A Dead End

The High Cost of Denying the Obvious: Part 1

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
—Joseph Goebbels, Adolph Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda1,2     —

Deception is Satan’s favorite tool.
—Dr. C. Mark Corts, pastor3

You’ll recall from your childhood that the hero of the Hans Christian Andersen children’s story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a boy who is too young to understand or care about peer pressure. When the king marches by, he knows what he sees and speaks his mind: “The king is wearing nothing but his underwear! How silly he looks!” His words eventually free up the townspeople to admit what their own eyes are telling them. “Hey! He’s right! The king has been tricked!” The shamed monarch realizes the truth but continues to march in the processional anyway.4

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Sadly, the storyline of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is repeated countless times in America today—but only to a point, and that’s the sad part. Social pressure and political correctness are so intense that if “The Emperor’s New Clothes” had unfolded the way events typically play out in modern day America, the townspeople would have turned to the lad and shouted him down, calling him stupid, foolish, bigoted, hateful, and mean.

Take, for example, the sparks that flew on and after the Thursday, July 16 edition of HLN’s “Dr. Drew On Call.” Among Dr. Drew Pinsky’s guests were conservative journalist Ben Shapiro and Zoey Tur (formerly known as Robert Albert “Bob” Tur). A reporter for Inside Edition, Tur was born male and remains a male biologically, but he claims to be—he “identifies” as—a woman. 5,6 The panel discussed Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner’s decision to “become” a woman. Ben Shapiro asked why the culture was “mainstreaming delusion.” He referred to Caitlyn Jenner as “he” and “him.” He further said, “It turns out that every chromosome, every cell in Caitlyn Jenner’s body, is male, with the exception of some of his sperm cells.…It turns out that he still has all of his male appendages. How he feels on the inside is irrelevant to the question of his biological self.”7


Why are we mainstreaming delusion?
—Ben Shapiro on the culture’s celebration of Caitlyn Jenner’s transgenderism—


Shapiro also addressed Zoey as “sir.”8 When he did that, Tur reached up, grabbed him by the neck and angrily replied, “You cut that out now, or you’ll go home in an ambulance.”9 When accused of being rude, Shapiro said, “I’m sorry, it’s not rude to say that someone who’s biologically male is a male.”10 According to Shapiro, Tur subsequently threatened him, saying, “I’ll see you in the parking lot.”11 The next day Tur used his Twitter account to agree with another tweet that suggested it would be fun to see the transgendered reporter curb-stomp Shapiro. American Nazi skinheads are responsible for the practice of curb-stomping, where the perpetrator forces his victim to bite a street curb before stomping the victim’s head.12 Ben Shapiro, we should note, is an Orthodox Jew.

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Ben Shapiro is not the bad guy here! Actually, he’s doing all of us a favor when he says that society is mainstreaming delusion, because it is! Jenner’s transition was widely—and wildly—celebrated.13,14,15,16,17,18 Even President Obama rushed to praise Jenner,19,20 just as he would rush only a few weeks later to immerse the White House in rainbow lights to commemorate the Supreme Court’s decision mandating same-sex marriage nationwide.21 Several Republican presidential candidates tiptoed around the issue of Jenner’s transgenderism, but one said he would welcome Caitlyn in the Republican Party.22 Rush Limbaugh warned against this approach: “We should not be celebrating…lionizing…encouraging this. These people have a very serious problem, and they need treatment. They need help, not encouragement.”23

Not all that long ago, everyone knew what gender he or she was, based solely on having a male or female body. Not today. If a person “feels” like a member of the opposite sex, that individual can identify as a member of the opposite sex and, in an increasing number of cities and states, can legally use the restroom assigned to the opposite sex.24,25,26 Thus, not only are homosexual crusaders and “transgendered” individuals denying the obvious; society is as well. We must respect them as people, of course. Respecting them, we are compelled to expose the lies they believe (see 2 Cor. 10:4-5).

Christians should feel a keen urgency in this matter. In Romans 1, the apostle Paul wrote about the heavy cost of denying or even ignoring the obvious.

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (NIV)

Here are some important observations about these verses.

  • The word translated plain in verse 19 means “visible, clear, obvious, known.”
  • Just what is plain or obvious? That which “may be known about God,” and it is plain “because God has made it plain to them.”
  • The verb translated made…plain in verse 19 is the verb form of the word earlier translated plain in the same verse.
  • Them here refers to individuals “who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (v. 18). To suppress the truth, one has to deny the obvious.
  • The things God made plain about Himself include “God’s…qualities” that otherwise would be “invisible…—his eternal power and divine nature.” These “have been [and are] clearly understood from” God’s creation.
  • All of this renders people—even those who don’t yet know any more about God than what creation tells them—“without excuse.”

To summarize a key point, people are without excuse because of what God has clearly revealed or “made…plain” to them. We can understand better just how plain God’s revelation is when we examine another verse containing the word translated plain. In Acts 4, the Jewish authorities were angry with Peter and John for having healed a man in Jesus’ name and then proclaiming Jesus as the only way to salvation (see Acts 3). Conferring together, the Jews said, “What should we do with these men? For an obvious sign, evident to all who live in Jerusalem, has been done through them, and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16, HCSB, emphasis added). In this verse, the Greek word translated obvious is gnostos, which means “well known” or “notable.” It is the adjective form of the word ginosko, which means “to know.” Against this backdrop, the word translated plain in Romans 1:19 also appears. It is translated as evident in Acts 4:16. Just how evident was the miracle? So evident and obvious that the Jews were forced to admit, “We cannot deny it.”


Unlike the Jewish authorities in Acts 4, Americans today are denying the undeniable. 


Unlike the Jewish authorities in Acts 4, Americans today are denying the undeniable. This is a futile and dangerous pursuit, so it’s vital that we add our voices to those of Ben Shapiro and Rush Limbaugh. They, like the lad in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” are pointing out the obvious. By God’s grace and with enough voices, perhaps those who are now being misled will awaken to the truth.

Next time we will look at nature—creation—and explore some of its clear revelations.

Part 2 is available here.

 

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Scriptures designated NIV are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scriptures designated HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible. Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

You Tube videos of/and about the Ben Shapiro’s appearance on Dr. Drew show can be seen here and here. For your convenience, a brief clip is provided here.

A pdf of this article is available here.

Notes:

1http://izquotes.com/quote/383851

2http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/joseph-goebbels

3C. Mark Corts, The Truth About Spiritual Warfare, (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2006), 61-74. The title of chapter 5 is “Deception: Satan’s Favorite Tool.

4http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/Emperors-New-Clothes.htm

5http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/07/17/following-physical-threats-dr-drew-invites-ben-shapiro-and-zoey-tur-back/

6https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoey_Tur

7https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgQy70_LPS4

8https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgQy70_LPS4

9http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2015/07/20/ben-shapiro-files-police-report-against-transgender-reporter-zoey-tur/

10https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgQy70_LPS4

11http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2015/07/20/ben-shapiro-files-police-report-against-transgender-reporter-zoey-tur/

12http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/07/ben_shapiro_files_police_report_against_zoey_tur_for_televised_threat.html

13http://www.eonline.com/news/650407/laverne-cox-praises-hero-bruce-jenner-people-s-lives-will-be-saved

14http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-joseph/bruce-jenner-a-hero-once-again_b_7142482.html

15http://www.eonline.com/news/650318/bruce-jenner-s-family-reacts-to-diane-sawyer-interview-we-are-so-very-proud-of-our-hero

16http://mashable.com/2015/06/02/caitlyn-jenner-hero/

17http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/jenee-osterheldt/article19448934.html

18http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2015/07/05/bruce-jenner-celebrates-first-july-4th-as-woman-proud-to-be-an-american/

19http://www.financialexpress.com/article/miscellaneous/barack-obama-praises-caitlyn-bruce-jenner-on-sex-change-feat/79043/

20http://hosbeg.com/obama-praises-caitlyn-jenner/

21http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2015/06/26/white-house-rainbow-gay-marriage/29374471/

22http://theweek.com/speedreads/559281/lindsey-graham-welcomes-caitlyn-jenner-gop

23http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2015/06/02/what_you_need_to_know_about_the_caitlyn_jenner_story

24http://www.christianpost.com/news/new-bathroom-bills-whos-really-offended-135555/

25http://christiannews.net/2013/07/13/christians-warn-bathroom-bill-allowing-men-in-womens-restrooms-is-sweeping-nation/

26http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/06/bathroom-bill-criminal-disgrace-will-destroy-sanity-children/

 

 

 

 

The Supreme Court…Isn’t: Part 2 of 2 Parts

Responding to the Court’s Ruling on Marriage
Part 2: Application—Eight Reasons Why The Supreme Court
Has Crossed an Ominous Line

…This noble doctrine and heritage of religious liberty calls to us…to be the right kind of Christians. Let us never forget that a democracy, whether civil or religious, has not only its perils, but has also its unescapable obligations.
—George W. Truett, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, in a speech on religious liberty delivered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, May 16, 19201

In part 1, we examined Romans 13:1-7 and drew from it six biblical principles relating to the state. Here is a summary of our discussion.

  1. All people are to submit to governing authorities. Christians in particular are to be good citizens.
  2. The state’s authority is not absolute but has been delegated by God.
  3. The government’s primary job is to maintain order by rewarding those who do right and punishing those who do wrong.
  4. Government does not have the authority or the right to promote ideas or actions that are morally wrong or contrary to God’s will.
  5. When government uses its authority to further immorality, injustice, or other unethical ideas or practices, it abuses its God-given power. Thus, whatever is legal isn’t necessarily right. Moreover, whenever and wherever man’s law directs Christians to disobey God’s law, believers are obligated to obey God.
  6. The state wields “the sword”; it has the power to enforce its laws. However, it misuses this authority when it penalizes those who refuse to obey immoral laws. Of all people, Christians must resist this tyranny.

Against this biblical backdrop, let’s now consider briefly the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. The state, obviously, is a major player in the debate over marriage and in the implementation and administration of national policy regarding marriage. In the days ahead, the government, especially at the Federal level, will enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling and the implications and policies that flow from it. How should Christians respond?

Dr. R. C. Sproul, founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, along with several of his colleagues, wrestled with this very question on Ligonier’s Monday, July 6 radio broadcast, Renewing Your Mind.2 In addition to Sproul, Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow Dr. R. C. Sproul, Jr, President and CEO of Ligonier Ministries Chris Larson, and program host Lee Webb participated in the discussion. All agreed that the ruling represented a watershed moment for America because it was so horrific and terrible. It was both lawless and unconstitutional, on par with both Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott.3 These rulings appear to be unique American history because they are not just egregious in degree, but in kind; they stand in a class all by themselves. Without doubt, the marriage decision is offensive to God, and He will not ignore it.

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The panel’s observations about the nature of the Supreme Court’s marriage decision underscore the need for believers to relentlessly oppose it—even if and even when it costs them dearly to do so.

Here are some of the panel’s observations. Some statements are closer to quotes than others, but each fairly represents the ideas conveyed. Minor edits have been made for clarity.

  1. The marriage decision doesn’t mean a massive shift within the homosexual community alone, but also in the culture at large. Also, it will trigger a shift within the church because of the heavy influence of the culture on the church.
  2. This isn’t just people giving themselves over to homosexuality; it’s also their celebrating it in the streets and celebrating it as a positive good. And it’s the state saying the same thing. This is not just giving validity to homosexual behavior, but it’s creating counterfeit marriage and calling it real.
  3. God didn’t give marriage to Christians or to Jews only. It wasn’t simply a religious group that was singled out to participate in marriage. Rather, marriage was given in creation as God’s law for all human beings throughout time. Moreover, it was defined by Him. The state does not ever have the right to redefine a creation ordinance—an ordinance that has been in effect since the very act of creation and since the very existence of the institution of marriage itself.
  4. The church doesn’t expect the state to do the work of the church, but it does expect the state to do the work of the state. The state, remember, also is ordained by God. Protecting life and protecting marriage aren’t just religious values but humanitarian values. When we say we object to the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, our concern isn’t that the state has separated itself from the church, but that it has separated itself from God! Since the state is a God-ordained institution, it is doing this to its own peril and to the detriment of its people.
  5. What we’re talking about here is not just a rejection of God as Redeemer or as potential Redeemer. We’re talking about a rejection of God as Maker. This is what Paul warns about in Romans 1 when he talks about homosexuality—but the court went even further than this. This ruling shakes a fist at God and says, “You made all of us, redeemed or not, to be this way (meaning that a man and a woman fit together naturally in marriage), and we’re going to turn this on its head; we’re going to pervert this as heinously as we can. We’re going to celebrate it, too!” This isn’t just telling God, “We know better than You; You’re mistaken and we’re wiser than you.” It’s “This will really tick You off because we hate You!”

Here are some additional observations we can add to the list.

  1. The court not only rejected God, but also set itself up as God.
  2. The redefinition of marriage nationwide gives proponents of same-sex marriage the ability to use the government to force those who disagree with them to participate in their celebrations—against their desires and against their consciences. This is diametrically opposed to the principle of religious liberty on which this country was founded.
  3. The court didn’t bring marriage to same-sex couples; instead, it brought same-sex couples to marriage. In other words, the court didn’t just bestow marriage on same-sex couples that desire it; it brought the characteristics to a same-sex relationship into the institution of marriage, thereby negating those things about natural marriage that make it special. (1) The court severed gender and gender differences from the meaning of marriage. In a practical sense, the institution of marriage no longer is about the dynamics inherent in opposite sex relationships; it isn’t about male and female differences anymore. (2) The court separated procreation from marriage. Marriage no longer is about a relationship that can produce children. This portends ominously for the future of civilization and its youngest and most innocent citizens. (3) The court severed gender from parenting, negating the unique contributions of both mothers and fathers from the family. Marriage and the family are no longer about the special skills and contributions a man can make as a father or that a woman can make as a mother. (4) The court, rather than validating children, has trampled on their emotional needs by depriving many of them of either a mom or a dad. Put another way, the court ignored the needs children have for the protective influence of a father and the unique, nurturing touch of a mother. When a society favors adults’ rights over children’s needs, it has become barbaric in the worst possible way.

In the 1953 biblical epic The Robe (Twentieth-Century Fox), Tribune Marcellus Gallio is the Roman soldier who wins the robe of Jesus when he gambles for it at the foot of the cross (see John 19:23-24). Tribune Gallio eventually becomes a Christian, and his life is forever changed. As a Christian, however, he is seen as a traitor to the Roman Empire. (The early Christians were seen as traitors to the state primarily because they were misunderstood. The misunderstandings, however, were widely believed and acted upon.) At the end of the movie, Marcellus stands before Emperor Caligula. He is accused of treason and is condemned to die, but Caligula gives him a chance to escape the death penalty.

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Caligula: Tribune Gallio, you stand condemned to death, but it is our desire to be merciful, to give you a chance to recant your treason and go free. Kneel to us, and renew your tribune’s oath of loyalty to your emperor. Renounce your misguided allegiance to this dead Jew who dared to call himself a king.

Marcellus kneels.

Marcellus: Sire, with all my heart I renew my pledge of loyalty to my emperor and to Rome, a pledge which I have never broken.

Caligula: And the other—Jesus—renounce Him so all can hear.

Marcellus stands.

Marcellus: I cannot renounce Him sire, nor can you. He is my King and yours as well He is the Son of God.

Caligula: And that is your answer.

Marcellus: Yes, sire.

Caligula: Tribune Gallio, we decree that you be taken immediately to the palace archery field and put to death for high treason!4

Was Tribune Gallio a traitor to Rome? No; he fulfilled his God-given responsibilities to his country. Yet he also understood that as a Christian, he had to put his Savior first—even before his country and even before his own life—when Rome demanded he renounce Christ.

While Christians do not yet face death for practicing their faith in America, the cost for being a Christian is rising significantly. Despite the cost, we cannot stand idly by and remain silent when the God-ordained institution of marriage—a picture of Christ and His church (see Eph. 5:31-32)—is being disfigured and mutilated by the state. The Supreme Court really isn’t Supreme. God is, and Christians have the job of obeying God’s verdict rather than the Supreme Court’s.

Won’t you speak up? Won’t you make a commitment to work tirelessly to reverse this horrific ruling? Let’s work together to bring our country back from the brink!

 

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Notes:

1http://www.reformedreader.org/baptistsandreligiousliberty.htm

2http://renewingyourmind.org/broadcasts/2015/07/06/a-response-to-the-samesex-marriage-ruling

3http://www.wordfoundations.com/2015/07/17/the-supreme-courtisnt/

4The Robe, Twentieth-Century Fox, DVD, original movie 1953, renewed 1981

http://renewingyourmind.org/broadcasts/2015/07/06/a-response-to-the-samesex-marriage-ruling

The Supreme Court…Isn’t: Part 1 of 2 Parts

Responding to the Court’s Ruling on Marriage
Part 1: Background—Six Things The Bible Tells Us About the State

The supreme contribution of the new world to the old is the contribution of religious liberty. This is the chiefest contribution that America has thus far made to civilization.
—George W. Truett, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, in a speech on religious liberty delivered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, May 16, 19201

Anticipating the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage months before it occurred, a group of well known Christian leaders came together to help the church and individual Christians prepare. The group included Dr. James Dobson of Family Talk, Mathew Staver of Liberty Council Action, Rick Scarborough of Vision America Action, James Robison of LIFE Outreach International, and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association. They worked together on a statement affirming natural marriage and promising resistance to any ruling attempting to redefine it. To date, over 50,000 concerned citizens and leaders have signed the document.2 The “Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage” states in part,

We stand together in defense of marriage and the family and society founded upon them.…

Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman precedes civil government. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by faith, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason. It is part of the natural created order. The Natural Law is what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to as a higher law or a just law in his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.…

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Our highest respect for the rule of law requires that we not respect an unjust law that directly conflicts with higher law. A decision purporting to redefine marriage flies in the face of the Constitution and is contrary to the natural created order. As people of faith we pledge obedience to our Creator when the State directly conflicts with higher law.

Then the pledge declares:

We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross this line.3

This statement is especially striking. Not only does it underscore the signers’ resolve not to comply with any mandates emanating from a decision redefining marriage; it also points to the Higher Authorities to which the drafters and signers are appealing. These men and women have the right to warn the Supreme Court because they know a Higher Court will have the last word, and its decision already is evident in “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,”4 to borrow a phrase from America’s founders. In other words, through both natural and supernatural revelation, the Supreme Court of the Universe has spoken with unmistakable clarity regarding marriage. That Court has jurisdiction over even the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is helpful to remember that the United States Supreme Court has issued a number of terrible decisions in U.S. history. In addition to the marriage ruling, here are three.

  • In the Dred Scott decision of 1857, the court ruled by a 7-2 vote that African-Americans, whether enslaved or free, could not be citizens of the United States.5
  • In an 8-1 ruling in Buck v. Bell in 1927, the court upheld a state law authorizing forced sterilization of individuals deemed unfit, including the mentally impaired. The ruling stated the law did not violate the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.6
  • Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton in 1973 legalized abortion in all 50 states at any time during a pregnancy. Both these rulings were determined by 7-2 votes. The debate over abortion continues to rage today, 42 years later.7,8,9,10

These decisions demonstrate that our government is far from infallible—(just in case we need to be reminded). It even can be guilty of egregious decisions and actions, including partiality, injustice, and cruelty.

Someone may ask, “Despite government’s flaws, don’t Christians have a duty to obey the state? Yes, they do. In Romans 13, Paul directed the Roman Christians to be good citizens by obeying civil authorities. When he did so, however, he explained that civil leaders affirm those who do right and punish evildoers. “Do you want to be unafraid of the authority?” Paul asked. “Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same” (v. 3). Peter echoed this principle in 1 Peter 2:13-14. Neither Paul nor Peter indicated civic leaders have absolute authority; the power they have is God-given and God-directed.

Let’s examine carefully what Paul wrote in Romans 13. He said,

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’s sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Here are some of the principles we can derive from this passage.

First, everyone—“every soul” (v. 1)—is to obey the government and be a good citizen. This includes obeying the laws (v. 1) and paying taxes (v. 7).

Second, God has delegated authority to the state. We understand this from phrases like these: “the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (v. 1); “God’s minister” (twice in v. 4); “God’s ministers” (v. 6). Therefore, generally speaking, when we resist the state, we’re resisting God—“whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves” (v. 2). Paul’s reference to obeying civil authorities “for conscience’s sake” in verse 5 also is an allusion to the believer’s responsibility to God. We are not saying the state is God—not at all. What we are saying is that the state has God-given responsibilities and God-given authority. To buck the state’s authority is to resist the authority of God as administered by the state.

Third, the government’s primary job is to maintain order by rewarding those who do right and punishing those who do wrong (vv. 3-4). (Contrary to popular belief, it is not the government’s job to meet the needs of the people, but that’s another discussion altogether.)

Fourth, while the state has the authority to promote order through laws and public policy, it does not have the right to promote, through laws or in any other way, practices that are sinful or contrary to God’s moral law. How do we know this? Because the state’s authority is delegated by God (see the second point, above). God never would authorize any person or entity to promote anything contrary to His character or His law (the third point).

Let’s put it another way. There is an established standard of right and wrong apart from any laws the state enacts or does not enact. This transcendent standard is established by God, not the state. If government fulfills its God-given responsibility, its policies will be consistent with God’s will. Paul (and also Peter in 1 Peter 2:13-14) wrote of the state’s responsibility in terms of the way God designed government to operate; they did not discuss the many ways in which the state, particularly the Roman government of that day, failed to follow God’s design. Certainly they could have written about this. Consider that Peter was writing to persecuted believers. Despite government’s failures, however, the general principle still applies: Citizens, including believers, are to obey the government and honor civic leaders, doing their part to maintain order in society. Even so, it is abundantly clear that government’s authority is not absolute. What happens when the laws of man direct Christians to disobey God? Keep reading.

Fifth, when the state enacts laws and/or policies that are inconsistent with God’s law, it has violated its God-given responsibility. In this case, Christian people both as individuals and as the church have a duty to confront civic leaders in appropriate ways and to work to repeal bad policy. They always should stand for what’s objectively right, even to the point of disobeying the state if it directs them to do what God prohibits or tells them to refrain from doing what God commands.

Because of the “design language” in Paul’s and Peter’s writings about Christians’ responsibilities as citizens, some have concluded that Christians never should engage in civil disobedience. This is a mistaken conclusion, especially in light of several examples of civil disobedience recorded in Scripture (see Ex. 1:15-22; Dan. 3; 6; Acts 4:1-31; 5:17-32).

Preventing the enactment of laws that are morally wrong also is important, especially in a country like ours where we still can work for peaceful change. Christians are to be informed voters and are to vote according to godly values. Moreover, once the election is over, they need to stay touch with their leaders, working to influence them to do what’s right.

This fifth principle underscores a vitally important truth: Just because something’s legal does not mean it is right. In his insightful book When a Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany, Erwin Lutzer devotes entire chapter to this very point. Lutzer writes,

6fe69e009fda67fb085245ff18fbe8a0

Laws reflect a nation’s priority, agenda, and values. In Nazi Germany, where religion was privatized and God was separated from government, not even natural law was recognized as having validity. When Hitler got the Reichstag to give him the power to make the laws, the laws he made were arbitrary, drafted to fulfill the goals of a totalitarian state. The Nazis proclaimed, “Hitler is the law!” As Goering put it, “The law and the will of the Fuehrer are one.” Right and wrong was determined by Hitler and his cronies.…

After Hitler was defeated, war crime trials were held in Nuremberg to judge the guilt of Hitler’s henchmen. But a dispute arose as to what laws should be used to try the accused. After all, Hitler’s cronies argued, quite plausibly, that they had not broken any laws; their actions were carried out within the protection of their own legal system. They could not be accused of murder because personhood had been redefined to exclude Jews and other undesirables. These men were simply following the laws handed down by the courts of their day. As Eichmann protested before his execution, “I was simply following the laws of war and my flag!”11

511cYS5bZAL

The laws Eichmann followed were divorced from any and all transcendent standards of right and wrong, and this was the problem. As Lutzer explains, “Nazism insisted that ‘it is impossible to measure the laws of the Fuhrer against a higher concept of law because his laws are a direct expression of…volkisch,’” a concept said law was based on “communal life in Germany.”12

This really is quite similar to the fluid and unstable basis for law on which the Supreme Court’s marriage decision relies.13 It reminds us of what we hear so often from the left: “The Constitution is a living, breathing document.” This is maneuvering by activist judges, lawmakers, and other leaders so they can get away with ignoring the Constitution altogether. They don’t like being bound by it, so they say this and then depart from the Constitution’s provisions and guidelines.14 Such actions are illegal, since public officials have a sworn duty to uphold our Constitution, the “Supreme Law of the Land.”

The state’s possession of “the sword” in verse 4 means government has the power to enforce its laws. Because the state bears the sword, it has the ability to use it in ways inconsistent with God’s purpose and plan. The sixth principle is that government’s misuse of the sword also constitutes a violation of its God-given responsibility. In an increasing number of situations Christian business owners are being prosecuted and punished for simply following their deeply-held religious convictions.15 Such actions on the part of the state constitute abuses of God-given power that must be resisted and opposed.

Next time we’ll use these six principles as a backdrop against which to examine the Supreme Court’s marriage decision. Stay tuned.

Part 2 is available here.

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Notes:

1http://www.reformedreader.org/baptistsandreligiousliberty.htm

2http://www.defendmarriage.org

3http://defendmarriage.org/pledge-in-solidarity-to-defend-marriage

4https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

5https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dred_Scott_v._Sandford

6https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_v._Bell

7http://www.conservapedia.com/Roe_v._wade

8http://www.conservapedia.com/Doe_v._Bolton

9https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doe_v._Bolton

10http://www.procon.org/headline.php?headlineID=005139

11Erwin Lutzer, When a Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2010), Kindle edition, locations 606,633-638.

12Lutzer, location 638.

13http://www.wnd.com/2015/07/america-punked-on-gay-marriage/

14http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/1370086/posts

15http://www.adflegal.org/issues/religious-freedom/conscience

 

Applauding an Illegitimate Ruling and Ignoring a Lawful One

President Obama applauded and celebrated the Supreme Court decision that illegitimately and lawlessly enshrined same-sex marriage into the United States Constitution and forced it on every state in the union. It wasn’t as if the states had been silent on this issue. Dozens of state constitutional amendments affirming marriage as being the union of one man and one woman had been adopted through due process, but the Supreme Court jettisoned these laws, as well as thousands of years of tradition and social policy. We should not be surprised at Obama’s reaction, given the pattern of lawlessness exhibited by this president during his tenure.

How telling it is, therefore—and how consistent with the established pattern—that President Obama and his administration would totally ignore the Supreme Court’s lawful ruling that privately held family owned businesses are not required to purchase insurance policies for their employees that include abortion and abortion-inducing drugs. A July 10, 2015 press release from the Family Research Council states, “Family Research Council (FRC) responded today to a new final rule issued by the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The rule mandates that non-profit organizations be forced to pay for coverage that includes sterilizations, contraception and drugs that have the potential to destroy an unborn child.” Jamie Dangers, Legislative Assistant at the Family Research Council, explained, “The Obama administration is offering a variation of an old accounting gimmick which still mandates that the Little Sisters of the Poor, Notre Dame, and many other religious non-profits offer coverage with objectionable benefits.…Even more incredible, HHS is now applying this scheme to family-owned businesses such as Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties which already won relief from the government mandate by the Supreme Court. The Obama administration is disregarding the Court’s ruling declaring this mandate a violation of the family owned business’s religious freedoms.”

Let’s return to the marriage ruling for a moment. A wnd.com news article reports that a legal brief submitted to the Alabama Supreme Court “argues there is precedent in the U.S. for a state Supreme Court to reject a ‘U.S. Supreme Court mandate which is unlawful.’… The brief submitted by Liberty Counsel to the state court notes that the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to follow the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in [the 1857] Dred Scott [ruling], which ‘said that blacks were not entitled to full protection as citizens.’”

Do we need to wonder how the Obama administration would respond if the Alabama Supreme Court or any other state Supreme Court, acting constitutionally, were to refuse recognize the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage ruling?

Unfortunately, the lawlessness continues unabated.

Related articles:

Despite Repeated Supreme Court Losses, Obama Continues Fight With Little Sisters, Religious Groups Over Birth Control, Abortifacients

Obama Beats Nuns in Birth Control Mandate Battle; Fight Not Over, Little Sisters Say

Judges: Nuns Must Obey Obama

 

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Insights for the Long Haul: Understanding and Loving My Homosexual Neighbor

Five Things You Need to Know

At the very heart of the homosexual condition is conflict about gender. In the boy, we usually see a gender wound that traces back to childhood. He comes to see himself as different from other boys. Gender woundedness usually exists as a silent, secret fear—one that the boy’s parents and loved ones only vaguely suspect. The boy has felt this way for as long as he is able to remember. That differentness creates a feeling of inferiority and isolates him from other males.
—Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.1

A man boarded a plane and sat down with his three young sons. As passengers continued to find their seats and as other preparations were being made for takeoff, the boys became disruptive, argumentative, and loud. Even after the plane was airborne, their unruly behavior continued. The passengers seated near the family wondered why the dad didn’t take steps to reign in his kids; but in fact, the man seemed oblivious to their misconduct. He had a blank expression on his face and seemed even to be in a daze. Finally a lady spoke up. “Sir, I don’t mean to be rude, but could you please get your kids to behave?” The man didn’t respond, so the woman tapped him on the shoulder and repeated her request.

As if pulled in instantly from another world, the man reconnected with his surroundings and offered a sincere apology. “Oh, I’m terribly sorry. Please forgive them and me. You see, their mom, my wife, just passed away. We’re a long way from home. She’s been in a hospital here because it offered treatments we couldn’t get for her anywhere else. She passed away just yesterday, and the boys have been taking it really hard.”

As you might imagine, the attitudes and responses of the surrounding passengers instantly changed. They offered their sympathy to the man and his boys. They began to relate to them in a different way, simply because they now understood their circumstances and the challenges they were facing.2

This illustration is instructive for us. We who defend natural marriage and religious liberty need to understand the “players” in the ongoing debate that is so critical to our nation’s future. One of those players, obviously, is the homosexual. He is our neighbor; she lives on our street. What do we need to know about those who are struggling with same-sex attraction or who may even consider themselves gay? The insights I’m going to offer here never should lead us to compromise the truth or to soften our resolve to contend for marriage and religious liberty. Yet hopefully, they will help us respond with greater patience and kindness to those who disagree with us. Remember that even in the midst of a strong discussion about God’s judgment in the first two chapters of Romans, Paul wrote, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4). We who have never struggled with homosexuality certainly have needed God’s grace just as desperately as those who have. Let’s pray God would use our kindness toward them to bring them to repentance, the same doorway we walked through to experience God’s grace.

Here are five things we need to know about homosexuality and the experience of the homosexual. Although we will speak primarily in terms of the homosexual male, the differences between male and female homosexuality don’t prevent us from making broader, corresponding applications where appropriate.

First, a “gay gene” has never been discovered, but you’d never know that listening to the mainstream media. Homosexuality is complicated and likely results from a variety of factors, some of which we will explore in a few moments. As an article that addresses the issue of the causes of homosexuality states,

At best, the evidence for a genetic and/or biological basis to homosexual orientation is inconclusive. In fact, since the early 1990s, numerous studies attempting to establish a genetic cause for homosexuality have not proven to be valid or repeatable—two important requirements for study results to become accepted as fact in the scientific community. Because of this, the current thinking in the scientific community is that homosexuality is likely caused by a complex interaction of psychosocial, environmental and possible biological factors.3

The acknowledgement that biological factors may be involved does not mean researchers have discovered a “gay gene” that determines a homosexual orientation. As we have said, no such gene ever has been found.4,5,6,7 At the same time, we need to acknowledge that all people, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, are born with an inclination to sin, and they sin by choice as well (see Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:23). God holds each person responsible for his actions (see Rom. 2:1-16). While a person may not choose whether or not he or she has same- or opposite-sex attractions, the individual clearly chooses what he or she will do with those leanings.

Second, people struggling with same-sex attraction and gender confusion obviously do make choices related to their leanings, but they do so in a cultural atmosphere that exacerbates gender confusion. Society has lost all objectivity. Bruce Jenner’s sex change is celebrated,8,9 despite evidence that such transformations are harmful.10,11 Yet, even apart from this, our society treats masculinity with destain.12,13,14 Moreover, the individual’s personal situation usually doesn’t provide any help or clarity, and the pressure to embrace a gay identity is enormous.

Alan Medinger was involved in homosexuality himself and came out of that lifestyle as a result of his conversion to Jesus Christ. One of the early leaders of the ex-gay movement, Alan wrote Growth into Manhood to help men struggling with homosexuality. Medinger writes, “The road to manhood is a long one. It is a road of learning, trying, failing, trying again, a journey of victories and defeats.” Most males, he says, make the journey without giving it a great deal of conscious thought, but they still arrive at the destination of manhood and are able to fulfill their responsibilities as men. Alan continues,

Some boys, however, did not reach this destination. At some point the striving became too much, the defeats and failures too painful, so they opted out. They got off the main road, and they took a detour. They arrived at a chronological age that classified them as men, they appeared to have all the parts that made them men, but deep inside, in the place of that nonverbal sense of manhood, there was a void. They did not feel as if they were women—most of them, that is—but somehow, in the world of men, they did not belong.15

Third, although homosexuality results from many factors, one of its root causes is a home environment that involves an overinvolved mother, a distant father, and an emotionally sensitive boy. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, an expert on homosexuality and on therapy for overcoming it, writes,

Repeatedly, researchers have found the classic triadic (three-way) relationship in the family backgrounds of homosexual men. In this situation, the mother often has a poor or limited relationship with her husband, so she shifts her emotional needs to her son. The father is usually nonexpressive and detached and often is critical as well. So in the triadic family pattern we have the detached father, the overinvolved mother, and the temperamentally sensitive, emotionally attuned boy….16

Alan Medinger authenticates this scenario:

My journey into homosexuality fits the same pattern that I have seen over and over again in many other men I have worked with. I was an unplanned child, born to parents who would have preferred a girl. My older brother was more athletic and generally fit the “all boy” model far better than I, and somehow, he became Dad’s and I became Mom’s.17

What often happens in this situation? Christian singers Steve and Annie Chapman have written and performed many Christian songs about the family and about family relationships. In 1990, Steve composed a song titled “Father’s Embrace” that explains the plight, the typical background, and the hope of the homosexual. The song also paints a true picture of a homosexual man’s emotional and identity needs.18 Here is the powerful message conveyed by “Father’s Embrace.”

Many people have a hard time understanding why a man would become sexually intimate with another man. Even though he would say he was born that way, the homosexual actually is looking for affirmation he never received from his father when he was a child. His dad was consumed with other things, and the boy waited in vain for his father to give him attention and affection. Now grown, he looks to other men to fill the void, even in relationships that are sexualized. He won’t find what he needs in those relationships, but God hears his heart’s cry. Human fathers are woefully imperfect, but God is the Perfect Father. God loves the homosexual. He hears him crying out for his father’s love, and, as the Perfect Father, longs to meet that man’s needs. No one has to violate God’s plan to get what he really needs. Yet sadly, no one has ever shared with this man that God can fill the longings of his heart, if he would just come to Him in humble repentance, seeking wholeness on God’s terms rather than his own.19

Let’s assume a scenario exactly like the one Steve Chapman has depicted (one that is, in reality, all too common). It’s important for us to note that the elements in the boy’s life are not his fault. He did not choose his parents, nor their temperaments. Nor did he choose his own temperament. Furthermore, he cannot be blamed for the fact that no one has yet told him about God’s wanting to fill his “father need.” The church and individual Christians must bear responsibility for this. Now, none of this takes responsibility away from this individual for bad decisions, especially decisions he makes as an adult. At the same time, an awareness of these realities should help us understand the man’s situation and should give us a greater sense of compassion and love toward him.

At this point we must add a word of encouragement to parents. Noting the commonality of the “triadic family pattern” does not mean that parents should live under a pile of guilt for their child’s homosexuality or same-sex attraction. In his book 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality, Mike Haley, a former homosexual, answers this question early on: “We just found out our child is gay. Is it our fault? Did we do something wrong?”20 Here is a portion of Mr. Haley’s response.

This is often the first question that comes to the mind of any parent who has just learned of their child’s homosexuality. Your heart may be broken, and your mind will probably race back to review every milestone in the life of your child to see what could have possibly gone wrong. But take heart. The answer to this painful question will rid you of any false guilt and free you to respond in a helpful way.…

You must remember that no person has the power to make another child of God anything. Homosexuality is not the result of one single factor. Many influences can contribute to the condition: the child’s perception, parent’s behavior, the environment (which is often beyond any parent’s control), interactions with others, predisposing personality characteristics, and so on. While some familial contribution may have weakened the psyche of your child, making him or her more susceptible to same-sex attraction, each person is accountable for his or her responses to circumstances. No parent would ever willingly cause sexual struggles in any of their offspring. We live in an imperfect, fallen world, and we all make poor decisions that we alone are accountable for.

Think of your own life—of your vulnerability to a certain weakness. What “makes” you indulge? Surely not your parents, regardless of how imperfect they may have been. As you continue to read and learn, I pray you will be comforted by these truths: You are in no way directly responsible for your child’s sin, and the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ provides a way out of that sin.21

Fourth, the nature of homosexuality compels the homosexual to be consumed with his sexual orientation. Here is a simple illustration. Consider a chocolate chip cookie. That cookie represents you, and each chip in it represents an aspect of your life. You might say that one of the chips stands for your career, another for one of your hobbies, another for your family life, and so on. You might assign your heterosexual orientation to another of the chips, but this idea probably wouldn’t even occur to you. On the other hand, a homosexual’s sexual orientation isn’t a single chip in the cookie, but the whole cookie. He cannot divorce his sexual orientation from anything else in his life.22 This is one of the reasons it’s very difficult for gays and lesbians to understand what a Christian means when he says, “I love the sinner, but I hate the sin.”

Fifth, one hundred years ago, people viewed homosexuality as a behavior. (By the way, this is exactly the way Scripture sees it and treats it.23) Fifty years ago, society viewed it as a condition. Our culture today sees it as an identity.24 This is yet another reason gays and lesbians have difficulty understanding Christians’ claim to “love the sinner but hate the sin.” A gay man believes, “If you hate homosexuality, you must hate me, because that’s who I am.”

For these reasons and many others, it is often difficult to reach a homosexual with the truth about his actions and lifestyle—and about God’s love. This is why I am excited about a new movie that not only helps Christians reach out to homosexuals, but that also helps gays and lesbians understand better why Christians are compelled to warn them. The movie is produced by Living Waters, a ministry headed by evangelist Ray Comfort. Titled Audacity, it is currently available for download from the Internet for $19.99. It will be posted on YouTube for everyone to see on August 19. Without being judgmental, Audacity tells a story that explains the urgent need for all people—not just homosexuals—to get right with God. It treats the issues of homosexuality and same-sex marriage sensitively, yet forthrightly and without compromising the Bible’s message. To learn more, visit www.audacitymovie.com.

audacity_OpenLetter_062915

As you continue to contend for marriage and religious liberty in America, pray for all who have bought into the lie about homosexuality. Homosexuals may not know it, but they are hurting and have deep needs. Be available to be used of God to open others’ eyes to the truth. For homosexuals it is no different than it is for all other sinners; God longs to meet their deepest needs but so respects them as persons that He will not violate their will. As Steve Chapman so eloquently put it, God hears the cries of the one who missed his father’s embrace. He is listening to him and is “reaching down in love.”25 In Him is true hope.

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audacity may now be viewed here.

Notes:

1Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D., and Linda Ames Nicolosi, A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 19.

2Summary of an illustration given by Bill McCartner at a Promise Keepers conference.

3http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/understanding-homosexuality/understanding-same-sex-attractions/are-people-really-born-gay

4http://www.onenewsnow.com/perspectives/bryan-fischer/2014/06/17/the-latest-in-scientific-research-there-is-no-gay-gene#.VF_6Uoe5ZfQ

5http://www.wnd.com/2009/05/97940/

6http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2013/06/identical-twin-studies-prove-homosexuality-is-not-genetic/

7http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/19/nobody-is-born-that-way-gay-historians-say/

8http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/01/caitlyn-jenner-celebrity-reactions_n_7485900.html

9http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/celebrities-family-members-voice-support-for-bruce-jenner-1201479720/

10http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/27319

11http://www.sexchangeregret.com

12http://www.foxnews.com/story/2003/05/13/cut-men-do-not-bleed.html


13http://www.shaunti.com/2014/04/malebashing/


14https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5F3_sG9fq8

15Alan Medinger, Growth into Manhood, (Colorado Springs, CO: A Shaw Book published by WaterBrook Press, 2000), 1.

16Nicholosi and Nicholosi, 71-72.

17http://www.peoplecanchange.com/stories/alan.php

18In Growth to Manhood, (p. 3), Alan Medinger writes that “homosexuality is much more than simply the direction of one’s sexual attractions. It has two other strong components: emotional neediness and identity.”

19paraphrase/summary of “Father’s Embrace” by Steve Chapman, 1990 Times And Seasons Music (Admin. by Crossroad Distributors Pty. Ltd.)

20Mike Haley, 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2004), 31.

21Haley, 31-32.

22This insight was shared at a Love Won Out Conference (informing and assisting the church and families in addressing the issue of homosexuality). These conferences were held in various places several years ago by Focus on the Family.

23Joe Dallas and Nancy Heche, eds., The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality: A Biblical and Compassionate Response to Same-Sex Attraction, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2010), 99.

24http://www.citizenlink.com/2010/10/27/understanding-male-homosexuality-–-god’s-power-to-change-lives-part-3/ (original link); http://www.prophecydude.org/news/understanding-male-homosexuality-gods-power-to-change-lives-part-3/

25Steve Chapman, “Father’s Embrace.”

Obergefell v. Hodges: Eliminating Freedom in the Name of Upholding It

440px-Supreme_Court_US_2010

It has long been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression…that the germ of dissolution of our Federal Government is in the constitution of the Federal Judiciary—an irresponsible body…working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction until all shall be usurped from the States and the government be consolidated into one. To this I am opposed.
—Thomas Jefferson1

[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government.…and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence.
—Noah Webster2

Americans now live in an oligarchy—a form of government that can be described as rule by a few. This is but one of the lessons coming out of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case in which the Court redefined marriage in America to include same-sex couples.

It is helpful periodically to review the various approaches to government. There are five.

  • Monarchy—rule by one, a king
  • Oligarchy—rule by a few, an elite group
  • Democracy—rule by the majority
  • Republic—rule by law
  • Anarchy—rule by none

Note that when the founders of America established this country, they set up a republic. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.3 The meetings were secret,4 so concerned citizens were anxious to know what had happened. Following the proceedings, a lady approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him what kind of government delegates had established for the new nation. Franklin replied, “A republic…if you can keep it.”5,6

In fashioning the republic, this country’s early leaders looked to the Bible and sought to base the structure of the nation’s new government on biblical principles.7 Here’s one example. The men who established this nation crafted three branches of government—the presidency, the Congress, and the courts (executive, legislative, and judicial). They patterned these after God’s multiple roles as king, lawgiver, and judge. Isaiah 33:22 says that “the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; He will save us.” But there is more. Recognizing man’s sinfulness and his tendency to become corrupt when given too much power, America’s earliest leaders made the branches separate. The specific responsibilities given each branch and the barriers between them would act to restrain each one and keep it from overstepping its authority.

Sadly, the judicial branch has overstepped its authority on many occasions. Most recently and most ominously, five unelected Supreme Court justices, along with numerous federal judges in lower courts, have overruled millions of American citizens who voted to affirm natural marriage in 39 states.8 The Constitution’s “We the People” has been replaced by the elite few of the Supreme Court. In other instances the executive branch has overstepped its authority, and Congress and the courts have allowed this to happen.9,10,11

As believers and as concerned Americans, we need to understand the fragility of our liberties. Freedom is threatened not solely by arrogant politicians on one side of the spectrum and acquiescent officials on the other, but also by (and this may be even more important) the absence of an internal restraint that used to characterize Americans. Today, society’s rejection of God has removed that restraint, and bitter fruit can only result.

Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.12 A brilliant economist and as well as a man of faith,13 Christensen offers these insightful observations in a powerful You Tube video. (While he uses the term “democracy,” here he essentially means our republican form of government.)

Some time ago I had a conversation with a Marxist economist from China. He was coming to the end of a Fulbright Fellowship here in Boston, and I asked him if he learned anything that was surprising or unexpected. And without any hesitation, he said, “Yeah, I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy.” The reason why democracy works, he said, is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does. But rather, democracy works because most people most of the time, voluntarily choose to obey the law. And in her past, most Americans attended a church or synagogue every week, and they were taught there by people they respected.

My friend went on to say that Americans follow these rules because they had come to believe that they weren’t just accountable to society; they were accountable to God.

My Chinese friend [further observed] that as religion loses its influence over Americans, what will happen to democracy? Where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation of Americans that they too need to voluntarily choose to obey the laws? Because if you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.14

Read that last statement again and allow it to sink in. If you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police. The positive counterpart to this truth is that widespread adherence to religion compels people to police themselves, making a free society possible.

Our founders, as well as many of our leaders and statesmen during our nation’s history, understood that devotion to God or “religion” was the only force that could hold both people and leaders accountable to the nation’s laws. Note that leaders, not just citizens, were to live under the law. Read carefully some of America’s statesmen’s words on the importance of religion in maintaining liberty.

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States

  • “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”15—Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
  • “[M]en…will be free no longer than while they remain virtuous.”16—Samuel Adams (1722-1803)
  • “Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people. The general government…can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any despotic or oppressive form so long as there is any virtue in the body of the people.”17—George Washington (1732-1799)
  • “Statesmen…may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand….The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.”18—John Adams (1735-1826) On October 11, 1798, Adams also said, “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”19
  • “Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is impossible that a nation of infidels or idolaters should be a nation of free men. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom.”20—Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
  • “[W]ithout virtue there can be no liberty.”21—Benjamin Rush (1746-1814), signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”22—James Madison (1751-1836)
  • “All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet. It may do for other countries and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.”23—Robert Winthrop (1809-1894), to the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Bible Society Boston, Mass; May 28, 1849.
  • “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.”24—Frederick Douglas (1818-1895)
  • “America! America! / God mend thine every flaw, / Confirm thy soul in self-control, / Thy liberty in law!”25—Katherine Lee Bates (1859-1929), in the second stanza of “America the Beautiful”
  • “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”26—Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)
  • “Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first—the most basic—expression of Americanism.”27—President Dwight Eisenhower, 1955 (1890-1969)
  • “You cannot have liberty without faith. You may have tyranny and despotism without it, but not liberty. Because if you dissolve the bonds which faith creates, the government must inevitably move in to create the control which has been lost by [the removal of] the internal Christian self-government upon which the founders of this country based our nation.”28—D. James Kennedy (1930-2007), in a sermon titled “The Bible and the Constitution” preached June 7, 1987

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  • “Does [Justice] Kennedy understand liberty apart from God’s moral code brings on horrors like were experienced during the French Revolution? Does he understand the role marriage and family play in self-governance? Does he have any idea of the kind of world he has insured our children will know?…America was morally adrift long before this ruling. This is the fast-track version of moral relativism as national political, legal, educational and cultural policy.”29—Joseph Farah (b. 1954), founder, editor, and CEO of WND.com

We as believers must recognize these truths if we are to effectively contend for the preservation and, in some cases, the restoration, of liberty and freedom. Most people have absolutely no understanding of the delicate balance between national order and individual liberty. Perhaps no modern observer painted a clearer picture of this balance than Francis Schaeffer.

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In our own country we have enjoyed enormous human freedom. But at the same time this freedom has been founded upon forms of government, law, culture, and social morality which have given stability to individual and social life, and have kept our freedoms from leading to chaos. There is a balance here between from and freedom which we have come to take as natural in the world. But it is not natural. And we are utterly foolish if we do not recognize that this unique balance which we have inherited from the Reformation thought-forms is not automatic in a fallen world. This is clear when we look at the long span of history. But it is equally clear when we read the daily newspaper and see half the world locked in totalitarian oppression.

The Reformation not only brought forth a clear preaching of the gospel, it also gave shape to society as a whole—including government, how people viewed the world, and the full spectrum of culture.…This is not to say that the Reformation was ever a “golden age” or that everyone in Reformation countries were true Christians. But it is clear that through the Reformation many were brought to Christ and that the absolutes of the Bible became widely disseminated in the culture as a whole. The freedoms which grew out of this were tremendous, and yet, with the forms grounded in a biblical consensus or ethos, the freedoms did not lead to chaos.

But something has happened in the last sixty years [Schaeffer’s statements were published in 1984]. The freedom that once was founded on a biblical consensus and a Christian ethos has now become autonomous freedom, cut loose from all constraints. Here we have the world spirit of our age—autonomous Man setting himself up as God, in defiance of the knowledge and the moral and spiritual truth which God has given. Here is the reason why we have a moral breakdown in every area of life. The titanic freedoms which we once enjoyed have been cut lose from their Christian restraints and are becoming a force of destruction leading to chaos. And when this happens, there really are very few alternatives. All morality becomes relative, law becomes arbitrary, and society moves toward disintegration. In personal and social life, compassion is swallowed up by self-interest. As I have pointed out in my earlier books [these statements come from the last book Schaeffer would write], when the memory of the Christian consensus which gave us freedom within the biblical form is increasingly forgotten, a manipulating authoritarianism will tend to fill the vacuum. At this point the words “right” and “left” will make little difference. They are only two roads to the same end; the results are the same. An elite, and authoritarianism as such, will gradually force form on society so that it will not go into chaos—and most people will accept it.30

We cannot overstate the ominous nature of this situation. While in truth, religion, most significantly Christianity, has provided the basis for American freedom and liberty, today that foundation is being viciously attacked. Furthermore, a new definition of freedom now prevails in society. To most people, freedom is what we once referred to as license. And beyond this, Christianity is being portrayed not as the friend of freedom, but as its enemy.31,32,33,34

Even more broadly, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges sends the signal to all Americans that whatever a person has an urge to do, fulfilling that urge is legitimate and valid—even a positive good. This lie not only falsely legitimizes homosexuality but will falsely legitimize a great deal of additional destructive behaviors and practices as well. President Barak Obama said, “No matter who you are or what you look like or who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”35

Unfortunately, we are not freer under these conditions, because under these conditions, we really aren’t being treated equally. Some are being treated as more special than others; preference is being given to those who engage in practices contrary to God’s law. They even have been given an unfair advantage in that they now have legal leverage to use against dissenters that dissenters do not have, even though the American way is one of free and open debate, with each group contending for its position in the marketplace of ideas. The American people also are being lied to and being led to believe that destructive actions are harmless and even good. Our founders would not be fooled by these lies. They realized the truth of these Bible passages, among many others.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34).

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20).

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings (Jer. 17:9-10).

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Still, especially in this environment, we as Christians have a duty to declare the truth and to call America back to God. We must do so lovingly, but also with confidence that the truth is on our side. And we must do so with a clear understanding of the connection between faith, freedom, and stability in society. We do this not for our sakes alone but also for the sakes of the children who will bear the brunt of the marriage ruling.36,37,38,39,40

We also do it for everyone celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, because we realize they actually are sawing off the very branch on which they themselves are sitting.

Eventually, unless America’s course is altered, no one will be free.

 

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Notes:

1http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/The_Law/jefferson.htm

2http://www.free2pray.info/5founderquotes.html

3https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_Convention_(United_States)

4http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/Ftrials/conlaw/convention1787.html

5http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/a-republic-if-you-can-keep-it

6http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/7631-a-republic-if-you-can-keep-it

7http://www.nccs.net/2003-10-early-americans-studied-the-bible.php

8http://goo.gl/JJN1vy

9http://dailycaller.com/2014/05/07/ted-cruz-releases-definitive-list-of-76-lawless-obama-actions/

10http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-f-will-stopping-a-lawless-president/2014/06/20/377c4d6e-f7e5-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

11http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3304919/posts

12https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayton_M._Christensen

13https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayton_M._Christensen

14https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjntXYDPw44

15http://www.dakotavoice.com/2008/07/only-a-virtuous-people-are-capable-of-freedom/

16http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch18s14.html

17http://foundingquotes.com/georgewashington.htm

18http://foundingquotes.com/johnadams.htm

19http://www.beliefnet.com/resourcelib/docs/115/Message_from_John_Adams_to_the_Officers_of_the_First_Brigade_1.html

20http://foundingquotes.com/pathenry.htm

21http://www.partyof1776.net/p1776/issues/Virtue/contents.html

22http://thestoryoflibertyblog.com/2012/06/21/james-madison-and-the-constitution-and-branches-of-government/

23http://www.fortifyingthefamily.com/religion_state.html

24http://quotes.lifehack.org/quote/frederick-douglass/the-life-of-the-nation-is-secure/

25https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_the_Beautiful

26http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs155/1108762609255/archive/1116360892946.html

27http://eisenhower.archives.gov/all_about_ike/quotes.html

28http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=6131413413610

29http://www.wnd.com/2015/06/the-consequences-of-the-marriage-ruling/

30Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1984), 21-23.

31http://www.citizenlink.com/2015/06/26/why-the-marriage-decision-is-not-like-roe-v-wade/

32http://www.citizenlink.com/2015/06/30/why-the-marriage-decision-is-not-like-roe-v-wade-radio/

33http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/05/war-on-christianity-american-churches-who-oppose-same-sex-marriage-will-lose-tax-exemption/

34http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/courts-conclude-faith-loses-to-gay-demands/

35http://wspa.com/2015/06/26/justice-scalia-delivers-scathing-dissent-of-gay-marriage-decision/

36http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/06/26/american-college-of-pediatricians-on-same-sex-marriage-ruling-a-tragic-day-for-americas-children/

37http://www.wnd.com/2015/05/high-court-on-verge-of-destroying-the-family/

38http://news.yahoo.com/lawyers-gay-marriage-detriment-children-013731653.html

39http://www.wnd.com/2004/05/24469/

40http://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/05/27/the-wests-hatred-of-children-and-families/