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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Freedom Is Not Indifferent To Religion

Quoting Justice Joseph Story:

The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion, the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God: the responsibility to him for all our actions, founded upon moral freedom and accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues–these never can be a matter of indifference in any well-ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive how any civilized society can exist without them.

The Reason For A Lost Generation

Many might ask, “Why are Americans rapidly forgetting their foundation and why does that foundation matter so much?” Our schools have left instruction in Western Civilization behind for a long time now. The recipients of our nation’s strong underpinnings, now being mostly ignorant of our constitution and the beliefs that made it possible, spend their time redefining government as they go along with no standard to guide them and rejecting the belief system that built Western Civilization. In case you do not know: Western Civilization in general and America in particular was built on Judeo-Christian values. Those values were the foundation and governing principle of every area of life – including government, business, and family. These values were predominant throughout the American culture. Government was of the people. American citizens could pursue happiness in part by the liberty of choosing how to make a living. The Judeo-Christian principles taught Americans to work hard, keep contracts, treat employees fairly, pay an honest day’s wage, and to keep their promises. A prosperity unknown in former times followed from these foundational teachings.

The Christian And The Constitution

 

Joseph Story

Joseph Story

 

A little over 100 years ago, Justice Josiah Brewer wrote concerning The Supreme Court, “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian” [Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457-458, 465-471, 36 L ed 226. (1892)]. Therefore, Christian people should seek to influence legislation that is in keeping with the moral principles of Christianity. Bob Vincent, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Louisiana, writes:

Until well into my life-time, the overwhelming majority of Americans believed that the United States was a Christian nation. In believing that, they did not desire the persecution of other religions, nor did they want to see people forced to become Christians, nor did they believe that one Christian denomination should be favored at the expense of others. . . .

But Americans overwhelmingly believed that Christian ideas and principles should receive favorable treatment and that its understanding of Moral Law should undergird the laws of the United States and the individual states. When other people’s religious practices came into conflict with Moral Law, Moral Law, not the practices of other religions, was always supreme. People were free to believe as they saw fit, but they could not practice their beliefs when those practices ran contrary to morality; they had to live by the Christian based laws of the United States. This can readily be seen through the decisions of the United States Supreme Court. As one example of how this has been worked out, one may note Davis v. Beason, where Mormons were forbidden to practice polygamy, an early tenet of their faith, because it was contrary to Moral Law as understood by historic Christianity. . . .

“Probably at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the First Amendment to it . . . the general if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state so far as was not incompatible with the private religious rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation . . . .The real object of the amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government” [Justice Joseph Story (who served on the Supreme Court from 1811-1845) Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 2 Vol. 2:593-95, 2nd Ed. Boston: Little Brown (1905)].

Justice Story‘s understanding reflects the thinking of the framers of the Constitution, who expressed unbridled faith in God in the Declaration of Independence. . . .

Read more here. . . .

Salvation Through Civil Government

Gary DeMar

From the desk of Gary DeMar:

What few people seem to realize is that there are all types of non-religious belief systems that hold to an absolutist ideology and use the power of the State to impose that ideology on the rest of us. . . .

A secular ideology can be just as sacrosanct and absolute as any religious doctrine or creedal formulation but with a significant difference:

Pure ideology differs greatly from the Judeo-Christian tradition that locates sin in the human will; ideologists disdain such ideas and cite evil “structures,” “institutions,” and “systems” as the problem. Sin is political, not personal. Get the structure rights, so the argument goes, and all will be well with individuals. [Lloyd Billingsley, The Absence of Tyranny: Recovering Freedom in Our Time]

These “structures” can only be restructured and made right by increased government control, bureaucratic management, the curtailment of freedoms, and, as always, more money. We are told that these new freedom-limiting laws are for our own good and the good of society. Liberals have always believed that civil government should be in the personal management business since their ideas for other people are always for their good. They don’t see their laws as ideologically (religiously) motivated. . . .

Christians who understand the proper mix of religion and politics would argue that it’s not the role of civil government to micro-manage people’s lives. There is no prescription in the Bible to use the power of civil government to control a person’s diet through taxation. . . .

The biblical view of change is that what people believe and understand must be restructured before there will be any appreciable change in a person’s lifestyle. Self-government (self-control) is the operating principle.

Read this article in full here. . . .

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