American Self-Government: Example #1

They were called Separatists in their native England. They got this name because they couldn’t abide being part of a state church where the government controlled the worship and doctrine. So they set up their own churches based on their understanding of how God wanted His church to work, following what they perceived to be the model in the New Testament.

When they set up these churches, they had to start from scratch with church government. Consequently, they relied on covenants, where each member voluntarily joined together with others to agree on the rules by which they would be governed. No authority from above told them what to do; they simply did it.

They were persecuted and had to leave their homeland. Holland allowed them to worship as they pleased, but they longed for a country of their own. That’s when the decided to sail for the New World.

They were blown off course and were unable to land where the charter under which they sailed had authority. That led some of the hired men to talk of the “liberty” they would have once they got off the ship. The covenanted settlers knew they would have a problem on their hands with a group of people who were eager to be in a place without established government. That is why they wrote up their own covenant for civil government.

Drawing Up the Mayflower Compact

Drawing Up the Mayflower Compact

We now call those early settlers “The Pilgrims.” The document they wrote is the Mayflower Compact. It’s not a long document. It merely says that they will obey whatever government is set up. But that was enough. It was the beginning of true self-government in America, from people who already were used to governing themselves in their churches. We continue to look back on that model of self-government today (at least where anything about the Pilgrims may still be taught). A group of dedicated Christians showed the way.

How are we handling self-government in our day? Do we really believe in it anymore? When we look to Washington, DC, to provide for us and to take care of all our problems, what is left of the spirit of self-government?

I hope it’s not too late to revive this principle.

The Greatest of All Self-Government Quotes

 

Grotius: Father of the Law of Nations
Grotius: Father of the Law of Nations

Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) was a Dutch Christian who became famous for his writings on how nations should relate to one another. There is a quote attributed to him that spells out how self-government works better than any other explanation I have ever read. Now, I haven’t been able to document when or where Grotius said this; that’s why I stated only that it is attributed to him. However, as I tell my students, if I ever find out for sure that he didn’t say it, I will continue to use it because it is such a wonderful quote, and then claim it for myself. Here’s that very insightful statement:

 He knows not how to rule a kingdom that cannot manage a province; nor can he wield a province that cannot order a city; nor he order a city that knows not how to regulate a village; nor he a village that cannot guide a family; nor can that man govern well a family that knows not how to govern himself; neither can any govern himself unless his reason be lord, will and appetite her vassals; nor can reason rule unless herself be ruled by God, and be obedient to Him.

 Read through that carefully again. How might this nation function if we took this to heart? If we never gave anyone civil authority until he or she has shown the ability to handle smaller responsibilities first? If we checked to find out if that person is first of all obedient to God? What a difference it could make.

Principle: Self-Government

In an age when we look to Washington, DC, for everything we need, we have forgotten one basic Biblical principle that was part of the foundation of this country. It is a principle simply called self-government.

It’s not hard to explain. God has created each of us with the ability to make decisions. That is part of His image that He placed within us. Government, by definition, is “control and direction.” Whenever anything is governed, that means it is controlled and directed. The issue comes down to who or what is doing the controlling and directing.

Self-government begins with the individual. We are to learn how to control and direct our own lives under God. This is not meant to be an old 1960s refrain–“do your own thing.” Rather, it is a growth in maturity as we come to understand more and more just what God wants us to do–and then we do it. We don’t do it because someone is standing over us making us do it; instead, we do it because we acknowledge that it is the right thing to do and we make that decision ourselves.

We used to teach this to our children. We sought to help them grow up and make wise decisions based on eternal standards of right and wrong. Nowadays, we tell them to make their own decisions but we disconnect that decisionmaking from God’s standards. That’s when it becomes a purely personal preference unrelated to what is right.

So each individual is govern himself. But there are other applications. Each family is to be self-governing, each church, each voluntary organization, each locality, each state, each nation.

One more application: you should never give a higher level of responsibilty to anyone who has not shown the proper self-government of a lesser responsibilty. The apostle Paul was following this principle when he cautioned his disciple Timothy on the procedure for choosing elders and deacons in the church. They had to be proven at a lower level before being elevated in rank or responsibility.

I’ll continue with this concept in my next post.

The Kenyan Connection: Will This Be Ignored As Well?

Obama in Kenya with Odinga
Obama in Kenya with Odinga

Here’s another story for the mainstream media to ignore (which it is doing admirably, I might add).

 The man seated in this picture is Raila Odinga, current prime minister of Kenya, the second highest position in the government. How did he get there?

First, by allying himself with the radical Muslims who wish to impose a fundamentalist Muslim society on the order of Iran. Second, by intimidating and killing his opposition.

What role did Barack Obama play in his rise to power? More on that in a moment, but first I want to provide some information on Odinga’s “activities,” as related in this story in The Washington Times.

About 50 parishioners were locked into the Assemblies of God church before it was set ablaze. They were mostly women and children. Those who tried to flee were hacked to death by machete-wielding members of a mob numbering 2,000.

By mid-February 2008, more than 1,500 Kenyans were killed. Many were slain by machete-armed attackers. More than 500,000 were displaced by the religious strife. Villages lay in ruin. Many of the atrocities were perpetrated by Muslims against Christians.

The violence was led by supporters of Raila Odinga, the opposition leader who lost the Dec. 27, 2007, presidential election by more than 230,000 votes. Odinga supporters began the genocide hours after the final election results were announced Dec. 30.

In return for Muslim backing, Mr. Odinga promised to impose a number of measures favored by Muslims if he were elected president. Among these were recognition of “Islam as the only true religion,” Islamic leaders would have an “oversight role to monitor activities of ALL other religions [emphasis in original],” installation of Shariah courts in every jurisdiction, [and] a ban on Christian preaching.

Now for Obama’s role. Sen. Obama’s father was Kenyan. Odinga is from the same tribe as Obama’s father, but more than that, it appears that Obama and Odinga are actually cousins. In August 2006, Sen. Obama went to Kenya to campaign in support of Odinga. That’s when the above photo was taken. Again, from the Times article:

Mr. Odinga and Mr. Obama were nearly inseparable throughout Mr. Obama’s six-day stay. The two traveled together throughout Kenya and Mr. Obama spoke on behalf of Mr. Odinga at numerous rallies. In contrast, Mr. Obama had only criticism for Kibaki. He lashed out against the Kenyan government shortly after meeting with the president on Aug. 25. “The [Kenyan] people have to suffer over corruption perpetrated by government officials,” Mr. Obama announced.

“Kenyans are now yearning for change,” he declared. The intent of Mr. Obama’s remarks and actions was transparent to Kenyans – he was firmly behind Mr. Odinga.

Odinga has visited Obama at least three times in the U.S. The article concludes with these chilling words:

Mr. Obama’s judgment is seriously called into question when he backs an official with troubling ties to Muslim extremists and whose supporters practice ethnic cleansing and genocide. It was Islamic extremists in Kenya who bombed the U.S. Embassy in 1998, killing more than 200 and injuring thousands. None of this has dissuaded Mr. Obama from maintaining disturbing loyalties.

I couldn’t agree more. That’s why this particular political cartoon is so appropriate.

The Undecided Voter

A continual source of fascination for me is the “undecided voter.” I must admit that I am never undecided. Why? I have a certain set of principles that I believe are Biblically based. Those principles make it clear what type of government will be right and beneficial, and what type will be wrong and destructive. I don’t have to agonize over how I should vote.

There is always this great “undecided middle” in elections, and they hold the key to victory. The candidates must appeal to these voters in order to win. What bothers me is that these people seem to have no anchor. They are tossed by every wind that comes along. Have you noticed the polls during the current campaign? After the Democratic convention, Obama surged ahead. Then after the Republican convention, McCain did the same. Why? The only real answer is that the “undecided middle” does not act on principle, but primarily on emotion. That is dangerous in a popular electoral system such as ours.

John Adams speculated that during the American Revolution, 1/3 of the people supported the patriot cause, 1/3 remained loyal to the king, and the other 1/3, otherwise known as the great “undecided middle,” could not make up their minds. Therefore, nothing has really changed over the years.

If you happen to be in that undecided category, please realize that there are real choices to be made based on entirely opposite worldviews. One worldview will lead to increased government contol over your life, both economically and socially; the other worldview will lead to greater individual self-government, thereby allowing you more liberty to make choices based on what you believe God would have you do. One worldview will lead to acceptance of abortion and same-sex marriage; the other will respect the sanctity of life and keep marriage within scriptural bounds.

The choices are clear. How can you be undecided?

I Didn't Really Want to Mention This, But . . .

The devotion to Obama seems to have few boundaries. Perhaps you have seen some of the videos making the rounds on YouTube: children singing his praises; teens marching and spouting off on how Obama has given them new hope and has inspired them to succeed in life. Some would say, “What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that a positive thing?”

What’s wrong can be summarized in one word: idolatry.

Many have mentioned the cult that has arisen around this presumed political savior. Some, I fear, have taken it even further. It is rather chilling to view the raptured faces whenever he speaks. This is why some have referred to him critically as the “Obamessiah.”

Personally, I am distressed by the lack of rational thinking on the part of his adoring fans. I have noted a number of interviews with Obama supporters being asked “Just what has he accomplished as a senator?” They have trouble coming up with anything. This is a cult of personality with no substance.

Well, maybe that’s not exactly true. There is substance there, only hidden: Marxist roots; liberation theology; close associations with radicals out to change the very nature of American society. But you would never know that from the reports of the mainstream media.

It is very possible that we may wake up the day after the election to an Obama victory. That will be only the beginning of our national woes.

False Messiah?
False Messiah?

My mind keeps returning to a warning straight from the mouth of Jesus:

Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many…. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.

We haven’t seen any “signs and wonders” yet, but I am concerned that some of my brothers and sisters in the Lord are being deceived. For the sake of the church and the nation, I urge any of you who are contemplating voting for Obama to reconsider. Please check out the concerns I have raised here and in previous posts.

Cartoonists Are Catching On

This ACORN story is taking off. You can tell by what political cartoonists are focusing on now. I’ll just let these speak for themselves.

And I particularly love this commentary on who we may find in an Obama cabinet.