Liberty or Democracy (you can’t have both)

Our country was not founded as a democracy. It was never intended to be a democracy. In fact, America’s founding fathers harbored an aversion to democracy. They were convinced it was contrary to liberty — and they were right. Dr. Walter E. Williams argues this point in his column entitled, “Democracy: Enemy of Liberty.

It reminds me of a couple of things:

  1. In the movie “The Patriot” Mel Gibson’s character, Benjamin Martin, is a member of the South Carolina legislature and is asked to support a vote in favor of the Declaration of Independence. He responds by saying, “Why should I trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away for 3,000 tyrants one mile away. An elected legislature can trample a man’s rights just as easily as a king can.” In that statement he reflected the sentiments of our founders toward democracy.
  2. The Bumper sticker of the day (see below)

Many Americans are quite ignorant of our founders’ attitudes regarding democracy and liberty. Which makes it not terribly surprising to find many ignoring the presidential campaign of the only man running who’s ideas of government are consistent with the founders. American’s have a notoriously short memory. We tend to think the Marxist ideas adopted by politicians in the 20th century reflect the “Spirit of America.” But America was founded on one principle…

Liberty.

Bumper sticker of the day

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Bringing up a child

shieldandcupsm.jpgThe militant advocates of “public education” have an agenda. Don’t think so? Just suggest any number of alternatives to “public education” — which is really government education — and watch the outcry. They will yell that you are opposed to “the children.” That you are a “radical.” And, best of all, that you are “intolerant.” Should you desire to educate your children in some way other than government schools, they will say, “What about socialization?”

My response? I don’t want my children “socialized” according to the value system of the vast majority of government schools. Just take a look at what happens with government “socialization”:

  1. In Massachusetts a father was put in handcuffs because he dared to teach his child the biblical view of homosexuality. Furthermore, the judge ordered the “gay” agenda taught to Christian children in “public school.”
  2. In London a 14-year-old girl got pregnant and said it was “fashionable.” Kind of like the hot new handbag. In fact, four of her friends were so impressed with her “bump” that they decided to get pregnant, too.

For years we lived under the impression that government schools taught “reading and writing and ‘rithmatic” while we taught values at home. We believed teachers would reinforce our values. Instead, they undercut our values and impose a value system approved by the state — one that takes a cavalier approach to moral issues clearly addressed in Scripture. And they want to take children away from the “harmful influence of their parents” at earlier ages so the influence of parents is minimal. Just look around at the push for pre-kindergarten — even though studies show programs like pre-kindergarten are harmful.

As followers of Christ we need to recognize that parents are to be the primary instructors in the lives of their children. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

The “way” we are to teach is the biblical way. Government schools have declared those “ways” unsuitable for children. It’s just a little something we might want to consider.

Thideology news of the day

Religion and Politics

jefferson2small.jpgThe Supreme Court has refused to review a New York City ban on nativity scenes in public schools — even though displays of Jewish and Islamic heritage are allowed. We all know the secular crowd pushing for this kind of public policy likes to repeat their mantra “Seperation of Church and State…Seperation of Church and State…” as if that phrase appeared in some sort of authoritative fashion. Most of us now realize that phrase is found nowhere in the United States Constitution and is, in fact, a portion of a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association.

The secular crowd will point out that “Seperation of Church and State” was clearly the intent of the founders since Jefferson was a founder, is reputed to have been a deist, and coined the phrase. Won’t the secularists be disappointed to learn that Jefferson advocated a “gate” between Church and State and may not have been the deist they all previously thought.

Bumper sticker of the day

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A “byword among nations”

jar.jpgAn article at worldnetdaily asks the question, “Is America becoming another Rome?” Congressman Tom Tancredo says the disintegration of the United States has already begun and has written a book about it.

I appreciate the congressman sounding the alarm but he’s a bit late to this party. The decline of the United States — indeed, all of western culture — was outlined years ago by Dr. Francis Schaeffer in his book, “How Should We Then Live?” He even produced a lengthy documentary on the subject by the same name.

The problem has just become more acute in recent years, but the decline has been happening for some time. And, of course, once we recognize what’s going on we are all apt to ask the question…

“Why?”

If we are honest with ourselves the question is really rhetorical. If we take an honest look around we will know why. If we need a hint we can look to Scripture — a novel approach, I know. But, in 2 Chronicles we read:

“And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man [to be] ruler in Israel.

But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it [to be] a proverb and a byword among all nations. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.”

One who engages in idolatry can well expect God to respond in similar fashion. In America many of us have engaged in idolatry. We worship America. We ask god to bless America. Why do we do this? Is it so that God my be glorified or that America may be glorified? What about our faith? When we see needs, is our first reaction to gather the church and meet those needs so the world “may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven?” Or, do we think “why doesn’t the government do something?”

What about our greatest source of pride? Do we feel the most pride when standing at attention to the sound of the national anthem — even though God’s Word says, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world”?

So what are we to do? The answer is in the 2 Chronicles passage, just a few verses prior…

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

The blame does not rest with unregenerate sinners who are out there living like unregenerate sinners. It rests with the Church — with us. Our responsibility is to be a light to this world and salt of the earth. We are to influence our culture not be influenced by it. And most of all we are to worship God alone — not the state. God brings down idols. The decline of our culture and our country is God bringing down our idol.

The irony is this: The only way we can reasonably expect God to bless our country is when we stop caring whether or not God blesses our country. We must place all of our faith in God alone and glory in Him exclusively. We must cast out our idol. If we don’t we can expect our idol to end up as a byword among the nations.

Thideology news of the day

Then and Now

typewriter2.jpgThe entire system of American government was predicated upon the idea of liberty. People are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want as long as they do not interfere with another’s right to do the same. And governments, according to America’s founders, are instituted solely for the protection of these rights (which we already possess). This is expressed in America’s foundational document — The Declaration of Independence. They even went so far as to say that if a government “became destructive of these ends,” meaning a government no longer limits itself to merely protecting your rights to life and liberty, then the people have a right to “alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government.”

Their political philosophy was known as “classical liberalism” but today it’s called “libertarianism.” You can read about a few of their contributions to America here.

Unfortunately, classical liberalism represents a very small portion of American political thought today. Today, by contrast, we have liberals and conservatives both trying to dictate how everyone else should live. The idea of individual liberty is all but lost. And this has some potentially serious consequences for the church. Read…

Today’s headlines

Diss a “gay” Go to jail! — merely reading portions of Scripture which characterize homosexuality as sinful may soon be a crime.

“Natural family” called derogatory to “gays” — again, special protection is being considered for homosexuals and any notions not officially sanctioned by the state will be criminal.

Do we really want socialized medicine? — Walter E. Williams discusses just how bad socialized medicine is. Oh, and the fact Congress has no authority to institute it (but that hasn’t stopped them before).

Bumper sticker of the day

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Love

What’d you just think of?

When you read the headline “Love” what came to mind?

Whether we realize it or not, what we all think about abstract concepts — like love — is influenced by the culture around us. And this is not necessarily a good thing. Consider for a moment how our culture defines love. The vast majority of the time our culture associates sex with love. And this, of course, perverts the whole concept.

In a romantic sense we often confuse lust with love. A young man decides he “loves” a young woman and so he sets about convincing her of it. He takes her on dates. He buys her gifts. He says mushy things to her that he otherwise wouldn’t utter. Why? Because, he would tell you, he “loves her.”

But what, exactly, are his intentions?

boater.jpgHaving once been a young man, I think I can say with a pretty good measure of certainty that his intentions include some form of — how shall we say — physical affection. Now, (if you will allow me to use a phrase typical of old guys) “back in my day” that meant going “parking.” After a meal and a movie the plan was to drive to some large body of water and “watch the submarine races.” Today, the physical affection goes much, much further and is increasingly inappropriate — to say the least.

But, in either case the motivation of the young man in question is selfish. He is not focused so much on how he can make his date happy unless her happiness will make it possible for him to get what he wants. This is not love.

So what is love?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” — I Corinthians 13:4-8a

Paul specifically points out that love is not “self-seeking.” It is not selfishly motivated and yet, our culture has associated a selfish attitude with love for so long that we begin to believe it. Moreover, we begin to associate this brand of “love” with other things. We project selfish “love” into other areas of our lives without even realizing it.

In Matthew 22 Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is to love God.

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Now, if we try to love God with our cultural brand of “love” then we really screw things up. Have you ever left a church service and said, “I really didn’t get anything out of that?” If we haven’t said it out loud most of us have probably thought it. It’s a common excuse used by people who don’t want to go to church at all — and it is 100 percent selfishly motivated.

The purpose of a Christian is to bring glory to God. Our first and greatest commandment is to love God. When we go to church we need to recognize that it’s all about Him — not about us. But far too often we approach God with a selfish attitude. We pray for God to bless our country, our family, our finances. We want Him to conform to our will. We come to God because we think we can “get something” out of it. And if we don’t, then we don’t really see the point of it all because…

We fail to recognize two very important things:

1) God deserves to be praised and glorified simply because of who He is.

2) He has already done so many praiseworthy things for us even though He was never obligated in the first place.

God has given us our greatest commandment — to love Him. And He even told us how to do it. It’s high time we realize that our concept of love has been perverted and search the Scriptures for the proper perspective.

Then we need to love the Lord our God in the manner He rightfully deserves — selflessly.

Economics of Christianity (Part 3)

The Go(l)d Standard

(Continued from Part 2)

The concept of indirect exchange — money — became necessary because direct exchange is impractical. An example of a direct exchange would be a farmer taking his eggs to a clothing store and exchanging them for a shirt. It works fine as long as the store clerk needs eggs. But if the store clerk doesn’t need eggs and, instead, needs a new set of tires, then the farmer’s offer does him no good, unless the tire dealer needs eggs. Then the store clerk could take the eggs and exchange them for tires.

goldbar.jpgThe idea of indirect exchange establishes a fixed medium of exchange so that people may buy and sell for the things they need. So, money, then, is a commodity. It just needs to be more marketable than other commodities for ease of exchange. Historically gold has been the commodity used for exchange. For centuries money was tied to gold. Coins were made of it so that people actually exchanged gold for goods and services. Paper money was a certificate of ownership of actual gold held in reserve. This concept of tying money to gold is called the gold standard and it provided stability in the area of commerce.

However, one by one countries began to detach their money supply from gold and began to mint money by fiat — meaning they printed money pretty much out of thin air. The problem with fiat currency is that the more of it you print the more devalued all of it becomes. And since it is no longer is backed by a standard of currency — gold — it’s value is more likely to fluctuate and things like inflation became a real danger. Because of the danger of associated with fiat currency it becomes necessary for governments to manipulate interest rates, money supplies, etc. in order to maintain the stability of a currency. It’s a complicated balancing act with the potential of disastrous consequences all because the firm foundation once established was abandoned.

Many Christians find themselves performing a similar balancing act, all because they’ve abandoned the standard of faith as set forth in God’s Word. You see, the life of a Christian is to be governed by the principles in the Bible. It is the sole source of authority for a Christian. It’s a concept known as Sola Scriptura, which means “Scripture alone.”

But the typical modern Christian would rather live life by fiat — adhering to the ever-changing principles and values concocted by the culture of the day rather than in the inerrant Word of God. We would all do well to heed the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans…

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” — Romans 12:1-2

goldbars.jpgOf course heeding his words would require that we put some stock in the Bible in the first place. Maybe that’s where we need to start. The economies of the world would do well to return to a gold standard and we, as believers, would certainly do well to return to a “God Standard.”

(To be continued in Part 4)

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