You Have No Right to Your Rights

30 04 2020

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:52-54)

One of the biggest hindrances to American Christianity is politics. We have so merged the two that to be a conservative republican is to be a Christian. I see Christians everywhere demanding their rights. This is not in and of itself evil. We are guaranteed certain rights and it’s not wrong to want those rights.

What tends to happen is a mean spirit seems to fester and before too long Christians are name calling and angrily demanding their rights. I have seen Christians get into arguments with police officers over their rights while street preaching. Often it is unnecessary and seldom Christ honoring.

In the text above Jesus makes a clear statement that as the Son of God He had certain rights and yet to fulfill the will of God He had no claim to those rights. In other words all of our rights stop at the cross which is the ultimate place of submission to God. Our right to live the life we desire stops at the cross.

Our right to vengeance dies at the cross, our right to self exaltation dies at the cross, our right to our reputation dies at the cross, our right to anything comes to an end at the cross. The cross is the end of self. While the heathen (Republican and Democrat) scream for their rights, believers know that we don’t have a rightful claim on all of our rights.

When I’m taking the Gospel door to door I often leave a tract on a house that says “no soliciting.” The reason is that I know that religious free speech is protected by the 1st Amendment and is not covered under soliciting laws. The problem is that the average person doesn’t understand that. Too often I have seen Christians in shouting matches with people over their right to leave a tract.

While I agree in the right to do it I also have to admit that it may be better to forego that right as a witness to that lost person. I’m not a good testimony when I scream my rights at them. Many point to Paul using his Roman rights while in captivity. True, he did as far as it benefited the Gospel, but he also at times he laid aside his rights in order to further the Gospel.

If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 9:11-12)

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.” (1 Corinthians 9:14-15)

We as believers find the will of God to be our ultimate authority. All other rights whether political or even Biblical must be held only in the light of their value to the will of God.





3 Pleas for Political Involvement

22 07 2019

I have grown disgusted by the political state in America. This disgust isn’t just with the world but with the way Christians have been dealing with politics. They have dealt with it largely in the same manner as those in the world.

Politics is based on division. Our side vs. their side. Our side is always right and their side is always wrong. This is not what Christians are called to be.

There is so much hypocrisy and vitriol coming from Christians. We act as though the Republican party is God’s party and the Democratic party is Satan’s party. We pretend our leaders are God’s servants while the other side is basically the Antichrist. This is not a Biblical view of politics.

We need to stop demonizing the other side and we need to stop deifying our side. We have to acknowledge when our side is wrong and praise the other side when they are right. I’m not proposing we pretend to agree but we need to talk like Christians.

I wanted to see if we can approach politics with a Biblical worldview and not a conservative or liberal worldview. How does the Bible say Christians should act? Let’s look at a passage of Scripture and draw a few conclusions.

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:1-5)

This passage really convicted me about the way I was acting as a follower of Christ when it came to my politics. Let’s go through it and see how we should behave as Christians.

1. Be subject to those in authority. (Vs. 1)

Of course when the law of man violates the law of God we are bound to obey the higher authority (Acts 5:29). We have a habit today however of only believing in submission to authority when “our guy” is in power. Christians regularly looked for reasons to disobey President Obama yet when President Trump took office they completely changed.

Obama was a tyrant and they called his administration a regime in order to liken him to an evil dictator. Once Trump took office all I heard were things like God ordained Trump and God appointed Trump. I agree with that statement, but God ordained and appointed Obama as well.

As a believer I’m not called to obey and submit myself only to Presidents I voted for but to all who are in authority (13:1). In fact by doing this we put our enemies to silence.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” (1 Peter 2:13-15)

2. Don’t trash talk the other side. (Vs. 2)

It’s okay to disagree and to make a case for those disagreements. What’s not okay is to demean, insult and name call the other side. I knew Christians who called President Obama “Emperor Obama.” I knew others ho called him “Obummer.”

Let me say that these are some of Trump’s staunchest supporters and now demand respect for the President. This is hypocrisy. The Bible allows us to disagree but not to malign other people.

We need to treat our political opponents as the image bearers of God, which they are. There is a level of human dignity that we need to uphold. Let’s face it, as Christians we are called to a higher standard.

Let’s also keep in mind that even our opponents who support evil laws (such as the murder of children through abortion) are deceived themselves. We should have some compassion for them. They are not the enemy, there are unseen spiritual forces at work behind the scenes and that is the true enemy (Ephesians 6:12).

3. Remember who you were before Christ. (Vs. 3)

The verse starts out with “For” another way to say it is “because.” So Paul is saying don’t malign these people because you were once like them. You and I were once deceived and serving the god of this world.

Why tear them down as though we were better than them? We aren’t and the reason we are different today is completely outside of us. It’s the kindness of God (vs. 4), given totally outside of anything we have done (vs. 5).

So when you approach politics, don’t run with the crowd. You and I are held to a higher standard, the Word of God. Behave like a child of God and put others to silence. We are not bound to the Republican party but to the Lord Jesus Christ.





Blood on Their Hands

11 02 2019

I know many Christians got excited during the Presidents State of the Union speech this year. Unfortunately most Christians support “their party” regardless of what they say or do. There is so much bias on both sides in politics. We tend to support our party when in power then criticize the other party when they do the same thing that we did. This is one of many reasons why Christians should think twice about political involvement.

For me, I am not a Republican or a Democrat, I am a Christian. I must judge all things by the standard of the Scriptures whether that goes in favor or against my “assigned” political party. Too many Christians support President Trump without question because he is a Republican and they have been made to think that they need to support “their guy.” I am not one of those people. I feel the need to judge him according to the Scriptures.

I keep hearing people say that Trump is the most pro-life President in history. If this is true then it’s a sad truth because his pro-life stance very rarely goes beyond words. The State of the Union speech highlights that for me. He campaigned that he would defund Planned Parenthood and Christians (even those who claimed to not like Trump) said we have to vote for him to fight abortion. I didn’t believe it and I didn’t vote for him. I’m still proud of that.

In his first 2 years in office he didn’t defund Planned Parenthood. In fact he signed every spending bill that included PP funding. He was so dedicated to building his wall that he shut down the government to try and get the money for it yet he refused to close the government to save the lives of children. The Republican Party controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency for 2 whole years and failed to stop funding PP which receives around 40 percent of their funds from taxpayers.

This is the same party that passed several defunding bills under President Obama which he vetoed. Why did they defund it several times under a Democratic president but couldn’t defund it one under a Republican? The truth is that they don’t want to defund PP. When they knew it would be vetoed they gladly passed the bill but if there was a chance it would get signed into law they didn’t. Christians need to get this in their heads the Republican Party is every bit as much for abortion as the Democrats. They only pay lip service to get your votes. These last 2 years are clear evidence of this truth.

At his State of the Union speech President Trump railed against the late term abortion laws in New York and Virginia. He said he wants to “…prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.” Of course this devalues all children who don’t meet this criteria. All children are human beings and all from the moment of conception are distinct persons deserving of human rights.

The President also said that children are made in the image of God. I saw my Christian friends posting this quote with their own words saying things like “thank you Mr. President.” I found nothing to be thankful for in that statement. If he believes that why has he continued to fund the murder of these image bearers of God? Why not shut down the government to save them rather than build your wall? If he really believes that statement of course he is more accountable before God for allowing them to be killed, but I don’t think he believes that as much as he believes it will rally the pro-life community to keep supporting him which it did.

This president and this Republican party have no principled stand against the murder of babies. Don’t be fooled into believing such nonsense. A vote for them will be a vote for the continued murder of babies. The blood of the children cries out against this president and these in Congress. It will cry out against those who vote for them as well I believe. It’s time for action not words, and we as Christians need to realize that we are being used as political pawns. Over 60 million children have been murdered legally in America and in my lifetime Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency for 8 years with no attempt to end the bloodshed. The only attempts being made when they know it can’t possibly pass. Enough is enough.





School Shootings: Questions and Answers

26 02 2018

Much of the world was caught off guard by the deadly shooting at a Florida public school. Unfortunately much of the talk since the shooting has not been very helpful. Let me place a few disclaimers on here. I am not a pro-gun conservative nor am I an anti-gun liberal. I don’t buy into the our side vs. their side politics. I believe all political issues need to be examined in the light of Scripture not party rhetoric.

I’m not especially for guns nor am I especially against them. So my perspective is as neutral as I believe it possibly can be. I often joke that Republicans gave away my 4th Amendment after 9/11 so I don’t feel especially bound to protect their 2nd Amendment.

The liberal argument of more gun laws is not the answer since guns are not the problem. These guns have always been accessible and yet the shootings are a recent development. We need to figure out why in the last 20 years school shootings have become common but the last 200 years they were not. What has changed? When we figure out the problem we can figure out the answer.

Another problem with more laws is that laws don’t change anything. The same logic would say to end drug abuse just outlaw drugs. Yeah, they are outlawed and yet drugs are still a problem. If we outlaw rape perhaps rape will stop. Oh yeah, rape is illegal and yet they happen. It’s illogical to say that if we ban guns then gun violence will stop.

We also cannot lose sight of the problem of big government. The FBI knew of the threat and failed. We need to dismantle this oversize government that fails time and time again to actually protect us. We give up our rights for safety and end up less safe. Both sides of the political spectrum need to let go of this proven falsehood that government is the answer.

Conservative talking points are just as off base. The President and many others would have us believe that giving everyone guns would solve the problem. Many honest gun owners will admit that it is very difficult hitting a target. This is true on a shooting range with ear coverings and focus. Imagine how difficult with adrenaline pumping with panic and fear in the air?

I believe you would create more casualties. There is also the issue of licensing these teachers and maintaining their practice and their guns. If its required the guns would have to be provided for them and there is the issue of forcing teachers to carry. I believe in the Constitutional right to carry and the right not to carry.

The problem is found in the human heart. I’m not sure why the liberal even thinks school shootings are wrong. They have to borrow from the Christian worldview to arrive at that conclusion. If we are all animals then killing each other isn’t wrong. By having an issue they are admitting there is intrinsic worth in human life that does not exist elsewhere in creation.

If evolution is true then survival of the fittest would have to be considered. Their opposition to school shootings lies in direct opposition to the very foundational principles they claim to hold dear. The secular worldview is a maze of contradiction.

The cause of school shootings is not too many or too few guns so both sides are wrong. It is found in our teaching our children that they are just animals, life has no purpose or meaning and there is no judgment after this life. The secular worldview is the cause of this problem.

Why didn’t it surface until now? The answer is that over the last 50 years we have grown more and more humanistic that now the fruit is beginning to be harvested. We have taught them that they are animals so they act like animals. We taught them that there is no judgment so they act as though there is no judgment.

The answer is the Gospel. To teach our young people that they are created in the image of God which gives them worth. That they were created to glorify Him and that He will call them into account one day for their lives. That life doesn’t end at death but that eternity goes on without end. The answer is the Gospel and the solution will never be found in Washington or Sacramento. The pulpits of America and the God fearing parents are the solution. This can end if we get back to the truth and not the lies of secular humanism.





Pray for our Leaders

29 01 2016

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 Timothy 2:1-6

 

This is a great passage but one that has often been misunderstood. Often times when debating Calvinism someone will quote part of this passage. They will be quick to say, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” They want to prove that all individual people can be saved so they lift this small portion from its context to make their point. This post isn’t to debate Calvinism but to demonstrate the problem with lifting verses from their context to prove a point.

Another common quote taken from this passage is at the end. When debating Marian doctrines with Roman Catholics we are quick to say, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” The problem is that we seldom if ever consider what the passage is actually teaching. Why is it pointing out that Jesus is the only mediator? And in the first quote what is good and acceptable in the sight of God?

I believe Christians today are far too political. There is an unholy marriage between the evangelical church and the Republican Party. During the Presidency of Barack Obama it seems this relationship has disconnected all connection to the Bible. I have even heard believers tell me the Bible commands us to disobey this particular President. I easily criticize our leaders to the point of absolute hatred.

While Christians speak out against our President and leadership few if any are actually praying for him. I have even heard some wish harm or death on him. A few have said they hope he repents but that he should still suffer the consequences for all of his actions. I too once hated and maligned our President until I read this particular passage. There are many Scriptures which urge us to submit to and honor our national leaders but this one here is probably the most important.

Of course we never teach this passage in context so we don’t know what it says. This verse is a command to pray for our leaders. Why should we pray for them? The answer is so very important. Let’s look at the passage. The verse says to pray and intercede for all men. This of course means all kinds of men because if it meant all 7 billion people then I could never fulfill its demands.

The verse also says and this is noteworthy to give thanks for them as well. The next phrase points out one particular kind of person. It points out our leaders including the President. That’s right we are commanded to give thanks for President Obama because it’s ultimately God who appointed him as our leader. So we are commanded to pray for all kinds of men and the emphasis is placed on national leaders such as kings (or in our case Presidents) and all in authority.

The verse goes on to say that praying for our leaders is good and acceptable in the eyes of God. Why is it good and acceptable? Because He will have all men, that is all kinds of men to be saved including secular authorities. I’m not making a statement that God doesn’t want all people to be saved I’m simply pointing out the context of the passage. The “all men” in this passage clearly means all kinds of men by the context.

So back to why we pray for them. The answer is because God would have even oppressive tyrants to be saved and since Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men we go to Him to ask for their salvation. We don’t hear this taught in context because churches and church leadership don’t want to pray for the other political party. They want to criticize and malign. I fear deep down many don’t really want them to get saved.

The command is clear to pray for our leaders because God wants them to be saved as well and since there is no mediator but Christ we must go to Him with intercession on their behalf. So here is the question: have you prayed for the President’s salvation today? Will you tomorrow? Before you malign the President pray for him, I’ll bet when you do you’ll find it hard to malign because your heart will be soft and tender towards him.





Be Honest Political Christian

1 09 2014

indians

I saw this picture going around Facebook and was amazed how many of my friends were sharing it and I mean professing Christian friends. All of these friends were hardcore Republicans and using the picture to defend their support of anti-gun control policy. Let me state I believe in submission to the government except when a governments word violates God’s Word. The gun control issue is not a Biblical issue and whether you support or oppose the Second Amendment should not influence a Christian in any way. I am not a fan of guns myself so to me it’s a non issue. I don’t hunt and I would never advocate using a gun against somebody.

As I watched this picture constantly make it’s way into my Facebook feed I began to wonder about the honesty of it. The picture is comparing the incident with the Native Americans to the events of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. The picture claims that Sandy Hook was not the deadliest school shooting because in 1890 the U.S. Government shot and killed over 290 unarmed people who had just given up their guns including 200 women.

Let’s put this under the microscope of truth. The incident is as follows according to history.com:

“On this day in 1890, in the final chapter of America’s long Indian wars, the U.S. Cavalry kills 146 Sioux at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

Throughout 1890, the U.S. government worried about the increasing influence at Pine Ridge of the Ghost Dance spiritual movement, which taught that Indians had been defeated and confined to reservations because they had angered the gods by abandoning their traditional customs. Many Sioux believed that if they practiced the Ghost Dance and rejected the ways of the white man, the gods would create the world anew and destroy all non-believers, including non-Indians. On December 15, 1890, reservation police tried to arrest Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux chief, who they mistakenly believed was a Ghost Dancer, and killed him in the process, increasing the tensions at Pine Ridge.

On December 29, the U.S. Army’s 7th cavalry surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers under the Sioux Chief Big Foot near Wounded Knee Creek and demanded they surrender their weapons. As that was happening, a fight broke out between an Indian and a U.S. soldier and a shot was fired, although it’s unclear from which side…”

1. This was not a government issue gun control incident and should not be linked to such things. This was during battles with the Native Americans.

2. The massacre was not at a school which means Sandy Hook is still the deadliest. Conservatives hate liberals using Sandy Hook to advance gun control but conservatives need to stop diminishing the horror of it in order to argue in favor of guns.

3. The picture gives off the impression that the government took their guns planning to kill them as a warning that this may happen to us and that was not the case.

4. 290 is only an estimate and a high one according to some historians.

5. Whatever the number about half were women so the 200 number is probably bloated.

The incident is sad but it’s not what the political right has attempted to make it appear. It’s not even clear who started the event so to lay blame is to simply guess. In our day and age Republicans are very protective of the military. Whenever soldiers are accused of murdering civilians people and politicians get angry and jump to their defense and rightly they should. The picture says the U.S. Government killed them. It was actually the military…that’s right soldiers. The people who put the picture together know the the term U.S. Government is distrusted and hated by so many that to say the U.S. Government would bring more condemnation then to say the U.S. military.

My point is that if your politically active (which is your right) and your a Christian then you have a higher calling and responsibility which is to be honest. We must still act like Christ and honesty is right even when trying to make a political point. The problem in our high tech social media world is that we often fail to check our facts. We simply share anything that comes across our path that sounds good to us. We as believers must engage this world with honesty and integrity as servants of the Most High God. So my admonition to you is to be honest and just in all of your dealings with this world. If you want to fight for the Second Amendment then do it in an honest way making sound arguments not by twisting history and dishonoring the memory of those who have perished either at Wounded Knee or Sandy Hook.





The Border Crisis and Our Opportunity

25 08 2014

I have been spending a great deal of time pondering the crisis at the border. I was once a die hard Republican, a card carrying tea party member. Much to my shame at one time I would have just said to blow their heads off. I would have argued that they have no right to be here, they are a drain on our system and they are going to collapse the United States. I pretty much would have used all of the arguments I hear on talk radio today. The difference is that as I have matured in the Lord my Christianity has driven out my Republicanism.

Those who are hyper political see this through purely secular eyes. I have even heard it brought up in sermons where the preacher simply mentions the illegals as being dangerous to our nation. Let’s settle first thing first if we can. These are not your everyday illegal immigrants and they are not coming to America for welfare and a lazy life at least not the majority. So what are they? They are fleeing nations in South America that are plagued by tyranny, war, violence, drug gangs as well as poverty and disease.

They are being sent by parents who undoubtedly want a better life for their children. Can you blame them? Would you do things differently if you were in their shoes facing war, oppression, the constant threat of violence, lack of food and clean water and all the other things that can be found in South America? We welcome refugees from Cuba and grant them citizenship upon reaching our land and yet these who are fleeing the oppression and poverty of their own nations are used as a political tool.

Second of all is the compassion that we should feel for those in need. These who are coming are in need. They are coming from war torn, drug torn, nations and are seeking compassion. I don’t believe for a second the majority of these youths have ulterior motives. I believe they truly seek a better life. What are they met with? Howling mobs of protesters, and political commentators portraying them as leaches. I have even heard a few commentators refer to them as an invasion of locusts. That would make them pests and what do we do with pests? We destroy them is what we do. I have heard of so called militia’s taking to the border with guns. Is this the compassion of the Savior?

At some point we need to stop looking through political glasses and look through the eyes of the Bible. These are people fleeing war, poverty, violence, and want. They have no hope in their homelands. We live in a land of plenty that has all the resources these people lack and we who believe in the God of the Bible should share these resources with others. The Bible says of the sins of Sodom:

“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49)

The Bible speaks of helping the stranger and sojourner:

“Thus saith the Lord; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.” (Jeremiah 22:3)

“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:9)

We need to show compassion on these in the name of the Lord. Those who give to the poor lend to the Lord according to Proverbs 19:17. We need to shake off this mindset that what we have is ours, we earned it, go get your own. We need to see all that we have as coming from God in order to share with those in need. The only hope for these young people is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to see them and be moved with the Savior’s compassion.

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

We have before us the single greatest opportunity. One that past generations of believers would have given their wealth, freedom, and left arm to have. We have thousands of lost people from hard to reach countries coming to us. We could take up the task of sharing the Gospel and winning some of these youths then send them back to their own lands bearing the news of the Gospel. If we did that we could in a few short years impact millions of unreached or barely reached villages and souls with the Gospel.

Instead we are taking a political stand and using this God given opportunity as a weapon against the current Administration. We see them as “illegal aliens” not souls in bondage and darkness. We see them as a threat to our liberty. I have said before I would sooner see our Constitution torn to shreds and all of our freedoms taken away if only to reach these young people and the nations they come from. Here is our opportunity but what will we do with it?





The Whiskey Rebellion: History in Context

4 06 2014

In our hyper political world everyone is kind of pushed into one of two camps. Your either Republican or Democrat and by virtue conservative or liberal. The rules are that you are to oppose all of the actions of the opposing party, never give them credit even if they do good, and twist history to prove your points. The problem is that I as a Christian don’t feel such rules can apply to me. I answer to a higher authority which is the Word of God.

I believe Christians must be very careful when speaking of politics because we are judged by the Word of God. We must never compromise our spiritual principles for the political agenda of a specific political party. We must give honor to whom is honor is due Romans 13:7, we must honor the King (or President) 1 Peter 2:17. It behooves us to be honest and Biblical in our dealings especially where politics is concerned.

The sudden wave of anti-government libertarianism that is sweeping across Christian circles worries me. This idea that we can speak against our leaders because we disagree with them yet excuse our leaders when they do wrong simply because they belong to our party is blatantly false. While libertarians often quote our founding fathers I wonder how many of them would march against and condemn them if they were alive today. We need to take an honest look at history and the Bible in order to act as becometh Christians and patriotic Americans.

I was caught up for a time in the libertarian movement before I began to see that many of my stands and attitudes were simply wrong. My views of history were even slanted to fit with my philosophies. Take for instance the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791. This incident stabs at the heart of libertarian philosophy and really backs up the Biblical call to submit to government. I am going to use excerpts from Wikipedia and then comment on them as we go along.

“Farmers who used their leftover grain and corn in the form of whiskey as a medium of exchange were forced to pay a new tax. The tax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton’s program to increase central government power, in particular to fund his policy of assuming the war debt of those states which had failed to pay. The farmers who resisted, many war veterans, contended that they were fighting for the principles of the American Revolution, in particular against taxation without local representation, while the Federal government maintained the taxes were the legal expression of the taxation powers of Congress.”

This was the first national tax levied by the national government of the United States and it was extremely unpopular. If put in the modern day under President Obama I’m sure Facebook, blogs and Baptist pulpits would be ablaze with criticism. Pictures of the President with a Hitler type mustache would be flooding the social media waves. The problem is that all of these libertarians who would be doing and saying such things would be holding President Washington in esteem and as an example of Constitutionalism and conservatism.

We don’t often associate him with such things as unpopular tax laws that people rebelled against. In reality most people in the libertarian and republican camps would probably have joined in the rebellion. They only hold Washington in high esteem because they didn’t live in that time.

These people were resisting an actual law that they felt unconstitutional. In our day we fear that laws may be passed and we put on fake days of resistance. Most of the concern over gun rights isn’t caused by laws being passed but by rumors started by gun makers to spur sales. They even put on a day of resistance where people went out in “defiance” and bought guns. I’m not sure what they were defiant of since buying guns is legal. All it was I suppose was an attempt to be an oppressed people.

So if Washington was this libertarian President everyone paints him to be surely he repealed the law and supported the right of the people not to pay taxes and supported their brave resistance right?

“Washington responded by sending peace commissioners to western Pennsylvania to negotiate with the rebels, while at the same time calling on governors to send a militia force to enforce the tax. With 13,000 militia provided by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Washington rode at the head of an army to suppress the insurgency. The rebels all went home before the arrival of the army, and there was no confrontation.”

Whether or not the tax was good it was the law and President Washington was willing at the point of a gun to enforce the law among citizens. If President Obama were to bring the military to a town to enforce laws he would be painted as a tyrant or dictator. Many of these were veterans and boy I can’t imagine what would be said about the President if he threatened military action against veterans. We take it lightly to defy our laws or ignore them if it pleases us and yet men like Washington who risked life and limb for this nation knew what it meant to submit to the laws whether you agreed or not.

We judge our modern President in unfair ways and hold up those who probably would have done the same things in their own time. We speak against our President as if he were our worst enemy or worse we accuse him of trying to destroy our country. These are the same actions that people who lived in the days of the founding father’s took. True patriotism is to obey and respect any law given by our leaders as long as they don’t violate God’s laws. even if you don’t personally like the laws. If you don’t like them then change them the correct way. True Christianity obeys civil government, respects authority, and submits to government.





Christians and Immigration Reform

30 05 2014

In my opinion everything is America has become political. This speaks to our shame not our benefit. The seriousness of the problem is not just that we have become hyper political but that the church has become so involved in politics that she can in many ways no longer minister the grace of God properly as she should. Being a Christian and a Republican have unfortunately become considered synonymous. I think we approach everything as conservatives or Republicans more often then we approach them as Christians, servants of the Most High God and representatives of Jesus Christ.

I think we need to stop asking ourselves if something is conservative but instead ask ourselves if it’s Christian. When the issue of immigration reform comes up we automatically respond with the line of the Republican Party and not the Word of God. We need to consider the Biblical aspect as well as the human aspect of any such reform. We (and I mean Christians) act as though we have some special place in this world that nobody else needs to have. We act as though we need to keep others out of this blessing that we have. We often forget that we were once immigrants to this land and took much of the land from the natives already here.

We were seeking success, and wealth, and freedom and we forget there are still those out there seeking those things in this land. We fail to ask how God would treat such individuals. We fail to ask if they as humans should be granted the same freedoms we have here in America. I am not necessarily in favor of blanket amnesty for illegal aliens but I am in favor of treating them in a Godly and human manner.

I’m not going to throw out a series of Bible verses to justify or to condemn immigration reform but there are a few things the Bible says. First of all the Bible says that Governement is ordained of God an the powers that be are ordained of God.

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Romans 13:1)

The Bible commands kindness to the sojourner or immigrant.

“And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

I think we need balance when approaching political subjects from a Biblical perspective. We need to apply our faith and values not the party line to our political stands. So what can we say about the immigration issue from a Biblical perspective? Well first things first: the government has the right to set the laws and we don’t have the right to disobey government unless they violate God’s laws. Illegal immigration is wrong plain and simple. Those who violate them should be held accountable.

What do we do with those who are here illegally? Well the Republican in us says kick them all up and seal the borders. What should the Christian in us say? I have seen situations where a child born here is a citizen and the parents are illegal. The parents were being watched by the government and were taken and deported while shopping leaving the child in the custody of family. In some cases the child didn’t know anything for weeks except that mom and dad never came home. Is this Christian? Does the breaking up of family glorify God?

We need to approach the issue from a compassionate and yet Constitutional point of view. We can’t have a policy of deporting parents when their children are citizens and we can’t Constitutionally deport the children who are legal citizens. So what’s the answer? I will be honest that I don’t have it nor am I coming to this as a know it all. I’m just making a sincere plea for us to be sure that we view all things in light of the Bible and the compassion that is becoming of the people of God.

We know the system is broken and none can argue there. I think we need to secure our borders and enforce the laws that we have or change those laws in a legal, Constitutional manner. We need a way for those brought here as children and have grown up here to become citizens and carry on the only way of life they have known. This could be graduating college or joining the military. I think anyone who risks life and limb for our nation should be granted full citizenship. We need to deal with those who are here and that may involve giving legal status.

Most illegal immigrants are not vicious criminals or seeking welfare. Most of them are coming from poverty and hunger seeking a place of opportunity. Seeking good education, clean water and the chance to give their families a better life. We need to be compassionate in our immigration policy. Right now most will agree our system is expensive and drawn out. This encourages the behavior we see. It can be so expensive the poorest seeking a better life cannot afford to seek it. Is God pleased by our casting them out? I don’t think He is.

Cubans come here and receive automatic citizenship. This makes our system biased and unfair. We show partiality which the Bible never encourages. We need to be fair with those seeking the refuge and benefits of the American life. Secure our borders…yes. Have a penalty for those who broke the law…yes. Fix our system…of course. How do we deal with those already here? Those brought here but had no control need to be given a way to stay here. Those who have children who are legal citizens need a way to be able to stay here. Those gainfully employed and contributing to our society need a way to stay here. Those who only want to be here at certain times to work need to be given a way to come do that. All others need to be dealt with in a compassionate but fair way to either be sent back or given a way to stay. All prisoners being supported by taxpayers need to be sent back to their country of origin and the burden taken off the American taxpayer.

How ever we deal with this issue it needs to be Constitutional, compassionate and in light of what the Scriptures teach.





Slaves of God: Free From All To Honor All

28 05 2014

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
Through this text this morning God has something to say to us about calling our president “Slick Willy.” He has something to say about Rush Limbaugh. He has something to say about a spirit of anti-authoritarian rebellion prevalent in our society and in the church. He has something to say about the moral foundations of civil law. And, most importantly he has something to say about the way God relates to all these things and what it means to be a God-centered Christian in a pagan or neo-pagan culture. It is full and overflowing with relevance for us. So let’s start with the most important—the central—and then work our way out to these other practical matters of Christian living today.

Live to God

The most important thing this text does is put all of our social and political life into relation to God. The Bible is not a book about how to get along in the world. It is a book inspired by God about how to live to God. I love that phrase “live to God.” It’s not mine. It’s Paul’s. He said in Galatians 2:19, “Through the law I died to the law that I might live to God.” The aim of life—including our social and political life—is to live to God. To live with God in view. To live under his authority. To live on him like we live on air and food and water. To live for his good reputation.

So the most important thing these five verses do is put our social and political life into relation to God, so we can live to God even in this seemingly secular part of our lives.

Let me simply take each verse just as each comes and point at this Godwardness in Peter’s dealing with these social matters. Each verse mentions God explicitly except one (v. 14) and that one implies God’s work and purpose.

“For the Lord’s Sake”

We start with verse 13:

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, (14a) or to governors.
What Grounds Our Submission

The key phrase in this verse is “for the Lord’s sake.” If you miss that, you miss the most important thing. There is a kind of allegiance to human institutions that is not for the Lord’s sake, and that is not what Peter is interested in. It may resemble Christian submission on the outside, but it is radically different.

Christians do not submit to human institutions simply because they feel like it, or because they have compliant personalities or because the institutions have coercive powers. We do not look first at ourselves to see what we feel like doing, nor do we look first at the institution (like government) to see if it there are consequences for not submitting. We look first to God. We consult God about the institution. And we submit for his sake.

Why This Issue Is Necessary to Address Here

What makes this issue so urgent for Peter that he brings it up right here is what he has said in the previous four verses. In verse 9 he said that Christians are “a chosen race, a holy nation, and a people of God’s own possession.” In verse 10 he said that we are “the people of God.” In verse 11 he said that we are therefore aliens and strangers here among the social and political institutions of this world.

All that raises the question whether we have any allegiance to the institutions of this world at all. If we are a separate “holy nation” and if we are “God’s people” and if we are “aliens and strangers,” perhaps then we should withdraw into our own Christian ghettos and communities and enclaves and have nothing to do with the powers and institutions of the world. Peter’s answer to that is NO.

While you are in this world, you are (in different senses) citizens of two orders, two systems. This world with its necessary institutions, and the order of the kingdom of God with its necessary values. This is not because the two orders have equal authority, but because God is the ruler and owner of both, and when you belong first to him and his kingdom, you can be sent by him, for his sake, for his purposes, for his glory into the kingdom of this world.

An Act of Tribute to God’s Supreme Authority

In this way Christian submission to the institutions of this world becomes an act of tribute to God’s authority over the institutions of the world. You look a king or a governor in the eye and say, “I submit to you, I honor you—but not for your sake. I honor you for God’s sake. I honor you because God owns you and rules over you and has sovereignly raised you up for a limited season and given you the leadership that you have. For his sake and for his glory and because of his rightful authority over you, I honor you.”

So verse 13 subordinates all submission on earth to a higher submission to God when it says, “Submit for the Lord’s sake.” We keep the speed limit for God’s sake, not because we might get a ticket. And all our driving becomes an act of worship.

God’s Design for Government

Next . . . verse 14:

[Submit to kings and governors] as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
This is the one verse in the text that does not mention God. But he is here. When Peter tells us that the purpose of kings and governors is to punish evil and praise good, he is giving God’s purpose for them. We know this from Romans 13:4 where Paul says, that civil authority “is a minister of God to you for good . . . [and] it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.”

So what verse 14 expresses is not necessarily what Nero and his provincial governors aimed to do. It expresses what God designed government for. Nero, in fact, beheaded Paul and crucified Peter upside down. The proper aim of government is to dam up the river of evil that flows from the heart of man so that it does not flood the world with anarchy (as, for example, in Rwanda and Somalia). Governments do not save; they are to maintain external order in a world seething with evil so the saving message of the gospel can run and triumph on its own power. That is why Paul urged us in 1 Timothy 2:1–4 to pray for kings and those in authority—because he desires that the gospel not be hindered by upheaval, so that more people can be saved.

The Will of God

Next . . . verse 15:

For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
We are to get our bearings in a pagan culture from the will of God (1 Peter 4:2). We are aliens and strangers. We consult our true Sovereign how to live. He tells us what is right and what is wrong through his book—our ultimate charter and constitution.

His aim for us—just like it was last week in verse 12—is that we live out such a joyful, sacrificial, humble, fearless life of goodness to others that their slander of Christianity will finally be silenced. “By doing good you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”

We get this strategy and the strength and guidance to live it from God.

Bondslaves of God

Next . . . verse 16:

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
What this verse teaches is that we belong to God and not the American government. We are slaves of God and not man (1 Corinthians 7:22–23). We do not submit to human institutions as slaves to those institutions but as God’s free people. We submit in freedom for his sake. Not in bondage for the king’s sake.

God has transferred us in one profound sense from this age to the kingdom of his Son. We have passed from death to life. But then for a season he sends us back into this age, as it were, not as we were once—as slaves to sin and guilt and the whims of this age and its institutions—but as free people, as aliens who live by other values and other standards and goals and priorities. We do submit. But we submit freely, not cowering before human authorities, but gladly obeying our one true King—God.

Our whole disposition of freedom and joy and fearlessness and radical otherness from this world is rooted in our belonging to God—which in one sense is slavery (because his authority over us is absolute) but in another sense is glorious freedom (because he changes our hearts so that we love doing what he gives us to do).

As Martin Luther said in his wonderful little treatise called “The Freedom of a Christian”:

A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.
The key to that paradox is God. Freed by God from slavery to all human institutions; and sent by God freely and submissively into those institutions—for his sake!

The Progression of Honor

Finally . . .verse 17:

Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
There is a progression here I think. First, give to all human beings (good and bad) a basic respect and honor. The way you respect a scoundrel like Judas and the way you respect a saint like John will be different. But there is a way. And we are to look for it and find it. It probably will not mean that the word scoundrel should drop out of existence. But how you use it will be profoundly changed.

Then, beyond that common respect and honor of all humanity, there is a special love that is to be given to “the brotherhood,” that is, to fellow Christians.

Then beyond that common respect for all and that special love for Christians, there is a special fear appropriate to God, and no one else. We are not slaves of men, and so we do not fear men. We give them honor freely. And we love Christians freely. And we bow to God’s absolute authority reverently.

“Honor all, love the brotherhood, fear God . . . ”

Then, back to the basic honor—”Honor the king.” Include him in the honor and respect given to all. He is not to be feared and he need not be loved as Christians are loved. But he must be honored. First comes our absolute allegiance to God. Next comes our affectionate love for other believers. Then comes our honor to the king and other unbelievers. The king is not God. Only God is God.

That is the main message of this text. But now look at a few of the implications for our life today. I mentioned four at the beginning of this message.

Four Applications

1. Honoring the President

First, I said it has something to say about calling the President of the United States “Slick Willy.” Now it almost goes without saying that I find myself more out of tune with this president than any president in my lifetime. The month he was inaugurated I preached a sermon asking, “How do pro-life Christians honor a pro-choice president?” It wasn’t easy then and it has gotten harder since.

But the fact is we must find a way to express our dismay at some of his views and some of his behavior while also communicating a basic respect for him has a person and a respect for his office which is ordained by God. “Honor all men . . . honor the king.”

One way to do this is to let sorrow temper indignation. This doesn’t mean you will only talk when you agree with him. It means that when you disagree with him, you will let the moral and social seriousness of the issue guard you from cheap, careless, insolent cynicism.

2. Rush Limbaugh

This relates directly to the second implication I mentioned at the beginning. The text has something to say about Rush Limbaugh.

I have no comment on Limbaugh’s politics. But I can’t help but think this text has a bearing on the spirit he exudes. I only want to ask you if you believe his prevailing attitude and spirit and tone (and the key word here is prevailing, since there may be times when satire has a place in the rough and tumble public forum) is one that you hope will be more prevalent in our social discourse or in the life of our church? Is it the spirit of one who honors all men and honors in a special way the king—the president? From show to show does sorrow balance indignation and disdain? Are there tears for terrible consequences? Is there a heartfelt earnestness and concern that goes beyond cynicism? I’m not sure about the answer since I have not heard or watched enough. But be alert that these questions matter, not just his political views.

3. Anti-Authoritarian Rebellion

Third, I said that this text has something to say about a spirit of anti-authoritarian rebellion prevalent in our society and in the church.

There is an inborn dislike for authority in all human beings. We are rebels by nature. Adam and Eve chose to eat the forbidden fruit in order that they might be like God and determine for themselves what is good and evil. That has been our nature ever since. It’s what we need to be saved from by the cross of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Some cultures foster this rebellious spirit more than others. Ours fosters it profoundly. Driving through Chicago I saw a huge billboard that said on the one side: “Image is everything,” and on the other side in huge red letters, “Rebel!” The two go hand in hand. The one says that truth and inner reality do not matter. In fact they may not even exist. What matters is what you can get by the image you project. So it follows: “Rebel!” against anyone who tries to limit you by saying there is some standard for your inner life—anyone who says that image is not everything. Especially rebel against God because in God’s eyes image is not anything—except a micro-thin cellophane wrapping around nothing—or around a pouting adult child stuck at the immature stage of the “terrible twos.”

This text, with the whole Bible, calls us to humble ourselves first before God, who has absolute authority and absolute rights over us, as the potter over the clay, and then, for his sake, to humble ourselves before any institution that God tells us to. In short, the one remedy to rebellion is the grace of God making us submissive to the authority of God so that we can enjoy the all-satisfying fellowship of God and submit in freedom to institutions designed by God.

4. Moral Foundations of Civil Law

Finally, I said that this text has something to say about the moral foundations of civil law.

Verse 14 says that civil authority exists for the punishing of wrong and the praising of good. I can’t do justice to a huge issue. But I can point. And what this points to is that the realities of wrong and right are foundations of law. If the civil authorities are to punish wrong and reward right, then there must be wrong and right.

I suggest that one of our tasks as Christians—not the only one, or even the main one—is to keep saying that. Laws (and their proper enforcement) rest on the reality of right and wrong. If we do away with right and wrong, laws will be without foundation and will crumble and all that will be left is anarchy.

It is not our job to save America from anarchy. Our job is to live to God in all of life—including the social and political parts of life—so that others may turn to him and be saved and give him glory. But in that process, leaders are honored, and civil discourse is purged of cynicism, and the rebellious spirit is humbled, and the moral foundation of law is strengthened. And this in turn reveals, for those who have eyes to see, that living unto God is good for the world.

By Pastor John Piper
May 29, 1994
By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org








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