Archive for the ‘ Biblical Principles ’ Category


No pictures. No cartoons. Just a heart-to-heart today.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. First and foremost, I want my life to reflect His nature and character. Why? Because He truly did redeem me from a pit of my own making, and showed me His mercy (unmerited forgiveness) and grace (the power to do what is right).

Politics and government are important to me, but only in the context of wanting to ensure that they manifest Biblical truths. I grew up in a home that was not overtly political, but what little politics that did exist were Democratic. In my mind, JFK was a luminary probably chosen by God. LBJ was good simply because he was the president, and no president could possibly be a bad person.

I remember a conversation I had with a guy in my dorm during my freshman year of college. It was probably the first political conversation of any substance I had with anyone. I considered myself a Democrat by heredity, I guess. But as I told him what I believed about certain things, he just looked at me and said something to the effect, “No, those views make you a conservative. You’re really a Republican.” It was disconcerting, in some ways. I had to come to the realization that I wasn’t really what I thought I was, and that someone else could see it more clearly than I could.

As I matured, and tried to figure out how a Christian should view politics, I continued to analyze. When the 1976 election came, I thought I might support Jimmy Carter. After all, he was an avowed evangelical Christian, and bumper stickers on the cars of other Christian friends showed that they were supporting him. I probably would have voted for Carter—I really wanted to at that point—but then I read his campaign autobiography called Why Not the Best?

It was an illuminating read. Carter wrote a lot of things that made me pause, but the clincher was when he related that one of his favorite theologians was Paul Tillich. I had happened upon some of Tillich’s works during college, and knew where he was coming from: no bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave; no literal heaven or hell. That gave me more than merely a pause. At that point, I realized just where Carter was theologically, and it wasn’t real Christianity. I also began to see that theological liberalism went hand-in-glove with political liberalism. The connection was being made for the first time in my mind. I had to vote for Ford.

My politics have been conservative ever since, but I am not your typical conservative. I don’t start with “What do I believe about politics?” My starting point is “What do I believe about the nature and character of God, and how does that affect my understanding of politics and government?” Ever since that first revelation about the connection between theological and political liberalism, I have sought to know the first principles, gleaned from the Scriptures, that should inform everything else in my life.

That’s why today, when I see evangelicals give themselves over to political liberalism, I feel this pain inside. To me, that is such a glaring inconsistency with Biblical truth that I have a hard time grasping why someone who says that Christ is the reason for everything would put their political faith in a system that makes the government into a god.

Evangelicals who vote for liberal candidates, be they Democrat or Republican, are voting in favor of:

  • Government-sanctioned abortion;
  • The promotion of the homosexual lifestyle (or at least its acceptance by society);
  • Governmental intrusion into the lives of individuals and families (violating a Biblical principle of self-government, which the Lord uses to lead us to maturity in decisionmaking);
  • Attacks on Biblical morality generally;
  • Not allowing one’s faith to be manifested in public (think of Christian teachers who are muzzled in government-sponsored schools);
  • Planned government control of the economy (which violates a Biblical principle of property—which I call “God’s school of personal accountability” for individuals).

I could go on, but I’ll stop the list there.

One of the main reasons I’ve heard for why a Christian should support liberal policies is that we should be for social justice. I am all for justice—God’s justice. But the phrase “social justice” is code for socialism. That’s where that language originated. And socialism, despite what some think, is anti-Christian. It is not promoted in the Scriptures. I would ask those who think that it may be sanctioned there to go into my category called “Biblical Principles” and read some of my postings on that subject.

My goal in life at this point (and I believe it originates in God’s heart, not mine) is to point Christians to the Biblical principles that should be the grid through which we examine everything in this world. I take very seriously the admonition in Romans 12:2, which states, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

If you are a Christian and have been sympathizing and/or voting with the liberal philosophy of politics, I entreat you to go back to the Scriptures and continue to receive the renewal of the mind that the Lord wants to give.

I know this was a long posting, but if even one person leaves the liberal path because of it, I will consider it worthwhile.

The Bible and Homosexuality (Part II)

Why does God consider homosexuality a sin? Why not live and let live? The answer is deeper than homosexuality itself. It has to do with the heart of man and his desire to rebel against the way God has set things up to work. God fashioned men and women the way He did to create the family structure. The physical characteristics and obvious differences between men and women are not cosmic accidents, but a grand design.

Paul the Apostle

Paul the Apostle

The Apostle Paul, in Romans 1, lays out the case: men suppress the truth of God, even though they know He is real; therefore, they are without excuse. They know God, Paul says, but don’t honor Him or give Him thanks. As a result, they become foolish, even while professing themselves wise. That’s why God gives them over “in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,” he concludes. The next passage is focused on one type of impurity:

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

Paul then says that such a person has a “depraved mind,” doing “things which are not proper.” He provides a list of other sinful actions as well—homosexuality is just one example—then adds:

. . . and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

That’s where we have traveled as a society: we now give hearty approval to the homosexual lifestyle. How did this happen? We’ll look at the political and cultural agenda tomorrow.

The Bible and Homosexuality (Part I)

Part of God's Judgment on Sodom Had to Do with Its Homosexual Practices

The first place we see homosexuality mentioned in Scripture is in the account of the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. Angels in the guise of mem arrive in Sodom and are invited to stay at the home of Lot, Abraham’s nephew.

The homosexuals of the city demand that Lot send out the men for sexual relations. The angels/men make the homosexuals blind to break up the mob.

When judgment falls on Sodom, God was also judging its homosexuality. We see this in the New Testament book of Jude, which says,

And the angels that did not keep within their original authority [under God], but abandoned their proper sphere, He [God] has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for the Judgment of the Great Day. And Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities, following a pattern like theirs, committing sexual sins and perversions, lie exposed as a warning of the everlasting fire awaiting those who must undergo punishment.

Those are not very politically correct words. Homosexuality is not simply an alternative lifestyle, according to Scripture. But why is this so? More on that tomorrow.

Principle: Sowing & Reaping (Part IV)

I ended the last post with this question from Psalms 11:3:

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?

The answer is actually quite simple: rebuild.

Now, I know that is easy to say and considerably harder to do. But there is no other choice.

Nehemiah followed God’s call to return to Israel from Persia. His task? Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. What he saw could have led him to despair, yet he had faith that the Lord had given him this job/ministry. He was going to have to get others to join him; he couldn’t do it alone. So he addressed the citizens of Jerusalem in this way:

Then I [Nehemiah] said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem that we may no longer be a reproach.” And I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me. . . . Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work.

Not one of us alone can rebuild what has been destroyed in this nation. We must work together. Our tasks will be different since we are all made with specific and unique talents. Yet if we do the part God has called us to do, the culture can change for the better, and the government can be restored to its original purpose.

This is why I teach. It’s why I accepted the invitation to chair a department at my university. I believe that the Lord can work through the teaching of history to provide a clearer perspective on His purposes. The new public policy degree can be the vehicle for training students for service in the government and in agencies that influence what the government’s policies will be.

This is why I blog. If my few words on a daily basis can help anyone understand better what the Lord wants of His people, then the time it takes to think and write is not wasted.

Those who name His name are called. They are chosen. They are to be about their Father’s business. His promise is that we will reap what we sow, so let’s get busy sowing. The foundations need to be reestablished. The walls need to be rebuilt.

Principle: Sowing & Reaping (Part III)

I’ve spent two days talking about how important it is to sow Biblical principles in our society. Yesterday, I noted that no matter how well we sow, there will always be those who refuse to accept God’s truths. Sowing the right seeds will not automatically result in reaping the right harvest. The soil/heart in which they are sown must receive them. Yet there is the promise from God that sowing the right seeds generally will bring a good harvest.

In early America, many Biblical seeds were sown. That’s not to say that everything was Biblical or that everyone was Christian, but a consensus did exist in that society, a consensus that accepted the Biblical framework of thinking.

Critics will point to problems such as slavery to try to question this assertion, but all I’m saying is that people generally agreed on the Biblical basis for understanding how society should function. This agreement led to some rather positive developments, not the least of which was our federal republic form of government. Marriage was a respected institution, established by God. Moral values were based on Biblical concepts. Yes, people violated them, but the violations were noted and disapproved.

About the middle of the nineteenth century, with the ascendance of Darwinian thought, the seeds that were being sown began to change. Today, the elites of society—in government, the media, and education—have pretty much accepted the new consensus: man is not a special being made in the image of God.

These new seeds have led to disastrous changes: abortion is now commonplace, the push is on for same-sex marriage, we have a mania for saving “Mother Earth” (a pagan idea), and the government is moving ever more relentlessly toward socialist control of every aspect of our lives. We have adopted the idea that our Constitution is a “living document” that can be altered by any judge with a desire to place his or her stamp on the future. The state now controls most education. We will learn whatever the state deems appropriate.

Psalms 11:3 declares:

If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?

I will comment on that in the next post.

Principle: Sowing & Reaping (Part II)

Jesus related the following parable to His disciples:

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.

In my last post, I noted that Christians are to be sowing the seeds of God’s principles. As we sow, people respond differently to the truths we are sharing. Some people are so closed off against the truth, the principles/seeds bounce off the hard ground of their hearts and disappear.

He continued:

Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.

This is one degree better, but still unproductive. The principles might get an initial hearing, and the hearers may even receive them with joy, but, as Jesus later explains, the truths never take root. The hearers may believe for a while, then fall away. 

As the sower continued sowing, he came to another type of soil:

Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.

Jesus describes these people as those who do genuinely hear the principles and want to accept them, but they allow life’s worries, riches, and pleasures to crowd them out. They do not mature, He says. I think that lack of maturity applies both to the principles and to the people themselves.

Finally, though, there is success:

Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.

Those are the people, Jesus notes, who have what He calls “good and noble” hearts, people “who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

The world is filled with all four types of soils, or hearts. I see each type in class on a daily basis. Some students, no matter how hard you try, are not open at all to what you are saying. Others find it interesting and they perk up when they hear, but it never takes root. Still others understand, but they allow the cares of life to keep them from becoming productive for God.

Yet there are the good, noble, and open hearts who recognize God’s truth when they hear it, they rejoice in what they hear, and they flourish as they take His principles and apply them to their lives. The “crop” they will produce in the future will make all the effort of sowing worthwhile.

Being a sower/teacher is not always immediately rewarding, but the Lord provides encouragement along the way. As I said in the last post, the promise of Galatians 6:7-9 is that we shall reap if we do not grow weary. Continue on—the Lord will show you that the promise is real.

Principle: Sowing & Reaping (Part I)

We sow seeds in the natural, but we do the same spiritually. A dictionary definition of the word “sow” points to the natural side when it says:

To scatter seed in the ground for the purpose of growth.

What is “seed?” Again, according to the dictionary:

That from which anything springs.

But then it moves the definition from the natural to the spiritual, when it adds this one word: PRINCIPLES. Christians, therefore, should be about the business of sowing principles into minds and hearts. If we do so, according to the definition, they will be the source from which good things spring.

The Scripture deals directly with this in Galatians 6:7-9:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.

This is a principle of cause and effect. Generally speaking, we will reap what we sow. That doesn’t mean that everything goes the way we would desire, but it does hold out the promise that God has set things up in such a way that we can be assured He will reward those who sow His truths.

The last part of the Scriptual passage is particularly appealing, promising that if we maintain our faith in sowing His principles, and do not give up, we will definitely reap according to His will. That promise brings hope in our current cultural and political situation. It means that no matter how difficult times may become, no matter how hypocritical men in power may be, no matter how the darkness may seem to overwhelm—God and His promises remain. We can always count on that.