K is for Kingdom

The first mention of a king in the bible is in Genesis 14:1 “At the time when Amraphel was king of Shinar…” The king of Shinar also known as Babylon is the first mention of a king and kingdom rule. Scholars regard Amraphel to be Hammurabi of Sumer, whose legal code was a foundation for other legislation to follow. The concepts of a king, kingly rule and kingdom have always been a uniting force of civilization.

In America, we pride ourselves in having thrown off the yoke of the despotic kingly rule of Great Britain. We chose to live and govern ourselves following scriptural principles such as freedom of conscience, personal responsibility, self-control and representative self-government. The individual freedoms we enjoy are un-equal around the globe. However, the general understanding of these foundational principles is waning.

We do not understand nor do we teach that the foundation of our individual freedom is the surrender to the kingship of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Christ is what inspired and empowered us to become a free people.

Although there is a widespread debate about whether our nation was formed as a Christian nation, it is mostly fueled by the fact that many will not recognize the scriptural principles put into the framework of our government. The study of the writings of our founders leaves no doubt that the prevailing worldview was indeed Christian.

William Penn “If you are not governed by God, you will be ruled by tyrants” 1)

John Adams “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity” 2)

 Samuel Adams ” The rights of the Colonists as Christians may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament” 3)

Noah Webster “The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles…This is genuine Christianity and to this, we owe our free constitutions of government.” 4)

These inspired leaders realized that the freedom of thought and conscience was a freedom enhanced by the renewing power of salvation and redemption in Jesus Christ. This liberty was born in the heart and soul of those who left their homeland, crossing the ocean to settle in a place where freedom of religion and worship would be enshrined in a new political compact. Self-government was made possible by a people who understood the concept of self-control. In their minds, self-control was the fruit of submission by the individual to a higher authority, namely Jesus Christ.  The founders had an understanding that individual liberty was a blessing that came from the personal submission to a new king. Thus the popular sentiment heard throughout the days of the American struggle for Independence from an earthly despotic king was  “We have no king but King Jesus”. 5)

A Culture in Need of Restraint

Our culture has helped create the attitude that we are free to do as we please, to follow every passion and desire. Yet we find that society cannot live this way consistently without the need for external controls on personal behavior. We need to protect ourselves from each other. Families have a need to protect their children from the permissive culture we helped to create where one is free to behave in any fashion they wish abandoning self-control and personal responsibility and respect for others. The less self-control is practiced the more external restraints become necessary. Here we see that the power of the state must grow as the need to restrain evil does. The tendency today is towards more government control of every area of life because many lack self-control. We now demand powerful agents and technologies that will protect us from the monsters we have created.

Those who share a humanist worldview are enjoying the rapid growth of a powerful government using the language of the freedom-loving self-controlled people to attack the foundational principles of the nation. The destructive passions once formally restrained by self-controlled submission to God and His moral law are now protected and encouraged by irresponsible legislation, upheld by corrupted courts. Public institutions are prohibited from displaying the foundational precepts of moral law in the Ten Commandments. The rights and responsibilities of the people are being transferred to an increasingly secular government. Conforming to the pressure of a misinterpreted religious clause, government may no longer invoke or apply moral reasoning in discouraging the pursuit of corrupt desires and behavior.

As in the days of the Roman Empire, the state is all too willing to exert this control and restrain personal freedom whenever they saw the need. When a people are not able to govern themselves they will be governed by the state. This heavy-handed control has been witnessed throughout history. The barbaric Roman rule, the gulags of the former Soviet Union, the murderous reign of the German Nazis and the Red Chinese have not convinced anyone of the effectiveness of government control. Whether we call it socialism, communism, progressivism, liberalism, statism, one world government, or globalism, it is the default form of control for people who abandon the true God.

There is no doubt the people of our nation are divided concerning many issues. The most obvious reason for this polarization is the basic worldview distinctions between secular humanism and Christianity. The fruit of a relentless teaching from the secular humanist perspective is a growing desire to try socialism. Having been taught lies about socialism they embrace a romantic notion that socialism will solve the human problem of evil. They do not realize the trade-off for this false security and the altruistic pursuit of a godless system of government is personal liberty.

The first of these liberties, freedom of conscience is under steady attack from socio/cultural elites and intellectuals wielding the intimidating weapon of Political Correctness. As courts become more detached from absolute morals embracing pragmatism and relativity, they are swayed by the left to rule against those who oppose the socialist and secular humanist agenda.

Subjects of Gods Kingdom

One day Jesus was asked by the Pharisees “When will the Kingdom of God begin?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God isn’t ushered in with visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘It has begun here in this place or there in that part of the country.’ For the Kingdom of God is within you.” (TLB, Luke 17:20-21)

The kingdom Jesus speaks of is a spiritual kingdom made evident in the behavior of the kingdom people.  He is calling us to serve Him and live within the principles of His kingdom. As we remember the Lord’s prayer “Our Father who art in heaven your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”  God wants us to do His will here on earth as His kingdom people. He wants us to share the good news of salvation and redemption from the darkness of sin by the work of Jesus Christ. He wants us to share liberty and freedom by living out godly principles found in His word, the principles upon which our form of government has been formed. The blessings secured within this framework are derived by the willing submission of those governed. Once we forget the principles of right government our government will forget and the words liberty and freedom will be redefined so as to cloud the memory of our loss.

This is Billy Graham’s last Facebook message.

“If you went for a walk in the woods, but then decided to wander off the path, and found yourself surrounded by a thicket of thorns and poison ivy, who would you blame? Would you blame the person who built the path? No, of course not. Instead, you’d blame yourself if you were honest, because you alone were responsible for wandering from the path.

In a far deeper way, this is what happens when we decide to leave God out of our lives. For a time, it may seem like wandering away from Him doesn’t make any difference; it may even seem easier and freer. But eventually, it catches up with us—just as wandering off that path and into the thicket caught up with you.” —Billy Graham #BG100

I am writing not so much to persuade the secular left but more to awaken those who live in the freedom of Christ and to say it’s time to turn around and go back to where we turned off the path. Walk after the spirit (Rom 8:1) on His path, be alert and stand firm and do not become entangled again in the bondage of slavery, (Gal 5:1) be in prayer for our leaders, (1Tim 2:2) be ready to come against the vain philosophies of deceit,(Col 2:8)  and be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2) and remember our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities in high places. (Eph 6:12)

Will we serve an earthly king who will gladly take control over every area of our lives, who is merciless, without truth or grace to whom we yield our freedoms and our conscience in exchange for a false security? Or will we serve a heavenly king who liberates us from personal condemnation, granting mercy and forgiveness and empowers us to practice the virtues of liberty and self-control, personal responsibility and selfless living for our benefit and the benefit of others? Jesus says “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matt 6:33) We need a king – but to paraphrase and modify the cry of our founders, we need no king but King Jesus!

  • William Penn. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p500
  • John Adams. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p12
  • Samuel Adams. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p22
  • Noah Webster. William J Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Fame Publishing Inc. 1996 p678
  • WND Joseph Farrah http://www.wnd.com/2001/01/7965/
  • Billy Graham. https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/bg100?source=embed

Further Reading: Francis Schaeffer https://www.the-highway.com/articleOct01.html

Time to Choose!

I must admit that I am struggling to form an understandable and cohesive response to the recent mass shooting. I find myself trying to process arguments from so many places. The many perspectives on the issues of protecting life, liberty and personal responsibility while upholding freedom are all approached by people of differing worldviews. It is no wonder that debates concerning the safety of our children are so heated and frustrating. Our leaders in law enforcement and health care and government are all speaking a different language.

The general polarization of the nation’s response is the evident reality of two basic worldviews, the secular and the spiritual. But be on guard because those with a secular worldview will always borrow language from the spiritual to move their statist ideas forward.

We all want to keep our children safe. Why is there no call to give our schools the means to secure and protect the life and property under their jurisdiction?  Ask yourself seriously, why are many leaders so intent on disarming millions of freedom loving people?  The same people that say God has no place in your school will also argue that armed guards and metal detectors are not the answer. Perhaps they fear that they would have to concede that good guys with guns are the best deterrent.

Let us then see clearly the battle before us, is not only political but spiritual. Today’s culture embraces and glorifies all forms of fantasy, and supernatural/sci-fi scenarios. Why then when confronted with the evident reality of spiritual warfare do we shield our eyes and minds and reason? We stubbornly continue to search for a secular solution to a spiritual problem because we do not want to see the spiritual problem is real!

One way in which reform may begin is to recognize the need to build upon the same foundation. This foundation should first of all be a respect for and reliance upon God. We must admit to ourselves that we have lost the way. We must restore the value of life, the value of liberty secured by personal responsibility and a mature spiritually formed freedom. In this manner, both secular and spiritual perspectives are respected and balance may be achieved in securing the safety of our community.

It is obvious that the lack of an honest teaching of spiritual truth has contributed to a culture of moral relativity, jubilant depravity and devaluing of human life. Some will say this is not the time to engage in a spiritual debate. But if this is not the time when is?

You may ask how is acknowledging a need for God respectful of the secular humanist worldview which rejects God?  The benefits of a general acknowledgment of objective truth i.e. “God” far outweighs the consequences of denying God. This has been proven through the evident downfall of nations throughout centuries of world history.

Psalm 33:12 says

“blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”

Deuteronomy 11:26 declares

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God..”

What we do not want to become is the nation described in Judges 2:10

“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.”

If we are to disarm, let us disarm ourselves of the notion that we will remain a free and blessed nation without God. I choose the blessing.

E is For Evil

Philosophically speaking one may find volumes on the reality of evil. Evil in the broad sense is considered either natural evil or moral evil. A natural evil would be something outside of our influence, the consequential injuries or death resulting from a natural event or disaster such as an earthquake or erupting volcano, or a personal injury or illness. Moral evils result from the intentional actions or non-actions of a moral agent.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains “Natural evils are bad states of affairs which do not result from the intentions or negligence of moral agents. Hurricanes and toothaches are examples of natural evils. By contrast, moral evils do result from the intentions or negligence of moral agents. Murder and lying are examples of moral evils.”

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/concept-evil/

Theologically there are discussions of how evil is characterized by different religions. Eastern Mysticism and Docetism explain for example that evil is an illusion. Naturalism and Postmodernism explain that evil is subjective as we humans perceive things to be evil.

http://evidenceforchristianity.org/how-do-you-explain-the-question-of-evil-from-various-world-views/

In the Apologetic sense evil is used to argue for both the existence or non-existence of God. The reality of evil is used many times as an objection to the existence of God. In the following article, Aaron Brake does an excellent job detailing reasons why the apologetic “problem of evil” is not a problem for the Christian.

http://pleaseconvinceme.com/2013/why-the-problem-of-evil-is-a-problem-3/

I write of the reality of evil from a christian perspective with an awareness that evil does exist. The fact that one may conclude something is or is not evil does not change the reality. Much like truth, one may or may not believe a truth, however it does not change the fact that the truth is. Some have an acute awareness of the existence of evil, others may have a lesser awareness of evil. One only need to review the headlines of the daily news to see evil acts and their consequences.

Many regard evil as an inherent consequence of a free will. Having the ability or freedom to choose right and wrong since our appearance here on earth, we have chosen wrong many times. The first instance of our choosing wrong is recorded for us in the Bible book of Genesis. Adam and Eve chose wrong by choosing to disobey God and eat from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. Notice the words “of the knowledge of good and evil”. Until that point they had no understanding what evil was. Everything they had was good. Only after deciding to ignore God and choose against God did they realize evil.

Now they had “the knowledge of good and evil”. They soon realized the initial consequences of evil in their immediate reaction of guilt and shame. They covered themselves from each other and hid from God. They remembered what God had said about eating from the tree and were awaiting the consequence.

Romans 6:23 “ the wages of sin is death”

How do we make sense of human evil verses natural evil?

In the article by Aaron Brake referenced above, a summary of Jesus clearest teaching on the problem of evil is given.

Luke 13:1-5

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

“Not only is this Jesus’ clearest teaching on the problem of evil but we see Him addressing both moral and natural evil in His response. Notice that Jesus is first questioned regarding an example of what we would call moral evil: the murder of some Galileans by Pilate. In providing an answer, Jesus Himself introduces an example of natural evil: the falling of the tower of Siloam which killed eighteen.
How did Jesus answer the problem of evil presented to Him? Was Jesus taken back, struck by the profundity of such a pregnant question? His answer is short and to the point: “They weren’t worse sinners, they were just sinners. And unless you repent, you’ll die too.”

Many argue that evil is a necessary consequence of free-will. Without the ability to choose evil we would not truly have a free-will. Perhaps that is more correct than we can understand. But we are left with the struggle of how to choose to do good.
Jesus standard of right and wrong baffled the teachers and leaders of the day. He recognized that evil is in our nature and the evil acts we carry out are first born in the un-regenerate mind following the desires of the heart of flesh. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches that whoever looks upon a woman with lust has already committed adultery in his heart.

Paul writes in Romans 7:24

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
Who can escape the mind and body of sin? No one, but by the blood of the lamb the victory over sin and death is won!

Romans 6:6

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”
Romans 8:2

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

In the New Testament we read of the change that comes about when one surrenders to the authority of Christ and His Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:17

“ if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!”

Further on we read of how one is able to walk and maintain integrity in choosing good.

Galatians 5:16

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
As Christians we are called to this distinctive life where we still have a free will and may choose evil to our detriment, but we are more able and empowered to choose good because of the new Spirit nature that lives within us.

#ChooseTruth #ChooseLiberty #ChooseLife #ChooseJesus

Related links;

Does God Exist: The Moral Argument

The Difference Between Ethics and Morality

When the Problem of Evil Gets Personal

How Can God Exist When There Is So Much Evil In Our World Today?