6 lays out the groundwork for the death penalty. For to strike against a fellow image-bearer is to strike against the God who created them. Please understand that the death penalty is applied to more than physically slaying another individual. Do you not know that rape is considered the same sort of attack against a fellow image-bearer, against the God who gave them life (cf. Deut 22.26-27)?3 The depth of the commandment: “Thou shall not kill” (Exod 20.13) is greater than just not taking life, but also preserving life. We are to do all that we can to maintain the life and well-being of another individual.

What is sexual sin, if not a violation against the commandment of life? It is destructive to the life of an individual, a marriage, to the family, and in the end to society as a whole. Think about the ways that our current culture has twisted and perverted sex. Our technology makes it more prevalent, but we need to understand that what we are seeing in our culture is nothing new. Biblical revelation makes it quite clear that this has been done before.

This is why I cited various judgment passages from the Old Testament (Tanakh). I have no desire to jab my finger in the eye of another. Nor, do I want to cower in fear because my words, which are just a relaying of God’s Word to His image-bearing creatures, are offensive to some. However, speaking the truth in love means there will be times when others will not want to hear your message. Jesus Christ was crucified for nothing less; and yet, no one can deny that His words were spoken out of love. (That last comment alone is worthy of a lengthy discussion, but I must press forward).

Efforts of the Rainbow Coalition…

Recently you may have noticed that the alphabet soup “community” has gotten more brazen over the years. Initially, all they supposedly wanted was for us to tolerate their existence. To allow them to come out of the closet. But now they are gunning for our lives. They have attacked our places of business. They have invaded our educational institutions. They have attacked our concept of family, of marriage. Now they are gunning for our children. They demand that “sexual identity” reign supreme. Not just in their private lives, but in the public square. They are currently seeking political support in the hopes of drawing up legislation to further silence our voices and our freedoms. No longer do they seek toleration, but their true desire is to demonstrate their intolerance for our way of life.

They are driving home the narrative that male and female is a myth, a lie propagated to control the masses. It is argued that one can transition from the “gender” classification they were assigned at birth. Reason and rational thought have been replaced with feelings and intentions of the heart as if the truth of reality were determined by such things! For the human heart is “exceedingly wicked” (Jer 17.9), more so than an individual might know about themselves (Jer 17.10), and this “from our youth” (Gen 8.21)

The Overreach of the Canadian Government…

Now, this past December the Canadian government passed legislation at the national level that makes it illegal to speak against or attempt to correct the errors laden in these forms of sexual sin. No longer are you allowed to question or offer a gentle rebuke in the hopes of converting such an individual to Christ for that is now considered hateful, harmful, and worthy of getting your freedoms revoked. To offer counsel, to preach the gospel, to proclaim the truth about the reality of sexual sins, of previously unspoken perversions/abominations, may get you fined, jailed, or even worse…you may have your children taken from you.

What should we do?

We ought to do as we are commanded to do. Herein lies the issue of jurisdiction. Whose spoken law has legally binding authority on this issue? Who should Christians bow the knee to and whom should they oppose? Where is our allegiance supposed to be demonstrated and in what way?

Romans 13:1 says,

Every person is to be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exists are established by God” (emphasis added).

I was listening to Dr. Joe Boot this week and he made a point I thought was worth repeating. (Bear in mind that this is a paraphrase of his words.) He pointed out that it is our duty as Christians to proclaim the truth. But he cautioned,

“We are not preaching against the government. For as we are taught in Scripture God has established government. He has sanctioned it to act as His ministers in the civil sphere. What we do is preach against the abusive tyrants that are besmirching the name of God…that are trampling on His Word…that are distorting the truth in government.”4

God ordained governing bodies because of mankind’s sinfulness. They serve as an authority above the person in society, in order, to curb bad (evil) behavior while upholding the good (lawful) citizens. Notice that the apostle Paul says “governing authorities” in Romans 13:1. Not one governmental body, but many; a plurality of governing institutions have been ordained (instituted) by God to help govern the affairs of men and execute His vengeance against those who take His laws lightly. This is why Paul also says that leaders in governmental bodies serve as His ministers (Grk. term for deacon) in the public sphere (Rom 13.4, 6).

The limitation is two-fold in Romans 13:1-7. First, the citizens of this earth are limited in their sphere of individual authority in that they are responsible to do good (honor the law), and if not justice will be executed against them accordingly (cf. Deut 19.21). Second, the individuals in positions of authority (governance) is given the use of the sword (retributive justice) but are limited in their use of it as the exercise of the sword must comport with God’s law. The governor (regardless of his/her station) is not a law unto themselves.

As Gary DeMar explains,

“Ultimately, only God has the authority to govern. He does so because He is God, and His infinite wisdom and majesty are beyond compare. He grants authority to others to govern: ‘By Me kings reign, and rulers decree justice’ (Proverbs 8:15)… [Therefore,] all who rule receive their authority for the administration of justice and equity from God, Lord (Governor) of all creation.”5

It is here that we find a voice for the Christian to speak. No one government is absolute, they are by divine decree derivative having delegated powers. They are not all-encompassing, and therefore do not have absolute autonomy. They have a jurisdictional boundary by which they are able and likewise limited, to operate.

God’s Truth…

Thus, they have no right to write nor authorize legislation that attempts to supplant the truth of God. Marriage was ordained by God, and so too was sex, which is a part of the covenantal bed (cf. Heb 13.4). God alone has the right to define human identity and this He did in the beginning:

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female He created them” (Gen 1.27).
“…the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living person” (Gen 2.7).
“…the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘At last this is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man” (Gen 2.21-23).

Moreover, God defined marriage between a man and a woman and therefore, no other union is to be legally or lawfully recognized as marriage. And to those who claim that understanding marriage in this fashion is outdated or patriarchal, I respond it is based on the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords:

Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no person is to separate” (Matt 19.4-6; cf. Gen 2.24).

What teaching may we glean from this? What application(s) may be drawn from Jesus’ words? That God created only two “genders” from the beginning—male and female. That God made the woman for the man and by extension the man for the woman; thus sex is to be shared only between a man and a woman. In fact, the entire alphabet soup narrative is destroyed by this one teaching. For no governing authority is authorized to change the defining marks of what makes marriage, sex, or even the family—something that Christ also warns not to attempt to separate—are. God reserves that right.

And so, it is the duty of the Christian minister whether great or small to proclaim/preach this truth in opposition to the governing authorities above us that are attempting to pervert it. We are to warn them that God’s wrath was not silent in the past, and it will not be silent in our present state if they do not desist and repent from what they are doing right now!

ENDNOTES:

1John MacArthur, The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 146.

2Greg L. Bahnsen, Homosexuality: A Biblical View (Nacogdoches, TX: Covenant Media Press, 2011), Preface 1, 2. Using the term “homosexual” Bahnsen recognizes “…specific variations within sexual identity and orientation…” (p.1) and so it applies to a wider variety of practices within the LGBTQ? Community; something that continues to evolve over time at an increasingly rapid pace.

3The list of sins that struck the image of God in man are many. Either the sins were a direct assault on this image or indirect. This includes a long list of sexual sins (cf. Lev 18, 20), but others as well. For example, child sacrifice (Lev 20.1-5), kidnapping (Exod 21.16), chattel slavery (Deut 24.7), murder (Num 35.16-18), parental abuse (Exod 21.15; Deut 21.18-21), and in some cases the slanderous purger/malicious witness (Deut 19.19).

4When I say paraphrase I mean just that. This is the essence of what he said, but it is not a word-for-word transcription of his message to his listening audience. Therefore, if a person would like to hear Dr. Boot’s testimony I will provide the link to his website so that you may download his podcast and listen: https://www.ezrainstitute.ca/resource-library/podcast/biblical-sexuality-sermons/.

5Gary DeMar, God and Government (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2011), 56.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Bible’s Impact on Our World – The American Vision

An article in GQ magazine written by the editors declared that the Bible is one of 21 books that you don’t need to read. It’s 12th on the list and the description by Jesse Ball begins with the following comment:
The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it.
More people live by it that have not read it, and that’s the main reason the Bible is the most significant book in all of history.
— Read on americanvision.org/posts/the-bible-s-impact-on-our-world/

As always Gary DeMar’s critique is on point.

Posted in Wrath

A Word to be Spoken to a World in Need and a Government Needing Repentance: Part I

“The gospel message in all its component facts is a clear, definite, confident, authoritative proclamation that Jesus is Lord, and that He gives eternal and abundant life to all who believe…[Yet] we are not merely [His] ambassadors. We are simultaneously soldiers, commissioned to wage war for the defense and dissemination of the truth in the face of countless onslaughts against it.”—John MacArthur, The Truth War1

  • NOTE TO READER: What follows is a portion of a manuscript proclaimed on the Lord’s Day—the 16th of January 2022—in protest to the C4 legislation passed in Canada (December 2021). Bill C4 is a unified effort of the Canadian government to silence opposition to so-called “conversion therapy,” in particular, it would appear, the Christian faith and message. Many churches across North America (Canada and United States) spoke in opposition to the contents of the bill now signed into law as a gross overreach of civil power, and an outright attack against the Triune Creator’s design (His will) for humanity. Below you will find the first section, with others coming soon.

INTRODUCTION:

Dear brethren, we live at a tipping point in history. In previous generations, those who came before had their own battles of the faith to fight and now, ours is upon us. We are told in James 1:2 the sort of attitude we are to present as individuals, towards our families, within the body of Christ and to the world at large:

Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (NASB).2

The West has seen its foe raise its ugly head, and like the old serpent in the Garden, it strikes a blow at the first (human) covenantal body ordained by God, the family. An assault has been waged on the very doctrine of creation. Specifically, those currently in power are attempting3 to redefine marriage, redefine sexual ethics, redefine what constitutes a family, as well as what makes a male and female person a boy or a girl, a man or a woman. Like the serpent of old those in power are seeking to establish what the knowledge of good and evil look like. This fight is real. And, it may cost us much for a time, but as Paul wrote to Timothy in the 1st century this eventuality will come to pass:

But they will not make further progress; for their foolishness will be obvious to all, just as was that of Jannes and Jambres” (2Tim 3.9).

Today I want to remind you of what God has done to such foolishness in the past. Later on, in future posts, I will explain what is currently going on here in the West—specifically in Canada but it is fast approaching here in the US, and what our response needs to look like in various venues. But for now let us briefly look at the judgments God has laid out in the past with a sober mind.

Remember…

Question: What is the reaction of God towards a rejection of His authority over His initial design for this earth? Answer: Judgment. This judgment comes in various forms. In the Old Testament, we are given images of fire and water and sword as methods by which God condemns the rebellious inhabitants of the earth.

Judgment by Water

During the days of Noah, it was said that,

“…the Lord saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6.5).

Moreover, we are told that during this period of history that,

“…the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for humanity had corrupted its way upon the earth” (Gen 6.11-12).

And the Lord’s reaction to this rebellion? He tells Noah,

The end of humanity has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of the people; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth…Behold, I Myself am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which there is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish” (Gen 6.13, 17).

Judgment by Fire

During the days of Abraham before its destruction the area of Sodom and Gomorrah, at the southernmost point of the Jordan River was “…well watered everywhere…like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt going to Zoar” (Gen 13.10). And yet at that time, the reader is given a heads up about the underlying reality of the people there:

Now the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked sinners against the Lord” (Gen 13.13).

Years later we are told that the Lord explains to Abraham what He is about to do about Sodom and the cities surrounding her. He says,

The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. I will go down and see whether they have done entirely as the outcry, which has come to Me indicates; and if not, I will know” (Gen 18.20-21).

The Lord then sends two representatives (angels disguised as men) into the area as His witnesses (cf. Deut 17.6; 19.15). After entering into the major city on the plain (Sodom) Lot sees the two men (angels) and invites them to come to his home to spend the night. His desire is to protect them from those living there. After some convincing they allow Lot to lead them to his home. However, we are told in Genesis 19:4-5

Before they lay down [for the night], the men of the city—the men of Sodom—surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have [sexual] relations with them’” (emphasis added).

Notice how deep the corruption of sin had spread. It was not just the old but likewise the young as well. All ages of men desired to have sexual relations with the two angels in disguise. Men laying with men as one might lay with a woman. What we would refer to in our day and age as, homosexuality.

Lot attempts to bargain with the men of the city but to no avail. Those outside become angry and they say to Lot,

Get out of the way!” They said, adding, “This one came in as a foreigner, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them!” (Gen 19.9).

In an effort to have their way they shove at Lot and attempt to break his door down (Gen 19.9b). The angels grab Lot and drag him back into the house, and at the same time,

“…they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, from the small to the great, so that they became weary of trying to find the doorway” (Gen 19.11).

So great was the wicked desire of the men—both young and old, small and great—to have their perverted way with, what they perceived to be “fresh meat,” that even after they were struck with blindness, they still attempted to get inside the home of Lot groping for the door until weariness struck them. Such determination to sin was reminiscent of the attitude of the people of Noah’s day.

The angels tell Lot to get all who will come with him ready to go…to flee,

for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the Lord that the Lord has sent us to destroy it” (Gen 19.13).

So Lot and his family were instructed to escape, to run to the mountains (Gen 19.17), to flee from God’s judgment about to be poured out on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah and the other three surrounding cities. But Lot begged for mercy. He did not think it possible to make it all the way to the mountains, and so he asked to be spared in Zoar (*means “small” town). This request was granted (Gen 19.22).

As soon as Lot entered the area of Zoar we are told that God’s judgment fell, as the hammer hits the gavel:

Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah from the Lord out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the surrounding area, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground…Now Abraham got up early in the mourning and went to the place where he had stood before the Lord; and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward the land of the surrounding area; and behold, he saw the smoke of the land like the smoke of a furnace. So it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the surrounding area…” (Gen 19.24-29a).

Judgment by Sword…

The Lord promised Abraham that his children would inherit the land of Canaan (Gen 13.14-15; Josh 23.14) and eventually, beyond (cf. Gen 22.17-18; Matt 5.5; Rom 4.13; even Psa 2.8). The time in history when God would fulfill His promise to Abraham we are told was when the sins of the people of that land (i.e., Canaan) had reached their fill:

In the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (Gen 15.16).

Between the chapters of Leviticus 18-20, we are given a list of sins that the people of that land were guilty of in their rebellion against their Maker. Though the sins covered every area of life one of the key abominations that the people of Canaan were guilty of was sexual sin. Everything from adultery (Lev 20.10; cf. Deut 22.22-24), to incest (Lev 18; 8; 20.11-12), to bestiality (Lev 18.23; 20.15-16), to Sodomy/homosexuality (Lev 18.22; 20.13), and even cross dressing4 (Deut 22.5).5

It was for these things, and many more not mentioned that God said through Moses the following warning of remembrance to the children of Israel:

I am the Lord your God. ‘You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes. You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am the Lord your God” (Lev 18.1-4).
Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these things the nations which I am driving out from you have become defiled. For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so that land has vomited out its inhabitants. But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments, and you shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the stranger who resides among you…For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. So you are to keep your commitment to me not to practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you so that you do not defile yourselves with them; I am the Lord your God” (Lev 18.24-26, 29-30).

The judgment of God was executed against the people of Canaan for their rebellious perversion via an executive use of the sword:

...in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave anything that breathes alive. Instead, you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that they will not teach you to do all the same detestable practices of theirs which they have done for their gods, by which you would sin against the Lord your God” (Deut 22.16-18).

What’s the point?

So far I have been driving home one key point. God is very serious about how His creatures created in His image behave. Not only is He concerned about our actions, but the thoughts that drive them as well. This is why such stress is being laid on the judgment portions of history above.

From the very moment that our parents fell in the Garden, we have watched as the encroachment of sin has sought to destroy marriage, the family, and society as a whole. Think of the wedge that sin has driven into the first married couple, and then be reminded of how that sin caused one brother to slay another in cold blood. In every way imaginable mankind since the fall has devised and plotted ways to overthrow the voice of God in our lives; in the way that His creation was intended to function. God expects His creatures to build their lives, family and society in one way, but sinful man devises other plans.

(To be continued…)

ENDNOTES:

1John MacArthur, The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 25.

2All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the New American Standard Bible, 2020 update (NASB).

3I say “attempting” because the battle is far from over, though it must be admitted we have lost much ground in this fight. That a push is still being made by various governing authorities to force this reality upon reveals that they have not, as of yet, won. The war I speak of is not of physical weapons but spiritual; for it is a fight over truth. Who reserves the right to determine truth: God or man? From the Christian standpoint the answer should be a no-brainer.

4Cross-dressing is meant to take on the identity of another gender. It is a ruse either to trick another or because of the confusion, one has, due to unconfessed sin. Rebellion against God distorts reality and the ability to distinguish between what is true versus false—i.e., having a darkened mind.

5This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. If you would like further information and clarity on the types of sexual sins that Israel was warned about that the nations within Canaan committed, then I would suggest that you read through Leviticus 18-20 and look up any references that may be noted in your Bibles.