Monday, August 04, 2008

WAS THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION UNBIBLICAL?
...by Brannon Howse

Liberals love it when conservatives fight among themselves—especially when the battle centers around whether or not America is truly based on a biblical foundation and God’s providential work. In case you’re blissfully ignorant about the controversy, let me explain.

A nationally known pastor and Bible teacher, that I appreciate and agree with most of the time, has actually written that the founding of America was a sin:
"Over the past several centuries, people have mistakenly linked democracy and political freedom to Christianity. That’s why many contemporary evangelicals believe the American Revolution was completely justified, both politically and scripturally. They follow the arguments of the Declaration of Independence, which declares that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are divinely endowed rights.

Therefore those believers say such rights are part of a Christian worldview, worth attaining and defending at all cost including military insurrection at times. But such a position is contrary to the clear teachings and commands of Romans 13:1-7. So the United States was actually born out of a violation of New Testament principles, and any blessings God has bestowed on America have come in spite of that disobedience by the Founding Fathers." 
When you combine a lack of knowledge about the American Revolution with a wrongly applied interpretation of Romans 13, you end up with good conservative Christians adding to the misinformation about our Founders and believing that America was established by an unchristian rebellion.

My friend and regular Worldview Weekend speaker, David Barton, has written a paper entitled “Was the American Revolution a Biblically Justified Act?” in which he notes:
The Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, Congregationalists, and most other Christian denominations during the American Revolution believed that Romans 13 meant they were not to overthrow government as an institution and live in anarchy. This passage does not mean they had to submit to every civil law. Note that in Hebrews 11, a number of those who made the cut in the “Faith Hall of Fame” as heroes of the faith were guilty of civil disobedience—including Daniel, the three Hebrew Children, the Hebrew Midwives, Moses, etc.…
If the Founding Fathers had removed themselves from underneath the authority of Great Britain because they were choosing anarchy over an established government, then that would be a violation of Romans 13. Although Romans 13 is not an endorsement of every [form of] government, it is a description of what God says is the proper role of civil government.

In Scripture, God initiates several realms of authority in human governance: family, church, and state. We take these to be the normal pattern of social interaction, and civilizations throughout history have reflected these in some form. Simply because the presence of these institutions is normative, however, we should not expect every instance of them to be acceptable.

For example: fathers are the God-ordained head of the family. But those who physically and emotionally abuse their children and wives have perverted their position of authority by their unbridled acts of violence against the very ones that he is commanded by God to love sacrificially as Christ loved His church (Eph. 5:25-26). Almost all would agree, that he should be removed as head of that family in protection for his family. Wives and children should not passively accept in any form any physical abuse whatsoever, just because the concept of family government places the father as head of the home. God has created family government, but that does not mean abusive actions by the head of the family is endorsed by God. On the contrary, it is abhorred by God and a violation of His Word (Eph. 5:22-31; 6:1-5; 1 Cor. 13).

To illustrate further, few people would disagree that a pastor or elder of a local church should be honored in leadership—his God-ordained position of authority—if the leader is guilty of grave moral and ethical failures (1 Tim. 3:1-9; Titus 1:4-9; 1 Cor. 9:21ff). Christians who attend a church where a pastor remains unrepentant of the failure to continually fulfill his biblical duty as an under-shepherd of Jesus Christ by violating God’s standards and faithfulness to His Word in life and/or doctrine (1 Tim. 4:12-16; 5:21-24; Titus 3:9-10), should remove themselves from that church and find one that complies with God’s principles. As the Apostle Peter so aptly states:
"So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." -1 Peter 5:1-4

Which brings us to the arena of civil government. Romans 13 articulates God’s specific plan and purpose for state authorities. As with church and family rule, God does not condone every individual political leader in every form of government that emerges. God has designed government and granted them the responsibility to punish the wicked and reward and protect the righteous (cf, Roms. 13:1-7). But as in the examples given above, there will be wicked and corrupt political leadership that will pervert and abuse the authority granted to them by God in the maintaining of the order and governing of society. Nazi Germany failed spectacularly in that calling. Likewise, Stalinist Russia. These modern examples are easy to judge. Yet the picture becomes similarly clear for America’s early history when we understand the nature of eighteenth century British rule over the colonies.

In light of these principles, did our founding fathers really act in disobedience to Romans 13 against the tyrannical reign of the King of England? On the contrary. For eleven years, our Founders petitioned the King of Great Britain to cease his unlawful, unbiblical actions against the colonials. Although the monarch ignored their grievances, they remained under his authority until he sent 25,000 troops into the colonies for the purpose of seizing property, invading homes, and imprisoning people without trials. The king’s actions violated his own British common law, the English Bill of Rights, and the centuries-old - Magna Carta.

It was only once King George III started down the path of violent suppression, the Founders announced their intent to separate from Great Britain. They wrote at length that they were involved in self-defense, which they rightly believed was biblically acceptable. British troops fired the first shot in every confrontation leading up to the Revolutionary War—the Massacre of 1770, the bombing of Boston in 1774, and the Lexington and Concord engagements of 1775. In addition, as Dr. Marshall Foster of the Mayflower Institute has noted, there were settlers living in America for well over one hundred years that had nothing to do with the British colonies and King George's claim to governmental authority over them.

Unless you are an extreme thoroughgoing pacifist, there is no basis for saying the Founders sinned in defending themselves against King George’s troops and their terrorist tactics against the colonists. Biblically, there is merit for a just war, and for just civil political disobedience. The Founders’ fight was not a “military insurrection.” Our early leaders took seriously their standing before God and believed He could bless a war of defense, but not a war of offense. They fought to protect their own lives and those of their family and friends.

Many Christians get queasy over the subject of “civil disobedience” and invoke Romans 13 to avoid the responsibility of standing up to a deviant government. While I agree it is crucial that Christians pursue civil disobedience only when obeying government requires us to disobey God, Scripture offers clear direction on when such action is acceptable. Kerby Anderson points out the following biblical principles for civil disobedience:
1. The law or injunction being resisted should clearly be unjust and unbiblical.
2. The means of redress should be exhausted.
3. Christians must be willing to accept the penalty for breaking the law.
4. Civil disobedience should be carried out in love and with humility.
5. Civil disobedience should be considered only when there is some possibility of success.

The Founding Fathers did not violate New Testament principles when they instituted American independence and it is critical that we close ranks on this fundamental issue. Now, were all the Founders dedicated Christians of our Lord Jesus Christ? Of course not. And though America is not a Christian nation, it is undeniable that our nation was founded under God’s guiding hand—not in spite of it. Whether or not we continue in the godly heritage of the first Americans is a vital concern, but it’s one that should be debated between “us” and “them,” not between “us” and “us.”

Click here to listen to "Worldview Matters" where Tim Wilmdon of the American Family Association and Dr. Marshall Foster of the Mayflower Institute and I discuss nationally known Bible teacher, author and pastor, Dr. John MacArthur's comments on this issue from a radio program that aired July 12, 2008. It is a helpful and must listen to.

Brannon Howse is the president and founder of Worldview Weekend 
and author of "One Nation Under Man: The Worldview War Between Christians and the Secular Left," 

120 comments:

gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

As much as I would like to say that I disagree with John I have to say this in his support, we as a nation have strayed so far from our Christian roots that it is difficult to tell where those roots began and at what point we started the downward trend into the debauched nation that we see today. Today the U.S.A. is no Godly nation! It may have been founded by a few Godly men but it is plain to see that those few in number have remained few. The United States may have a few Godly roots but those roots have been overtaken by the plant itself and it bears little, if any, Godly fruit.

SJ Camp said...

G-man
I agree.

I think the point of Brannon's article is more along the lines of was the actual founding of our nation an unbiblical act of deviance against King George and Great Britain? I think BH makes some excellent points as to why the answer to that question is no.

I also think that on the other side of that coin MacArthur makes some good points as well. He and BH would agree on this that America is not a Christian, godly nation. It is pagan spiritually.

As always, thanks for your comments here.
Steve

gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

Any chance that we will have a update on how the Chapman family is doing? I was thinking about them last night.

SJ Camp said...

G-man
Continue to pray for them all - especially Will. Hard days as you can imagine.

Phil. 1:3-11

josephmcbee said...

Steve: A very thought-provoking post. I am a student of early American history and have to admit that I have often struggled with this question.

In England, many people still refer to the Revolutionary War as "The Rebellion of the American Colonies." It is interesting to me that often times how you view a thing depends upon where you are standing. This is one reason why right interpretation of Scripture is so very important. Like Scripture, we can make history "prove" anything we want based on how we use it.

During this period of history it is interesting to note that one of the ways the "ideas" behind the revolution got into the minds and hearts of the people was through the clergy. The clergy's influence was so great they were often referred to by the Founders as "The Black Regiment." Referring to the black robes they wore.

The point is, these men of God must have sought the Scripture on their own and become convinced that it was Biblically sound to throw off England's rule and establish One Nation, Under God.

Blessings,

Joe

Darren said...

Norman Geisler discusses this in his book, Christian Ethics. Although I do not know his actual view, he offers the argument that the American Revolution was sin and for those that do not want to celebrate the 4th of July, would you not celebrate the birthday of a child born thought a sinful conception?

With my historian hat on, I have to evaluate what Christians were going through at the time. Not that Scripture changes, but we have to understand that American Christians in the late 18th century held a high view of freedom. Their freedom was not just about how they were effected monetarily, but what else would the King do? Force them to worship under the Church of England? Force them into military service to pad the King’s pockets? We should also remember that the view for revolution was done heavily from the pulpit. Many American pastors were very much for revolution.

In my view of Scripture and history, the American Revolution was justified. For the same reason, the war on terror is justified. Although I will not tell my boys to serve in the armed forces, I will teach them to pray whether God might use them to help protect this country, which allows Christians more freedom to worship as they wish than just about any other county in the world. I urge every young Christian to consider military service to protect religious freedom, and urge every voting American, to consider which elected leaders will do the best job of protecting our country from those that would love to force their religion down our throat.

Sidenote to what Joseph said about what some in England refer to as rebellion: The Eastern Orthodox has called the Catholic Church the rebellios ones from the 1054 Great Scism and Protestants as “sons of the rebellious ones.”

SJ Camp said...

jospehmcbee
The point is, these men of God must have sought the Scripture on their own and become convinced that it was Biblically sound to throw off England's rule and establish One Nation, Under God.

Well said my brother. We are so immediate and reactive in today's instant punditry that to imagine careful and thoughtful appeal to the King would be made for eleven years before action was invoked is almost incomprehensible by today's postmodern politically expedient times we live in.

America is not the New Israel by which through theocratic rule and the reestablishment of OT law we are governed (contrary to the desire of some of our extreme theonomist brethren). BUT, it is clear that many of the founding documents and principles were influenced by Christian faith constraints and truths.

May we not misuse our freedoms here given by the Lord. May we stand unashamedly for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; and in loving our neighbors well, may we also stand for what is right, true and good in our communities and towns and villages.

Thank you again for your comment.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Darren
We should also remember that the view for revolution was done heavily from the pulpit. Many American pastors were very much for revolution.

Yes they were. Once again, context of the times gives some weight as to the circumspect actions of pastors and politicians in that day. I also concur that the Scriptures provide a framework for disobeying government in some instances (consider Peter's example in Acts 3 and 4).

Thank you for your excellent thoughts here.

Steve

Debbie said...

Really good points have been made here, both by the article and the comments. Definitely food for thought.

My husband recently finished reading David McCullough’s biography of John Adams (which was SO good, he couldn’t help but read most of it out loud to me; no small feat, through which I managed to knit an entire blanket ☺) and we saw the mini-series just out on DVD based on the book. I know that D. McCullough would not be viewed as a conservative historian, but I must say that I (though in the case of the book rather vicariously) enjoyed them both very much. The documented correspondence from which he writes is breathtaking in its thoroughness and volume!

I’ve also been privileged to be part of a tour of the Capitol with David Barton as a guide. Amazing! He is knowledgeable in the extreme and lives and breathes American history. A tour with him is like being on a treasure hunt to discover nuggets of historical facts and insight. I’ll never forget the experience.

All that to say, whenever I read from or listen to an historian accurately recounting the times and events and lives that shaped the founding of our nation, it’s really difficult to examine all the remarkable particulars with the view “ … His blessing in spite of ...” rather than “… because of His blessing …”. There is a lot here to think about.

Thank you for sharing this with us!

ALWAYS being stretched,

Debbie

jen elslager said...

Disagreeing with Dr. MacArthur is anyone's privilege, but does anyone know what accounts for the blatant disrespect toward him in the radio interview?

That truly concerns me.

Debbie said...

Jen:

Unfortunately due to laptop/connectivity issues I've not yet listened to the interview. However, I must say how unfortunate it would be if those who disagree with Dr. MacArthur communicate anything less than respect for him while expressing their disagreements with him. I hope to listen soon.

Debbie

SJ Camp said...

Jen
Good day Jen. Always good to have you comment here. Welcome back.

I know that Brannon respects Dr. MacArthur greatly and supports so many aspects of his ministry. I will go back and listen to this interview more thoroughly for I only skimmed it initially. I would be surprised to hear him or others blatantly disregard him.

As you know, John is a dear friend of mine and a mentor in many respects So for me, this would be personal.

Thank you for sharing your concerns here...

jen elslager said...

I had started a comment detailing some of the things I found disrespectful. But in light of your comment, Mr. Camp, I'll hold on that.

My husband agreed with me when he heard it. I'd like for someone else to help us see if we're hearing it wrongly.

I have appreciated Dr. MacArthur's strong biblical teaching for some time now, and this radio broadcast was quite disheartening to me.

SJ Camp said...

To All
From the Declaration of Independence:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.


It is clear from these few quotes from the Declaration that this was not a proactive overthrow of King George and Great Britain. It was one of self-defense in part due to the repeated brutal, tyrannical treatment of the colonials. It was also done with sobriety of purpose, circumspect political conviction, and under submission to Divine Providence and His Sovereign Will as understood from the Scriptures over a number of years to protect and provide a government that would be of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Thank the Lord for their actions and unwavering intrepidity. Though the ministry of the church is not based upon any form of government, we should not treat lightly the freedoms we do have within our nation and to use that freedom for the bold proclamation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen?

nextverse said...

Having listened carefully to the radio post I must agree that the disrespect for Dr. MacArthur overshadows any point that Brannon or Tim desired to make. Such belittling language simply doesn't advance careful thought.

That said - regarding your original post - Steve - I struggle to follow your conviction. You seem to suggest that you believe the Revolution was a valid one based on Christian conviction, i.e. Biblically warranted - yet you say ... "I agree it is crucial that Christians pursue civil disobedience only when obeying government requires us to disobey God, Scripture offers clear direction on when such action is acceptable." - Based on that position, with which I agree, there is no indication that the American Revolution was based on such conviction - England had not asked any Christian in America to disobey God. Further - this conviction is rightly applied to civil disobedience, not to justification for war.

Did the colonists have the right to defend themselves? - Yes. (And Dr. MacArthur would not disagree.) But there is a clear difference between defending oneself against danger/murder, etc. and seeking to overthrow the government who is persisting in such. The Founders understood this distinction and the Christians among them knew that such self-defense would not, in itself, demand/support war. That is why the Declaration says: "That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do."

In short - only an independent state could wage war. First "independence", then war to defend that independence. Their Christian conviction and Biblical clarity served them well here - they did not see a loophole in Romans 13 that supported their action - - they were building their case on the historic "just war" convictions that have always guided Christian's thoughts on these matters and they knew those convictions applied only to states (nations). God has never given the power to wage war to individuals. The Founders knew that Romans 13 would not defend their actions.

So the question is - does the Bible allow or imagine the "establishing of an independent state" because of a real threat to "life, liberty,and the pursuit of happiness"? The answer is (MacArthur got it right) no.

11 years of patient servitude by the colonists doesn't build any convincing argument - the early Christians lived many dozens of years under far greater burdens and never imagined,suggested, or led any rebellion. They understood well the example of our Lord, the teaching of the apostles, and the sovereign nature of a loving God who will - work all things together for good.

Steve - you write - "When you combine a lack of knowledge about the American Revolution with a wrongly applied interpretation of Romans 13, you end up with good conservative Christians adding to the misinformation about our Founders" ... I agree completely. I can't agree with your conclusion however - "good conservative Christians adding to the misinformation about our Founders and believing that America was established by an unchristian rebellion."

The rebellion led by our Founders can find much empathy in world affairs, and human history, and political surveys ... but cannot find any justification in Biblical mandate.

I love my country and God's gracious hand on her has been evident - but I cannot be pragmatice when viewing her history, her present, or her future. The end did not justify the means - and the justification for the means falls short of Christian conviction.

I submit this as a student of history and a defender of the faith; once for all delivered. I shudder at the suggestion, which the radio program clearly implies, that being a good theologian is only adequate in leading His church if one is also a good historian. MacArthur is surely the first; no proof has been offered that he isn't the second - - and I'm quite sure he would say the first is enough.

Finally - sorry so long - Steve I know you too well to believe you literally meant: "it is critical that we close ranks on this fundamental issue." I appreciate your passion and greatly respect your thoughts but don't imagine you consider this issue to be FUNDAMENTAL in any true sense.

Grace -

Steve

nextverse said...

Steve -
Different post - different rant.

I would be sincerely (no tongue in cheek) interested to have you address the issue of the Revolution in the context of your convictions concerning Evangelical CoBelligerence.

My point? If the Revolution was justified/motivated by Biblical convictions, would not the marriage of those men's convictions (the Founders- including a veritable smorgasbord of Christian/apostate/pagan backgrounds) to accomplish that end be a distinct and aggregious example of the very CoBelligerence that troubles you so? (Which, by the way, I agree with completely and silently applaud you daily - can you hear my applause?)

Grace,
Steve

gigantor1231 said...

Nextverse

I could not have said it better, I agree with what you say wholeheartedly!
Please let us know who you are if you do not mind, would love to see what else you have to say if you have your own blog, apart from that it is the rules of posting here.

nextverse said...

giganter1231 -
Glad to connect through this discussion ... don't want to violate any rules of posting -- but?

I'm Steve Wilson - pastor of Grace Community Church of Bowling Green.

No blog (too much demand on time).

Sermons posted @ gccbg.org

email - steve@gccbg.com

Glad to call Steve Camp my friend and trusted counsel on many issues.

Grace,

Steve

nextverse said...

Steve,
My apologies - I just realized the comments I credit to you were actually Brannon's. Please forgive my mistake.

I am, however, still applauding you.

Steve

jen elslager said...

Pastor Wilson,
Thank you for your comment. You've said a great many things that have enlightened me on this issue, and also a few things that I knew but likely couldn't have articulated nearly as well as you did.

I'm not a theologian, and I'm not a historian. But I have teenage sons, so I know disrespect when I hear it.

There were a great many assumptions made in the broadcast about Dr. MacArthur's knowledge of history, among other things. I tried to leave a comment that I felt expressed what I felt, while remaining respectful myself. They chose not to publish my comment, though others have been posted after mine, and many disrespectful comments (toward MacArthur) have been posted.

If the website is so intent on making conservative Christian voices heard, could someone who knows them explain why they limited my freedom of speech?

SJ Camp said...

nextverse
My brother! Welcome to COT. It is so good to have your comments here. Always the voice of wisdom.

I knew this article would be challenging and thought-provoking.

Two quick things:

1. I have spoken with BH and he does have the utmost respect for Dr. MacArthur and his ministry. I think sometimes on live radio, in making a point our voice inflections can communicate a sarcasm not meant by conviction. I think parts of this interview crossed the line of respect to John. I do agree; though I know privately that BH respects him dearly.

2. My evangelical co-belligerent convictions (which i do appreciate your support on) are founded on the premise that in today's evangelical world Christians are trying to partner with nonbelievers on social issues (AIDS, abortion, etc.) to somehow produce spiritual change through, in part, the legislative process. IOW, political remedy for moral malady. I disagree with that philosophy of thought and find it unbiblical.

However, I wouldn't place the founding of our nation, and in specific, The American Revolution in that same camp. The political struggles of a nation (and an individual citizens right of expression within that nation) for justice under that form of government is one thing. Using that process as the means of producing "biblical right living" within a society absent of the gospel is quite another. IMHO (i.e. Matt. 5-7 - a righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees can only be found through regeneration, not by the veneer of family values legislation).

If I have a blind spot on this issue and am not being consistent with the Word of God, I would treasure your corrective words of grace in my life and I will gladly reconsider and repent if necessary.

Let your voice thunder away here my brother; I respect it dearly.

Grace and peace to you,
Steve
1 Peter 2:13-17

Debbie said...

I was able to listen to the interview and I have to agree with Jen that the overall tone was very condescending toward Dr. MacArthur. Words such as “ignorant” and referring to him multiple times as “the guy” showed a certain disregard and disdain that were very unbecoming.

Unfortunately, they weren’t even very careful in stating or quoting Dr. MacArthur’s view. In the interview, Dr. MacArthur was asked if he was “concerned” about whether or not Senator Obama might be elected President. Dr. MacArthur’s response was “No, I’m not concerned”. Then, in their discussion, they said that Dr. MacArthur had said he didn’t “care” about whether or not Senator Obama might be elected. To be “concerned” and to “care” are two very different things. Dr. MacArthur went on to carefully explain why he’s not concerned. Unfortunately, the discussion didn’t carefully give consideration to what he had said. This was, in my opinion, something of a careless handling (not too mention disrespectful at times) of this interview and Dr. MacArthur’s statements.

Other things such as the frequent use of the phrase “Christian activism” also left me saying “Hmmmmm …".

Tak178 said...

Steve,

It really is appalling that people who live in this country, and have been the recipients of its bounty, attack its foundations. Christians in this country do a lot for many other countries, out of no desire for gain. We give the most charity of any nation on the planet, without coercion. If the Revolutionary War was "unBiblical", then why had God blessed us so much? It is really ignorance on the other side for those who even continue to debate this.

jen elslager said...

Debbie:
Exactly. I felt that many of Dr MacArthur's statements were twisted and/or taken out of context. At one point, it was indicated that his inclusion of a quote by Spurgeon regarding not voting would influence us not to vote. That is hardly the case. I've even heard Dr MacArthur say that we should vote for the person who most aligns with biblical principles (to paraphrase him).

I have to say that this is the very first time I've ever listened to Worldview Matters. I don't know the man like you do, Mr Camp, and I'm sure that you must be between a rock and a hard place on this one. But I have to also say that I saw so little respect in this interview that I find it hard to believe that he respects him at all. That's not a good thing for the general public to think, if he truly does respect him.

I felt that Dr MacArthur's statement about not being concerned regarding the election was a testament to his complete trust in the sovereignty of God. This statement by Mr Howse in the interview was perhaps the most shocking to me:

"...Dr. MacArthur has benefited from OUR sweat, and OUR blood, and OUR investment, and yet he bemoans Christian activism, and yet WE have kept him on the air by causing the FCC ruling to get shot down that would have caused Christian radio to go to 50% non-religious programming. And he bemoans us?" (emphasis mine)

Where is Mr Howse's trust? In God, or in his Christian activism?

littlegal_66 said...

next verse asked:
"If the Revolution was justified/motivated by Biblical convictions........be a distinct and aggregious example of the very CoBelligerence that troubles you so?"
Whew! Okay, Pastor Steve, that poser made me a little tad fidgety. (From my mid-way vantage point betwixt you two, in my left ear I subconsciously hear the silent wheels turning in Steve #1's head, and in my right ear I subconsciously hear the silent applause rattling in Steve #2's head...[confession: long ago I dubbed the pair of you my "modern-day 'Sons of Thunder.'"]) :-)

Seriously, I'll be watching the dialogue between the two Steves closely (in student mode) if/when it unfolds. Thanks, brothers.

BTW, at the risk of contributing to the "derailment" of this thread, I had listened to the interview one night a couple of weeks ago, and I wasn't too keen on the treatment of Dr. Mac either, but I just kind of kept it to myself....I guess I thought someone else would eventually notice it and bring it to light.....(I guess I have a long way to go to get to the front of the bus on this "berean tour)."

John said...

I could only stomach 30 minutes of the program. They took Dr. MacArthurs comments so far out of the context that I wondered if they even listened to what he was saying.
I don't totally agree with Mac on everything he said, but to say he has no contact with the real world because all he does is preach the Gospel is undermining the very power of the Gospel.
I'm concerned about the coming election, but the truth is the Kingdom will grow even if they throw all of us in prison and shut down our schools...The Kingdom isn't about who is in the White House--it is about Who is on the Throne and He has a long history of using ungodly leaders to accomplish His purposes.
My greatest fear is that we will get the leader we deserve!!

jen elslager said...

Is speaking of the broadcast derailment? If so, I apologize. I don't get out much, so I don't know if I did a no-no.

*blush*

:)

SJ Camp said...

Jen
I so appreciate your words and comments here. Good to have you participating in this thread.

I do appreciate both of these brothers very much. Mac has been a long term friend and mentor so my love and respect for him is immense. Brannon and I are much newer friends, but he is doing some very good ministry out there for the kingdom in this field of politics and I also admire him as well.

In regards to the interview, I know that I can and have said sometimes the wrong thing; or the right thing in the wrong way. That is maybe what happened with this interview as well. It doesn't excuse it, but it does throw some grace that way as well.

Thanks again for your comment here.

To All:
Let's also consider the greater question in the title of this post: was the American Revolution unbiblical? It is a good one to ponder especially in light of being in an election year. What is the Christian's role in society as it relates to citizenry and government? What is the church's role as well? Is Christian activism appropriate? Or should be only be about the proclamation of the gospel? Does God's sovereignty relieve us of our biblical duty?

May the Lord be honored in all we discuss here for His glory and the good of His people.

Steve

SJ Camp said...

Jen
Is speaking of the broadcast derailment? If so, I apologize. I don't get out much, so I don't know if I did a no-no.

Not at all; you're cool. It is part of the post and therefore open to discussion and debate. Fair game.

Have at it Jen! :-)

SJ Camp said...

John
He has a long history of using ungodly leaders to accomplish His purposes. My greatest fear is that we will get the leader we deserve!!

Praise the Lord that in spite of the world leaders that are occupying the political stage in our era, God is in control!!!

That is all our hope. God will use even the wicked for His own purposes to accomplish His plans and will do so for His glory alone.

We know that The American Revolution was used by Him in the establishment of this great country as well. Some think the Founders were justified both biblically and morally in their actions; other do not. It is worthy of our time and discussion and to bring it forward in principle to our day as well.

Thank you my brother for your thoughts here.

Steve

SJ Camp said...

little gal
Seriously, I'll be watching the dialogue between the two Steves closely (in student mode) if/when it unfolds.

Me too! :-).

SJ Camp said...

tak178
It really is appalling that people who live in this country, and have been the recipients of its bounty, attack its foundations.

That is a legitimate sentiment and I understand the passion behind it. Regardless of our views on this subject, we should all be thankful and grateful for this nation and God's bounty to us all who live here.

Spiritually though, America needs revival and reformation once again. May the Lord grace this land with another Great Awakening that the fallow ground in all our lives and in His church maybe plowed up to become fertile soil once again to be used in the proclamation and spreading of His gospel.

Thanks for commenting here...
Steve

jen elslager said...

Have at it Jen! :-)

Hmmm... maybe shouldn't have told me that... you didn't see me running about the house muttering at my mp3 player...

It's nice to be here. Thank you for the most gracious welcome. :)

Douglas said...

"tak178
It really is appalling that people who live in this country, and have been the recipients of its bounty, attack its foundations.
"

Are the foundations of the United States of America based upon the blood of the Indians? Does their blood cry out for justice? Are there Indians still locked up on Reservations? Have the sins against them been covered? Are they the recipients of the bounty?

littlegal_66 said...

Jen,

Ooops....I was referring to the "derailment" of the blogging battle train on sj's post from Thursday. Sorry, sis, I should have been a little more clear. (I can be pretty vague & obscure sometimes....I think it must be because I wear sunglasses quite a bit. :-)).

--littlegal

jen elslager said...

littlegal:
Ah, I see! We could just chalk it up to my hair colour though. That's my usual excuse. :)

KarensFaith said...

I listened to the program a couple of days after it aired. I was a little concerned with how they were speaking about Dr. MacArthur as well. I also respect Mr. Howse and Mr. Wildmon, but they were a little out of line in a few of their statements. I listen to BH's program a lot so I know he does respect Dr. MacArthur. We can't see their facial expressions on the radio either so I didn't take it to heart--too much. :)

I really don't think the American Revolution was unbiblical but then again, I've never thought about it being so. Honestly, I have always been taught that it was the right thing to do and never really questioned it. Shame on me for that and now I have some things to be thinking and studying about. About the Christian's role in this, well, I've always written or called my senators and congressmen when I am concerned about something they are voting on, etc. I don't go out and protest or do anything like that, I am more apt to proclaim the gospel than do any political activism. These are some good things to think about and learn about.

nextverse and Steve, I loved reading your posts! I am a history buff as well...my kids hate that, by the way (we homeschool two of them) and I have learned some new things to teach them. :) Looking forward to hearing some more from you two and others about this. My kids will be so grateful! Ha! :)

Blessings,
Karen

nextverse said...

S.J.
The American Revolution - cobelligerence or no cobelligerence? I fully understand your convictions as they apply to the modern landscape of the evangelical church and its propensity to ditch the gospel for some other means of making a difference in our culture and I understand the same issues were not being considered by our Founders. However - we can either justify the Revolution on biblical grounds - ie there was a justification for resistance because the tyranny of England was "spiritually oppressive" - or we cannot justify it at all. Political justification was aplenty and means nil to the Christian consideration.

So - to my point - and I do have one (you see I've donned my 1650 white wig and it keeps slipping over my eyes obscuring not only vision but thought as well) - if the Founders (and we should perhaps say "if the Christians among the Founders") were being motivated by spiritual oppression, thus PERHAPS making this action somewhat justified, then the cobelligerence point of reference is a good one.

I have always imagined the Christian conscience was sorely tested in that day among those men. This was no light matter for any of them and I think it is clear that they gave much careful consideration before taking their decided action. That said (there goes that wig again) - the compromise they reached produced the wisdom of a document that has stood the test of time (against all other known constitutions) as a shining example of human insight and the heights to which true freedom (and tolerance) might carry mankind. But one could not argue that the Founding documents are adequate to express any legitimate Christian convictions as either the motivation or justification for the rebellion. Again, I insist it is not there because they knew it was not there.

Imagine going to a church and hearing a pastor stand and deliver his message and it be filled with references to "freedom", "liberty", "rights", "perfect union", and "blessings" and never have one clear and distinct reference to the gospel or to Christ for that matter. You would be stirring in your seat and might think - "How is this possible?" "This took a lot of thought" "How could a representative of Christ craft such a message?" "This was not easy." And, finally - you would say - "With all the talk of desirable ends - this man has no clue as to the means to those ends." "This message was", you would say, "decidedly un-Christian."

And you'd be right. And you'd think (I think) that this is where Evangelical CoBelligerence takes you - some other road to the same end. But this is not possible. There is no other road to the ends we desire. Alas, the demise of CoBelligerence. Many friends - so little conviction.

Now - the convictions that led to the establishment of this nation are (through rebellion), I think, most clearly expressed in the Founding documents which are, I think, the most glowing example of the fruit of Evangelical CoBelligerence I have ever seen. All the freedoms, rights, and possibilities that this country affords established in language that is absent any clear reference to Christ and the gospel. "How is this possible?", I would say. "This took a lot of thought", I would say. "How could a representative of Christ craft such a document?", I would say. "This was not easy." And, finally - I would say - "With all the talk of desirable ends - these men have no clue as to the means to those ends." "These documents are", I would say, "decidedly un-Christian."

Notice I make no charge concerning their Christianity - I have no desire or motivation to do so. I make no charge concerning their collective brilliance (white wigs notwithstanding). I make no charge concerning their sincerity. But I charge they did not seek to establish a nation on Christian principles, but rather, they determined to join with many who did not share their convictions in the creation of a society where the gospel was possible - where the gospel might even take root - where the gospel might even dominate. All of those were good intentions but did not justify this means to that end. They were, to borrow your words (out of context of course), using that process as the means of producing "biblical right living" within a society - or the possibility of such. This is, by my definition, Evangelical CoBelligerence.

Enough pontificating on history's lessons from our Founders - and too little pontificating on the lessons from our FOUNDER, CHRIST - and His foundation builders, the Apostles.

Another post - another time.

Grace,
Steve

nextverse said...

Another post - this is as good a time as any. (Don't these people ever sleep?)

Let's talk about our Founder and the foundation of the apostles...

A little context - - the church is born into an incredibly oppressive society that was rather intolerant of Christianity and Christians (reference John the Baptist, Jesus, Stephen, apostles, etc and respective deaths). It was a time when slavery flourished – some historians have suggested 3 slaves to every 1 freeman. It was a time when morality was, well, “im”. It was the worst of times …

Ah - - but it was the best of times. The gospel thrived. The church grew (never since has any legitimate church growth come close to those first, fruitful years). Holiness and purity were qualities earnestly pursued – not just discussed. This was something, really something!

And among those early benefactors of the good news – slaves (Onesimus comes to mind), and slave owners (Philemon) … the gospel didn’t end slavery, nor did it seek to – the gospel changed the slave and the slave owner and thus changed slavery and everything about slavery. Abuse was unthinkable. Disrespect not tolerated. And the glory of God not obscured.

Or, consider – in Matthew 8; Jesus encounters a Roman soldier – He tells him (after healing his servant), “Go your way.” Don’t stop being a soldier for an oppressive regime – be a different kind of soldier.

Mark 5 – the ruler in the synagogue (a political position) had his daughter raised from the dead by Jesus – no call to resign from politics … every reason to never be the same politician again.

Zacchaeus – a swindler and a tax collector – an encounter with Jesus stopped the swindling but did not force retirement from tax collecting for an oppressive regime, but it did make that tax collecting honest.

The first Gentile Christian – Acts 10 – Cornelius, a Roman soldier before his conversion … a Roman soldier after his conversion.

The Philippian jailer … a jailer before Christ; no reason to imagine he quit his job after Christ.

This is God’s plan to change the world. Not by changing the society, but by changing everything in that society one heart at a time.

Grab a societal ill that we all despise – say – abortion. Shared goal – end the murder. Shared means to that goal – well…

On the one hand we have the Evangelical Cobelligerants who think the political power of compromise will end in changed legislation that will, they imagine, stop the murder.

On the other hand we have the Evangelical Confidents who think the only sure way to end the murder is to change the murderer’s heart.

To my knowledge this country has never forced, or imposed, such a murder on anyone. If/when they do I will be the first in line to sign up for the insurrection. Until then, I will preach the gospel – I will offer and encourage adoption – I will beg God for patient grace extended to our nation – and I will pray for those involved, in any measure, with this holocaust.

The first has a history of – well – NOT WORKING – EVER!

The second has a history of – well – ALWAYS WORKING, EXACTLY,ACCOMPLISHING GOD’S INTENTION.

Before we picket the clinics and lobby the legislature (which are both fine, I think, and a part of the freedom we have in this blessed country) we should be sure we’re lobbying God that He might grant repentance.

“But they are taking away our freedoms!”, you cry. Well, they didn’t give me my freedom, Christ did, and they can’t take that away.

“No, I mean our F-R-E-E-D-O-M-S!” Oh – well, they didn’t give me that either.

Some context for our help …
“For there is no authority (including the authority that grants freedom) except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (Romans 13:1) Pretty clear? I think so.

“But what about peace? What about worship? What about the gospel?” Hmmm...

“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.” (Titus 3:1-2)

This is how we secure peace (real peace). This is how we protect worship. This is how we spread the gospel.

“Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:12-17)

It seems that we have a choice – we can advance God’s kingdom God’s way, through good deeds, submission to authority, doing right and honoring and praying for the rulers, or – we can seek to advance God’s kingdom through political means/clout/power.

The first path would not allow for rebellion (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:12-17); the second would allow for rebellion if the right criteria or supposed justification existed.

One is Christian – the other is disobedience.

God is pleased to use the obedience of His children to advance His cause and kingdom – and – God is almighty and sovereign enough (all-might and all-sovereign) to advance His cause and kingdom without said obedience. That’s why the Bible is clear on where our freedom comes from – it comes from Him.

Does the gospel need a cooperative government to flourish? Hmmmm … let’s try “no”. Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding --- that is correct.

Does democracy aid the spread of the gospel? Hmmmmm… Not if that democracy is viewed as the means – or essential – or necessary – or even really, really important. I think way too many Christian Americans have imagined that it is the means, it is essential, it is necessary, and it is really, really important. That is wrong. That makes democracy a curse (and I don’t think it is so let’s stop trying to make it so).

Reference the church in China (discount the thousands of “Christians” there lacking a sure foundation of the gospel and you still have Christians numbering perhaps in the millions) thriving under oppression. Reference the church behind the Iron Curtain (yes, I know it was torn down – but go ahead, look behind it) and find there a thriving faithful church under oppression.

God doesn’t need a cooperative government to accomplish His ends. Thus, we don’t need a cooperative government to accomplish His ends. Thus, we submit to those in authority over us without regard to their fairness, generosity or decency. We submit always, unless or until they deny us what God demands of us – or they force on us what God forbids.

This has always been the Bible’s clear mandate. It has not always been the Christian’s practice.

It was not the practice of those Christians among the Founders.

Grace to them. Grace to us. God bless America.

Steve

Jaxon said...

I would highly suggest for you, and any one else interested to read the book ""The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions." by self-professed secular Jew and mathematics/philosophies teacher David Berlinski.
This tells the story of a Jew who was forced to dig his own grave prior to being shot by a German soldier. Prior to being shot, the old Jewish man advised the German that “God is watching what you are doing.” The Jewish gentleman pointed what i think is the real problem with atheism. "If you have the time please check the book out

Michele Rayburn said...

Pastor Steve (nextverse),

Your comments, especially these last two, were excellent, and worth losing sleep over! There is much to ponder here. Especially 1 Peter 2:12-17.

Steve Campius asked:

Was the American Revolution unbiblical?

My husband has recently discussed this issue with me, and only briefly. I have not studied it enough to be able to adequately comment on the biblical rightness or wrongness of the American Revolution. Arguments on both sides make some very good points.

But Pastor Steve, I can see that you have really studied this through, and have made a very convincing argument from Scripture.

If I were to summarize what you are saying, I would say that we are missing out on God's best plan by resorting to our own plans, but He works it together for good either way. But summarizing really doesn't do justice to your excellent comments.

We can't change what happened during the American Revolution, but we know that "all things work together for good to those that love God", and a lot of good has come out of it.

But, Pastor Steve, I suppose that you would say that a lot more good may have come out of it if they had followed 1 Peter 2:12-17. But then, doesn't God's sovereignty come into play and override our errors in judgment?

Again, Pastor Steve, you have made a very convincing argument from Scripture. Your comments are a "must read"!

Michele

Carla said...

Sometimes, the inability to comment on a post when you initially wanted to, is a really good thing. I have not listened to the broadcast mentioned. As much as I respect and appreciate what Brannon Howse does, I also dearly appreciate what Pastor John MacArthur does - so to hear any kind of disrespect (even if unintentional) for him would indeed color my hearing of whatever else was being said.

I'm so blessed to read the comments here today though, and I'll just sit back and take this in. I may be a homeschool mom, but history is not my strongsuit.

Thanks to Steve for being so subtle & reserved and always posting such bland, non-controversial topics.

;-)

gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

I think that the question here with regards to the issue of sin should be dealt with from the perspective of 'was it what the Father wanted?' As Christians, who call Christ the Lord of our lives, we have no rights but the right to serve Him! The revolutionary war was a war that was fought for freedom but it most certainly was not the spiritual freedom that can only be obtained through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The Jews at the time of Christ were looking for one who fulfilled Is. 9: 6, 7;

6  For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
 and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
 there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
 with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
 The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Is 9:6-7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

They thought that He would deliver them from The government of Rome but it was not to be. Christ came to bring a different kind of freedom, a better and true freedom, the freedom from death to new life. The freedom to do what was pleasing and right in the eyes of the Father.
How Israel relates to this topic is that the Romans were every bit as despotic as the British government and much more so! Christ never called anyone to revolution in the light of all of this. So, my question is 'why would He have called our nation to this type of rebellion?'
I believe that Dr. MaCarthur is correct in his assessment that God has blessed us in spite of the revolutionary war. Some of the founders of our country were true Christians I am sure, I am absolutely certain though, that the vast majority were not of Christ and had no clue as to what God's will was! Although the intentions may have been good and there may have been Biblical principles followed and things done that were Godly in nature I am certain that the method of rebellion, in order to become independent of the British monarchy, was not what Christ would have called the leaders of our nation to do.
The Romans were despotic in there governance of the Jewish people as well as all other people groups they had conquered, the leadership of the Jews were despots with regards to their own citizens that were Christians, yet Christ never once called or even insinuated that there be a rebellion against these governments! That being said there is no Biblical support for the revolutionary war. However James sums up the reasons for wars this way;

James 4: 1, 2

4 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask miss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

The New King James Version. 1982 (Jas 4:1-5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

**The Greek word here translated as 'wars' is polemos, perhaps a stronger translation is battles.**

I am very thankful that God has seen fit to make me a U.S. citizen but over the years as I have drawn closer to Him He has made it clear to me that my citizenship is not of this world and the methods of this world are not of Him. While there may be many great reasons why the revolutionary war was fought and there has been much good that has come from it, it is only God who has taken this dark and evil thing and made it good! As hard as the pill may be to swallow and as difficult as it is to overcome that American "pride", Dr. MaCarthur is correct in his assessment of this issue.

Just so you know, if you think I am a pacifist, I normally do not make issue of this but I am a disabled vet.. I am still willing to meet the call!

gigantor1231 said...

Jaxon

You said;

'The Jewish gentleman pointed what i think is the real problem with atheism.'

The real problem with atheism is that they need Christ! Unfortunately for the Jewish gentleman as well as the Nazi soldier, without faith in Jesus and the understanding that it is He who oversees all things, both men parish apart from Christ. Even if they believe there is a God, and even if it is the God of the Jews. No man comes to the Father apart from Christ!

littlegal_66 said...

Campi:
"Me too! :-)"

Touche, SJ. LOL....

(I see Pastor Steve offers a class during 3rd shift as well). :-)

JamesL said...

Don't forget to include Samuel Rutherford's "Les Rex" in your studies of this topic.Perhaps that old Presbyterian influenced the Black Regiment!

James

SJ Camp said...

nextverse
Good morning my brother. And thank you for your comments here.

You said, "This is God’s plan to change the world. Not by changing the society, but by changing everything in that society one heart at a time."

No question and I fully agree.

Here is the issue here that I don't think has been covered yet. I don't see The American Revolution as a "Christian" event. I see it as a good and right event within the bounds of human government that meets five biblical criteria for a "just war"*:

1. A just cause: Is defensive and protective (Roms. 13:1-5)

2. A just intention: peace, safety, freedom and not revenge, plunder and conquest.

3. A just war: last resort. Only engaged when other options have been exhausted/negotiated.

4. A just war has limited objectives: limited targets, specific goals, peace, etc.

5. A just war engages limited means: it's force is limited to its objectives.

*(by Dr. John MacArthur)

Overarching principle: God forbids murder; God allows war.

I clearly see these criteria being met by the Founders as having been outlined in this main post.

As to the Christians daily role of being salt and light, functioning as citizens of this earth, proclaiming the gospel, etc. I fully agree with your second comment and as you know have written extensively about that very thing.

Thank you Steve for your continued contribution on this important subject here.

I hope my brief words have helped a bit in clarifying this discussion as well. I appreciate you...

Glad we are in the same "foxhole."

Campi

SJ Camp said...

jamesl
Excellent recommendation. Here is the link to Rutherford's entire book online. It is a helpful and beneficial read no matter which side the argument you find yourselves.

Kudos,
Steve

Darren said...

Did Brannon speak about Dr. MacArthur in any different manner than others with whom he has a theological/historical disagreement? I think the answer is no, so I did not even notice.

Would he have used the same tone, had Dr. MacArthur been sitting in the studio with him? Probably not.

This is a really good discussion in light of the upcoming election. I do recommend Norman Geisler’s Christian Ethics to read along with Scripture in your prayerful preparation for your vote. Geisler offers all views on topics such as war, civil disobedience, ecology, etc. I also recommend much of David Barton’s work on the founding of our country.

SJ Camp said...

To All:
Here is a biographical sketch of Rev. Samuel Rutherford> that is also worth the time to read. It gives helpful context to his words and convictions.

Remember, Rutherford predated The American Revolution by some 110 years or so. His words then are not influenced by the outcome of the said war we are discussing here. But are in fact the issues principally and as he understood them from the Word of God.

Semper Fidelis,
Steve
1 Tim. 2:1-4

SJ Camp said...

darren
Would he have used the same tone, had Dr. MacArthur been sitting in the studio with him? Probably not.

I agree. Just like if anyone we are discussing on this blog might join us first hand, we might change our tone a bit out of respect for and in kindness to the other person that we are now having direct communication with.

Thank you.
Campi

PS - Haven't read Geisler's work as it pertains to this. Where does he ultimately land (even though I could assume, but it is always dangerous to assume)? Barton is very helpful as well.

Darren said...

I not sure Geisler ever really gives his view. What he does is offer three views with supporting Scripture for the various topics. I don't have the book with me, but I believe for war, he offers:

1. No wars are justified
2. Some wars are justified
3. All wars are justified

Reading through these, I would imagine most of us would agree with number 2. The same logic goes for the chapter on civil disobedience. This is a link to the table of contents. http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0801038324/ref=sib_dp_pop_toc?ie=UTF8&p=S009#reader-link

Sorry, I don't know how to do the hyperlink in blog comment

Dave Algie said...

This is an interesting discussion. I'm particularly interested in Steve's quoting Dr.MacArthur's stated biblical criteria for a "just war". Number 2; that the intentions should be just- to achieve safety, peace and freedom-raises some thoughts. My understanding is that the reasons for the American Revolution were varied and complex. Some were allegedly quite sinister. The colonists were eager to move West and take Native American land whatever the moral price. The British had discourgaed this and this apparently contibuted to the desire to overthrow British rule. What about the "freedom" the founding fathers wanted to achieve? Freedom for who? Freedom for themselves doubtless, from pesky taxation. Their slaves however would see little of the noble "freedom" this "just" war had been fought for.

A danger we must be aware of in looking at given reasons to fight a war; for safety, peace and freedom, is that everyone who fights a war says they are fighting for these things! The stirring words of the declaration of independence about all men being created equal and the need for justice and liberty are noble concepts, but let's not simply assume that those were necessarily what motivated the American Revolution. Deeds, not words are the best indication, and for generations after the American revolution, the deeds of the founding fathers and their successors showed that freedom and justice for everyone were not motivating the young nation. A case can be made then, according to Dr. MacArthur's criteria, that the War of Independence was neither just nor biblical.

SJ Camp said...

Dave
Good to see you weigh in on this thread. Your thoughts are provoking and timely.

Could you expand, expound, clarify, and give more fiber on this for me a bit more? Deeds, not words are the best indication, and for generations after the American revolution, the deeds of the founding fathers and their successors showed that freedom and justice for everyone were not motivating the young nation.

Looking forward to reading your insights.

Thank you,
Steve

PS: Also, where do you actually land on the essential question of this post?

nextverse said...

S.J.
So much common ground ... thanks for allowing this discussion.

Pertaining to your note - regarding just war and the reference to MacArthur's summary. This is a classic, historic, and most would agree orthodox position on a very tough subject. Nothing I have written was intended to disregard this solid apporach to war. But - it is only applicable when we consider war being limited to "states/nations" in God's Word.

I would restate the summary from my first post:

In short - only an independent state could wage war. First "independence", then war to defend that independence. Their Christian conviction and Biblical clarity served them well here - they did not see a loophole in Romans 13 that supported their action - - they were building their case on the historic "just war" convictions that have always guided Christian's thoughts on these matters and they knew those convictions applied only to states (nations). God has never given the power to wage war to individuals. The Founders knew that Romans 13 would not defend their actions.

So the question is - does the Bible allow or imagine the "establishing of an independent state" because of a real threat to "life, liberty,and the pursuit of happiness"? The answer is (MacArthur got it right) no.


Just war theory is only in view, then, for nations/states, and as MacArthur says in the radio interview that began this discussion, there is simply no biblical warrant for rebellion by the people to overthrow a government. There is biblical mandate for submission in all cases - and a biblical mandate for resistance to anything that invades or imposes on God's demands on Christians; always accepting any punishment such resistance brings. The Bible is consistent in its illustration of this right reaction and in its condemnation of the wrong reaction.

I think Matthew 10 is a help here:
Jesus sends out the 12 (verse 5) with this adnomition (paraphrased)...
Your call is to preach the gospel (verse 7). Your goal is not to improve your material position (verse 9). You provision is in God (verse 10-11). You will face resistance (verse 13). God will handle the resistor (verse 15).

Remember, you are sheep in the midst of wolves (verse 16). You will need to be shrewd - but you will need to be innocent (verse 16).

And beware of men - beware especially of men in power - beware of govenment. Be sure that if you have conflict with government it is over the gospel. And when that happens you won't need any talking points - I will give you the words (verse 16-20).

Finally - this will be tougher than you imagine - because brothers will betray brothers - fathers will betray children - children will betray their parents - and that even to death (verse 21). In fact - there will be no safe haven for you in this world - you will be hated by all (verse 22).

And if it becomes intolerable - you have an out - NOT REBELLION - you can leave. Go to the next city, and the next city, and the next city - and you will not run out of places to flee before I come again (verse 23).

I'll paste here the text for consideration, I realize it is lengthy:
Matthew 10:5-23

5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 8 "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9 "Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. 11 "And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12 "As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13 "If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. 14 "Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15 "Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 "But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 "But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 "For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 "You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

23 "But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.
NASU


I do think this matter important but please don't confuse my convictions and passions with any supposed dogma on this historical matter. We should reserve our dogma for the Word and its application to our lives and ministry today - sufficient is the evil herein.

Grace my Brother,

Steve

Dave Algie said...

Thanks Steve. It's a pleasure to take part in such a thought-provoking discussion. My comment was that we need to be careful not to judge the intentions of the founding fathers as being "just" simply because their words (In the declaration of independence for example)seemed to suggest noble reasons for the revolution. The actions of the government of the young nation and many, many of its subjects from the end of the war of independence onward were often appalling and suggest that freedom, safety and peace had perhaps not been the key motivating factors for the revolution. Specifically, I am referring firstly to the continuation of slavery. Although Jefferson said he deplored slavery, he kept slaves all his life. Washington had his freed at his death. However, overall, in the young republic slavery was accepted. The other key point I would make is that the US government's treatment of the Native Americans from that time right through to Wounded Knee in the 1890s (from memory) was dishonorable and at times murderous. For these reasons, I would question, can we be really sure that the intent of the revolution was just, when so much of what what followed it was so unjust?

I hadn't really found a stance on the general question here, but on pondering it further, to answer the question "Was the American Revolution Unbiblical?" I would lean towards saying yes, it was. The problem with the approach is that to a degree if we accept MacArthur's definition of a just war, so much depends on the INTENT of the people involved and of course we can't know the intent of all involved for sure.

flipov411 said...

Steve,

I'm new to your blog. Many thanks to you, pastor Steve and all the others here for a very enlightening thread, carried out in restrained, respectful tones. It's all wonderfully helpful, as I have struggled hard with the matter of christian political activism for many years.

Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee said...

I heard Brannon's radio program the day he mentioned this and after he spent a good part of the beginning "mocking" as if John MacArthur was stupid, he lost me. He spent more time defending America (and dare I say, he twisted some things also to try and get the bible to justify his view).

It's seems Brannon has made America an idol (which the majority of the Christian Right has done)...

Brannon relies to much on American history and less on the bible (except to try and justify his argument).

To actually go after a Shepherd of the flock of the Lord (one of the more biblical faithful ones) in defense of America is divisive and fleshly in and of itself. It should have been a non-issue, one that as a Christian Brannon should know better than to even discuss. The church has far more important problems than defending the founding of America (matter of fact, that is part of her problem...she spends more time defending America than defending Christ).

When's the last time Brannon had a show defending God's Honor and Glory against the blatant idolatry in America (and I'm not talking about praising how wonderful he founding was, and how we need to get back to biblical principles...which never saved anyone)... Instead he chooses to attack someone who preaches Christ and him crucified and guess what, not even America should get in the way of that for Christians. I think we have lost site of that.


But the Lord is about to strike down the idol... He will share His glory with nothing...

Patrick Eaks said...

I think the question, (Was the American Revolution un-Biblical?), could be the wrong question. The real question to me is, Were Christian’s unbiblical in being involved in the American Revolution? This is what I struggle with. We are all called to be in this world but not of this world. How far do we take this in light of government and politics? Should we encourage all brothers and sisters in “bad” government situations to go out and rebel against it? I think many time we take to lightly the fact that as true believers we are to be heavenly minded and understand that we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I think we need to leave some of these things to individual freedoms of the gospel and not make a doctrine out of them. Also, there is the whole issue of the truth that the only right we have as Christians is to be wronged. I am grateful for having the freedom to preach the gospel in this country but our government situation should never dictate our preaching of the gospel. No government has the right to take away the authority of every believer to preach the gospel. Steve, I hope I have not gone too far off topic and as always, I appreciate all you do for us here at Camponthis.

Bro Pat

SJ Camp said...

nextverse
So the question is - does the Bible allow or imagine the "establishing of an independent state" because of a real threat to "life, liberty,and the pursuit of happiness"? The answer is (MacArthur got it right) no.

I would agree. But was the threat that the Founders faced really for those things? Wasn't it because of the failure to adhere to established laws already? For the slaughter of individuals for no lawful reason? And for the tyrannical treatment of those not under Britain's sovereign rule?

Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness (which I understood the Framers meant to mean the right to own property) was the proactive statement of pursuit; not the stand for which King George and company were maybe going to jeopardize.

If you and I lived in Germany during the time of Hitler's rise to power, while overthrowing the government would be a no option, as ministers of the gospel, would it not be incumbent upon us to preach the Word, call that madman to repentance, stand against the slaughter of millions of Jews, and in doing so obey and honor the two great commandments?

Wouldn't it be tragic if we did what many Christian folk did during that dark period in Germany's history... remained silent? We can honor the King though evil by obeying the laws of the land. But when those laws are no longer honored, people are being senselessly murdered, etc. should not men of God be bold, not as a political agenda, but as a biblical one to stand for what is right and true according to God's Word?

Of course we should.

After many years of appealing to the King, honoring already enacted laws, etc. the Founders and Framers found themselves not in an intellectual debate, but under such tremendous threat of life and destruction of family accompanied by the abatement of recognized law... then they acted. And they did so circumspectly, judiciously, in self-defense, and with honor.

I for one am grateful...

Oh for men of God once again that would stand unashamed of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; and would live self-sacrificially under the truth of God's Word in caring for the neighbor with no regard to their own well-being.

I pray by God's grace, He would make me such a man.

I will boast in no nation and make that nation my hope; I will only boast in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ to whom I have been crucified to this world and this world to me. But I will also live in the reality that we may call all men to repentance to follow Christ as their Lord and King.

But if our nation were to command every woman in this country after having two babies that they must have an abortion. I would not be silent. I would fight the government for the greater good of those unborn children. I would not honor the authority of our land and obey their murderous actions. And if they lock me up - I would by God's grace endure incarceration to His glory. If they would kill me (as they have others in China to this very day) I say sweet death.

When government commands us to do something God prohibits, or prohibits us from doing something God commands, then we must obey God rather than men regardless of the consequences.

After reading Sam Rutherford a bit more today, he was a man of such conviction and preceded the necessity of this great battle which planted with blood soaked soil the seeds of freedom, justice, liberty and democracy once again.

That is my opinion based upon the evidence before me... I could be wrong.

SJ Camp said...

patrick eaks
Also, there is the whole issue of the truth that the only right we have as Christians is to be wronged. I am grateful for having the freedom to preach the gospel in this country but our government situation should never dictate our preaching of the gospel. No government has the right to take away the authority of every believer to preach the gospel. Steve, I hope I have not gone too far off topic and as always, I appreciate all you do for us here at Camponthis.

You did not stray at all and thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

I agree with you here. Maybe it is how we view the soup can on this issue, for those of us who may disagree with each on the nature of this war biblically in regards to Roms. 13 are so very close even in that disagreement. A good place to be I think!

I do not see the Founders calling for rebellion of all governments that do not act correctly and honorably. We would all be in a constant state of rebellion if that were the case. Theirs was a slow, law abiding, meticulous process under wise and circumspect counsel both from clergy and political leadership. It was not a simple reaction. It took many years to even reach the conclusions they did.

I mean, look at the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Were finer words ever crafted by men (excluding inspired Scripture of course) about the role and nature of government? It stands peerless to its claims and in the dignity to which it was conceived.

That context to me is important. And I say this, not pridefully, but in the context of my own writings here. More than any other blogger I have written against the family valued, right wing marriage of church and state to create a societal morality absent of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And have taken many hits for those convictions.

So I am not a ra ra go America voice though I am a staunch political conservative by conviction though - and there is a difference.

Our nation is in trouble; and Obama nor McCain have all the answers. But this Revolutionary War was unique in our history; may I add in world history. And the fruit thereof has been profound.

Now maybe I have strayed off course a bit... But I appreciate greatly your thoughts you have expressed here.

Grace,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

flipov411
Good to have you here my friend and welcome to my blog. Honored to have you comment and thanks for your honesty. I know many feel that same way.

I hope this thread in some way can encourage you to process these issues a bit more thoroughly, wisely and biblically.

Keep on,
Campi

Rick Frueh said...

If this be the case, should we smuggle guns to our brothers in chains in China so they may use violence to everthrow their harsh and aethist government? It is never right to kill someone over money. Taxation without representation is abiblical. There is no Biblical mandate for democracy.

To be sure, God can and does weave unbiblical actions into His sovereign will. We are all examples of that, and so is the American Revolution. The church in America has sent out more missionaries than any other part of the church, however America has sent out none.

SJ Camp said...

TO ALL
Here are two excellent quotes that indirectly relate to this article from my friend, Dr. Albert Mohler.

"The rhetoric of the race -- and the rhetoric of many evangelicals -- is disturbing. This race is important and necessarily so. We are talking about the next President of the United States, after all. But evangelicals have invested far too much hope in the political process. No government can make people good, transform humanity, or eliminate sin. The political sphere is important, but never ultimate. Jesus Christ is Lord -- and He will be Lord regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.

AND

"Americans should give thanks today, mindful of the fact that our democratic process is evidence of national stability and constitutional order. The U.S. Constitution is the world's longest-surviving political charter. For a contrast, just think of the political turmoil and tragedy seen in Pakistan and Kenya in just the last week. Our political process may be only rarely graceful or predictable -- but it is still one of the wonders of the world. Stay tuned."

What do you all think?

Patrick Eaks said...

S J Camp Said:
That context to me is important. And I say this, not pridefully, but in the context of my own writings here. More than any other blogger I have written against the family valued, right wing marriage of church and state to create a societal morality absent of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And have taken many hits for those convictions.

So I am not a ra ra go America voice though I am a staunch political conservative by conviction though - and there is a difference.
As a regular reader (and accasional commetnor) I was in no way questioning your balance on this issue. I am just glad we can all talk about some of these things in Christian Charity. I would much rather discuss these sorts of things than the whole RA v KS issue. I am just looking to be sharpened by other iron.

Thanks,
Bro Pat

SJ Camp said...

patrick
My apology my brother for I was not directing the totality of my comment to you. My bad for not dividing it up better.

Please forgive me... Glad you are involved in this discussion and I also enjoy it when the iron sharpens the iron.

Sorry for the lack of clarity.
Campi

Rick Frueh said...

Those quotes by Moehler are very balanced and true.

Michele Rayburn said...

Steve ,

In response to Al Mohler's quotes and also several questions that you posed in an earlier comment (at 23:03 above), I wanted to give my thoughts:

What is the Christian's role in society as it relates to citizenry and government?

I have always had an interest in government because I wanted to know what was going on up there in Washington since it was going to affect everyone's lives.

I have been studying it a great deal for 16 years now, and the main reason I think that I am interested in it is because I want to hold our government officials accountable for their actions.

As a Christian, I do not embrace a "Kingdom Now" philosophy. I am not looking to expedite the return of Christ and usher in His Kingdom on this earth through legislation!

And I do not want to help create a moral society without the benefit of salvation.

I just think that we have a responsibility to hold our government officials, those that we have elected and chosen to represent us, to be held accountable to do those things that they promised us, to the best of their ability.

And I also want to exercise the freedom given to me by our country to voice my opinions when I disagree with those who represent us.

I suppose that I want to exercise those freedoms because God put those things in my heart...a desire for what is right, and true, and just. And I think that God is glorified when a society does what is right, and true, and just.

And that in turn could be a testimony that draws people to Christ, if those things that are right, and true, and just reflect biblical principals, and can be shown to be so in a way that points them to Christ.

Too many times I hear politicians try to defend those things that are right, and true, and just, without being able to articulate it in the context of God's righteousness. Most times they can't defend those things at all. They have no heartfelt convictions about those things that they want to represent us on.

That's where godly leadership comes in, and is so badly needed. I have seen a lot of good people, who have professed to know Christ, leave the government. The darkness there is so bad that it is difficult for a Christian to tolerate it for very long.

What is the church's role as well?

I think that churches should be able to retain their tax-exempt status and still maintain their right to freedom of speech. The Pastor should never be afraid to say what he thinks of the government, or it's politicians. And neither should the congregation.

But the Church should never lose as it's central focus Jesus Christ.

Is Christian activism appropriate?

I think that whatever road each Christian takes that he or she should never lose focus on Jesus Christ in all things that they do. "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." That is the fine line that we walk. We have to be careful not to make politics our Life, instead of Christ.

Or should it only be about the proclamation of the gospel?

"The means" is Christ. And "the ends" is Christ. Trying to reach a lost world for Christ should be one of our purposes for doing whatever it is we are doing. But keeping our focus on Christ in all things that we pursue will affect the shape of our "activism".

Does God's sovereignty relieve us of our biblical duty?

No. Jesus said for us to go into all the world and preach the gospel. And God will save whomever He wills. "For it is God who works in us to will and to do His good pleasure." We should never neglect that calling.

Brandon said...

I only had time to read about half of these posts and skim the rest.... But I just wanted to add Calvin's doctrine of the lesser magistrates. It's something I haven't studied, but have heard referenced.

"Calvin argued that, constitutionally, lesser magistrates have a legal right to resist tyranny. Calvin denounced the right of private individuals to resist."
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3817/is_200209/ai_n9119697

The Founders were the colonies' Representatives, their lesser magistrates. They were not private citizens. Thoughts?

nextverse said...

S.J.
Thanks for your thorough clarification of conviction. I would say that I agree completely with your argument on each and every point except for the one you and I must leave to history's past - what was the motivation that drove the Founders to Revolution? - - you share the conviction that the principle of "just war doctrine" must have been the threshold for it to be "valid" biblically... I agree.

Contrary to one post - I think that while the following years of the new Republic might well have affirmed the continued sinfulness of those Founders - mine would surely have been no less evident ... there is an observation that is more weighty, I think; that is the years of God's obvious grace toward this nation ushering in Great Revival and expansion of the gospel not only here but around the globe!

Regardless of man's convictions that led the decision to rebel - God's will could hardly be questioned in the end.

Not meant, of course, to justify any means - - but to rejoice in the goodness and grace of our Sovereign Lord.

That revolution established the very freedom to have this discussion these past two days - - for that I am thankful - - to God be the glory!

Grace to All - thanks for the great exchange...

Steve

p.s. Camp - not sure I'm really warming up to that whole foxhole thing! Yet know this: wherever the faith delivered takes us - there I stand with you.

Only Look said...

Good thoughts in comparison of king George with Hitler Steve. I abhor abortion and stand against it. Sinful man burns their babies in the fires of Molech and saline, but it has never been in Gods heart to do so and he has said to suffer the little children to come to Him and if any of them are offended it would be better for that person to have a milstone hung around his neck and thrown into the sea. Very true, and also while we are to suffer for His namesake under unregenerate mans tyranny we are also not to cast pearls to swine. How odd though that in England William Wilberforce's fight shows us the importance of using whatever we can to end needless suffering in the form of slavery through prayer and politics, but what a mystery that America was so much a part of that while fighting for their own independence. To we Americans the red white and blue represented freedom, but to the slaves it was feared in the same way Europe feared the Nazi flag. That is something I have always wreslted with. Spurgeon did as well. he wondered how some of us, even Godly American believers could own slaves, but tit for tat arguments do not make whatever else wrong or right. We are indeed to follow what the word of God tells us and perhaps in the study of Baptist history as well as our own national history, we were just in our fight; however, none of us lived back then, so all of our research will always be 1 or 2 dimensional at best.

Being a former Marine who fought for this nation, I did always struggle with the fact that my Lord Jesus Christ's name was prophaned so often and with such careless thought. How could he be blessing us when we were cursing Him? I would often wonder, but God has his plan and providence and we have been raised up for a reason in His sovereignty. Sometimes I have often wondered if it was a reason outside of ourselves as we are a protector of Israel and the only one left. The dragon would devour her should we not be a guardian perhaps.

Truly our nation is an enigma but one where most were indeed Christians. George Washington was a man of God and there is no doubt that the bullet proof George Washington was under the hand of God, while great men like Ben Franklin, a friend of Whitfield who had slaves for his orphanage, kept the Lord at a distance all his life and Thomas Jefforson tore out portions of Scripture he did not fancy. What an enigma we are, yet we cannot deny that the hand of God has not been with us and that we are a city set on a hill for the rest of the world and a kind nation when all others are tyrants, but we are not much of a Christian nation any longer. I tend to still be very sympathetic toward MacArthur in these areas, yet still understand some of the points made.

All in all?

"Blessed is the nation who's God is the Lord" but we must remember that our citizenship is in the upside down kingdom of God.

Grace upon grace,

Brian

Still....

"Blesse

SJ Camp said...

Brandon
"Calvin argued that, constitutionally, lesser magistrates have a legal right to resist tyranny. Calvin denounced the right of private individuals to resist."

The Founders were the colonies' Representatives, their lesser magistrates. They were not private citizens. Thoughts?


I have never heard that distinction before, but I will gladly review Calvin on this. If true, it would clarify much as to the thinking of both clergy and politicians who felt proper process had been followed and were within their legal rights to do so.

Thank you,
Steve

Steve Lamm said...

I think it’s helpful to simply compare Brannon Howse’s article to the clear teaching of Scripture on this subject from Romans 13:1-7 and I Peter 2:13-17 and then ask the question: “Who makes the better case biblically with sound principles of exegesis – MacArthur or Howse?” Of course, you just might have to read John’s book WHY GOVERNMENT CAN'T SAVE YOU, or at least his NT Commentary on Romans on the passage in question to really understand his arguments.

Brannon asserts the following about MacArthur’s views without support:

“When you combine a lack of knowledge about the American Revolution with a wrongly applied interpretation of Romans 13…”

Dear friends, an assertion is not an argument. Brannon implies that MacArthur has “wrongly applied” his interpretation of Romans 13:1-7 to the American Revolution. If this is true, he ought to be able to make his case exegetically. Has John misinterpreted Romans 13:1-7 so that his application is also incorrect, or is John merely lacking in his ability to properly apply the passage? It’s one or the other and Brannon ought to attempt to refute John on that basis. But he has not bothered to do so.

John’s view on this issue is arrived at not because he is an “extreme thoroughgoing pacifist” (as Brannon regrettably implies in the post), but because his exegesis of Scripture compels him to this position. I happen to agree with MacArthur on this point for the same exegetical reasons. But that does not make me love my country any less. In fact, I thank God for the privilege of living in a free nation. It is a gracious gift from God and all due to His sovereign will.

May I also point out that Brannon actually undermines his main argument near the end of the post when he writes:

“While I agree it is crucial that Christians pursue civil disobedience only when obeying government requires us to disobey God, Scripture offers clear direction on when such action is acceptable.”

On this issue Howse agrees with MacArthur! So, it seems that Brannon’s reasoning is not in fact biblical, but more political and philosophical.

Look, I understand where Brannon is coming from and I’m at least partially sympathetic. He wants us all to work together to fight against the sinful decline of our nation, and he wants us to put up a united front and not debate this issue among ourselves. But political expediency is not sufficient reason to disregard what Scripture plainly teaches concerning our duty as citizens.

Unless a government attempts to force believers to disobey God's Word (Acts 5:29), then they must willingly subject themselves to the governing authorities (I Peter 2:13-15).

Blessings,
Steve Lamm

Only Look said...

Such true points Mr Lamm, but I got to tell you, there is still in me those moments and feelings where Rambo just makes all the sense in the world. There just had to be that back then. The question, "How can we stand around and watch such injustice and tyranny go on when we can stop it."

This is really a tough issue. Its one where I often feel a bit schizo on.

So I certainly don't judge my founding fathers. Something tells me, had I lived back then I would have picked up arms and fought the red coats.

Grace upon grace,

Brian

Steve Lamm said...

Brian,

I can relate to that "Rambo" sentiment. I too often find myself reverting to my former fighting instincts.

Also, I certainly do not wish to imply that the decisions made by Christians during the Revolution were easy ones no matter where they came out. It is a fact that there were good Chrsitians who supported the revolution and many who did not.

Of course the issue is not what seems reasonable to many good people, but what is biblical. I used to hold the view Brannon Howse took in his post. I changed my mind many years ago the first time I preached through the Book of Romans as a pastor.

I will admit to you that I had not really thought about the American Revolution from a biblical standpoint until someone asked me about it after preaching a sermon on Romans 13:1-7. You can imagine the wheels spinning in my head as I contemplated just who I might offend with my answer.

Well, I'm still alive and no one threatened to hang me for the position I took (a risk all the Founding Fathers faced when they signed the Declaration).

I did make me think about these issues deeply, and I'll say this - I'm glad I live in the USA and I thank God for my freedoms. Frankly, we are all benefactors not only of the freedoms won by the revolution, but most importantly because God in His sovereignty decided that we should be born in this country.

For God's Glory,
Steve Lamm

Douglas said...

"In fact, I thank God for the privilege of living in a free nation."

Is it a truly free nation for the Indians? Are there Indians within the United States of America still living in bondage to abject poverty because of what has been done to them? Do the majority of Indians thank God for the privilege of living in a free nation? Does their blood still cry out from the ground?

Dave Algie said...

In going back and re-reading the historical accounts of the American Revolution, I start to feel that the way it has been represented here at times could be unintentionally misleading. It seems to me that the oppression the colonists were under is being overstated. An example might be the quote about the British firing the first shots in the early engagements at The Boston "Massacre", the bombing of Boston, and the Lexington and Concord engagments. The picture this creates of bloodthirsty tyrants (did someone use the word "terrorism"?) butchering the saintly colonists en masse isn't perhaps all that accurate. I encourage COT readers to read over the historical accounts of these events in detail.

The British, rightly or wrongly felt that they were justified in the taxes they were imposing. Perhaps the taxes were indeed unfair, but I have yet to read of these taxes leading to famine, starvation etc. Perhaps they did, I'll keep searching for information. The point is that the situation does not seem to have been so dire or desperate that the revolutionaries could have been said to have been fighting in self defense; for their lives.

Finally, the repeated claims that the colonists had exhausted all avenues to them because they had been attempting to seek justice for "11 years" might warrant further investigation. Many peoples have sought justice in the face of greater oppression for longer without ever having resorted to rebellion. The Maori people of New Zealand for example, pursued justice through legal means in the face of incredible indifference and opposition for over 100 years in an attempt to regain lands stolen from them.

While much of this thread has been focused on finding a thoroughly biblical approach to this question, as Steve has implied, gaining a thoroughly accurate view of the historical events is also important in addressing this question.

crmgosound said...

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This blog has become filled with an abundance of blessings to me,
because when I read and learn from people interested in preaching and
striving for truth it is just GREAT!! I can tell you I have learned truth throughout these postings!!


There is a lot of teaching that can be used out of this great discussion
to understand the actions of other governments . You may ask me, what
do other countries or governments have to do with the American
Revolution?

In countries such as Latin America - where I am from -, the mindset is that in order to bring
about change, rebellion/revolution is necessary. Please forgive me if it sounds
as though I may be generalizing, but, history continues to teach.

The characteristics that typify this rebellion(s) are:

They are sparked by "Just causes", There is usually a dictator in place.
These rebellions may bring to light an injustice or other kind of social suppression.
As a result people rebel against the government. Most of the time the rebellion
becomes violent.


What is very interesting is the similarity of how Christians and Non-Christians become involved
in aiding the efforts of the rebellion, without even considering the ways that Christ taught us
regarding events as this.

At the heart of the matter is how Christians should repond to events such as rebellions.
If we think through what a rebellion is, it is usually driven by emotions rather than
convictions. And these emotions tend to move us to actions. Even more terrifying is that
these emotions tend to fill with HATRED the hearts of those pursuing change for a better Justice,
or even happiness.


Pastor Steve posted verses of the New Testament in which Jesus taught what you may call
"a Christian social responsibility" The apostles echoed this teaching in their ministry.
What intrigues me is how consistent the Bible is - thanks to the Holy Spirit -.
Read Luke 3:7-14, John the Baptist, proclaims the same truth. Isaiah does as well.


I am thankful about your teaching. Because It helps me understand how much we need to check on the word of God for our daily lives, and states. In Latin America we do need to have these kind of debates. After all the Truth shall set us "FREE"!!

thanks,

SJ Camp said...

Dave
Facts and balance is key here. I thank you for offering both continually.

This is not as easy an issue that many would think. We are trying to rewind the clock and understand motives behind actions that had profound results.

This has been a good thread... and for one, has given me much to think over and research afresh.

Grace and peace,
Steve

SJ Camp said...

crmgosound
Welcome to COT brother and thank you for your comment and the views you expressed. Also, thank you for your kind and encouraging words about this site. It is greatly appreciated.

You said, "At the heart of the matter is how Christians should repond to events such as rebellions. If we think through what a rebellion is, it is usually driven by emotions rather than convictions. And these emotions tend to move us to actions. Even more terrifying is that these emotions tend to fill with HATRED the hearts of those pursuing change for a better Justice,
or even happiness."


I think this is a concern we all have. How should Christians respond in the midst of national upheavals or political turmoil - especially if it involves believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and issues that are essential to the gospel and God's Word?

It is also good for us all to remember that The American Revolution War was not a Christian vx Secular war. It was not theocratic and driven because "religious rights" were being abrogated. It was political and based on the rule of law and its moorings. In light of that, the debate I guess here is twofold: 1. was there justification politically for The American Revolution; and 2. can it be justified biblically?

I thank you my brother for your thoughts and I will pray as the Lord uses you in your country to serve Him and honor His Word.

Grace,
Steve

Dave Algie said...

Thanks Steve. It's been a fascinating thread. I have enjoyed the discussion very much.

I've viewed your profile and have to say that while I disagree with you on many issues there is one thing I am in full agreement with you on: "The Patriot" is a great movie.

Have a great day.

Steve Lamm said...

sj camp,

You pose the two important questions: "the debate I guess here is twofold: 1. was there justification politically for The American Revolution; and 2. can it be justified biblically?"

My answer to the first question is there seems to be plenty of political justification for the Revolution. But that is really not the central issue in this dispute.

The second question is what Brannon Howse really addressed in his post. To that question MacArthur answered NO and I think his view is the exegetically sound one. Brannon fails in his attempt to demonstrate that MacArthur is wrong. In fact, he doesn;t really address the interpretation of the passage. he merely asserts that John is wrong in his application of Romans 13:1-7.

I can certainly understand that Brannon is upset that a prominent Bible teacher like John MacArthur publicly takes a different position on the biblical merits of the American Revolution. He is responding the way many modern evangelicals have who are miffed that MacArthur would dare to publicly share his disagreement over the long-term success of evangelical political action.

I say again: let Brannon demonstrate where MacArthur is wrong exegetically, from the passages in dispute. If MacArthur is wrong in his interpretation or application of the passages in question, Brannon ought to be able to show it.

As it stands now, Howse's argument is pretty weak on this point, and that is the issue at hand.

Thanks Steve for letting me comment.

Blessing in Christ,
Steve Lamm

SJ Camp said...

Steve Lamm
Great to have you post your comment here! Thank you very much.

You have provoked another good question in my thinking on this. Let me throw it out to you and then I would be most interested in your feedback to it.

I agree principally with MacArthur that Romans 13 does not give justification for the church or His people to overthrow corrupt governments that we think tax us too much, etc. But what if those governments abuse their power, misuse the sword, and do not follow the laws that they have established to procure the peace and order in society?

I am thinking of two examples: Hitler and Hussein. Would there not be justification biblically, for a just war, to right that wrong? Are we not seeing that unfold in Iraq currently? And again, I am not suggesting the church band together to overthrow any governmental system for its own purposes. But doesn't even the excellent book and subsequent teaching that Rev. Samuel Rutherford offered on this some 110 years prior to The American Revolution offer a biblical view as well for the rare, but yet necessary actions of our Founders?

Just thinking out loud.

Thanks for letting me turn the tables here a bit. Let me know your thoughts.

Steve

gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

'what if those governments abuse their power, misuse the sword, and do not follow the laws that they have established to procure the peace and order in society?'

All of what you have said was characteristic of the time of Christ but He never condoned revolution in order to address this issue! As a matter of fact He stated the exact opposite, He called all Christians to submit to the authorities that God had put in place.
Now, I think the only way that one can truly justify revolution biblically is by removing the teaching and leadings of Christ from the picture. Somehow Jesus calling us to arms does not set well with me and if it is not him who calls to arms we should not take up arms! Let our only sword and shield be that of faith and the Word of God.

SJ Camp said...

G-Man
All of what you have said was characteristic of the time of Christ but He never condoned revolution in order to address this issue! As a matter of fact He stated the exact opposite, He called all Christians to submit to the authorities that God had put in place.

Let me clarify again here: I have not nor would I ever condone organizing Christians to overthrow government in any manner. I have written extensively against that for years.

The American Revolution was not a church-based ecumenical overthrow of King George for value voting or garnering a few more religious rights in society. It was a political issue. Were there Christians involved? Yes. Were there only Christians involved? No, of course not. But here is the key: they were legislators comprised of some who were Christians as well that spoke to these issues from a biblical worldview.

Now, when they spoke of religious values were they referring to all religions or say to the Koran? No. They were referring to the Christian faith in part or whole. The times and the cultural environment were not as they are now.

So, IMHO, when BH asks if The American Revolution was unbiblical, he is not asking the question within or defining it by today's religious influences - i,e the moral majority, Christian coalition, Dr. James Dobson religious right context. I believe he is asking this within the climate of that day... not ours.

I agree with John MacArthur in regards to the role of the church and how individual believers are to conduct themselves in a pagan culture (cf, Titus 3:1-8). The cross waves higher than the flag. That to me is quite different than how governing bodies and their respective officials intervene with each other. And in some cases, might have to call for revolution to establish justice within a nation once again. [Anyone see Braveheart recently? :-).]

I hope that helps clear things up a bit more here.

I always appreciate your input on issues here.

Campi

SJ Camp said...

G-Man
One more quick thing:

Now, I think the only way that one can truly justify revolution biblically is by removing the teaching and leadings of Christ from the picture. Somehow Jesus calling us to arms does not set well with me and if it is not him who calls to arms we should not take up arms!

Just wars are condoned biblically (just look at Israel's past.) Murder is not; but war is. So a further question in this discussion might be: rather than unbiblical, was The American Revolution an unjust war? I do not believe it was by both biblical (see MacArthur's five principles for a just war that I listed on this comment thread yesterday) and political criteria.

Steve

Steve Lamm said...

sj camp,

I think you pose some very good questions.

I know you agree that the Bible commands believers to obey their government. That is the guiding principle. There is an exception which the Apostles recognized: we must always obey God. If any human authority orders us to disobey God, we must refuse such an order.

I can think of any number of biblical mandates that governments might attempt to infringe which would require a believer to disobey the government in order to be obedient to God. A partial list:

The mandate to proclaim the Gospel (Matt. 28:18-20)
The command to provide for and protect family (I Tim. 5:8)
The command to protect one’s neighbor from physical harm (Pr. 24:11)
The command to worship (Heb. 10:24-25)
The command to pray (I Tim. 2:1-4 cf. Dan. 12)

We could make the list much longer with Biblical commands to believers which no human government has the right to infringe.

Here’s where the debate lies: had the British Crown denied believers the right to obey God in any of the clear commands of Scripture? I think that’s a very difficult case to make based on actual historical events.

I’ve done some reading on the American Revolution, especially biographical reading. Men like John Adams made good philosophical and political arguments in favor of throwing off British rule. But they often relied too heavily on Enlightenment thinking in their arguments and not enough on the sound exegesis of Scripture. The Declaration is a great document, but it relies heavily on “natural rights” and makes no biblical exegetical argument for independence from and rebellion against the Crown.

You have referred to Samuel Rutherford and I have read only bits and pieces of his work. Can you suggest a book that will give me a better feel for his theological justification for supporting revolution? I’d be interested in reading it.

Let me offer this caveat: I do not criticize the motives of men like Adams and the other signers of the Declaration. I may disagree with their reasoning (as many good clergymen did in that time), but I respect their willingness to lay their lives on the line for what they felt was a just and noble cause.

I also sympathize with the average believer who had to make a choice whom to support during the rebellion (as I’m sure MacArthur would). After all, the legally appointed representatives of the various colonies had met and agreed to declare independence from Great Britain. If a believer chose to support his colonial representatives, he and his family faced danger and even death at the hands of the British. If he chose to stay loyal to the Crown, he and his family might face social rejection and even physical abuse at the hands of his neighbors. Such decisions try the character of even the most godly people.

I hope I’ve addressed the main points you raised. Come back at me if you have any other questions and I’ll deal with them when I can. I need to get back to my prep for Sunday’s message.

By the way, I have tried to find the July radio program where MacArthur states his views on this. Howse mentioned it at the end of his post. Can you tell me where to find it?

Thanks Steve for the edifying dialogue you have fostered on this thread.

Blessings in Christ,
Steve Lamm

jen elslager said...

That interview can be found here

SJ Camp said...

Jen
Thanks Jen.

crmgosound said...

SJ Camp, you said: "...the debate I guess here is twofold: 1. was there
justification politically for The American Revolution; and 2. can it be
justified biblically?"

(Again let me say this: Studying the scriptures is fascinating.)

Lets look at other examples where people were oppressed. In Exodus 1:8-14

8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
9And he said to his people, "Behold, the people of Israel are too many and
too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest
they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight
against us and escape from the land." 11Therefore they set taskmasters
over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for
Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12But the more they were
oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And
the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. 13So they
ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14and made
their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all
kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them
work as slaves.

It is interesting how the word: "MIGHTY" is used by Pharaoh in respect to the Israelites. As if they, the Israelites- were able to portray something that Pharaoh did not find in the Egyptians or even himself.

vv. 13: They.... made.... Israel work as slaves 14and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.

From here on the oppression continued. Pharaoh killed many.

Was there a dictator/oppressor: Yes - Pharaoh
Was there an infinite number of injustices: Yes - The Israelites were the recipient of that injustice.

YET, God was able to fight this battle. The liberation of the people of Israel from Pharaoh.

What was the method of liberation: This is where it gets even more interesting. God raised up a man, and trained him. And this man brought God's message to the heart of the Israelites and the house of Pharaoh. Prior to this, Moses was a prince of Egypt. He saw the injustice as well and one day he decided to act. He was driven by his emotions and killed and Egyptian. He was a prince. but probably felt impotent regarding the injustice done to the Israelites. He runs away. Ex: 2:11-14

In Ex.3:10. Moses comes back to Egypt as a shepherd. Moses came back changed. He did not ask the Israelites to fight. The Israelites did not fight. Moses follow the instructions of God and this he did:

Exodus 3:16"Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, "I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.


17"So I said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey."'


This following verse is just beautiful:

18"They will pay heed to what you say; and you with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt and you will say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us So now, please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.'

I believe the reason it makes sense for the elders to "pay heed" is because of the message. How moses presented himself before them.

Also, pay attention to middle of vv18: THE LORD, the GOD of the Hebrews, has met with us, so now, please, (interesting word) let us go.

You see the Lord was in that demand. Notice the reason of the demand. " That we may sacrifice to the Lord our God" Or as God has asked Moses to bring the Israelites to the mountain to worship Him.

I believe the pictures is great. Our God is speaking to Pharaoh through the mighty Israelites. Can you imagine that meeting?

They continued to be slaves until they were freed by the hand of God. Pharaoh finally let them go. Let me ask again: Who freed them? GOD, using Moses and the Israelites elders, for his Glory. It is good for us to learn that when God is leading then we need to act with a godly demeanor and likeness to Christ.

There are many applications that can be derived from this Scripture but I am starting to see that God has had a pattern that he wants us to use in times of oppression. His message is resounding with blessings and can change hearts, and of the battles that may come... He will fight them for us. Exodus 14.

It seems as if the Israelites only needed a battle cry to forgo slavery. They were many and mighty. Did they have a political or social reason they needed in order to justify a rebellion? No, Biblically. Since they were oppressed it almost sounds unjust to say that. But still it may not be enough in the eyes of God, to whom we all serve. You see political work is just the thinking of men in a compromising arena. All get together to compromise for the well being of a nation. but Is that correct? Should we compromise with others beliefs in order to achieve peace? After all don't we need to live in peace with others?

But from God's perspective, his providence, may teach us that even though you are in oppression, he see things different. He will be our deliverer.

Exodus 2:22 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.

GOD KNEW!! Very interesting. Here is where we may start rationalizing. Since he knew, then we are justified politically or socially to bring a rebellion against a power that it is unjust. He knew, so it is alright.

All to the contrary, I believe, it is showing us that HE KNOWS, "I know your suffering", it is not that I don't know! I have heard you. So, then we should ask him, Father, you know. What should we do?

So what should we do? Should we be passive with arms crossed and do nothing. Should we continue to be under the oppression with more hard work, punishments, etc..
I believe that he wants us to cry to God and present to him our sufferings. In this we are strong, Josh 1:9. God will take care of us. He hear us, he KNOWS! let us not forget that He knows, and has not forgotten.

Lets not forget to use PLEASE!!. It almost throws me off my chair that they used the word PLEASE!!! :) but why not!!


Philippians 1:27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28in no way alarmed by your opponents--which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.



Peace and Grace!

crmgosound said...

There is something I need to correct:

"Prior to this, Moses was a prince of Egypt. He saw the injustice as well and one day he decided to act. He was driven by his emotions and killed and Egyptian. He was a prince. "

By "He was a prince" I mean Moses was a Prince.

Steve Lamm said...

Jen,

Thanks so much for that link. I just finished listening to John's comments and I must say, it merely confirms what I said in earlier remarks - he is right on the money in his understanding of Scripture.

It's interesting to note that it was Brannon Howse who brought this up in his post by refering to what John wrote some eight years ago in his book WHY GOVERNMENT CAN'T SAVE YOU.

I suggest that all who have commented here listen to that interview of John that Jen linked to, and also read John's book to be properly informed about his actual views on this.

Blessings to all,
Steve Lamm

jen elslager said...

I searched for that interview because I wanted more than a couple of soundbites to go on. Though not much more is said, I still don't have issue with Dr MacArthur's views. Again, I think it's more a matter of trusting in God's sovereignty for this or any election.

Whatever a person's views are regarding the formation of America, I think most would agree that what is happening right now matters more. I don't think that Dr MacArthur would advocate that we should abide by England's laws as was jokingly (dare I say mockingly?) suggested by the men on Worldview Matters.

SJ Camp said...

Jen
Whatever a person's views are regarding the formation of America, I think most would agree that what is happening right now matters more. I don't think that Dr MacArthur would advocate that we should abide by England's laws as was jokingly (dare I say mockingly?) suggested by the men on Worldview Matters.

Agreed.

gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

'The American Revolution was not a church-based ecumenical overthrow of King George for value voting or garnering a few more religious rights in society. It was a political issue.'

Your statement is correct, this 'was not a Church based ecumenical overthrow'. It can further be said that this was not a act sanctioned by God, it was a work of flesh that involved some Christian men and any work apart from the vine of Christ is going to bear un-Godly fruit, see John 15. Let me add that, we need to view this issue from this perspective as well, there were Christian men that fought on the British side with equal conviction as well! So, now do we not only have this war that is justified via human reason but we have Christians armed and killing Christians.
If this was not something that men were called to by Christ then Dr. MacArthur is correct in what he says;

'Therefore those believers say such rights are part of a Christian worldview, worth attaining and defending at all cost including military insurrection at times. But such a position is contrary to the clear teachings and commands of Romans 13:1-7. So the United States was actually born out of a violation of New Testament principles, and any blessings God has bestowed on America have come in spite of that disobedience by the Founding Fathers.'

I think that the importance of this statement is not to draw attention to the fact that our nation was born out of disobedience to Rom. 13: 1-7, rather it is here in order for us to view what has occurred so that we might see why our nation is in the mess it is in today. We are in the world and not of this world, the worlds methods cannot be our methods in any way, shape or form because we serve a infinitely higher master and his ways are infinitely higher than ours. This does not mean that we should not participate in worldly processes such as voting, or even defending our country, but we should keep in mind that we are truly aliens here, we look to the city that He has prepared for us.

We are strangers, travelers just as Abraham;

Heb. 11: 10

10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Heb 11:10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

SJ Camp said...

G-Man
"Therefore those believers say such rights are part of a Christian worldview, worth attaining and defending at all cost including military insurrection at times. But such a position is contrary to the clear teachings and commands of Romans 13:1-7. So the United States was actually born out of a violation of New Testament principles, and any blessings God has bestowed on America have come in spite of that disobedience by the Founding Fathers.'

I don't know if that is historically true. Understand, I agree with the statement, in principle; but applied to The American Revolution I don't know if it is accurate.

To All:
Maybe some of the real history buffs on this thread could assist me in understanding this issue more clearly. Here is my question:

Where, historically, did the Founders, make any formal declaration or action of insurrection against King George proactively and offensively?

I await your responses.
Steve

gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

You all have become part of my extended family in a way, actually being a part of the body of Christ we are closer than we even know!
Please pray for my girls and I as well as my family. The bodies of two individuals were discovered in a home in Gresham, Oregon. Both individuals were murdered and there is a on going investigation. The bodies were those of my nephew and his wife.
I have had little contact with them because of the nature of the life style they have chosen to live, and I am estranged from my nephews father, my brother, at this time due to the nature of what choosing a lifestyle involved with drug dealing and all the trappings of that entails. So, I have had to choose to protect my girls instead of pursuing a relationship, hence I am ostracized from that part of the family. Please also pray for my mother who is approaching her late 80's, she suffered a stroke a few years back and has some dementia, I am concerned at her response once she hears the news.
I would really covet your prayers at this time.

Robert

Michele Rayburn said...

"crmogosound" gave a good illustration from the Scriptures (Exodus 1:8-14) in his comment at 15:04 that I think ties in with what Pastor Steve (aka nextverse) has said at 02:33 and 04:02. I just wanted to take an excerpt from what "crmogosound" said that I thought was really good:

"It seems as if the Israelites only needed a battle cry to forgo slavery. They were many and mighty. Did they have a political or social reason they needed in order to justify a rebellion? No, Biblically. Since they were oppressed it almost sounds unjust to say that. But still it may not be enough in the eyes of God, to whom we all serve."

"You see political work is just the thinking of men in a compromising arena. All get together to compromise for the well being of a nation. but Is that correct? Should we compromise with others beliefs in order to achieve peace?..."

"But from God's perspective, his providence may teach us that even though you are in oppression, he sees things different. He will be our deliverer."


Though we're all still seeking the facts about what exactly happened during the Revolution, I still appreciate the wisdom that Pastor Steve and "crmgosound" have presented here and want to thank them for that.

Gigantor, I just saw your comment and will certainly be praying for you and your family. I'm terribly sorry to hear about this tragedy.

Michele

jen elslager said...

I'll be praying for you too, gigantor.

Only Look said...

I guess blogger went out and I tried t post this:

Then there is the question. Is there anything wrong with escaping injustice in coming to the New World and why does England automatically get to claim land that belonged originally to the Indians and the colonies that existed? Was England extending itself unjustly as Hitler was in going into Autria?

Grace upon grace,

Brian

littlegal_66 said...

Gig, my dear brother-(I'll make this brief as Nashville is in the midst of a severe thunderstorm and I should quickly unplug my computer). When someone you know is found murdered, it is a shock like no other. I am praying for you and your family; please keep us posted here.

Captive to His Word,

Steph

Only Look said...

Yes we will pray for you Robert.

Grace upon grace,

Brian

Michele Rayburn said...

Steve,

I just asked Terry your question:

Where, historically, did the Founders, make any formal declaration or action of insurrection against King George proactively and offensively?

His answer was "The Declaration Of Independence. But it's not proactive. It's reactive. And it's not offensive. It's defensive. But from King George's standpoint it was proactive and offensive." :)

With my paraphrasing,
Michele

SJ Camp said...

Michelle
Exactly. No insurrection. That is a key foundation to build this argument from.

G-Man
I am so very sorry to hear of this tragic incident. I will be praying for you this evening and for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to not only grant you comfort, but wisdom as well.

From the crucible of grace,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

flipov411 said...

Steve Camp wrote:

"The cross waves higher than the flag."

Indeed! Thank you for putting it in such a clear and simple way.

If Romans 13:1 is to be believed, then I think we can reasonably infer that political campaigns and elections are not how we choose those who will rule over us, but rather how we find out who it is that the Lord has raised up and ordained to serve His purposes in history. This calls for vastly wiser, more discerning responses from God's people than worldly party politics can possibly cope with.

And this is, I suggest, is at the heart of the tension we're wrestling with here. Does Scripture demand that believers join the angry mobs of political pressure groups? Or do have an entirely different calling?

Curt Olson

SJ Camp said...

Curt
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. They are appreciated and never taken for granted.

I wrote to a brother in the Lord who sent me an email of concern on this subject. Here in part is what I sent to him:

"I have always supported John Mac and he me, in what I have written concerning [to what I have labeled] evangelical co-belligerence (ECB)- “political remedy to solve moral malady.” I have several articles on the record in regards to those convictions.

On this issue, I think it is different. The American Revolution was not the military version of ECB. On the contrary, it was a political struggle that did operate not out of insurrection, but conviction; AND, mind you, according to just war principles."


Hope this helps clarify a bit more. Thank you again for your thoughts.

Steve

flipov411 said...

Thank you for your response, Steve.

I agree that the American Revolution was probably just, unlike the crushing of the native people that followed, though that was probably inivitable.

It's an unimaginably complex world we live in, isn't it?

At the risk of angering the activists, I would say it seems to me that Psalm 2 gives us one of the best pictures we have of what the root problem is (and always has been), and Psalm 1 offers the best Godly response to it.

Curt Olson

gigantor1231 said...

S.J. and flipov411

'then I think we can reasonably infer that political campaigns and elections are not how we choose those who will rule over us, but rather how we find out who it is that the Lord has raised up and ordained to serve His purposes in history.'

While Rom. 13: 1 is true it is equally true that the system that we have adopted to use is arrogant in nature and really a symbol of the idolatry of humanism! We say that we rely on the "vote of the majority," of course that has been so tweaked and manipulated so much that it is not true today, the fact is that when the majority is unregenerate then what we get is usually what we deserve, rather than a man who fears God and follows Christ. While God is sovereign in His choice of who will sit in the seat of leadership, our 'democratic system' does everything but trust in the sovereign God, it says that we know best and our lot that is cast is simply in the highest number of votes rolled, electoral, popular, however you want to look at it.
Point is that we do not rely on God in this country as a whole and as a whole we never have. God has always had His remnant placed in society to deliver His Gospel and live His truth and the world and it's system has always hated it.
So, what is to be done, how should we conduct ourselves? We are in this world but we need to live knowing that we are not of this world, we participate in it's systems, politics etc... but we always need to remember that there is one that is in control that is not swayed by this worldly system. We need to live in our little un worldly piece of society and history relying on and trusting on the only one who rules and reigns and that is Jesus Christ. Apart from Him is no true rule, no true leadership and when the world lives apart from His rule he gives them exactly what they deserve, that is except for grace that stays His hand to give what is deserved in it's full measure. As for the plight of the native American population being a inevitable, I think that it is more clearly described as being a consequence. A consequence of a un Godly people seeking to have what it wants and that meant getting rid of the weaker have nots, and it was also a consequence of God's hand of judgment where God uses one un Godly people to judge another un Godly people. The balance to all of this is for us to live for Him, pursue His will and worship Him in all Spirit and Truth, His Gospel is the only answer for this dieing world.

Ron DePew said...

Maybe what the church in America needs is a little persecution? It strengthened the early church. Maybe that's what we're in for? Just a thought.

SJ Camp said...

Ron
Hey my brother? How are you? Good to see you comment on this.

Maybe what the church in America needs is a little persecution? It strengthened the early church.

Amen!

Steve Lamm said...

For those interested,

Dr. Gregg Frazer, Professor of Political Studies at Master's College has weighed in on this matter in defense of Dr. MacArthur with an op/ed piece that can be found today on worldnetdaily.com.

Here's the link: http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=71614

Blessings,
Steve Lamm

Ron DePew said...

I agree with J Mac's thoughts on the upcoming election. Because of my biblical view I too look at the election differently than many others. That's why I said what I did in my earlier post. Did not the early church grow and become stronger in times of persecution? So has the church throughout history, just look at the Reformation. We've had it very comfortable here in America when it comes to our faith. And that is probably the reason that modern evengelicalism has become so loose with the truth. Sadly today anything and pretty much everything is acceptable. Maybe things are about to take a turn and God may allow the heat to be turned up a little for us all here in America.

I'm reminded of these lyrics you penned Steve - "We can never be your servants without scars".

I hope you and the kiddos are doing well Steve.

Ron

JTW said...

I was unable to listen to the audio program on this issue. They charge $5 for a podcast, I don't understand that.

Nevertheless, I am concerned about the disrespectful tone I see toward John MacArthur. They even go to the point of implying that He is not only a poor student of history, but unable to properly divide God's Word: "When you combine a lack of knowledge about the American Revolution with a wrongly applied interpretation of Romans 13..."

This is an important but nonessential issue. This disrespectful tone toward one our finest expositors does damage to the body of Christ. Disagree fine, but do so respectfully.

The following quotes were taken from the Worldview website:

"John is a great theologian but a poor student of history. While we don't disagree with MacArthur on much in this area we believe John is really embarrassing himself and damaging his credibility."

"John doesn't read the same Bible as I do or he wouldn't be misleading well meaning Christians with is very misguided views. At The Master's College he is indoctorating a whole next generation with his off base OPINIONS."

jen elslager said...

This disrespectful tone toward one our finest expositors does damage to the body of Christ.

My thoughts exactly. As far as Dr MacArthur damaging his credibility? Unfortunately I think it's Mr Howse that is doing that to his own. Someone in a former comment on this post said that this is typical of him, and I find that very sad.

This was the first broadcast of his I had listened to, and after hearing a few more, I've decided there are much better uses of my time. I did appreciate David Wheaton's very respectful attitude in the actual interview with Dr MacArthur. It even sounded as though he might not exactly agree with him, but he was respectful about it and willing to check it out.

I'm not trying to be mean or disrespectful to Mr Howse, but his treatment of Dr MacArthur and his recent tirade against the 'idiot' Germans were just too much for me. I would love to learn and understand more about these issues without having to wade through childish disrespect to do so.

Mr Camp, I apologize if I've said anything out of line in this comment. My "tone" is that I feel a bit strongly about this, but I'm trying to express myself respectfully as well. :)

SJ Camp said...

jtw and Jen
I thank you for your comments. As I have said here before, I appreciate both of these men and what they are doing for the kingdom. BH's tone did cross the line in a few sections as I know mine has as well on occasion. MacArthur is worthy of our respect and honor for his continued faithful years in ministry and for being a proven man of God who rightly divides the Word.

Jen, you didn't say anything out of line here. That is what I appreciate about those who comment here at COT and the rules I have established here for dialogue. Freedom of speech and interaction is something we must as Christians be willing to model and give place to. So good, honest, even sometimes heated debate and discussion are important and profitable for us all - especially when driven to and from the context of Scripture.

Good men who love the Lord can disagree on this issue; but we must do so with the propriety of thought and spirit that our faith demands.

Amen?

Keep posting... it is good.
Campi

jen elslager said...

Thank you Mr Camp. I appreciate your willingness to allow differing viewpoints to be heard.

To all:
Because there really wasn't enough to go on in the Wheaton/MacArthur interview regarding his views, I went to the Grace to You site and picked up some mp3's of Dr MacArthur's teaching on this issue. I don't know if this has been mentioned by anyone on the comments of this post yet (I haven't had the time to read every single comment), but those messages can be found here.

It's well worth some of your giving dollars to pick these up if you've never heard these messages. And I think they give a more complete presentation of Dr MacArthur's very biblical views regarding this issue. I believe that anyone who would disagree with him would do well to listen to all he has to say on a subject (instead of just a couple of soundbites), pray about it, and then formulate their opinion.

I'm just sayin'...
:)

steven j. said...

this is bogus

the american founding fathers were deists who did not acknowledge jesus as christ, look it up,

the colonists tar and feathered, did not pay meger taxes (romans 13;7) and rebeled against a perfelctly good authority that was just trying to get its money back after the french and indian war which had put them into enormous debt which they expected to be paid back by the people who started the war, which was the american colonists. they came over here protected us and after 1763 just tried to repay debts which america caused. if we just paid taxes, they owuldnt have needed to stamp down on americans, but solutary neglect (benificial neglect) up untill 1763 made americans used to paying 10x less taxes than the normal birtish citizen so when they finaly had to be a normal citizen of teh empire they counted themselves as full right citizens in, they got mad and didnt pay so the british were just trying to get money back, but we rebeled. there was aboslutly no religious reason for this rebelion. and any try to say there was is just a justification for a diffrent goal.

horace said...

I wonder... had not the American Revolution happened would the world be a better place? Religious freedom was still far better than in the British Isles and thus all varieties of Christians could worship as they saw fit (especially in Pennsylvania). Plus its probable that even a British America might have expanded sea to shining sea and probably be effectively independent like Canada is today. And might not a globally hegemonic British Empire (with the possession of North America) guarantee religious freedom throughout the world. Plus as a bonus we all drink tea.

Jared M. said...

The American War for Independence wasn't a revolution to begin with. The Americans sought peace with the British time and again, while pledging and re-pledging their allegiance to the King over and over and over again. In reality, it was a legal act by the King and the English Parliament called "The Prohibitory Acts" that declared the American colonies to be no longer under the protection of the King (and in a specifically 18th century context, that meant very clearly that the Americans then no longer owed the King of England any allegiance) and posited them as a foreign enemy. Why this isn't taught in American classrooms today is beyond my comprehension -- but the fact remains that the American declaration of independence on July 4th, 1776, was a mere formality, since the Brits had already kicked them out of the Empire 6 months prior.
In short, the "revolution" wasn't a revolution at all, but a war of defense against an invading enemy.