Posted in politics

Some Necessary House Cleaning: Time to Take out the Trash

Dirty diapers are meant to be thrown away. Filthy hands are meant to be clean. Messy mouths are meant to be wiped. Everyone in agreement? Good.

As children we get dirty playing outside, eating our desserts, and pooping our pants. And as children we are constantly being taught that when something gets dirty or messy we do our best to clean it up. We brush our teeth in order to remove germs and remnants of food from our last meal. We take a shower to remove some of the sediments that have acquired on our bodies throughout the day due to our work or play. We wash our dishes after our meals. We clean our clothes in the laundry. We clean our workspace after doing our daily labors.

There is a common proverb that goes something like this: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” This is not a biblical proverb, even though many grow up thinking that it is. Regardless, it does teach a valuable lesson. Just as one will never be able to approach their Creator without holiness, which is purity/cleanliness from sin (Heb 12.10; only possible by the way through Jesus Christ–the Holy One of God; Mark 1.24). One will never be appealing in terms of sight or smell if they do not clean. Let’s be honest when life is a mess, not many like it; at least not the sane ones.

Growing up we had house cleaning on Saturday’s. We were supposed to clean our room and our bathrooms every day during the week. But on the weekend we would have to get the wood polish, glass cleaner and Ajax out to do a much more thorough cleaning. Though I hated this routine when I was a child growing up in my parents home, it taught me some valuable lessons.

One area of life that is said to be dirty business is politics. My grandpa used to say that politicians were some of the worst people—“They’re all a bunch of liars!” he’d retort. Sadly, he wasn’t wrong. His solution, however, was. It was a throw your hands up in the air and just live with the mess that you’ve been given—“because you ain’t going to change it!”–mentality.

Unfortunately, this attitude is infectious. A lot of people have adopted it. Politics is dirty, politicians are liars, they are greedy no good for nothin’s, and so we throw our hands up in the air and give in to the situation before us. From a Christian perspective I can see where a person’s eschatology adds the conviction that this is the ONLY way to look at our cultural climate. The type of person who says, “Things are just going to get worse and worse…so what’s the point!”

The point is that we do not treat the rest of our lives this way, so why compartmentalize the area of politics in sphere of civil government? Why adopt a “we can’t do anything about it anyway attitude?” Why give up before we start?

If politics is dirty business, then it should be our business to clean them up. If politicians are liars and are greedy no good for nothin’s, then we ought to make it our business finding better candidates for the job. And if there aren’t any, then maybe we ought to start running for political office ourselves!

Stop whining and start doing. If you are the praying sort (and if you’re a Christian, then you should be), then pray while you are actively involved in making change. I was listening to Gary DeMar’s podcast this week and he noted how the Left in our nation never quit fighting. The Democratic Party does not give up.

This got me thinking about life in general. In Psalm 2 we are given the rhetorical question: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?” (Psa 2.1; ESV). The reason is because they look at the world that God has created and it makes them sick. God has made the world as a place where His image might be reflected in every corner of creation. God desires for His light to shine everywhere; in every place. Unbeliever’s have the same desire. They rage, they fight, they kick and cuss because they want the world to reflect their image.

I was once asked the following question during a Bible study: “If Satan knows God and he knows he can’t beat God, then why does Satan keep on fighting against his Maker?” Because Satan’s desire is to win. He does not know how to quit fighting. He’s insane. He knows who God is. He’s seen what God can do time and time again since the beginning. But, being the father of lies, he’s deceived himself into thinking that if he just tries one more time, then maybe this time…he’ll win.

He won’t. Not ever. But, this will not keep him from fighting.

Those on the Left in this country are of the same mentality. They are socialists and communists at heart. It does not matter if they loose this battle here (say in the Trump 2020 campaign for president), or that battle over there, they will keep fighting. Sometimes conservatives wonder amongst themselves as to why anyone would adopt a Marxist mindset. It has NEVER worked in the past, anywhere at any time. It has failed every time it has been adopted as the ideology of those in leadership. Bread lines, unemployment, poor living conditions, and widespread death is its legacy, but we find people still pushing it forward as the golden grail to save humanity. Why? Because those who believe in it love it enough to fight for it. And like any fighter worth their salt they will bite, claw, pull hair, and gut you like a fish if presented an opportunity.

Why do we not have the same mentality on the Right? Why are conservative’s, Why are Evangelical Christians so wishy-washy? Is our Lord not the Lord of the Battlefield?

“When you go out to war against your enemies…you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you…” (Deut 20.1; ESV).

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle” (Psa 144.1; ESV).

We are commanded to fight. Why? So that in victory we not only give God glory, but we do so by ordering this world in a manner that reflects His light into every corner of creation.

Now you may not like the tone or the manner in which I am speaking. You may not agree with the concept of the Christian faith as a clarion call for war against those who rage against justice, peace, mercy, goodness and love. You may feel that your Christianity needs to be stowed and locked in your private prayer closet, your home or maybe in your local church, but not in the public arena. If that is your conviction you are wrong. You have been cowed into believing what the wicked in this world want you to believe, as they go about stealing your freedoms. If you do not begin to fight now when you still have the ability to do so on your feet, then you will be crying in agony on your knees as you are shackled by the oppression of your oppressors.

Oh, have we learned nothing from the lessons of Israel? Were they not sold into slavery by God into the hands of their enemies, because they rejected the order to fight for righteousness? Yes! That is precisely why they were enslaved by those who worshiped gods of stone, wood and metal, images made in the hearts of men…not gods at all. And do we think that we will fare any better because we are fearful to get our hands dirty in cleaning up the mess in our society. Please…wake up. Please get out and vote. Participate in this grand experiment called American liberty while you still are able. For the weight of your inactivity will weigh heavy upon the heads of your children and grandchildren!

This election year is about much more than Trump or Biden. It is the choice between a Marxist ideology that wants to rip this nation apart piece-by-piece, silencing the Christian Church (if it must with great force), and freedom to fight tyranny for at least four more years. If the language is not clear enough. The draconian lock-downs, the fear mongering, the race-baiting, the riots, pillaging and terrorist activities fall in line with the makeup of one party alone—The Democrat’s. Though the Republicans have their own sins to answer for, they are much lighter in the scales of judgment in terms of outright hatred for that which is good than their counterparts. So, unlike John Piper I will tell you who you ought to vote for—Trump 2020.

Posted in politics

A Voter’s Conscience: Support for Donald Trump

I will be voting for Donald Trump this coming November for President of the United States, and I’m not the least bit ashamed of doing so. My support does not mean that I agree with everything he does or says. Nor does it imply that I approve of his previous life choices. But it does mean that I believe he is the most fit person for the position this election cycle.

Recently Tim Keller posited the argument in the Twitter-sphere that a Christian cannot tell a fellow believer who they should vote for (Biden or Trump). He has taken the position that to do so would be an attempt to bind the conscience of another; evidently, a severe “no-no” in Christian etiquette. To be honest, I find that a bit strange.

As a pastor, is it not the job of leading the flock of God by helping shape and mold their conscience in order to curb their behavior to pursue righteousness (i.e., right versus wrong living)? Keller goes on to argue that the Bible teaches many things, principles even that we may infer from, but it does not give us direct answers on some of today’s political issues. “Therefore,” says Keller, “we cannot insist that all Christians, as a matter of conscience, follow one or the other.”

The famed Protestant Reformer once argued on similar grounds.1 He stated when challenged to disavow some of his teachings, and in so doing condemn much of his writing, that unless they be

“…proved to be wrong by the testimony of Scripture…it is impossible for me to recant. [For] my conscience is bound to the Word of God. It is neither safe nor honest to act against one’s conscience. Here I stand. God help me. I cannot do otherwise.”2

Martin Luther, Diet of Worms, 1521 A.D.

However, there is a vast difference between what Luther defended as a matter of conscience and what Tim Keller is proposing.

Choking Spasms

Politics is an area deemed off limits for many in terms of religious convictions. To say that social policy (practice of politics) ought to be regulated in terms of religious beliefs causes a choking spasm for those who cherish the false dogma called neutrality. For those unfamiliar with my terminology its called being “bipartisan” in our day. To be partisan (i.e., following a particular party line and thereby denying the aforementioned cherished dogma) is extremely vilified by a great number of people. Sadly, it is not just those outside the Church of Jesus Christ who are so affected but those inside as well. What Keller seemingly wants is for us to be bipartisan in our approach to this election year, and he is not alone. The call for unity is being propagated on all fronts.3

You see, Trump plays by the beat of his own drum. He does what he believes is right, often times to the chagrin of others. He doesn’t play bipartisan politics, for his positions and the policies that he desires to enact are very partisan. This is one of the many reasons why Trump is so hated. He says what he thinks (sometimes not a good thing), and he doesn’t appear to give two thoughts to what others might say regarding it. Which is just another way of saying that he doesn’t succumb (in most cases) to peer pressure.

An Illustrative Ad…

One such example was sent to a few nights ago by a friend through a Facebook link that had the current president speaking about how he was for protecting the rights of the newly born. Why would he find a need to address that topic? Because there are leaders within this nation that are for infanticide. Governor elect Ralph Northam of Virginia is one such individual in favor of terminating the life of the newly born, as an extension of current abortion practices in this country. He once stated on a radio program that he’d have no problem after a baby is born having the mother and her doctor(s) discuss whether or not that child should live or be terminated.4

Such savagery is supported by many within the party of the Donkey.5 The termination of a mother’s offspring in the womb is one of the chief selling points (platform is the more formal term) for this party. Trump’s ad was no doubt a promise to his supporters (and some who are not) that he will not give even the slightest nod to such practices.

Weighing the Issues…

In light of such things, who should I support in the upcoming election? Should I follow Keller’s haphazard claim that it is wrong to attempt to bind the conscience of another?6 Bear in mind I am not talking about my personal standards (that would be self-righteousness), but God’s objective standard of truth. His ethical claim on what is right, holy and good.

“Oh, but you’re just being a one-issue guy. There are so many other issues that must also be taken into account. According to the Bible, we as Christians are to care for the poor. What’s Trump ever done for the poor!” comes the critic’s response.

I’m sure you’ve heard this argument. I’ve heard quite a few times from those that bear the name of Christ. The claim that we need to have a more holistic approach to political involvement rather than just focusing on one issue out of many. What of racism? What of employment? What of the sojourner? What about education? What about healthcare? Etc.

Ethical Considerations in light of Current Ethical Matters

Okay, what about those things? There is more than one way to approach such concerns. First, are all ethical matters weighed the same? According to our Lord they are not (e.g., John 19.11)

Ethics refers to right and wrong practices based off of some upheld (preferably objective) standard. So, are all issues of right and wrong measured the same? For example, it is it ethically wrong according to Scripture (which is to say, according to God) to murder another human being? Yes ,of course it is. Is it wrong to steal from another human being? Yes, of course it is. Is it wrong to lie about another human being? Yes, of course it is.

All of these things are ethically wrong, but are they all weighed the same? What is the penalty according to God’s holy law when someone takes the life of another unlawfully? What of theft? What of lying? Depends on the context of the sin committed.

If the murder was accidental then the penalty is less than if it was premeditated, but a premeditated taking of another’s life requires the death penalty (Numb 35.16-34). Whereas stealing normally results in paying back what was stolen by a factor of 2 or 4. But if the theft results in the enslavement of another’s life, then the death penalty is the result (Exod 21.16). The same could be said of lying. Lying about yourself or your neighbor is ethically wrong, but it is not a crime. Unless, of course, your lying is in a court of law in order to pervert justice. In that type of circumstance the liar (perjurer) will be held accountable by the court by the very punishment they sought to inflict on their neighbor through their lying (Deut 19.18-19).

A little kickback…

So, when someone says “yes, killing a baby in the womb or on the table after birth is wrong, but so is not caring for the poor!” my response is that they are not equitable in terms of injustice. Christians are commanded to love their neighbor (Lev 19.18), which means we are to be concerned for the poor, but God places more value on the life of another being wrongly taken (Prov 24.11). To kill is worse than to neglect the impoverished. One is a crime punishable by death (life for life, blood for blood), but the other is a wrong that the Lord above shall tally on His Day.

Identifying Differing Spheres of Governance…

Secondly, I would add that many of those other matters mentioned are not governmental responsibilities. Whose job is it to care for the poor? Is it the responsibility of the Church or the Civil Government? Does not the Lord lay that burden at the feet of His own in order to test their hearts (cf. Deut 15.7-11)? Isn’t it the responsibility of the individual as well to work so that they might eat (2Thess 3.10)? Not all of us will amass the same amount of wealth in this life (cf. Deut 8.18), but we are all required to be content with what we have been given (Phil 4.11-13). This is true in terms not only of talent and gifts and abilities, but in terms of accepting our station in life and not being envious of others around us (1Pet 2.1).

Education, healthcare, poverty, racism (i.e., tribal bigotry) are all biblical issues, but they are biblical issues concerned about self-governing individuals within the family and ecclesiastical governments. These are not issues that a free societies’ civil government are supposed to be dictating, monitoring, delegating. Though I am somewhat inclined to agree with those of Keller’s mindset in that the Bible gives many guiding principles in how one handles each area, and direct “This is how it must be done” commandments are naturally (and purposefully) limited by the Lord, there is a caveat that needs to be added.

God’s Law-Word does lay out what is holy, righteous and good (see Psa 119). The ethical norms prescribed in the Bible are more than principles from where one might draw from at leisure, but they are objectively prescribed measures by which all men, women and children are required to live by.

Closing Remarks…

To say that you are a Christian and that you can support the redefining of marriage, allow government sanctioned child abuse (called gender reassignment), stand by approvingly for theft from one group (“the haves”) in order to redistribute their property to another group (“the have-nots”), all the while having a seared conscience toward the millions of defenseless ones whose lives are snuffed out on a daily basis is asinine to the highest degree! To vote for a party that promotes the systemic abuses of power based on ethnicity is nothing more than calling evil good. And let us not forget that the freedom to speak against tyranny, against the abuse of power, and to proclaim the gospel message of Christ is being squelched by the party of Biden/Harris.

So as I said in the opening I will vote for the reelection of Donald Trump for President of the United States of America, and I hope others are wise enough to do the same.

ENDNOTES:

1When I say similar I do not mean that the intention of both men (Keller and Luther) is the same. Both use a similar form of the argument (speaking about not going against a bound conscience), but I tend to believe that Luther had a better idea of political climate in the 1500’s in his day than Keller does in our own. Not to mention the fact that Luther’s intention was to bind the conscience of fellow believer’s to trust in the justifying work of Christ on the cross over and above indulgences and any other service that the Pope or another leader might insist would help such individuals “work out their salvation.”

2Ray Comfort, Luther Gold: Pure. Refined, Mary Ruth Murray, ed. (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2009), 22. This was Luther’s testimony at the Diet of Worms before King Charles V of Spain in 1521.

3Should we seek unity for unity sake, or should we seek unity in light of the truth? Which do you suppose is the better path to live by?

4Andrew Kugle, “Northam on Abortion Bill: Infant Could be Delievered and Then ‘Physcians and the Mother Could Decide if it Lives,’” The Washington Free Beacon, January 30, 2019, https://freebeacon.com/issues/northman-on-40-week-abortion-bill-infant-would-be-delivered-and-then-a-discussion-would-ensue-between-the-physcians-and-the-mother/.

5In stating this fact, I am not denying that many within the elephant party are also guilty of such reasoning. The only difference, as of right now, between these two political parties is the rate (speed) in which they continue their descent into the abyss. Though the donkey’s are leading the race, the elephants are not too far behind!

6By the way, Keller’s tweets work in the opposite direction. If it is wrong to bind the conscience of another believer, then why is Keller attempting to bind the conscience of his readers that it is wrong to “bind the conscience” in political matters? In other words, his standard cuts both ways and is therefore not a consistent model to follow.

Posted in politics

Limitations, Authority and Politics: Q3

Question 3:

Is it right to preach politics from the pulpit?

Answer:

If we were to take a public consensus on this subject, what do you think we would find? More than likely the world (i.e., society and current culture) will say “NO,” because that would be bringing “religion into the public sphere…and we just can’t have that.” Peel a few layers off of that onion and what you would really find lurking underneath is an “off-limits” sign placed against religious interference. “we don’t want your judgments influencing our behavior.” Religion, in particular Christianity, is often viewed as way too judgmental.

Ironically, if we interviewed those who profess to be Christians, we would find that their answer regarding the above question does not stray too far afield from public opinion (As Seen in a Recent Polling Example at Pew Research). Interesting, since Christians are those who should be influencing the surrounding culture/society, not the other way around…but…I get ahead of myself. Perhaps, at this juncture we would be better served by defining what “politics” are before we address the question as presented.

Defining our Terms…

According to the American Heritage Dictionary the term “politics” (noun) speaks about “the art or science of government or governing.”[i] Sounds like your basic boring definition that does little in shedding light on the subject at hand. At best, all we see is a reference to governing and/or government but the adjectival use of the word does help enlightening our understanding a bit. Used as an adjective “politics” is defined as, ““shrewd, artful, prudent, judicious.”[ii] Now if you take the time to look up those four words you will find that they speak of being wise/cunning in acting and/or judging matters (cf. Matt 10.16) affecting life.

Therefore, Politics is concerned about policies in the public sphere. Politics deal with matters of morality. It speaks of a governing body that rules in terms of justice in the public sphere; derived from ethical norms (i.e., laws, statutes, principles, etc.). The people that represent the civil government are therefore identified as politicians.[iii] Politicians and/or civil magistrates, consequently, are meant to be protectors of the people not enslavers.

A Dose of Reality…

Not too long ago, during breakfast at Frisch’s Big Boy, a family member made the following indirect question “why is there so much evil in the world?” This volley ball serve of an inquiry was in response to some of the criminal activity being witnessed in the world through various media outlets. The answer is rather simple, “We live in a fallen world.”

Like the .25$ slime you could buy at a vending machine on the way out of a grocery store, that answer sticks. However, because it is uncomely to sensible thought, it is constantly being wiped at to remove it. The thing is people are sinners, and while that fact might be troublesome to some of you, if we are honest and unafraid to own up to it, we can admit that there are many things that we have done in our lives we know to be wrong. Yet, we chose to do them in spite of the knowledge that said we shouldn’t.

Now if this is true of you and me, and it is, then what of those who serve in public office? What about those who deal in the sphere of public affairs? Those ruling members of our society that eagerly seek to (and most of the time do) invent policy to govern the people.  Wickedness begets wickedness. Sinful hearts produce sinful activity. What is true of the common individual is likewise true of those in political leadership. I’m sure you’ve heard or at least thought that politics is dirty business. But what do you do when something is dirty? The short answer is you clean it up.

Where Should We Go…

Now the question of the day is should we see Christian preachers speaking on various political issues? Should we see Christian ministers proclaiming certain truths pertaining to the affairs of public life? Is it right to preach politics from the pulpit?

There are a few rabbit trails that we could travel down in discussing this question. I know because I’ve written and rewritten this material more than once, and my mind races in several directions all at once. Truly there are several branches of thought that we could deal with specifically in addressing politics and religion, and whether or not one should use their religious viewpoints to influence the ebb and flow of societal governance—i.e., the exercise of cultural mores. Perhaps, in the future we can get down to specifics, but for the time being let’s just deal with the overarching truth.

All political thought is driven by religious zeal. Not every political thought is driven by the Christian religion. However, here in the United States our governing bodies were established upon biblical precepts and statutes. Revisionists might cry until their eyes are puffy and their faces have broken vessels all about, but the truth of our early American roots is thoroughly influenced by the Christian worldview.

(This is not to say that every act, every policy, or every political maneuver has been consistently driven by this worldview. An honest review of history sheds some embarrassing light on this. But this does not remove the driving force behind our past leaders.)

Keep in Mind who I’m Speaking to…

Primarily, this message that I am about to give is for the Christian. Those who profess to be faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. The key word in that phrase is the title “Lord.”

Already we have seen that necessary limitations have been set since the beginning. The Proverbs declare that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov 14.12). If we learn nothing else from our fore-parents (Adam and Eve), then it ought to be this truth.

For the Christian we know that in order to be able to set limitations, authority must be had by the limiter. Christ Jesus demonstrated His authority over all by laying down His life and taking it up again. No one took it from Him, He gave it freely for His people. His holiness and righteous life paid the penalty for our sin. Therefore, He has revealed Himself as our Head, and the Husband of the Bride; which is the Church. Remember the true Church of Jesus Christ is not a building, not a denomination, nor truly divided by a branch of theology…it is the people who are called by His Name that are the Church.

Zone of Authority…

When we think of government, we tend to think of it in the civil sphere—i.e. civil government (here in America we see it at the local, state and federal levels).  But there are other governing bodies that God has created. We have the government of the Family, the government of the Church, included with the government of the State. And we must not forget that there is also self-imposed governing. We are told to govern our lives, to stop sinning, choosing instead the paths of holy righteousness. Doing right and refraining from doing wrong. Being humble and not puffed up with pride. Loving rather than hating.

What then is Jesus’ zone of authority? Is it limited to the Church? If you buy into the “two-kingdoms theory” popular in many Christian circles, then you will see a necessary divide between the secular (public/political) and ecclesiastical (church/private) spheres. This is an example of a false dichotomy. No such divide exists, except in the minds of mankind. God’s Word contains no boundaries in relation to Christ Jesus.

One of the things that got the apostles in trouble in the Roman world was that they professed “another king, Jesus” over and above “the decrees of Caesar” (Acts 17.7). This was not limited to a private faith, but included the public sphere. For the Christian faith “advocate[s] customs” that are contrary to pagan culture (Acts 16.21). In short, contrary to public opinion within today’s Christian community, the apostles did address political issues of their day. They advocated a way of life that was counter-cultural. And while it might be appropriately argued that it started with individual hearts (personal governance), this naturally seeps into the other governing bodies established by God—i.e., family, church, and state.

Source of the Teaching…

Though Christ Jesus is said to have been made lower than the angels for a time (Heb 2.7, 9), He was still equal with God the Father (John 5.18; 10.30). While the incarnation—Jesus, the Living Word putting on flesh (John 1.14)—was an act of humility by taking on the form of a slave (Phil 2.7), His status remained in the form of God (Phil 2.6).

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col 1.15-17; emphasis added).

Please notice the authority Jesus has over all things. That phrase is repeated several times. What do you suppose all things means? ALL THINGS.

Jesus declared,

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt 28.18b).

All authority, means all things, which is why we see the phrase “in heaven and on earth.” There is no limitation on the sphere of Christ’s authority. No realm of human existence that is beyond His authority. He is Lord over all…drum roll, including POLITICS. For the civil sphere of governance was created (established) by Him. So that the civil ruler might serve as His minister (deacon) to punish evil and uphold the good (cf. Rom 13.1-7).

So, the answer to the question of whether or not it is right to preach politics from the pulpit is YES.[iv] In fact, you would be hard pressed to proclaim the Word of God at all if you did not do so. The Bible speaks on many subjects, but one of particular interest to the Lord God is in righteous living. Makes sense when you consider mankind’s image bearing status.

I will close with a couple sobering thoughts:

“Too often Christians limit the effects of the saving work of Jesus Christ. We are willing to turn to Jesus Christ and entrust Him with our eternal destiny but we are often unwilling to submit to His instructions concerning the affairs of this world.”[v]

“Men may be induced to abandon their old religion and to adopt a new one; but they can never remain long free from all religion. Take away one object of worship and they will soon attach themselves to another. If unhappily they lose the knowledge of the true God, they will set up gods of their own invention or receive them from others’ (Archibald Alexander…p. 18).”[vi]

If the Christian will not speak authoritatively in the public sphere (politically), either out of fear or obstinate refusal, then nothing less than tyranny should be expected.


ENDNOTES:

[i] “politic,” s.v., The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition (New York, NY: Bantam Dell, 2007), 651.

[ii] Ibid., 651.

[iii] Ibid., 651. An accurate definition is “1) One actively involved in politics. 2) One who holds or seeks a political office.”

[iv] “The Bible never condemns political involvement…The desire to retreat from political concerns is mostly a recent phenomenon.” Gary DeMar, Myths, Lies & Half Truths: How Misreading the Bible Neutralizes Christians (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2004), 132, 133. Respectively

[v] Gary DeMar, God and Government: Issues in Biblical Perspective, Vol 2 (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2001), x.

[vi] “From an engraving in ‘Evidences of the Authenticity, Inspiration and Canonical Authority of the Holy Scriptures’” (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publications, 1836), quoted in DeMar, God and Government, vol 2, 4; Cf. 243.

Posted in politics, Uncategorized

Limitations, Authority and Politics

Let’s do a quick test. Let me ask you a few questions, and then you can mull them over. If you’d like to give a written response you are free to do so. If the cat’s got your tongue that’s fine too. But I want you, the reader, to think, “What limitations does the Church of Jesus Christ have on it?” Directly related is the follow up: “Who has the authority to place the limitations?” With those two questions in mind, “Is it right to preach politics from the pulpit?

I will deal with these three questions in future posts. The first will drop tomorrow. The other two will be in the near future, depending upon my schedule. Overlap should be expected with question 1 & 2 since they are relational in nature. As for question 3, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Posted in Beliefs, biblical justice, critique, Law, politics, Racism, Worldview Analysis

Holding Present Generations Accountable for Past Generations Sins: Is Reparations a Biblical Concept?

Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die…The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself; and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezek 18.4, 20).

This principle statement offered by the prophet Ezekiel to Israel at a time when the southern kingdom of Judah was falling to the Babylonians is demonstrating that we are all responsible for our own sins. God does not hold us accountable for another’s sins, but we are judged rightly on the sins that we commit. The prophet took this from an earlier statute given by God to Moses to the children of Israel (physical offspring of Jacob):

“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sins” (Deut 24.16). To ignore this principle is to pervert justice (cf. Deut 16.19; 27.19). In case the language is not plain enough, to attempt to hold someone accountable for what another person has done is unjust, unrighteous, and not a reflection of God’s heart.

Of course, I imagine some might throw up the argument that Paul says we are all judged for Adam’s sin (cf. Rom 5.18-19)1, but that is an incorrect interpretation of that passage. The sense in which Paul is speaking in Romans is merely to point out that through Adam’s sin all his offspring (as a consequence) were made sinners (Rom 5.19). That is to say, Adam’s children are now identified as sinners, and as a result we all sin (cf. Rom 5.12-13). Again, in case you miss it, we are born sinners therefore we sin—NOT—we all sin and are then labeled sinners; for that inverts the argument of Paul opposite than the way he intends.

The point in the Ezekiel and Deuteronomy passages is that according to God’s way of thinking, we are all judged equitably for our own actions. We cannot point the finger over here and say “they made me do it!” Nor, can we say to this individual or that group, “you are accountable for what was done previously and you must pay the penalty;” even though, you did not participate and were not even there when those sins took place.

In short, no one alive today is responsible and therefore accountable for the sins of slavery in American history. What our forefathers did in the past was wrong and deserving of death (cf. Exod 21.16; Deut 24.7; 1Tim 1.10), but it is a great leap of logic to try and pin their sin on anyone living today.

I bring this up in regards to the subject of reparations. The concept of reparations states that whites should pay for the sins of their forbearers who had black slaves, regardless of the fact that whites today did not in fact participate in the sins of the past, with monetary benefits. In other words, we should be able to tax white people for sins previously committed against black people.

Rather, than argue the case myself, I thought it better for another—who articulates it much better than I could—to demonstrate why this is biblically wrong and sinful and not an appropriate way for brothers and sisters in Christ to treat one another.

Gary DeMar is an apologist and accomplished author and former president of American Vision, a Christian worldview ministry located in Atlanta, GA. And while some may disagree with his eschatological viewpoints2, this should not keep you from listening to what he says politically from a biblical worldview. Please read the article posted below, let feel free to let me know what you think.

https://garydemar.com/should-todays-white-people-pay-reparations-to-black-people/

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ENDNOTES:

1 I should point out that what we see with Adam and the comparison that Paul makes with Jesus (the last Adam) is in terms of covenantal heads. Adam is the representative of the whole human race. God established him in the sense of a covenantal head. According to the stipulations of covenantal arrangements there is an order of hierarchy that must be recognized. The transcendent/eternal God as the governing authority, the created image bearer as the representative of God, the Ethical boundaries established by Creator, the positive/negative sanctions (blessings/cursings) in response to obedience/disobedience, the inherited state of those in covenant with God.

Adam disregarded the first three in the garden. He refused to acknowledge God’s authority over his thoughts and actions. He refused to image and represent God when the serpent and his wife spoke against his Creator. He refused to obey the ethical boundary (law) that his Creator had established. Therefore, rather than being blessed he was cursed, and his continual inheritance on earth for he and his children were no longer identified as children of God, but children of wrath—i.e. sinners.

Jesus as the covenantal head of a new people did what the first Adam did not and therefore purchased for his offspring (those in Him) an inheritance of blessing and eternal life. Only those in Christ experience that positive sanctions of God and a continual inheritance with Him throughout eternity.

2 Gary, like me, is a Post-Millennialist. Eschatology has never been in the history of Christianity been a litmus test for orthodoxy. The arguments from historic Pre-Mill, A-Mill, and even Dispensational Pre-Mill are argued over various understandings of certain biblical texts; Unlike the arguments over Creation, which often smuggle in philosophical viewpoints outside of Scripture—i.e. evolution, big-bang cosmology, etc. Those eschatological disagreements may be the source of fruitful growth and dialogue, as all of God’s children should be doing their best to see what the Scriptures actually teach (cf. Acts 17.11-12). They should never be the source of broken fellowships between the family of God.