Do Not Be Ashamed of God’s Law

Woman covering her face in shame. (Image credit: Katherine Evans/

Merciful Justice & Cruel Compassion

Why do we label biblical justice archaic, culturally irrelevant, or downright cruel? We often render guilty verdicts against God’s law without even knowing what it says. We draw grotesque caricatures of commands we would rather not keep. If we read God’s law, we find that justice is not a cold rendering of graceless verdicts. It is spoken of in direct relation to love, mercy, compassion, righteousness, and so on. Justice isn’t the arch nemesis of mercy and love, it is their heroic defender.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Here Micah unites justice, mercy, and humility while the world, and worldly church-goers, would convince us they are locked in bitter conflict. “God isn’t about judging” they say, “He’s about love and mercy.” What they mean is that it is arrogant to apply God’s law to the culture we live in because Christians are supposed to be compassionate instead of judgmental.

Don’t accept their guilt trip. Proverbs tells us “the compassion of the wicked is cruel.” It is humility, not pride, that teaches men to say “Amen” to God’s laws which demonstrate the administration of both justice and mercy.

The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.—Psalm 25:9-10

Mercy and justice are not distant relations or bitter rivals. They are knit together in those who are humble before God. This makes us decidedly unlike our wickedly compassionate neighbors who may endlessly orate guilt-inducing speeches on social justice while having no clue what establishes equity. Their animated feelings and vehement demands erupt from an authority no higher than their personal whims. Proverbs warns us, “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all.” Our sin is that, we think we can resolve injustice by following evil men. By soliciting godless answers we become purveyors of wicked compassion rather than champions for the oppressed.

Perverted Justice: A Problem for Christians to Solve

This is not a new problem. Throughout the biblical narrative God’s people are rebuked for perverting justice and oppressing the fatherless, the widows, and the strangers in their land. Proverbs says, “The violence of the wicked will destroy them, Because they refuse to do justice.”

This rebuke hits scarily close to home. Isaiah didn’t sugar-coat when declaring God’s displeasure with His people as they fastidiously performed ceremonies and sacrifices while failing to do justice in the land.

Bring your worthless offerings no longer,
Incense is an abomination to Me…
I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.—Isaiah 1:13

Should this concern us as we attend worship every Sunday, singing our hymns and nodding our heads to the preaching, all the while unmercifully leaving the problems of injustice toward orphans, widows, and strangers in our land to be managed by the wicked? Does it turn away our guilt if we shrug our shoulders saying, “What can I do about it?”

Our love for God is displayed in how we treat our neighbors (Leviticus 19:9-17, 1 John 5:2-3). Jesus said, the greatest commandment is to love God, followed by loving our neighbor. ALL the law and prophets hang on these two things (Matthew 22:37-40). God’s word, not only tells us to do justice but tells us how to do it—if only we will listen.

Isaiah’s call to repentance is needed now as much as ever.

Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.—Isaiah 1:16-17

Studying and applying God’s word justly is not effortless. We will wrestle with application and weary of clearing the obstacles wicked men place in our path. It will take detailed thought married to vigorous action, but first it will require humble repentance.

Posted in God's Law, Justice

God Bless (or Curse?) America

Image Attribution: Marcus O. Bst/flickr/license

Run-down storefront with american flag painted in window.

American Covenant

I have read the Mayflower Compact (Covenant) numerous times. The Compact formed the first civil government by Europeans coming to America. It was written and signed in 1620 by the Pilgrims before they got off the ship. This was the start of American Christian governance. While short, the Compact does carry several references to it being a covenant. It was not called a constitution, a charter, a Bill of Rights, or any of the other titles we might associate with modern western style governments. It was a Compact which in the language of the time was a synonym for covenant, the word used in the body of the text.

Our Christian forefathers did not invent the word covenant. Rather, it is used in the Bible (Old and New Testaments) 293 times. It is a term that permeates Scripture and forms the back bone of Jewish and Christian culture. It is not a minor concept it is a central concept for the chosen people. Given that we are “a chosen people a royal priesthood” (see Peter) it is massively important for us to understand what God and our forefathers were talking about when they wrote covenant into the fabric of Godly government. If we can begin to wrap our brains around this concept we will re-acquire a grand Biblical concept for the restructuring of the crumbling American nation. It may literally save our lives.

What is Covenant?

Now, even though the concept of covenant is replete in Scripture it is difficult to find a concise definition that covers every case. Hence, I offer my own: A Biblical covenant is a firm promise to be lived out under the jurisdiction of God’s will and law. It is also useful to note that, in every case, covenants succeed to following generations (“to you and your children,” the text will sometimes read). A great deal could be said about this but definitions are boring so I will move on. Theologians can continue to write lofty-minded articles but we will do something different here (not to diminish good theologians—we appreciate their work).

The main reason we ought to care about covenants is that God cares about them. God covenanted with His people at numerous times and places as He advanced His story about Jesus and the redemption of man. The classic text that is used to discuss the idea of covenant as it relates to the Godly nation is Deuteronomy 27:9–29:15. This is the record of Moses charging the nation to obey God’s law for blessing or to disobey His law and be cursed. What always strikes me as I read this is the shortness of the promised blessings section and the extended length of the promised curses if God’s law is not obeyed. The structure of this national covenant is clear. Obey and be blessed or disobey and be cursed. If you are unfamiliar with this passage please take a few minutes and read it. Then, like me, take a life time and meditate on it. It causes us to desire the righteous way and to fear the unrighteous path. It is food for our souls.

Are We Cursed or Blessed?

The reasons I refer to covenant as a building block for the Christian nation are few but of supreme importance. Almost no one, at least no one in public media, ever discusses our national malaise in terms of God’s cursing or blessing. Yet, Biblical thought often follows that precept. The prophets are filled with dire warnings to the nation to repent or be destroyed. This is something which deserves our attention. Our nation was begun in covenant with this same God. Our early forefathers spoke often of this very fact and feared for our demise should we turn away. One of the things I noticed about the national covenant is that we do not personally have to be there to be bound by the covenant. In Deuteronomy 29:14 Moses instructed,

Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here today.

So, like Israel, we have no excuse in claiming that the covenant was for others but not for us. It does not work that way. Of course we all want the blessings part, but what we need to consider in light of our national immorality is the curses section. Nationally, we are fitting those later definitions.

Covenant Promises & Biblical Laws

Besides this keeping-of-covenant concept there are other ideals tied to this. Covenant is a uniquely Biblical teaching. Every thing we do, every promise we make is to be made under the jurisdiction of God’s law. God forbade His people (that is us now guys, the church) to enter into covenant with any of the pagan people. A Biblical covenant could only be rightly implemented under the jurisdiction of God’s law. Part of the reason for this is that covenants with pagans leads us into compromise with those foreign gods as well. Another reason is that without a common set of laws by which to live no covenant between men can be expected to work. If we all submit to the same law we can have national unity and progress. Christian civilization is possible.

When our forefathers covenanted together to form a civil government under the God of the Bible they did a profound deed. Many of them understood the American continent as the equivalent of Israel for them. They were bound to God to build a fresh nation, to evangelize their new neighbors, and live in peaceful Christian community. I read that the original Pilgrim community was able to live for eighty years at peace with the Indians. The Pilgrims are often faulted with being war-like or grasping for land not theirs. But, as of late, we are a nation that starts some kind of war several times a year. I believe we too easily berate our founding brethren.

Repent & Obey

Whether we understand it or like it we are the covenantal heirs of a great nation. The concept of covenant set our feet on this land. It helped propel us through time to our current state. God has not forgotten those early promises. He still wishes to bless us if we will only repent and obey Him in all things. It is to us and our children that the covenant applies. We are a pivotal generation. We may advance faithfully toward repentance and blessing or we may be crushed by the strength of unmitigated curses. I am praying today that we make that better choice.

Posted in God's Law, Government Tagged with:

One Thing that Will Propel a Nation to Victory (Gideon, pt. 2)

Image credit: Nicolas Raymond

Christian flag. Judgment on Israel—Gideon’s Back Story

In my previous article on Gideon I discussed the importance of one righteous man standing in the face of impossible odds. We saw how the angel of the Lord selected one courageous obedient man to lead a nation. And we read from the text that the angel of the Lord spoke to Gideon “O valiant warrior” launching both Gideon and Israel (and maybe America if we imitate them) on a trajectory toward total victory. There is a back story though that we ought to notice.

The back story is about national suffering and the repentance of God’s people. This story about Judge Gideon fighting for Israel is not the first of a judge saving their nation. There had been four judges prior to him who brought justice (hence the title ‘judge’) for Israel before her enemies.

Under Joshua Israel reaped great success defeating their enemies on every front. After he passed from the scene though we read:

The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years (Judges 3:5–8).

First Israel served the Baals and the Asheroth then as punishment God made them serve Cushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia. If they wanted to serve someone other than the Lord, then God gave them over to a human entity which, in the long run, is what the Baals and Ashteroth were anyway. They were manifestations of man’s imaginations and more darkly, of the Devil’s kingdom. It was the Judge Othniel, Caleb’s younger brother, who led them to war and victory after the people called out to the Lord and repented (Judges 3:9).

We Don’t Want to Worship God

The reason we should care about this is not because we need to have a fascination with ancient history. Rather, it lays out for us the importance as a nation of remaining faithful to God. It shows us that from the earliest eras nations of godly citizens were quickly misled into the worst of deceptions, even though they were the apple of God’s eye (Zachariah 2:8). America, given our many providences and protections, may also be understood as the apple of God’s eye as can any faithful Christian nation. We too have found and may find the protection of the Lord and His prospering gifts as we worship and serve Him rightly.

But the problem we find as individuals and as a nation is that we do not want to worship and serve God rightly. We dream up every possible notion about why God’s word does not apply to us at this time in history. We suppose that His definitions and demands for righteousness and justice have changed over the centuries and no longer apply. We tell each other that God’s perfect law of liberty is imperfect and cruel, and outdated, and only for national Israel four thousand years ago. We think that the definitions for justice have somehow changed so that what was once righteous and just is now to be set aside for different, modern ideas. These are deadly notions that lead us and our nation directly into God’s gun sights for judgment instead of blessing. We have become Israel needing judgment but do not understand our danger. We could live more righteously and justly and attract God’s blessings but we think ourselves wiser than we really are as we stumble along toward Gomorrah.

National Israel went through the cycle of righteousness—disobedience—God’s cursing and judgment—repentance—blessing—numerous times. Here in Judges we see three or four times before Gideon was raised up to save them once again.

Knowing Good & Evil

In a second judgment God from which God saved His people we read:

Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died (Judges 3:11).

Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and defeated Israel, and they possessed the city of the palm trees. The sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. But when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab (Judges 3:12–15).

This time it was Judge Ehud who led Israel to victory. The passage tells us that Israel “did evil in the sight of the Lord” and this was the reason that God raised up the king of Moab against them. We may wonder why the description of what Israel did wrong was so short. What exactly did the nation of Israel do to deserve the Lord’s judgment? How can any nation know when it is getting into trouble with God? How can Americans know when our behavior will attract the judgments and discipline of God? That is what we really need to know. How can we know when we have done evil in the sight of the Lord? Why such a short description if its answer is critical to a nation’s survival? It may appear to be a thorny problem at first glance but God expects us to know the answer easily.

God expects us to know when our nation is doing evil because He gave us His law to inform us. God’s law found across all His word but primarily in the books of Moses contains only about 630 laws we and our nation, need to obey. We are doing evil when we disobey God’s law. Our disobedience brings God’s judgments. The formula is pretty simple. Human governments pass hundreds of thousands of laws with our own US Federal Government passing 200–400 new regulations every day. God’s law is not like human law. His law is relatively short and simple and direct. Most of it can be understood by an ordinary high school student. God has given us the standard for right and wrong, good and evil. We have no excuse. We should understand when God tells us that Israel did evil and we ought to understand when He judges America because we have done evil. We should understand why our heads are on the chopping block so to speak. The eternal histories in heaven will read, “And America did evil in God’s sight and God sent _____ against them.” God’s definitions for justice and injustice, good and evil, have not changed. We ought to know.

Law & Judgment

Israel knew but did not believe, they were not paying attention. Of a third judgment we read:

Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died. And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. The sons of Israel cried to the LORD; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years. Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time (Judges 4:1–4).

Once again we read that Israel, “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Sometimes it seems that Israel simply did not learn from their mistakes. Again they cried out to the Lord and again He saved them. The next judge was Gideon. In our previous introduction to Gideon we found him beating out his grain harvest in the wine press. Israel had again forgotten God and He had brought them under harsh judgment. Gideon whom the angel of the Lord called “valiant warrior” was raised up to save the nation. We will discuss that more but for now the all-important lesson from Israel, Gideon, and the judges is that God promises nations either blessing or cursing depending on their behavior. If they keep His holy law He blesses them and if they break His law He judges them. We Americans ought to learn from Israel. Our disobedience to God and His law will surely bring further judgments. Those judgments will become more severe the longer we make ourselves enemies of God by our sinful living. If we want God to raise up deliverance for us like He did with Gideon and all the preceding judges then we need to repent. We need to start obeying the Lord in all things. This is the consistent lesson from Scripture. It is under that national commitment to obey God that greatness and victory are found.

Posted in God's Law

Fake jesus Cannot Save

image credit: Eduardo Cunha/flickr/edited

Evangelism is hard, fake jesus makes it harder. Talking with someone ignorant of Jesus gives you somewhat of a blank slate upon which to sketch an understanding of the person and work of Christ: His love, justice, compassion, holiness, His call to repentance and promise of forgiveness. On the other hand, someone who’s already BFFs with fake jesus is a tougher case. Introducing them to Real Jesus requires exposing the counterfeit as an obsequious pretender. This is challenging when the ear-tickling message of a synthetic savior carries no whiff of judgment, no call to obedience, no demand for worship. This manufactured messiah, so eager to accommodate, stops just short of begging people to sin just so he can forgive them. Perhaps I sound overdramatic.

A True Story

An email conversation I recently had with a “Christian” woman who was planning to murder her unborn child by abortion is a vivid illustration:

Me: God commands us in His word, “You shall not murder.” What do you think of this command?

Her: This might be a question of how many times will God forgive it. Not if it is morally wrong or not. I know it’s wrong, but I had fun [fornicating].

Me: You know murder is wrong, yet you plan to do it anyway. If you are doing so relying on God to forgive your sin, you can have no assurance that you will be forgiven.

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment.”—Hebrews 10:26

Her: I don’t want to be driven to feel bad. I know what abortion does and will do if I decide to still [do] it.

Me: Your flippant attitude toward murdering your own child when you know exactly what you are doing puts you in a very fearful place. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. “Murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8). This is what you are storing up for yourself right now. You may think you are getting a better life for yourself by doing this, but your “fun” on earth will end one day and you will have to stand before God for judgment…I urge you to STOP what you’re doing, repent of your attempt to murder your child, and have mercy on your baby.

Her:  I have been to many church services. Jesus died because He loves us and wants us in Heaven. I would have never accepted Him if it was all about how wicked we are.

Me: Your actions right now and your attitude toward God’s commands suggest that you did not accept Him like you think you did. The Bible doesn’t teach that everyone gets forgiveness from God; it teaches that God forgives those who repent and turn away from their sin and call on Him for His mercy.

Her: All sins can be forgiven. That’s what love is all about. If you ask and believe you will be given mercy. Why accept Jesus? To go to heaven after your sins are forgiven. God is not strict or hateful to keep me away if I want to ask forgiveness later [after I abort]…I have enjoyed myself [while sinning].

Me: God absolutely does forgive sinners. But the Bible is clear that forgiveness is given to repentant sinners who know they have broken God’s commands and sorrow over what they have done because their sinful actions offend God. We should never treat Jesus like He is a ticket out of hell so we can keep enjoying our sin. He is LORD. He calls us to honor, worship, and obey Him. I’m NOT saying you can’t ever be forgiven, but you can have no assurance that you will be unless you repent of your sin.

Her: Yeah well, whatever…I tried God. I would still try God if I wasn’t so into my own life. I can’t lose my salvation. I can walk away [from God] but I can’t lose it.

Me: It is true that God’s people cannot lose their salvation. You tell me you have accepted Christ, but your words and actions say that you have not. You reject His laws and commands. You reject His call to obedience. You reject His rule in your life. You refuse to give Him honor, praise, or worship. You hate His words in the Bible. Saying you have accepted Him is a lie. What, exactly, have you accepted? God doesn’t ask us to try Him. He tells us to repent and believe and follow Him.

Her: I accepted Jesus to go to heaven and I believed it. I accepted Jesus because of love. What kid doesn’t?

Me: You say you have accepted Jesus and these are the things Jesus says.

Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”—Luke 13:5

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”—John 14:15

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”—Matthew 7:21-23

This is the Jesus you will meet on judgment day. You should think about what this Jesus (the real Jesus) will say to you when you stand before Him. I know these things seem harsh to you, but I tell you about who God is and what Jesus said because it is true. You are a person worth telling the truth to.

Her: I would be more entertained if we could talk about how not to be zombie bait. Or how not to be sick when the apocalypse hits…you talk about Jesus too much.

Me: Funny.

Her: I believe in God and can ask forgiveness any time I want to…do you know how people are drawn to God? His love! It is not conditional and grace and mercy are always available. I want to miscarry. No more abortions with a miscarriage and no more baby. [Problem] Solved.

I’m gonna get another ultrasound. If something is wrong with the baby at all I’m aborting…I will keep the [ultrasound] pictures as a memento. I don’t care it is murder. I don’t have malice in my heart.

Me: The dictionary defines malice as “a desire to cause harm to another person.” That definition is a perfect description of what is in your heart. You have murder in your heart toward your child. So, yes, you do have malice in your heart that you need to repent of.

Her: I don’t want to say I’m sorry when I’m not sorry at all.

This conversation was startlingly real, and carried on for several months. You will be relieved to know, this woman’s baby lives (no thanks to fake jesus for helping her feel safe in her sin). Conflict was brought into this woman’s life when she heard God’s perfect law. Though she felt no motherly affection for her babe, she let him live and be cared for by others. An introduction to the real Jesus put restraint on her hand of harm against her own child.

As far as I know she still hasn’t bowed her knee to honor the King, her jesus is not LORD. The rotten fruit she bares makes this frighteningly obvious. She dishonors the almighty risen King with her empty acceptance. This woman is not alone in her religiosity. She is one among thousands who believe themselves to be saved while living the life of the damned.

Speak the Whole Truth

Friends, please voice the whole truth of the gospel, though it may not be accepted. Demonstrate how to bow before the King, though many stiffen their necks in rebellion. We cannot understand God’s astonishing forgiveness until we get a whiff of the putrid stench of our sin in His nostrils. We will not smuggle sinners into heaven by enticing them to accept an unholy jesus who winks at sin and washes no one clean. Practicing a slight-of-hand that makes the call to repentance less offensive by shuffling it away for later, merely makes us shysters hawking tin fiddles to tone deaf people. We congratulate ourselves on our sales and plug our ears when they start to play.

Take the trouble to introduce fellow sinners to the King of kings while there is yet time to repent and believe. No matter how sweet his hissing sounds, fake jesus cannot save. God’s grace is glorious because His judgment is real, and trembling before His holiness tunes us perfectly to sing His praise. The Message is not ours to alter, and why would we want to?

Jesus reigns, He always has! The psalmist is not speaking in jest when he says, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way.”

Posted in Culture, Faith, Morality

Civil Government—American Idol

Civil Government, American Idol

image credit: Desai/aschaeffer

The great sin we all remember from the Old Testament stories is that of idolatry. With tiresome repetition we read of the Israelites whoring after the idol gods of Baal, Asherah, Moloch and others. We read how they burned incense to them on every hill and under every green tree. They were sent prophets who warned them in the clearest of terms that they must turn away from those idols and worship and serve only the Lord (Yahweh). We read these prophetic shoutings and shake our heads in wonder at how blind and foolish these people were after all God had done for them. How could they possibly miss who was God and who was not? It was not, after all, any of those other gods who had parted the Red Sea. None of them had produced manna from heaven or water from a rock. Yet, Israel persisted not only in offering incense but their children as well to these false deities. How could they think they were making any progress in replacing the Lord with these earthly gods?

The close meaning for Moloch, god of the Phoenicians and Ammonites, was shameful king. The name was fitting because of the sacrificial acts required for Moloch worship. In a bizarre ritual, parents would give control of their children to Moloch. That act was considered so heinous that God Himself pronounced destruction on Israel for their faithlessness and immorality. It is bad enough to destroy yourself, but doubly wrong to destroy your children. Understand that these idol gods were not simply religious figures with limited influence. Moloch and the other ancient gods were heeded as rulers over the civil realm as well. They were consulted for guidance for the courts, warfare, personal morals, standards for justice and all else in society. They were the face of society and government for the people of their times. Foreign kings prayed to them before determining battle plans, hence, the idol gods reigned above the earthly kings.

Idolatry in American Life

We think ourselves more socially and civilly developed than those ancient people. We know about Jesus. We have truth on our side. We would never bow down to an idol or offer it our children. We do not trust in any idol to answer our prayers, provide for our daily bread, fight our battles, pay for our medicine, or take control of our children. That was them not us. OK—that pay-for-our- medicine part cannot be proven about the ancients, but the rest…?

I fear we have long ago tumbled into the same sins our spiritual ancestors embraced. We have different names for our idols now but the sin remains the same. We know Jesus but they knew Yahweh, the same trinitarian God we worship. We all have fallen essentially into the same sins and are deserving of the same judgments. The Jewish people deserved famine, plagues, tumors, and eventually invasion and destruction for their idol worship. Why, I may ask, would we deserve less? We act like they acted, idolizing a higher power that does for us what Moloch did for them. We find our security in our idol government god very similar to the way they found security in their idol government gods. Are we really any better? They handed their children over to unbelieving priests where that foreign religion led to the child’s destruction. We, being supposedly wiser, hand our children over to the high priests of a humanistic religion, where their souls are stolen and their faith ruined, leading to the eternal death of those very children we said we loved.

American Government is Overgrown

It appears we also worship a shameful king. We have not been satisfied to contain the civil government within the constraints of Biblical boundaries. God’s law gives the civil government only very narrow duties and rights. As a nation we have expanded those duties and rights far beyond anything God allows. We have erected for ourselves an idol to which we may turn for those benefits God Himself was supposed to bestow. We find it nearly impossible to imagine life lived within a social context of Biblical allowances, morality, and faith. Rather, we expect daily, to raise holy hands in supplication to the more visible god of government to meet all our needs in its fading glory.

Time to Reject Modern Idols

I know the words I am writing today will, in many cases, feel like a lead weight to the hearts of many. We are patriotic. We live in the greatest country on earth. We are the last superpower. Without us the ends of the earth would unravel. This was also true of Rome, and Greece, and Babylon. Remember with me that it was from those very kingdoms that God rescued humanity and brought them to freedom in Christ. That freedom was not just a freedom from eternal damnation. It was also a freedom that extended to life on planet earth. Christian liberty derives and expands from our faith to the nations, as Christ’s kingdom conquers the idols of every age. We could start our quest for liberty by taking back our children. We are living in an era of unbounded opportunity for the church if we will only turn back to our God and reject the idol(s) of our day.

Posted in Government, Worship

God May Yet Save America—Gideon Shows Us How (Part 1)

God May Yet Save America--Gideon Shows Us How (Satallite image America lights at night)

image credit: NASA/GSFC/flickr: woodleywonderworks

A Place to Start

Gideon, one of the greatest freedom fighters in the Bible began his walk into fame by merely doing the work God gives men generally; trying to feed his family. The background to his story begins here with the Midianite people overrunning the land:

Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD gave them into the hands of Midian seven years. The power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. For it was when Israel had sown, that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the sons of the east and go against them. So they would camp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in like locusts for number, both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to devastate it. So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the LORD.

This was a rough time for the nation of Israel. God had promised to protect and prosper their nation as long as they obeyed God and did not worship idols. As usual the people of Israel disobeyed God and began worshipping idols. God judged them just as He always has and still does judge nations who disobey His law. As a nation, for us, we may see our possible future if we do not return to God. He can and will overthrow our country if we continue to resist His word and ways. These lessons are not just for ancient people they are for us as well.

Tough Obstacles

Gideon faced tough times. Most of the people in Israel were hiding in the mountains, in caves, having abandoned their homes and farms in the face of the Midianite onslaught. Life had become desperate as the Midianites stole every animal and every crop they could find. God was merciful though and eventually sent a prophet calling Israel back to repentance and back to their faith:

Now it came about when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD on account of Midian, that the LORD sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt and brought you out from the house of slavery. ‘I delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hands of all your oppressors, and dispossessed them before you and gave you their land, and I said to you, “I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me.”‘

And perhaps God says to America today, “I am the Lord your God who brought you into a new continent and gave you victory over your enemies on every side. I gave you My word and I covenanted with your forefathers to be your God and for you to be My people. But you have disobeyed Me. You have worshipped the gods of mammon and state power, making the civil government your god and forgetting Me.” And now we find ourselves in the midst of a collapsing economy, banks that are bankrupt, taxes beyond all reason, a government that is out of control as it oppresses the people daily, schools that are godless, and immorality on every side. While our problems are not exactly the same as Israel experienced we can certainly wonder where God’s blessings have gone and why His curses seem to be overtaking us from every side.

Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. Then the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.”

The Turning Point

This was the turning point for both Gideon and Israel. Gideon was a brave man planting and harvesting in the land even in the face of the Midianite invasion. His work was, seemingly, impractical and had no chance of success and every chance to attract attention from deadly enemies. Foolish though it likely appeared, Gideon was the only man who decided to do what was right and strong and brave. He planted a crop to feed his family in obedience to God’s known will as the head of his household. While other men cowered in the caves and dens in the mountains Gideon went down and began the work of re-occupying the land according to God’s will. He had not forgotten God and God had not forgotten him. Gideon stood alone in obedience to God. It was at that point that the Lord appeared to him announcing “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.” The Lord was with him and he did not stand alone after all.

Rise Up, God is Calling!

American men, American women—understand that the Lord is still calling tough-minded people who have not lost hope to stand for Him in this culture now. We are not at the end of the age. Our situation is not hopeless though it may seem so listening to the daily news. In the past the Lord has called people of strength and courage to stand and work for the advancement of His kingdom though the odds appeared certainly against them. God has turned the nations upside down when courageous people called on Him and walked in His Holy Spirit power. God has not changed. He is calling right now for leaders, perhaps unlikely leaders, to begin the work of reconstruction of our country. God is looking for uncompromising people (valiant warriors) who will abolish (tear down) the evil works of our culture and rebuild on biblical foundations. The church and the culture need people with the courage and strength of Gideon. This is the time for strong leaders to step out in faith, leading the culture back to obedience to God and His law.

It was from a simple beginning, planting a crop and harvesting it that raised Gideon above all other Israelites and earned him the title ‘Valiant warrior’. He went on in God’s power to save his nation from ruin from an invading army. Our nation has been invaded by a humanist army just as certain to enslave and ruin us as were the Midianites in Gideon’s time. Christian culture is under attack on every front from entertainment, education, literature, the arts, or the sciences. The church needs, even cries for, valiant warriors to stand and rebuild based on wiser, biblical ideas. The call for valiant warriors goes forth!

Read Part 2 Here: One Thing that Will Propel a Nation to Victory!

Posted in Culture, Faith Tagged with:

Is Chivalry Dead? On Knights, Horses, & Cultural Victory

"God Speed" by Edmund Blair-Leighton, 1900

Chivalry—Inspiration for Our Time

Given the age of immorality and compromise in which we live, it is refreshing to remember Christian success from previous days. Chivalry, initially meaning ‘horsemanship’ provides one of those inspiring looks into an ancient success. Even 600 years later it is hard to think of anything more inspiring than a heavy galloping phalanx of steel plated men and horses bringing justice to civilization’s oppressors. To the armies of the Middle Ages they were as the tank is to modern warfare. They were the first into battle.

The word chivalry was derived from a French word meaning horseman. Histories from the early Middle Ages talk of the charge of the chivalry, meaning the knights of noble office. Other armored horsemen were called men at arms. The chivalry had to be marked by extreme bravery, courage at breath’s edge of death, commanding strength, and magnificent skill for battle. A knight had to master the art of horsemanship such that he could direct his horse using only his knees and heels. This left both hands available to handle weapons, including a lance, sword, battle axe, and dagger. A knight was worth ten men in a hard fight.

During the Middle Ages standing armies were not typical. Even kings had limited funds to train and keep an army in the field. Armies were assembled bodies of fighters serving under nobles, dukes, or barons, who paid the men to fight based on contracts. Knights were typically derived from the upper classes who could afford the substantial expense. So, the charge of the chivalry was the charge of the nobles. These were the educated men of means. They could read. Maybe more importantly, they could read maps. They naturally became viewed as not only military leaders but the foremost men in society. To be a knight was to garner respect. They were the defenders in the breach. They were noble. They were men of honor. They were of the chivalry, hence chivalrous, to behave in a noble manner.

Full armored knights began to take the field sometime in the ninth or tenth centuries. By 930 AD the first recorded Christian defense of the chivalric vocation was promoted by Odo, abbot of Cluny, which argued that the sanctity of Christ and Christian doctrine can be demonstrated through the legitimate unsheathing of the sword against the enemy. It was the beginning of the Crusades however, that spurred the church to more openly develop its theology regarding warfare and knights. As Europe came under increasing terror of war from advancing Muslim armies, the church, or more largely Christendom, was forced to address the realities of war and warfare. No longer was war just the outcome of local quarrels. Now, the whole of Christendom was under attack. New realities had to be addressed.

Codes of Christian Behavior

As a result of these events the church began to develop from Scripture, ideals for knights in both warfare and peace. Christian men started to address what it meant to be a Christian and a warrior. Biblical morality began to be specifically applied to the methods of war and also to the character of the men, or of the man fighting. Chivalric codes were written based on principled morals taken from the Christian religion. Leon Gautier writing about the chivalric code of the 11th and 12th centuries says that it included these nine elements:

  1. Believe the church’s teachings and observe all the Church’s directions.
  2. Defend the Church.
  3. Respect and defend all weaknesses.
  4. Love your country.
  5. Show no mercy to the Infidel. Do not hesitate to make war with them.
  6. Perform your feudal duties as long as they do not conflict with the laws of God.
  7. Never lie or go back on your word.
  8. Be generous to everyone.
  9. Always and everywhere defend right and good against evil and injustice.

While the chivalric codes varied from place to place and time to time they shared the common elements demanding Christian courage, honesty, a generous spirit, pursuit of justice, and almost always, the protection of women and of the innocent and weak. These Christian virtues became understood as the proper behavior of nobles and knights. To act nobly meant to act honorably. Chivalry became a code for living not just a military art. The chivalry became chivalrous in a moral sense. To be chivalrous meant to stand or to fight for justice and to defend widows and orphans as Scripture demands. These rough, these coarsened men, who were the best trained killers of their time became examples of righteous strength. There were many exceptions yet the Christian influence on chivalry became so prominent that it is still admired.

The Christian church invested the Chivalry with noble causes and high morals. Typically, the upcoming knight had to swear an oath to the church promising, essentially, to be an example of Christian character and only fight for righteous causes. Thus, the boundaries of Christendom were pushed forward. A part of the initiation ceremony often included the blessing of the knight’s sword on the church altar, confirming the teaching that it was rightly Christian for men to defend the defenseless. It was recognition that the martial arts have a proper place in Christian society. No longer was the church separated from real-world concerns. The famous dubbing ceremony came out of church ritual. Often, the knight was dubbed in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost with the tip of his own sword, accenting the idea that the knight’s sword was to be used in the service of the Christian society that blessed his going out.

Knights & Gentlemen

The Chivalry of the early Middle Ages became chivalrous through the influence of the church. This compelling example shows the kind of long-term change that can be brought about by Biblical teaching. A knight was revered almost as much as a monk in medieval society. This influence extended eventually throughout the upper classes in Europe being exhibited as a code of gentlemanly behavior. Though imperfect, the concept of the gentleman was taken from the example of the chivalrous man. It came out of the warrior ranks who had absorbed it from the teachings of the church. The gentleman was to be gentle instead of coarse or unforgiving. When we read of knights and their treatment of captives we are sometimes amazed at their sense of correct treatment or fair play. Enemy troops who would have murdered the Christian soldiers without hesitation were regularly given quarter and sent away being required only to take an oath not to fight for a short period of years. That kind of high character was admired by leading men and became the basis for the concept of the gentleman.

Non-Christian religions never produced a concept equal to this. It is a unique identifying mark that screams that there is a vast and good difference between Christianity and everything else. Chivalry then, becomes an inspiration for our own time. It shows that it is possible to see culture changed long-term toward Christian righteousness. The kingdom of Christ can have victories in current culture just as it did so many hundreds of years ago.

Posted in Culture, History

Milquetoast Men in a Milquetoast Church

image credit: flickr/Connor Lawless/license

Made for Battle

Blessed be the Lord my God, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle wrote David in Psalm 144. What a Godly and righteous sentiment. More than a sentiment, it is a recognition of how God often works in the life of a righteous man. I have not seen these kinds of statements written about the female heroes in Scripture. The men however, are often presented as fighters. This is disconcerting in its political incorrectness. It is also disturbing to many in the church who seem to believe that the main point of the Christian life is to be personally nice. A mature Christian in our time is one whose cup overflows with niceness. Meanwhile, God’s word glorifies the young man who slings a stone into a giant forehead and then hacks off that head with the giant’s own sword. That had to be a bloody Christian sight. I know, they weren’t called Christians back then, but those Old Testament redeemed were saved the same way we are and they are our forefathers; family if you will. Remember, it was the prophet Samuel who, “hewed Agag to pieces before the Lord. ” No prisoners of war for him.

Here we are 3000 years later, men who have an effeminized manner of behavior as our normal, normal. Is a fish aware of the water? What if the water is pink? What if our eyes are pink and the water is clear? How may we know we are viewing our environment rightly? Are we still men, or are we being transformed into girls? I am all for niceness, but we have left behind our manly strengths. Are there no enemies to enjoin? Is this our manly calling, to never offend, and never slight the warriors whose loyalty opposes the kingdom of Christ? I fear we have become a lukewarm posterity of the mighty men who fought our battles for us. I do not know if we can even be depended upon to defend the baggage.

From our youth we were taught to sit in chairs all day, be good, not pull hair, and talk in a shushing voice. Have you ever noticed how typical school is designed to effeminize boys? Girls love school, but boys want to climb trees. It is not that we aver learning but, boys learn differently. We have different hormones. This is because God calls us to different actions than He does our wives and daughters. Guys love boxing movies, but girls just tolerate them. Wham, wham, right cross, and down he goes. The guy wants to hit replay, but the girl is only watching because he is.

Strength & Courage

God calls men to be courageous. When Paul stood on Mars Hill, and went head-to-head with the Greek philosophers, he was pretty much alone in his opinions. The text tells us that only a few believed. Most of those guys thought he was nuts. Yet, there he was, stand alone or stand with his disciples, either way he had long before determined to preach Christ in whatever circumstance he found himself. When the crowd at Thessalonica was ready to tear apart Jason he unflinchingly kept the faith. Later on Paul mentions him at the end of his letter to the Romans. A Godly man is not deterred by conflict or danger for a right cause. We are made that way. The Lord strengthens us for the fight. It is not our wives that are called to bang shields with the wicked. It is the Christian man that should run toward the battle. Some are to protect and others are to be protected.

We have grown up in a time of milquetoast men in a soft-pewed church. We will not stand against anything. The airports disrobe our wives and daughters with their super scanners, and we object not a wit. We see nothing to defend. Whole cities with millions of inhabitants are effectively disarmed, but the church preaches nothing about it. No- knock invasions and warrantless searches are imposed, and Christian men offer hardly a contrary word. As liberty evaporates the pulpits remain silent. Our approval of women in the pulpit marks our shame as conquered men. We could think of nothing to say, so we turned over the talking to our daughters. Maybe they can save us. Maybe our underwear is pink. I believe I saw some frills. Female clergy came and gay clergy followed. Almost every major denomination accepts this.

What About Being Nice?

Ministerial leaders tend to be nice men who get along with everybody. They teach the church to be a nice organization instead of a militant one. Today’s church rarely calls men to be courageous. This is one of the reasons men do not care about church. Women feel good when they go to church. Men feel squirmy. What is the point? Why do we care about hearing a girl tell us to be more like girls? If you brush hog on Sunday morning you can feel like you got something done. Current churches do not inspire men, whereas, conflict in a righteous cause inspires men like nothing else.

Our milquetoasty church culture derives from the doctrines we teach. Our thunder is gone because our theology is gone. We no longer view ourselves as men who have been sent out to build the mighty kingdom of Christ. Current fad theology teaches us that Jesus is bound to return any minute, so why worry about building His kingdom on this earth? If all our work is in vain then why do anything? The church may not be saying this in so many words, but the message is unmistakable if we truly believe we are at the end. People are logical enough to figure it out. We have never been taught sound doctrine concerning the extent of Christ’s kingdom. We think that God is only concerned about saving a few last souls before the scroll of history is rolled up. Little is ever said from the pulpit or in classrooms about Biblical faith controlling every area of thought, study, and living. We are not wholistic in our faith. We think that if we can save a few beleaguered souls our work is complete. Meanwhile, our God is claiming all for Himself. He has not given up a single area of existence to His enemies, and neither should we. Seek first the kingdom of God He implored us. Why then do we delay?

NEEDED: Sturdy Men

Militaristic regimes appeal to men because men are called to be strong. When we leave a leadership vacuum, stronger men, immoral men, eventually step in. We need to be strong men, who are strong in Christ, and go out to build a better world in the name of our Savior. We are called to re-enlighten the culture with the gentle message of God’s love under the righteousness of His law. Nothing less will do. Sturdy men do not allow the world’s systems to control them forever. Think with me guys. Pray with me. Wet-noodle man-girls do not have the strength to advance anything against God’s persistent enemies. A great first step for many of us would be to pull our kids from the godless public education system, and start teaching them ourselves. Why do we place them in schools where the unyielding daily message, is the irrelevance of God in all things? Are we so weak we will not do this small thing? How will the culture be saved when our children are lost?

The battle is upon us men. The surrounding culture seeks to tear down everything holy. But for us, for us and our families, men are needed who are courageous to lead. The hours of indecision are past. If courage fails now, we and our families will be squashed by the heaviness of the immorality around us. Indolence and fear are the signs of our corrupted state. Repent with me, and resolve to do whatever God gives opportunity, to rebuild a wiser culture. Shamelessly, seek first the kingdom of God. All else will be added unto us.

Posted in Faith Tagged with:

Needed: Violent Men to Take the Kingdom by Force

Fire in a man's eyes. (Violent men take the kingdom by force)

Image credit: Prodan & Lucretious

The Kingdom Suffers Violence

With ISIS making suicide bombing nearly a daily event and religious wars flaming across the Middle East it ought to be a good time to look at the words of Jesus about violent men taking the kingdom by force. I suppose this title will alert numerous government agencies to put me on their watch lists. That’s OK. Maybe if they read enough of these articles they will become Christian kingdom builders and increase the ranks of the righteous. Perhaps that Second Reformation some of us have been talking about will be birthed full force.

Speaking of force, here is what Jesus said about it:

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force (Matthew 11:12).

The part about the kingdom of heaven suffering violence is not too difficult to understand. John the Baptist was imprisoned and then beheaded for his part in it. Prophets in Israel had often been persecuted for their words, and a few were killed. Being a spokesmen for God’s righteous kingdom, for justice and mercy, was not a safe career choice. Jeremiah got thrown into a well, Elijah risked death confronting the prophets of Baal, and Zechariah “who was murdered between the temple and the altar” (Matthew 23:35) is a powerful example of the kingdom of heaven suffering violence. Choosing to speak and live for the kingdom of God is not a safe choice.

Who are the Violent Men?

The more difficult part of this saying though is the second phrase where Jesus says that “violent men take it by force.” This is a head-scratcher for many of us. Is Jesus trying to say that violent people attack and conquer the kingdom of God? Or, is He asserting that men of violent character and means take the kingdom forward? Jesus’ reference to violence and His kingdom seems like a mystery statement. We turn it over in our minds and it simply does not correlate with other Scripture we have paid attention to—and so we dismiss it and move on. This is a large error on our parts. Jesus is communicating an important message with this statement about violence and the kingdom, and we ought not dismiss it.

Jesus uses a nice (perfect actually) turn of phrasing when He says “the kingdom of God suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” His double use of the word violence is a bit poetic. It is both memorable and mysterious. It is also infallible, inerrant, and sufficient for all His purposes, for every task for which He sends it. All of this being the case, we ask again, what is the meaning of these words?

Calling & Courage

Over the past few years I have realized that many of the righteous people that are on the front lines of the battle between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light are strong-willed. They have a deep sense of calling to the work and to their Savior. We talk about standing in the gap but the men and women who do so, especially in the public square, face many obstacles. It is one thing for a writer like me to sit comfortably in my safe office discussing the battle for the kingdom. It is quite another for my daughters (or anybody else’s daughters, spouses, friends, etc.) to stand in front of the local abortion clinic and speak forcefully to those who are going in to kill their children. Confronting people with their sin and calling for repentance in person requires an inner confidence and strength which many of us lack. This is not because God is not calling us to the work. It often is because we are simply not willing to answer the call of God’s Spirit and to step out in faith to do the work. Once a small step is taken courage grows and we become increasingly useful in labor for the kingdom. God is glorified when the saints imitate strong men like Jeremiah to whom God said:

Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them (Jeremiah 1:17).

This is a wonderful Scripture for anyone who wants to risk stepping out and speaking up for righteousness and against sin. It encourages the saints to arise and speak but it also warns against being dismayed at the faces of God’s enemies as we confront them. Confronting God’s foes to their faces is not easy whether you are called or not. Our hands literally shake and our voices seem like they freeze in our throats the first time we try it. This does not mean we are not called, it just means we are human.

There is a small business bordering our local abortion mill. I went one day and asked for the general manager. He agreed to talk to me. I asked him if the sidewalk counselors outside the abortion clinic could have permission to stand on his businesses’ land and speak to people at the clinic. His answer was ‘NO’ he did not want to get into a pi****g match between the two parties. At that point I was a little ‘dismayed at his face’ as God’s words to Jeremiah mentioned. I asked him if he was a Christian man and he said ‘yes’. I asked him if he understood that what was happening on the other side of those walls was the murder of innocent people and again he affirmed ‘yes’. And yet, he did not want to get involved. He told me that he wondered if the business should be left alone because, you see, he had a daughter and … what if? Our conversation was strained. I asked him if he understood that the battle between light and darkness was right there at the edge of his property. I let him know (in a friendly way) that he would be a candidate for the judgments of God. But he was a hard man and nothing I could say would change his heart.

Challenging the Wicked

When Jesus said that “violent men take it by force” he was not talking about men like the one I mentioned above. He was speaking about men who have a strong moral conscience, an indomitable spirit in God, and courage borne of strong faith and a commitment to do the right things even if no one else will. Those are the men, the people, who take the kingdom by force. Courage to challenge wicked people face to face comes from a deep well sunk into God’s very word and pumped through our veins by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ordinary men do not have the moral or spiritual wherewithal to perform this culture transforming labor.

Was I scared to have that conversation next to the clinic? A little bit, not really so much. God is our helper. One good thing about having been a construction manager is that it taught me I could have hard conversations and survive. You can too, by the way. If the Spirit of God is calling you to speak boldly and faithfully, then you can do what He asks.

Jesus taught His disciples that “the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:12). My experience is that this is precisely what happens. As we learn to trust Christ and obey in some of these harder places we become increasingly like those strong, courageous men who take the kingdom by force:

From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, to make the enemy and the revengeful cease (Psalm 8:2).

May God bless us as we labor for His kingdom.

Posted in Kingdom Series Tagged with:

With Health Care & Justice for All

Pill bottle over an American flag

Image Credit: M. & aschaeffer

O Lord, by these things men live, And in all these is the life of my spirit; O restore me to health and let me live (Isaiah 38:16)!

It’s weird how we perceive our situations sometimes. We get immersed in the world and the world gets immersed in us to a point where we can hardly be separated. As Christians we are supposed to be deriving our morals from God’s Word. That idea is not new but it may seem genuinely novel to our generation, steeped in humanist socialism as we have been. No one now living grew up in a culture where biblical morals thoroughly ruled the culture. Bits of an older Christian order remained, holding together the crumbling structure our forefathers had built. There are still a few parts, some morals, and laws that have yet to be overturned. At the rate we are tumbling toward injustice and chaos though, we ought to be asking what it is, precisely, that will keep the entire structure of American liberty and justice standing. I am concerned because I believe that as justice flees so does liberty.

Who Has a Right to Health Care?

Discussing health care and justice, I discovered this quote on Facebook the other day:

CBO[Congressional Budget Office] estimates 14 million will lose health insurance with Republican plan in the next 2 years, 24 million in 10 years. While there will be savings of $34 billion yearly, this is less than the defense $54 billion defense increase, for the largest defense spending nation in the world. Someone is going to pay for this eventually—and it will be us. Creating a worse alternative is no alternative. Health care is a moral right in a great society and should not be governed by profits or budget cuts [Emphases added].

I picked this up because I believe there are vast swaths of Americans who would eagerly stand behind it. My readers (mostly conservative Christians) probably would disagree with the quote above. More than a few liberals would think it sounds like a helpful statement (just as they might also judge as helpful the resonance of a cow passing gas). They sincerely believe that “Health care is a moral right in a great society.”

That is quite an assertion especially since it seems to have no foundation in any larger moral code than its own bare declaration. I know that God never mentioned this moral right in His Law Book. Moses knew nothing of it nor did the prophets. Even the New Testament writers, all full of grace and mercy, never mentioned the right to health care for anyone. But Liberal Christians love to invent new categories of law that God never mentioned, and fob them off on society as if these liberal know-it-alls have a moral pinnacle to stand on. Progressive Christians tried it with anti-alcohol laws in the 1920s and 1930s. They thought that if they could stop demon liquor by government fiat the nation would become a better place. It was only logical you know. Or do we?

This idea that health care is a moral right is as foolish as it is unbiblical. Since we have now arrived at the mention of unbiblical, and its logical opposite biblical, let’s take a peek at a few Scriptures that discuss human health and where it comes from:

There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin (Psalm 38:3).

Here the author of Psalm 38 blames his broken health on his sin not on a lack of government health care.

Think about these two verses from the book of Acts:

And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all (Acts 3:16).

Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health (Acts 4:10).

These passages discuss healing as coming directly from the hand of God. No Red Cross is mentioned nor any VA hospitals, just God healing people. This is not to denigrate the many fine people practicing the healing arts but ultimately, it is God who heals. It is worth noting because with all our high-flying gadgetry and vaunted medical schools, it is still God who heals. The idea that health and healing are a moral right in a great society, or any society, is never found in Scripture. It is one thing to say that God uses means (i.e. doctors, hospitals, drugs), it is quite another to assert that these means are a moral right for anyone, and an even larger assertion to insist that the civil government is ordained by God to provide these means. The departure from actual biblical teaching is almost breathtaking in its sweep.

Scripture never once instructs us to give the civil government authority to manage or provide health care.

The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed; in his illness, You restore him to health (Psalm 41:3).

Instead we find Scriptures like this one teaching that it is the Lord who sustains those who are sick and restores them to health. All throughout Scripture we see God healing people directly or through the hands of private individuals or churches—but never civil government.

I [The Lord] will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick (Ezekiel 34:16).

God often uses means but the means of healing He mentions is never, not once, not ever is it the civil government. His word and law make no allowance for this idea. By inserting the government into the health care equation we are inventing an entire area of work and responsibility for civil government that our Creator never intended. Some people may think that inviting the civil government into health care concerns is a means to discover social justice. We ought to be querying, “Where is your proof that health care is a moral right?” By what standard have you measured to make this determination? There is certainly nothing mentioned in Scripture that would point us to such a conclusion.

There is a second assertion put forth by that same author that health care, “should not be governed by profits or budget cuts.” Hence we might ask, “If health care is not to be governed by profits or budget cuts then by what ought it to be governed? Is it really possible to achieve justice for all in the area of health care without discussing the role of economics? Many people working in health care careers have a desire to help people. Hardly any of them want to do so for free. Money has to be a part of any considerations we make about our health care. Every business has to be thinking about profits and budget cuts. If they do not they will quickly fail in the market place. Does the author want to see all medical providers socialized? If that is so then under whose authority will medical suppliers be stripped of their business and financial rights? Where in Scripture would we find any law that installs socialism into any society? The question is rhetorical and the answer is nowhere. Stealing businesses and socializing them is unbiblical, unjust, and morally repugnant.

A Wiser Model

Prior to the Federal Government’s entry into the health care market almost every community had what they called Free Clinics. Across the nation it was generally understood that Christians had a duty to help their poorer neighbors. Hospitals normally required doctors to donate a certain number of hours at the local Free Clinic if that doctor was to have access to the operating rooms or other key resources within the hospital. Hospitals themselves were supported not by government largess but by donations. Local people supported their local hospital. It was a matter of conscience. Christians used to lead the culture in this area. This is why there are still so many hospitals and health care facilities with Christian names: Lutheran Hospital, St. Peter’s Hospital, Healing Hands, St. Jude’s, Sisters of the Poor, Presbyterian Homes—the list is endless. Humanists have no such history. They have little interest in donating their own money to build and support a health care facility. The humanist answer to help the sick is to tax everybody big sums and use the tax money to help those in need. The Christian idea has always been to take our own money and build facilities to assist poor people. Christians invented hospitals. For centuries it was Christians almost exclusively who assisted poor people with health care. It became a part of Christian civilization. It is an excellent model to which we should return.

Final Thoughts

Our proper work as Christians is to promote the means God ordains. We should be clamoring for massive reductions in health care regulation including regulation of hospitals, drugs, doctor licensing, and insurance. The medical community is swimming in a sea of rules and regulations. As regulations increase so do costs to obey them. The Bible never, not anywhere does it give the civil government the right to regulate any business. All licensing and inspections should be handed over to private companies. Private companies have to perform efficiently or go out of business. Business owners could choose the best path for them and their customers. This is the way to bring justice to health care. We need to put an end to our socialistic experiments in health care and return the entire field to individuals and businesses. Our costs would plummet like a boulder dropped into the sea. Quality of care would increase and justice for both patients and health care providers would be more surely established. When we, as a people, return justice to our land then the God of heaven will, again, begin to bless our nation. Justice and the blessings of God are what we seek.

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers (3 John 1:2).

Posted in Government, Justice Tagged with: