God’s Law & Man’s Law

William BlackstoneSir William Blackstone wrote Commentaries on the Laws of England, volumes published from 1765-1769. They became the standard for understanding how English laws were to be applied. The timing of these volumes was opportune for the American colonists, as they also looked to Blackstone for their basis in law.

The preface, or introduction, to these volumes lays out the foundational beliefs that were supposed to govern English laws. They were as follows:

  • Blackstone's CommentariesThe Law of Nature=The Will of God;
  • Man’s reason is given to discover
    the Law of Nature;
  • Happiness is based only on observing God’s
    laws; there is no true happiness outside of His laws;
  • God’s law is higher than man’s law;
  • Corrupt reason needs Revealed Law (Scripture) to understand God and His ways;
  • Revealed law is a fuller and more accurate explanation of the Law of Nature;
  • All human laws must rest upon the Law of Nature and Revealed Law.

Notice how different this is from how we explain law today. How many legislatures and judges take into account the necessity of ensuring that human laws are in accordance with God’s law? We not only ignore what God has said, but we don’t even follow our own written cornerstone of law—the Constitution.

The American colonists, as they approached the dispute with Britain’s government, took Blackstone seriously. All of their arguments were based on the twin foundations of God’s law and the human laws that had been written in agreement with God’s law.

Alliance Defending FreedomOne organization in America today, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), has set up a Blackstone Fellowship Program for law students who seek to adhere to this understanding of law. In the vast field of all those innumerable law schools that have no fidelity to this original concept of law, this program helps place law students in internships with cooperating lawyers who seek to restore the idea that God’s law comes first, and that all human laws must be in accord with His.

This approach is now in the minority, but there are scattered voices continuing to promote a more Biblical orientation in law. Blackstone is a good place to start in grasping why the American colonies took a stand at that time in our history.

Biblical Consistency & the Renewed Mind

Yesterday’s post singled out the most foundational problem in the church today—a weak/falsified salvation message. Today, I turn to the problem of the misapplication of the faith, either by lack of knowledge or the adoption of ideologies that contradict Biblical principles. I want to be clear that many of the people I am referring to today may actually be sincere Christians, but uninformed or led astray by ideas that sound good on the surface but are inconsistent with Biblical truth.

When we become Christians, we begin the process of getting our thoughts straightened out. That process doesn’t occur all at once. A key Scriptural passage with respect to this is found in Romans 12:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 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.

This passage reminds us that we must continually present ourselves for God’s service; it’s not a one-time thing. It then goes on to tell us not to think the way the world does, but to have renewed minds—in other words, we may have to, in certain areas, start again from scratch in our thinking, and make sure it lines up with God’s truth. The word translated “transformed” is the same Greek word used when Jesus is on the Mount of Transfiguration, when the disciples see Him in all His glory for a few moments. That same kind of transformation must take place in our minds, and it’s only by way of this transformation that we’ll have any idea what God’s will may be. If we approach everything from our old way of thinking, we will miss God’s will and adopt practices contrary to what He wants.

Some of the most disturbing examples of this are found in the lives of those who claim the Christian faith yet are barely troubled by the moral trends in our society. For instance, how can a genuine Christian not stand firm against abortion? Yet there are voices in the church world who downplay the significance of this “legal” practice. It’s usually those same voices who see no problem with homosexuality and same-sex marriage. They have been swayed by the world’s logic in these areas; they accept the “discrimination” argument with respect to homosexuality, comparing it to discrimination based on race. They swallow the explanation that some people are just born that way, that God made them to be homosexual, so it cannot be a sin.

By taking these stances, one becomes allied with organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which are militantly anti-Christian. That, by itself, should give pause and lead to some rethinking.

When it comes to abortion, they may say they don’t like it, but that it’s not as important as helping the poor. Their gospel comes dangerously close to a purely social gospel that seeks to take care of material needs while relegating the salvation of the individual to a secondary status. If they have integrated a Marxist worldview into their theology, they see Jesus as more of a liberator in this life than the One who sets us free from our sins.

What I’ve discovered about those who hold to these views is their total lack of understanding of the Biblical principles of governance in civil society. They don’t grasp the importance of the rule of law, which puts everyone on the same plane before the law and guarantees the protection of God-given rights. To them, following documents such as the Constitution seems outmoded; guided more by their emotions than Biblical thinking, they just want the government to do whatever they deem necessary to take care of needs.

They also have little comprehension of the Biblical principles that undergird economics. Moved by emotion once again, they believe the government should just spend lavishly to meet every need and take whatever it needs from its citizens to accomplish the task. I’m not sure the national debt even enters their minds.

To top it off, they are unaware of the utter futility of all this government spending. Trillions upon trillions of dollars have never extinguished poverty; in fact, the only thing this spending orgy will ever achieve is the extension of poverty to millions more. Study after study has shown, over and over, that dependence on government largesse only worsens our problems, creating a culture of dependency and destroying initiative.

The Christian Left, as it is called in the media, is, in the name of Christ, transforming genuine Christianity into a statist ideal that ultimately undermines the very faith they say they believe. Government replaces God and becomes a new idol, to the extent that many of them are not even bothered by the trampling of religious liberty currently underway through Obamacare.

I began this post by asserting that many of the people I’m talking about are sincere Christians who are merely uninformed or misled. However, there is a segment that either have abandoned, or are on the verge of abandoning, the faith altogether. I’m glad God is the final judge of their salvation. Yet I, and all Christians, do have a responsibility to examine the fruit of the lives of those who claim they are Christians; we can make tentative judgments. That is what I have done today.

What do I hope to gain by sharing my concerns? First, I want to embolden those who are undergoing the renewal of the mind. Don’t shrink back. Stand for the truth as God opens it to you. Second, I hope to awaken some who currently consider themselves part of the so-called Christian Left. Please rethink your views. You are leading others into serious error. Don’t be molded by the world’s standards and the guidance it offers. It is deception. And please heed Jesus’ warning:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.


Legislating Morality Cannot Be Avoided

One of the arguments against Santorum is that he’s talking too much about social issues, and that’s going to spell doom for Republicans because they need to concentrate on the economy. We need to get something straight here: when people divide issues between “social” and “economic,” they are creating an artificial separation. As Santorum clearly explains, both in his book and his public appearances, the social traumas we face—family breakdown, abortion, a pleasure-for-me-first mentality—are at the root of our economic woes.

All the relevant statistics show that poverty abounds in single-parent homes, while the poverty rate in two-parent homes is something like 6%. Children growing up in broken homes are far more likely to end up on public assistance, either via welfare or the prison system, the latter being at taxpayer expense also. Government policies that serve to discourage marriage and penalize through taxation those who are responsibly raising children should be a primary concern for politicians.

Freedom of religion was important enough to the Founders to have it mentioned first in a list of freedoms in the Bill of Rights. Churches have always been exempted from taxation because they promote a public good. Now the Obama administration wants to throttle freedom of religion in the guise of providing healthcare. It’s not hyperbole to insist that the current occupant of the White House harbors a certain animosity toward those who hold to conservative/orthodox Christian views.

The old bugaboo that critics of social conservatives continue to repeat is the canard that “You can’t legislate morality.” They emit dire warnings about the “theocrats” who want to invade your bedroom and force an outdated morality on the nation. This criticism is essentially dishonest on all points.

The idea that you can’t legislate morality begs for a definition. What is morality? Well, it deals with the distinction between right and wrong. What are laws? They are statements of what is right and what is wrong. Murder, for instance, is against the law because it wrongly takes the life of the innocent. I would argue that abortion fits into that category as well. Theft is wrong because the thief purloins property that belongs to someone else. Fraud is wrong because it is deception and lying. Murder, theft, fraud. Does anyone really want us to stop enacting and enforcing such laws simply because they have a religious basis? After all, the Bible speaks out against all of these. So when we pass laws to punish those who do such things, are we stepping into an area where government is not supposed to enter? It would be completely foolish to believe so.

Bottom line: all laws are statements of morality. It’s not that we cannot legislate morality; it’s that we cannot avoid legislating morality. The only real question here is whose morality are we going to legislate?

When President Obama imposes mandates on religious organizations that run counter to their deeply held beliefs, isn’t he legislating morality? He’s saying, in effect, that withholding contraception is “wrong.” Soon, he will demand abortion services be provided as well because he believes it is “wrong” not to do so.

So let’s do away with the dishonesty. Morality is the basis for all laws. So-called social issues are at the heart of the spiritual, emotional, and mental health of a nation—and yes, of the economic health as well. The two should never be separated. Rick Santorum is correct to make the linkage.