Saturday, March 27, 2010

THE CHRISTIAN'S BILL OF RIGHTS
...living Christlike in a pagan society

UPDATE:
Have you wondered where do our Federal Tax $'s go? Review this amazingly helpful and detailed graph here



TEA PARTY is a good and necessary movement in our nation.
It is the citizenery of this nation upholding the constitution
under the God given freedom we all enjoy in our country. Considering
the current health care debate and the unconsitutional actions
by some within the Democratic party... accountability is a vital thing.

But amid all the rhetoric, empty promises and spin by politicians 
that usually premps an important and critical election year, 
it is good to remind ourselves of what is truly valuable and eternal;
not just being good citizens in our cities to our neighbors, 
but also being good citizens of the City of God. 

IOW, the cross waves higher than the flag...


"To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things" -1 Corinthians 4:11-13 (ESV)

In Augustine's brilliant tome, "The City of God", he depicts members of two societies: The City of God and The City of Man. Both are bound by God's sovereignty; both are under the authority of His Word, but the two cities posses very different realities. One is eternal, the other is temporal; one is heavenly, the other is eartly; one is perfect, the other is human. But yet both are under the divine will, purpose. plan and pleasure of God. For the believer in Christ, the tension is living faithfully by God's Word in The City of Man while pressing on to The City of God. Some have suggested that Augustine's story is the justification for believers asserting their political societal rights and engagement in the culture wars to restore morality where there exists moral decline; that this is what it means to love ones neighbor.

One well respected theologian rightly states, Amen! I couldn't agree more with my brother.
"We love our neighbor because we first love God. In His sovereignty, our Creator has put us within this cultural context in order that we may display His glory by preaching the Gospel, confronting persons with God’s truth, and serving as agents of salt and light in a dark and fallen world."


He goes on rightly to say, James calls it "the royal law" in confronting the sin of partiality in the house of God. Paul says that whole law is fulfilled and summed up in that one phrase. And the Lord Himself says that it is second only to "Love the Lord your God..." This is the most clear evidence of our regeneration in Him--when we "love [our] neighbor as [ourself]." The Lord is giving His church here a clear way we are to live as His redeemed people that pleases and brings glory to Him while we are "strangers and aliens" on this earth (cp, Matthew 5:40-44).
"we understand that when we are instructed by Scripture to love God and then to love our neighbor as ourselves, we are given a clear mandate for the right kind of cultural engagement."


Ultimately as believers in the Lord, we do this for His glory and for the sake of gospel witness (cp, ! Cor. 6:1-8). The Christian being "salt and light" is not a call to create and promote the vaneer of cultural civility; but a call to give up our rights, live for Jesus, and point others to the gospel. The Apostle Paul was once a violent persecutor of the church; but then the Lord regenerated him into a humble, loving, meek pastor of the church. That kind of radical life transformation only happens through the life-changing gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Loving our neighbor means we are by God's grace to love others how Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. And it is considering other peoples needs more important than our own--even if it means our own demise. Biblical love is not driven by self-preservation, by political suasion, or even by exacting our own revenge against others when we feel we have been wronged. It is "others-driven" in response to loving God. Biblical love is not an emotion or a feeling; it is not conditioned upon another's response. Genuine "agape" love doesn't love someone else because they are lovely, lovable or doing loving things. God's love is unmerited; undeserving; unfailing; self-sacrificial; and unreciprocated. It is not demanding, nor self-seeking, nor protecting its own station in life. Agape love... gives ones life away. Once again, here is how high the Lord Himself has set the bar: "Love one another as I have loved you and gave Myself for you." This is love that's driven not by the political; not by the social; not by the cultural or by the personal; but love that is driven solely by the biblical in response to what Jesus Christ has done for us.

In an age where people are consumed with asserting their rights, it is an "other worldly love" that compels us to lay down our rights as Christians to ensure a real witness for our faith in the Lord Jesus resulting in our neighbors experiencing the benefits of grace in our own lives - which is good and profitable for all men (Titus 1:8).

In that spirit, I humbly offer you the following.

The Christian's Bill of Rights
1. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we have only one right: and that is to give up all rights to ourselves (2 Cor. 5:14-16; Romans 14:7-9).
2. We have the right to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him (Mt. 16:24-26).
3. We have the right to esteem others more highly than ourselves; and love our neighbor as ourselves (Mt. 22:39;Phil. 2:1-5).
4. We have the right to fulfill the law of Christ in bearing one another's burdens of sin (Gal. 6:1-3).
5. We have the right to be wronged and to maintain a faithful testimony (1 Cor. 6:1-8).
6. We have the right to live in unreciprocated, self-sacrificial love (Eph. 5:1-2).
7. We have the right to forgive others the smaller debt, as God in Christ has forgiven us the larger debt (Eph. 4:31-32; Matthew 18:12-35).
8. We have the right to suffer for the gospel and to take the blows for the One who took the blows for us (1 Peter 2:21-24)
9. We have the right to be "subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men" (Titus 3:1-2).
10. We have the right to not be political agitators trading the truth of His Word to play politics with men's souls; thinking that true spiritual change occurs through legislation rather than the transforming power of the gospel of grace. (1 Peter 4:10-16).
11. We have the right to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39).
12. We have the right to be stripped of all earthly things (Matthew 5:40-42).
13. We have the right to not repay evil for evil and to be at peace with all men as much as it depends on you (Romans 12:17-18).
14. We have the right to love our enemies, do good to them that hate us, bless those who curse us and pray for those that despitefully use us (Matthew 5:44-45).
15. We have the right to pursue holiness-not personal happiness (1 Peter 1:13-16).
16. We have the right not to be ashamed of the gospel (2 Tim. 1:6-18).
17. We have the right not to harbor revenge, anger, bitterness, clamoring, wrath, malice and slander when wronged by another (Ephesians 4:31).
18. We have the right not to quench or grieve the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19).
19. We have the right to repent of and not cherish our sins (Psalm 66:18).
20. We have the right to guard the trust; and to contend for the once for all delivered to the saints faith (1 Timothy 6:20; Jude 1:3).
21. We have the right to train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:1-3).
22. We have the right to reflect God's covenantal relationship with us by honoring our vows in the covenant of marriage with our spouse Mt. 19:6).
23. We have the right to worship Christ Jesus as God of very God; Creator; Redeemer; Sovereign Lord and Ruler of all (Col. 1:15-19; Hebrews 1:8; Phil. 2:5-11).
24. We have the right to present our lives as living sacrifices everyday to God (Roms. 12:1-2).
25. We have the right to live in the expectancy and hope of the Lord's return by which we purify ourselves (Roms. 12:1-2).
26. We have the right to march daily on our knees in prayer; praying for our leaders in government; our church leaders; our fellow believers; our families; and the lost (1 Timothy 2:1-3; Ephesians 6:18-21).
27. We have the right to praise and glorify God according to how He has revealed Himself through the pages of His Word (Col. 3:16-17).
28. We have the right to honor our local church pastors; for they keep watch over our souls as those who will give an account (Hebrews 13:17).
29. We have the right to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20).
30. We have the right to have no rights apart from Christ Himself; "for whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it" (Matt. 16:25: John 15:5).

A Puritan Prayer for Those Who Have Surrendered Their Rights in this Life

"Accept His worthiness for my unworthiness, His sinlessness for my transgressions, His purity for my uncleanness, His sincerity for my guile, His truth for my deceits, His meekness for my pride, His constancy for my backslidings, His love for my enmity, His fullness for my emptiness, His faithfulness for my treachery, His obedience for my lawlessness, His glory for my shame, His devotedness for my waywardness, His holy life for my unchaste ways, His righteousness for my dead works, His death for my life!"

this has been an updated and reposted encore presentation

39 comments:

Bhedr said...

My apologies Steve. You do believe the Love of God cannot be measured.This is your best article yet. This nation is never going to truly seeeeee God until we resolve to do what is written here.

I don't understand either why such truth can be exposited by a teacher of the Word and then such a detour into political activism taken and the guilt trips laid.

Then again I don't understand why Presbyterians believe in Infant Baptism(a section I feel like tearing out of my Geneva Study Bible) or why the reformers tortured and killed Ana-Baptists.

It is in the same vein.

Has anybody ever listened to The Pineapple Story? You will find it on Gothard's website. In it a missionary yeilds his rights and the village tribe finaly sees God.

John D. Chitty said...

Excellent presentation of our "bill of rights."

To truly think through the implications of each of these scriptural "rights" (defined as our "civic duty in the City of God")is to have the Law of God shine its accusatory and convicting light on our moral corruption.

To complement such an extensive exposition of Law with the Puritan's prayer that God would trade the petitioner's graceless behavior for the benefits of Christ crucified and risen freely offered in the Gospel is exactly what I pray to hear every Sunday in worship.

Steve has provided a commendable model of biblical evangelism and worship: as my old fundamentalist associate pastor used to say, "You gotta get 'em lost before you can get 'em saved!"

As for the implications of the citizen of the City of God living in, but not of, the City of Man, I believe it would be beneficial to clarify that misguided "Christian" political lobbying is not the same as the vital civic duty to pray for our leaders with a view toward God's granting that we live a quiet and peaceful life in this world, and seek God's will in finding a political platform to support in this government "of the people, by the people and for the people" which best reflects God's precepts for the citizens of the City of Man in the light of the Laws of the City of God. Whether the believer winds up on the Left, Right or teeter-tottering Center is between the servant and his Master and not an Article of Faith. Unfortunately, too many on all sides of the issues forget this simple and profound principle: "In essentials unity, in nonessentials diversity, in all things charity."

Jus Divinum said...

"1. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we have only one right: and that is to give up all rights to ourselves (2 Cor. 5:14-16; Romans 14:7-9)."

Why then did Paul, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, appeal to his rights as a Roman citizen in order to be kept from being unnecessarrily beaten? See Acts 22:25. I remember someone mentioning this in a sermon once.

Jus Divinum said...

"But then in the same breath he draws this conclusion: 'In other words, love of God leads us to love our neighbor (agreed) — and love of neighbor requires our participation in the culture and in the political process.' Say what? How does one make that kind of intellectual leap from the clearly biblical to the pragmatically political?"

OK, let's try out this reasoning in another context. To paraphrase:

"'...and love of neighbor requires our participation in fixing his flat tire when his car is on the side of the road.' Say what? How does one make that kind of intellectual leap from the clearly biblical to the pragmatically social?"

It seems to me that you can't find a 'verse' that says you should help a guy fix his flat tire. Likewise, there are no verses about American democracy. Still, isn't it the case that as long as _it is a good thing_ to help fix someone's flat tire, then doing so is an application of love to one's neighbor? (I mean, if we can't find a verse, then is stuff like this forbidden?) Likewise, isn't it the case that as long as _it is a good thing_ to live in a society where God's moral principles are the law of the land, then _that_ can be an application of love to one's neighbor? As Mr. Camp himself put it, both the City of God and the City of Man "are under the authority of His Word."

"Loving our neighbor is synonymous with cultural engagement?"

One could just as well ask, 'Loving our neighbor is synonymous with fixing flat tires?' I think both these questions are strange, for the same reason.

"Surely that brother is not suggesting that everytime 'love our neighbor' is used in the N.T. (seven times), it is stating a 'mandate... for cultural engagement"' is he?

Again, 'Surely that brother is not suggesting that everytime "love our neighbor" is used in the N.T. (seven times), it is stating a "mandate... for fixing tires" is he?' Therefore, we ought not to fix flat tires. Something's wrong here with this logic.

It seems to me that the distinction between explicit concept and legitimate application is being overloooked here. If you have to restrict yourself to the _explicit_ words of Scripture (i.e., you can't do it unless you can find the words in the Bible), then you can't do much of anything in our modern society.

"Biblically, this is not the purpose of that second great commandment."

Then neither is fixing flat tires. I think the logical end of this approach to applied biblical ethics is that we can hardly do anything in life, including common-sense stuff. Neither fixing tires nor the political process produces guaranteed, long-term, spiritual good. But is that really a reason not to do either?

"Is that the role of His church and the clear teaching of Scripture?"

It's not the role of the church to fix flat tires, but surely individual Christians can do this. Likewise for political efforts, right?

Anyway, no offense intended. Just some thoughts.

Howie Luvzus said...

Brian,
As one who identifies theologically with the Anabaptists, I appreciate your comments.
Steve,
In a land where individuals demand their rights, this article clearly demonstrates that Christians must stand against culture. I really appreciate the work here. While I disagreed with you on a previous post, I must say I'm very humbled and impressed with your work here.

In Him,
Howie

Bhedr said...

Tks How He Loves us,

Have you ever read "Trail of Blood"? Do a quere on it; it can be downloaded for free now. I think Byron Station baptist Church will give it to you. They sell them in red packs as well.

Jus Divinum,

Indeed Paul apealled with his citizenship and John the Baptist stood against the sin of Herod; but neither of them bartered, lobbied and compromised in order to satisfy their rights. Paul and John used what they could and gave the rest to God. They didn't go beyond it.

What has evangelical Co-belligerance gotten us? Judges, Presidents and senators as well as conseravative talking heads with hearts either warm or loyal to the Vatican. Did you see Jeb Bush kneel and kiss the ring of the Pope? He is a former protestant married to a latino Catholic(I love Latino's so please don't think I'm playing the race card) and now not only is he a Catholic, but he is a Knight of Columbus sworn to the ring of the Vatican.

Latino's take their Catholicism seriously. Did you hear earlier this week about what happened in Mexico? The evangelical's were shut out and threatened with jail unless they converted to Catholicism. It's on the way folks and Colson, Graham and Dobson are gleefully rolling this Trojan horse in the gates. I love all three of these men and I deeply and greivously pray that men like Campi and White can convince them of what they are doing. Love them back bro's and help them in the same way you helped Olsteen.

Brian

Bhedr said...

One other note:

Patrick Henry wanted the founding Baptists to Co-belligerate but they refused to do so. He remained a friend to them just the same; and evidently the courage in their hearts was infectious."Give me liberty or give me death!"

SJ Camp said...

Dear Jus (and all bloggers here):

I appreciate your thoughts. However, your “flat tire” example is a misplaced illustration for this theological discussion--missing the mark entirely.

The issue of co-belligerence is unlike your “flat tire” analogy in that many evangelicals today actually do believe that our participation in the political process and the hope of subsequent legislation; appointment of conservative judges; etc. IS the cure for the moral maladies flowing from the decline of traditional family values that we are currently experiencing in our nation. Rather than resorting to the heralding of the gospel, the preaching of God’s Word, and believers living out those truths in our neighborhoods; they appeal to government for that which only the body of Christ is given mandate—the salvation of men’s souls.

Your "flat-tire" analogy would hold up if you were suggesting that by lobbying millions of Christians to be co-belligerent by entering into the "tire business" and that by fixing flats we can rescue the nation from the moral decline it is in rather than through the heralding of the gospel—then you might come close to the benign attempts of ECBers today. (At least in the “tire business” people would actually get their flats fixed and with no moral or spiritual expectations.)

Your illustration thus leaves this discussion a bit "flat" and fails to confront this issue -"where the rubber meets the road."

Hope this clarify...
With the “steel-belted breastplate of righteousness”
Campi

PS - I can and do demonstrate biblically where the Lord, the Apostles, the O.T. prophets etc. never once resorted to political means or channels to address the moral ills and cultural deprivation of their time. They did the “unthinkable” - compared to what several evangelical leaders are doing today---they preached the gospel and saw lives actually changed; even those among Caesar’s household. The issue is simple: either you believe in the power of the gospel and the sufficiency of Scripture for all matters of life and godliness or you don’t. (cp, 2 Peter 1:3-4; 1 Peter 2:11-17; 4:10-16; 1 Cor. 2:2; Jer. 29:1-7; 1 Cor. 9:8-18; 2 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Psalm 19:7-11; Rom. 13:1-7, etc.)

Bhedr said...

Amen bro Campi! Amen!

Jus Divinum said...

Hello Mr. Camp,

Thank you for respponding to me, and clarifying. You say that:

"many evangelicals today actually *do believe* that our participation in the political process and the hope of subsequent legislation; appointment of conservative judges; etc. IS the cure for the moral maladies flowing from the decline of traditional family values that we are currently experiencing in our nation."

This is a pretty strong claim. Can you think of evangelicals who actually believe this? That political participation _is the cure for moral maladies_? I don't see people like Dobson or Mohler ever saying things like this, for example.

Keep in mind as well that people's _motivation_ for entering into political activism is not really relevant to whether political activism is right or wrong. Paul rejoiced that the gospel was preached, even if from bad or false motives. Of course, pollitical activism is not the gospel, but the point is that Paul did not condemn an activity because the people involved in it had wrong motives. So even if what you say is true, I don't see how it's an argument against political activism _per se_. But I still don't see how what you say is true anyway (that they _really believe_ that political activism _is the cure_ for moral maladies).

You also say that:

"Rather than resorting to the heralding of the gospel, the preaching of God’s Word, and believers living out those truths in our neighborhoods; they appeal to government for that which only the body of Christ is given mandate—the salvation of men’s souls."

This seems over the top to me. Evangelicals who call for political activism actually reject the heralding of the gospel? They're not committed to both? Who does or says this? And they appeal to government for the salvation of men's souls? This doesn't sound like any evangelical political activist I've heard of! I don't really think you're describing anyone important, are you? I mean, anyone who would believe _that_ would be seriously whacked, and we shouldn't take them seriously. But again, I don't know of anyone who actually believes this. Are you basing this on private correspondence or something? That I could understand.

You say: "With the 'steel-belted breastplate of righteousness'". LOL OK, you are a very funny man :-) I just bought four tires the other week :-)

You say:

"I can and do demonstrate biblically where the Lord, the Apostles, the O.T. prophets etc. never once resorted to political means or channels to address the moral ills and cultural deprivation of their time."

Yeah, but they never changed tires or coached Little League either. But surely since these things are good in and of themselves, it's OK to do them, even if there isn't a verse to cover it. Same for political activism. Let me put it to you this way: what if you met an evangelical political activist who _didn't_ think some stupid thing like it was "the cure" for moral maladies, or "saved men's souls" :-) , but just thought that it was one of many good things we could do in our society? Would you have a problem with _that_? To tell you the truth, I think all these guys fall into that category anyway. I don't see any of them saying what you say about them, but maybe I'm wrong. They want government to save men's souls? Man, that's whacked. Sounds like a cult :-)

You also say:

"The issue is simple: either you believe in the power of the gospel and the sufficiency of Scripture for all matters of life and godliness or you don’t."

I don't think the argument is over Scriptural sufficiency, but how we understand that doctrine; i.e., do we need an explicit verse for every individual activity? To illustrate, how do you justify the activity of coaching Little League, or fixing people's flat tires, if your view of the sufficiency of Scripture is that if there isn't an explicit command, then you can't do it? Maybe that's not your view, but it sure looks like you're assuming something like this when you talk about the evangelical political activists.

The reason why I choose these examples is because it looks like you're operating with the following principle: "It is wrong for Christians to cooperate with non-Christians for the sake of producing goods that are neither eternal nor spiritual." I can't think of any other argument that would rule out evangelical political activism as wrong. But surely that principle is false? Coaching Little League involves cooperating with non-Christians in order to bring about good that is neither eternal nor spiritual, and I'm sure millions of evangelical fathers do it every week. Are they therefore abandoning the sufficiency of Scripture or the gospel? I don't think so! Should we abandon Little League to the unbelievers? After all, it's not the gospel :-)

Anyway, thanks for listening. You don't have to reply to me. I know you're more busy than the people who comment on your blog :-) I guess my concern is that you're saying stuff about people that might not be true.

Jus Divinum said...

"1. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we have only one right: and that is to give up all rights to ourselves."

Does anyone agree with me that Ac 22:25 shows that the above statement, while surely well-intentioned and sincere, isn't really true? Where am I going wrong here? It doesn't look like Paul believed the above.

Efrayim said...

Jus,

It looks like a mater of context. Without a clear definition of those specific "rights" we are giving up, we may well find ourselves guessing and arguing for quite awhile.

My analogy would be this: a person buys a ticket to ride on a train that is going to his chosen destination. He has the right to buy the ticket. With the ticket he has the right to board the train. After boarding, he has the right to find a comfortable seat for the ride (within the class of travel purchased of course). While riding he has the right to purchase and consume food and beverages, look out the window, etc., etc..
Did his ticket gain him the right to tell the engineer how fast to drive the train? No. Which tracks to take? No. What color to paint the cars? No, etc., etc..

In other words, Shaul exercised his rights within the context of the rights he knew he had. He did not try to exercise his rights beyond the scope of what he had been taught by the Messiah.

Shaul walked in Torah, which gave him the wisdom to walk in the culture he lived in. His highest goal and purpose in life was to glorify Elohim and to preach the Good News of salvation through Yeshua HaMashiach to all men. Knowing that he could not do either from the grave, he performed some pretty nifty moves to keep on towards the goal.

So, yes, you have read that passage correctly. But taking it too far in either direction might cause the meaning to slip away. You may want to take a look at Acts 28:7-10. Looks like Shaul fixed a flat and left. No record of any preaching going on there.

All of us can memorize words, but there are far fewer of our number who really know what they mean.

Shalom,

Russ

SJ Camp said...

Very good Russ--great analogy. Jus, the context is everything here. Paul was appealing through a Roman citizens rights... he could have been denied. For sake of example if he had been did he have the right to try and "muscle" the political forces to accomodate his "right"? No. If fact, he had a higher duty to the One who called him to live and serve as a Christian and an apostle to the gentiles. Paul had many rights, but chose not to exercise them (1 Cor. 9:8-18) for a greater purpose--a more eternal one.

That's the "sentiment" of what I was trying to say. Christians today are fighting for "religious rights." What are they? What is a religious right they are willing to battle unbelievers on? Prayer? We can pray anywhere--no right has been violated; the reading of God's Word? We can still do that too--but even if they (the government) should outlaw public Bible reading, we continue to obey God rather than man (Acts 4) and read away. If they break into our churches throw us in jail and persecute us for doing what is honorable and obedient to our Lord, then I say sweet incarceration. Though we may be chained, “the Word of God is never chained!”

Political entities do not set the tone for the spiritual/moral/family needs of our nation—the church should be. “As the church goes, so goes the world,” Leonard Ravenhill said, and I agree with him. Listen, the key issue here is not fighting moral ills through political channels or even desiring a societal rightness in the face of injustice. The issue is, are believers in Christ going to live like believers? Is the church going to resume her duty in preaching and proclaiming the gospel of grace in the marketplace where we live? Are we willing to love our neighbor as ourselves and give our lives away for the cause of Christ? Or are we going to continue to waste millions of dollars and expending much energy for that which is temporal (trying to change a run-a-way judiciary; or challenge virtual filibusters by changing Sunday evening worship services into political rallies trying to excite and band evangelicals together to fight and vilify anyone in our path who doesn’t agree with our moral agenda) to achieve a moral cultural veneer of family-value- ?

"Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him." Oh how we need those words branded on the front of every church in America again. Unless you're content showing up to church at “eleven o'clock and leaving twelve o'clock dull”--then let's call people to radical Christianity--biblical Christianity once again.

“Woe is me if I do not boycott non-Christian entities if they support immorality in the marketplace.” Is that what Paul said? “Woe is me if I do not turn God’s people into a religious lobbying group to try and bring back family values for our nation.” Of course not. We have eternal things to do y’all—and it is not for cowards. Legislation is not the answer; life transformation through regeneration in Jesus Christ is.

Let the “children" play politics—but for those who are mature in the Lord, let us preach the gospel.

FOCUS ON THE FAITH,
The cross is a radical thing...
Steve
Romans 15:20

Jus Divinum said...

Well, the problem here, Mr. Camp, is that you didn't actually address my arguments. Oh well, I know you are busy. It looked like you copy and pasted something in, but it wasn't what I was asking about.

As for Russ's "analogy," of course rights aren't unlimited. No one is asking for unlimited rights. _Among many other things_, religious people are asking that the right of free exercise of their religion, stated in the Constitution, be preserved. I say "among many other things" because I believe it is a misnomer to reduce the entirety of "ECB" to 'religious rights' anyway. It's also about abortion, marriage, and so on.

Alice said...

Someone said upthread, "This is a pretty strong claim. Can you think of evangelicals who actually believe this?" (that participation in the political process is the cure for moral maladies)--and I say, yup. And I'm related to a bunch of them. Maybe you would be surprised at how many people, people I believe are truly saved, somehow equate God with the United States. Who would rather fight for their perceived rights than release themselves to His sovereignty. It's sad. As for Dr. Mohler subscribing to that opinion, I've never heard or read anything to indicate that. As for James Dobson, there I'm not so sure.

Marcian said...

I truly loved the Christian's Bill of Rights. James 1:21b

The Spokesman said...

Thanks Steve! The Church's responsiblity is living Christlike in a pagan society and not legislating morality. Actually the whole "Moral Majority" movement is only a clever disguise for the ecumenical movement.

theoldadam said...

bhedr,

"Then again I don't understand why Presbyterians believe in Infant Baptism..."

Maybe because they actually trust in God?

- Steve Martin

gigantor1231 said...

theoldadam

Please scripturally support your statement that 'belief in infant baptism' is trusting in God!
It seems to me that water baptism is not a guarantee that one is saved, whether a infant or a adult. Please elaborate.

Only Look said...

"For the time has come for judgment to begin with God's household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?" 1 Peter 4:17

David said...

I enjoyed this post immensely, Steve. I need to keep this somewhere, as you posted it on my 30th birthday. I need this reminder as I press on.

Your posts are have such richness and depth to them, and I am so glad I stumbled upon this blog. Thank you so much for your heart, which comes through in each post.

theoldadam said...

Gigantor 1231,

I never said that water baptism is a guarantee of anything.

When you trust that God actually shows up and does something in baptism, you are trusting that God will do what He says He will do.

The word of God says that in baptism you receive the forgiveness of sins, and the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

When we call upon God, invoke His triune name (where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I - Matt. 18:20)

To depend on your faith, your serious
commitment to God, you are in sense trusting in something you do, think, or feel.

When you tust in something that God says He will do, you put the onus on God and not yourself.

Hence, my comment about trusting in what God does in baptism.

When faith faith comes to the infant, baptism is complete.

I am a Christian, and I was baptised as an infant. I trust that what God did for me in my baptism was true and valid and is still in effect for me.

I hope that clarified my position a little bit.

Believe me, I know the whole infant baptism thing is very troubling to a lot of people so I'm not trying to make you a convert (to infant baptism), but rather I just want to give you another viewpoint with regard to the subject.

Thanks very much!

- Steve Martin

GUNNY said...

"... the cross waves higher than the flag."

Nicely, and succinctly stated. Pithy, yet powerfully pregnant.

Sadly, far too many are more concerned with being good Americans than good Christians, more concerned with the kingdom of Uncle Sam than the Kingdom of God.

Alan Wheeler said...

SJ Camp said:
"We have eternal things to do y’all—and it is not for cowards. Legislation is not the answer; life transformation through regeneration in Jesus Christ is."



Amen, brother Steve! When I read that, I immediately thought of Rom. 12: 2. Again, Amen!

not4sale said...

f course, once we adopt the first right to sacrifice self, the rest are not rights but obligations - commitments to obedience.

And as much as we do not always ways understand the instructions of God, such as destroying an entire people in war, we are obligated to obey - bearing of course in mind that He is still the same God - unchanging through time.

I am therefore obligated to protect my child from a rapist - in this way I express my love for her. And if I know the rapist is still on his way, then I will take measures to prevent him from reaching her. And I love my neighbour enough to do the same for her.

To not do so is selfish and unloving. Indeed then I am in a position of demanding my own rights above my obligations to God. Which of course is contradictory to the article statement that we actually have no rights.

As a South African, I myself suffered many times under persecution, and I willingly accepted it as part of the price, but this never ever, changed my belief that I was obligated under God to continue fighting to prevent the torture, suffering and deaths of many innocents.

It is of course very easy, to speak of such selfish liberty once others have died securing these liberties. No one is going to kill Steve for his comments. Earlier Christians already paid the price for him.

I will continue to fight for a just society. For the protection of the innocent. For justice for the poor. For freedom of speech - so that Steve can tell me I'm wrong :-)

During all of this I will no doubt suffer a price - but thats Ok - because I have no rights.

Colin Fibiger

Rick Frueh said...

But it is the law that the American flag flies above the Christian flag, even on church grounds. It is noteworthy that most churches comply.

Hmm...

josephmcbee said...

In the comments up thread a little ways, I can see Jus' points and believe they are valid.

In Acts 22, Paul is invoking his Roman citizenship and later in Acts 25, he invokes his rights again when he appeals to Caesar. Earlier in Acts 16 he is angry because he has been beaten without trail, which was a violation of his rights as a Roman citizen and he invokes those rights again by making a veiled threat.

Was he ultimately dependent on God for the outcome of his appeal to his rights as a citizen of the empire? Of course he was, but he still invoked his rights.

It is absolutely true that we cannot "legislate" people into being moral. God and only God changes the heart and gives us the power to be "moral." But I do not see how that truth should keep us from participating in the activity of invoking our rights as citizens of this country to lawful assembly and freedom of speech.

donsands said...

"TEA PARTY was a good and necessary event yesterday."

I agree. I'm not much for this go and protest thing. I have friends who went, and actually, they didn't like the speakers we had here in Anapolis Maryland, but they had some Christian fellowship, and brothers living in unity is a pleasant blessing from the Spirit of Christ.

It's alright to stand up for freedom. God has given us this precious freedom, and there are those who are trying to take it away, mainly through taking our money, that we worked hard for. Surely we are to pay our taxes, but when the government is the cause of such high taxes, and other ungodliness as well, and we have the liberty to speak up, then we need to. Always with graciousness and gratefulness, but speaking the truth is something God wants us to do.

Sometimes silence is golden, and sometimes is yellow.

May the Lord have mercy on this nation, for the sake of our children, and our children's children. Amen.

All for the Cross. Galatians 6:14

GUNNY said...

donsands wrote:"Sometimes silence is golden, and sometimes is yellow."That's perhaps one of the most insightful things I've ever read in the comments stream of a blog. Danke!

SJ Camp said...

Rick
But it is the law that the American flag flies above the Christian flag, even on church grounds. It is noteworthy that most churches comply.

Hmm...
We may disobey government under two circumstances as Christians: 1. When they prohibit something God commands; and 2. When they command something God prohibits.

The Christian flag is not essential; the cross is!

SJ Camp said...

Don
God has given us this precious freedom, and there are those who are trying to take it away, mainly through taking our money, that we worked hard for. Surely we are to pay our taxes, but when the government is the cause of such high taxes, and other ungodliness as well, and we have the liberty to speak up, then we need to. Always with graciousness and gratefulness,Well said my brother. I fully agree!
Campi

SJ Camp said...

GUNNY
BINGO!

Rick Frueh said...

"When they command something God prohibits."

The government has commanded us to pay taxes that help pay for abortions.

There is not one freedom the government can take from me, and in fact, when they take "freedoms" from us they only provide opportunities for us to exhibit humble, loving, but determined disobedience.

The underground Chinese church replaces the time they might spend in attempting to gain political freedoms with prayer. I wonder what God might do if the American evangelical churches would follow suit?

I am providing a different perspective than is normally proffered, however I have noticed John MacArthur moving steadily away from politics.

nobodyspecial said...

Sorry Steve- I don't know where else to post this question: Have you ever written anything on the National Day of Prayer? I find myself agreeing with so much of what you write about co-belligerence, but I cannot remember anything you have said specifically about the NDOP. And by that I mean churches or Christian organizations have a NDOP event with elected officials being present some of whom are not believers. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Arthur Sido said...

Great thoughts Steve, some of your best. In a day when many Christians will gladly give money to legal defense funds to defend their "rights" but can't pry a nickel out of their hands to get the Word of God into the hands of Christians around the world, this is a much needed reminder that our hope is at the cross and not the ballot box.

Blue Collar Todd said...

I am wondering what we do when Christians help propagate what the State is doing, particularly if it puts the Body of Christ at risk? To that end, I have come up with some questions for many of the self described and proud to be so "Liberal Christians":

1. How can we claim to love God's holy Commandments when we help to undermine them by aligning ourselves with those who call evil good and darkness light?

2.How can we claim that Jesus is the object of our faith when we help others to justify the sin for which He died?

3. How can we, the royal priesthood of God help propagate the pre-emptive murder of the fatherless, of the orphan in the womb, when we align ourselves with those who deny that the unborn have been created in the image a holy and just God?

4. How can we claim to love our brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ when we partner with those who want to persecute our brothers and sisters for remaining faithful and walking in obedience to our God?

Patrick Eaks said...

Bro. Steve,

You have a comment on this page from a foreign site that has a link to a bad web site. Just warning you about it. I have had the same type of problem at my blog.

Bhedr said...

A very timely re-post, especially when you consider what Westboro Baptist Church is doing.

Kelly B said...

Wow Steve...amazing as I've been looking for what our rights are as believers. I have a friend who is obsessed with politics and we've been talking a bit. Thanks for making it concise.

Hey...just one thing...on the Bill of Rights on #25...I think the reference is supposed to be 1 John 3:2-3 "2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." It looks like #24 has Rom 12:2, and you might have accidentally put the same ref for #25??

So glad someone else is glad their citizenship is in HEAVEN, not on earth! See you there, or in the air!