Can a Christian Criticize the Government?

I recently watched a video in which the Bible teacher (who is really great, by the way) basically said that whoever is in authority in a government is the one God either wants in that position or allowed to take that position. His conclusion: it is an act of rebellion on a Christian’s part to criticize that authority.

Well, I must respectfully take exception to that viewpoint. Romans 13 does tell us that all authority comes from God, and that we have an obligation to obey authority. But I take that to mean that the concept of authority comes from God, not that every person in authority is His person.

Keep in mind that later in the same passage, the Apostle Paul provides the purpose of government: it is to punish evildoers and protect those who do right. Now, if the government is not fulfilling that God-given purpose, if it is instead protecting evildoers and punishing those who do right, are we to accept this without comment? If we go along with such authorities, we are aiding in the overthrow of a Biblical worldview and policies grounded in it. One example: 

President Obama’s latest decision lifting the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cells is a violation of the inalienable right to life given by God. It is granting permission to individuals to create embryos for the sole purpose of harvesting stem cells. These persons will never be given the right to live their lives. Real Christians must oppose policies such as this.

One more thing: if we say we can never criticize or oppose the government, aren’t we making government into God? Government officials are not the ultimate authority; they also must answer to the one true God. When we oppose unbiblical policies, we are obeying the one authority who established all other authorities.

Who Holds To a Biblical Worldview?

Being a Christian is more than having good feelings about Jesus. A real Christian maintains a set of beliefs that are foundational. If any of those basic beliefs are missing, that person either is not a genuine Christian or is teetering on the edge of losing the faith.

The Barna group defines a Biblical worldview as believing the following basics: that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.

How many people are on board with this definition? Well, among the general population, Barna says that less than 1 percent of the youngest adult generation [ages 18-23] has a Biblical worldview. Only 9 percent of all adult Americans have a Biblical worldview. It should be much better with those who identify themselves as Christians, right?

The sad truth is that only 19 percent of those self-identified Christians believe all the basics of the Christian faith. Less than half [46 percent] believe that moral truth is absolute; a mere 40 percent believe Satan is a real entity. If you want to see a fuller disclosure of the findings, go here.

Those who adhere to these truths must continue to spread the message of Romans 12:2: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Christianity is not a matter of the feelings; it is a changed heart and mind. Both are necessary for a right relationship with God.

A Little Break

Everyone needs a little R&R. I’m going to take a few days off from the blog. In the meantime, if you like what you have been reading, and you haven’t yet looked at some of the postings from earlier months, now might be a good time to do so.

I’ll return to the fray next week.

Self-Evident Truths & Inalienable Rights

When the Founders declared independence, they debated the document that Jefferson drafted. All the debate centered around the specific charges against the king. No one raised any objections or questions about the opening paragraphs.

The second paragraph, in particular, spoke of self-evident truths—beliefs that everyone in the room held to without needing some type of external evidence to bolster those beliefs. Self-evident truths are obvious; they are implanted by God Himself in each person. The Founders identified at least three self-evident rights that people possess: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These were granted by God; therefore, government could not take them away arbitrarily. That’s why they are called inalienable. Yes, someone may lose all three, dependent on his behavior [murdering another person means you may have your life taken from you by the state; theft may result in your imprisonment, which would also impact any pursuit of happiness]. But the state cannot take these away without a sound reason.

That paragraph does say that these are not necessarily the only inalienable rights God gives; it says that they are “among” the rights. So that leaves the door open to other inalienable rights that may be self-evident as well. What those other rights might be must be understood within the context of the 18th century when the Declaration of Independence was written. They would have to somehow be connected to basic rights that all people accepted as self-evident. The key to knowing them, during that era, was knowing the Bible and the God who granted them.

We have changed the formula in our day. Now we have concluded that government is the source of rights. We have made some things into self-evident truths and inalienable rights that the Founders never would have imagined. You might recognize some of them in this recent political cartoon.

How have we come to this? I hate to sound like a broken record, but I will repeat: we are at this point because we have rejected God as our source. We no longer think Biblically as a society. The only solution is to return to that Biblical basis and renew our thinking. We must break up the new foundations that are being laid and place the historic Christian faith once again as our cornerstone.

The Obama Work Ethic

This is quite an eye-opener. I submit it for your consideration. At this point, I won’t comment further; I’ll save that for a later post. I do believe, though, that it confirms what I have sensed all along.

For now, I will copy this comment from Townhall.com, from someone who knew Barack Obama when he was “in charge” of the Harvard Law Review:

As President of the law review, a place where many of the organization’s officers spent many hours per week working, Obama was well known for his penchant of “working from home.”  Ahem.  In other words, he just wasn’t around much at all.

This is something I didn’t mention much during the campaign.  In fairness, it seemed to me, one’s behavior as President of the Harvard Law Review wouldn’t necessarily be predictive of one’s behavior as President of the United States; even if Obama had been more than ready to move on to bigger and better things during his Review term, surely serving as Leader of the Free World would be a substantial enough job to satisfy even him.

But now, seeing his willingness to delegate, his seeming disinterest in the hard work and nitty gritty of the job he’s coveted so much and so long, it’s hard not to wonder: Is this just who Barack Obama is?

The Onslaught Continues

We are being told, by anonymous sources at the White House, that on Monday, President Obama will sign an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. This has led one pro-life advocate, Rep. Chris of New Jersey, to refer to Obama as the “abortion president.”

Congressman Smith
Congressman Smith

In his statement, Smith asks, “Why does the president persist in the dehumanizing of nascent human life when better alternatives exist? Human embryo-destroying stem cell research is not only unethical, unworkable and unreliable–it is now, demonstrably unnecessary.”

Why indeed? This is purely ideological. Remember, as a state senator in Illinois, Obama fought against a law that would have protected the life of a baby delivered alive during an abortion. Smith is correct in referring to Obama as the abortion president.

And so the onslaught against innocent human life continues in this administration.

The Rush Strategy

Limbaugh: The Truth Detector
Limbaugh: The Truth Detector

Obama and company have zeroed in on their number one enemy, and the man they consider to be the nation’s premier demagogue: Rush Limbaugh.

What is Rush’s crime? Apparently, it’s that he is vocal about his disagreements with Obama’s policies—and that nearly 20 million people listen to him daily.

Obama’s strategists, which include some of the worst characters from the Clinton years such as James Carville and Paul Begala, have decided that the Republican party will lose even more support if they can paint Limbaugh with the brush of “party leader.” He’s so outrageous, they believe, that he will repel more people than he will attract.

The strategy also depends on mangling Limbaugh’s words, something at which those advisors are expert. Rush said, in his speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee, that he wants Obama to fail. Carville and Begala have translated that into “Rush wants America to fail.”

I’ve commented on this before. Let me be very clear here. I want Obama to fail also. Why? Because his plans are destructive of the sanctity of human life, the Constitution upon which this country depends, economic liberty, and the Christian ethic as a whole. How can I ever want those plans to succeed? That’s not the same, though, as wanting the country to fail. In fact, if Obama succeeds in his designs, that will be the death of America as we have known it.

Therefore, I agree with Rush Limbaugh. As a Christian, as a believer in constitutionalism, as a proponent of a moral free market, I want better for this nation than what Obama promises to deliver.

I warned before the election that Obama was not someone who would treat dissenters kindly. He’s not used to being crossed or questioned. In the insulated, socialistic world in which he has thrived, he has been treated as a prince. Principled opposition will not be tolerated. Instead, those who disagree with him will be subjected to a campaign of lies and distortion. They will be labeled as enemies of the people.

We’ve only begun to witness what he will do to stamp out criticism of him and his policies.