Top Honors

(According to the deathscorts website,   $138.10 was  donated because of me to pro-death causes.    I think it would be great if several of you would help counteract her donation by matching it and giving it to P82ministries.  We could use your donations to buy more signs, tracts, and to have to give to expectant mothers.   If you are interested in donating to a ministry that is on the frontlines of battle,  you can contact P82 ministries on our facebook page or you can contact me through email at Jspurgeon524@students.sbts.edu)

This week I received a high honor.  I was declared by the pro-abortion clinic deathscort blog “Every Saturday Morning” to be their “top fundraising hateful anti of the day.”    What an honor!

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Peter 4:14

 

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Jesus Never Ducked the Truth (Thoughts on Duck Dynasty and Mark Driscoll)

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As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say. Luke 11:53-54

  People often think of Jesus as a mild-mannered man not wanting to offend anyone.   Luke in chapter 11 tells  a different story.   Jesus had been invited to dine at the home of a pharisee.  The pharisees were the leading religious and political figures of the Jewish day.     An invite to a pharisee’s house was as Joe Biden might say a “big deal.” Jesus wasted no time getting to the point during his visit.  He poignantly called out the pharisee and his guests for their sins.  His honest words rang like insults in the ears of his hearers.  “Fools, white washed tombs,  hypocrites, and brood of vipers” where some of the words that Jesus had for the pharisees and scribes.  Today we might say Jesus was a bit uncouth.   He was frank and to the point.   It’s hard to imagine how you might feel if your invited dinner guest begin to compare you to a murderer before the food had even had a chance to settle in your stomach.   Talk about indigestion.  Yet Jesus loved these people.  It was his love for them and their followers that motivated him to call out their sin.   

And then as Jesus left that dinner party, the pharisees plotted their revenge.  They were constantly on look out waiting for the opportune time when Jesus would slip up and say something.   They were like a rookie journalist hoping to make his big break by catching Jesus with a hot mic saying something under his breath.    Jesus was wise to their game though.   Yet, He would still answer their questions with the truth.   I imagine that every time that Jesus answered one of their questions in a way they didn’t expect, it would leave them jaw-dropped and infuriated.  He continued to call  sinners to repent while lovingly warning them of hell.   The pharisees eventually had enough and  conspired to kill Jesus.  

So if the pharisees treated Jesus this way, how shall his followers expect to be treated.   Jesus explained what to expect in John 15:18-25

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

It’s simple, if the world hated Jesus then they will hate his followers.   The way they treated Jesus is the way they will treat us.  This has been evident throughout the history of Christianity.   From its struggle  under the Roman rule to present day in places like Syria and China, Christians have been and are still persecuted for their faith.

In America where I write from, Christians have enjoyed a great amount of freedom.   However, it does seem like that freedom is under attack.   Which brings us back around to the first passage.   The pharisees watched and waited for Jesus to slip up.  They also asked him questions hoping to provoke an answer.  Two recent cases provide excellent examples of Luke 11:53,54.    

The news explodes yesterday that after an interview and profile in GQ magazine, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame was going to be suspended from the hit show.    What was his crime?   When asked about his opinion on homosexuality, he gave it.   Some of have said that his response was a bit uncouth while GLAAD cried that he was offensive and hateful.   Phil Robertson paraphrased from the Bible while listing what he thought were sins. This included homosexuality, adultery, bestiality, and drunkenness.  A&E, the television network that Duck Dynasty airs on, under pressure from gay organizations put out a statement saying they were going to suspend Phil from the show indefinitely.   Then came the media storm.  Everyone and their brother has an opinion on the situation.  There have been several good posts from some leading Christian thinkers on the situation.  Dr. Albert Mohler of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in a blog piece entitled “You Have Been Warned”, came to the conclusion:

So the controversy over Duck Dynasty sends a clear signal to anyone who has anything to risk in public life: Say nothing about the sinfulness of homosexual acts or risk sure and certain destruction by the revolutionaries of the new morality. You have been warned.

Anyone who had watched the show or knows anything about the Robertson family knows that they are conservative Christians.  It should have been no shock to anyone that Phil Robertson would think that homosexuality is wrong.  And yet here we are.   It is sad that in America with its rich history influenced and shaped by great Christian thinkers like John Locke, Jonathan Edwards, and George Whitefield, that paraphrasing the Bible would be considered a public offense.   To be fair A&E has every right to broadcast who they want or to not broadcast who they want.   However, the day may be coming that speaking out against homosexuality will be considered a hate crime.

Returning to the scripture, its easy to see how the world when it is confronted with Christians living a godly life will not like it.   Just as the pharisees plotted against Jesus for speaking out against sin, the world will do the same to us.   You can also be sure that the world will be waiting and watching for Phil Robertson and family to slip up. 

Which brings us to another lesser known but still widely blogged about story.  A pastor that I have often enjoyed hearing preach through podcasts and the like, Mark Driscoll was caught in a “scandal.”   Driscoll is pastor of Mars Hill church in Seattle.  He is also a popular author and speaker somewhat controversial for his uncouth style and directness. (I personally appreciate his directness and willingness to tackle tough questions)   He went on a radio show back in November expecting to discuss his newest book.   While on the radio, the host accused Mark of plagiarism.  The blogosphere exploded when more accusations of plagiarism followed after the radio show.    Because of Mark’s bold stance against homosexuality, feminism, and biblical manhood, it seems like many came out of the woodwork to attack him.  After a month-long investigation into plagiarism by Tyndale House Publishing, they released a statement.   The initial accusation by the radio host was considered unfounded as Driscoll had properly cited in his book the source of his argument.   However, it was found that an internal publication for Mars Hill had mistakenly left out a citation in some sermon notes.   Mark also released a statement publicly apologizing for the mistake and promising to correct it.  In reality, the whole thing was blown way out of proportion.   I appreciated Mark’s willingness to own up to a mistake but this was not the big scandal that some were making it out to be.   Instead it looked to be as if some were once again looking for Driscoll to trip up and fall.

Both stories are slightly different with different lessons to learn.   In one, Driscoll did make a mistake.  I think his story serves as a warning that when Christians speak boldly upon anything, there will be plenty of others looking to take them down.   It means that Christians have to live above reproach.   We also like Driscoll  must be willing to own up to mistakes and work to correct them.  Christians are not perfect and nor will they be until Christ’s return.   Christians  need to be willing to accept apologies and to give grace especially over innocent mistakes. We need to be graceful to fellow Christians when they fall.  We also need to be willing to show that same grace and mercy to everyone around us.

The Duck Dynasty story goes to show that ultimately it is not the fact that Christians are imperfect that the culture finds offensive but it is the message of Christianity that they can not stand.   The world doesn’t need for someone to make mistakes to try to destroy them.  This culture is increasingly becoming offended by the Bible message.   While the verdict is out on whether Duck Dynasty will continue as a show with or without Phil, the time is coming and is here when anyone who speaks out about sin will be considered a bigot and hateful.   The world will be waiting like the Pharisees waited for Jesus to say something offensive.   Like Jesus, we must not be afraid to speak the uncouth and politically-incorrect truth.  In a culture where the only sin is to say that there is sin, the Christian message is going to be offensive.  Christians in America will have to learn to live with courage, speaking the truth in love

 

Jesus, Philemon, and Illegal Immigration

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Yesterday evening Democrats in the U.S. Senate pushed through a budget bill to the disappointment of some Republicans.  The bill according to The Daily Caller included a loophole that would allow illegal immigrants to acquire welfare benefits. The bill also imposes cuts on retired military members’ pensions.   Sen. Jeff Session(Alabama Republican) along with other Republicans were unsuccessful in offering  amendments to the legislation that would have used money saved from closing the illegal immigrant welfare loophole to keep from cutting military retirees’ pay.   It seems to border on treasonous to put welfare benefits for illegal immigrants above keeping the promises made to people who have served this country honorably.  That said, this bill is just a microcosm of the larger illegal immigration debate.

How should Christians view the debate?  Should Christians be pushing for the current immigration reform bill going through congress that offers amnesty.    What does the Bible have to say in regard to this?   The Old Testament is filled with verses written to the people of Israel teaching them to treat immigrants well.  In Exodus 22:21 it says “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”   Deut. 10:19 says “Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”  What does the word “Sojourner” and how does it apply to the current situation?

Jame Hoffmeier in his book “The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible”  provides  an understanding of the word, Sojourner.  The word is used for “a person who entered Israel and followed legal procedures to obtain recognized standing as a resident alien.”    There actually is another Hebrew word used to refer to people who did not have legal recognition.  The bible would describe these people as “foreigners.”    Understanding the difference in terms will lead to a better understanding of what the Bible has to say.

Hoffmeier comes the conclusion that

“Illegal immigrants should not expect these same privileges(of citizens or legal immigrants) from the state who laws they disregard by virtue of their undocumented status.  The bible clearly distinguishes between the status of a legal alien and a foreigner, and one consequence is that there really is a difference between the legal standing of a present-day documented alien and an illegal immigrant.” (pg 156-57)

This confusion among terms has often been a problem for those calling for Amnesty.  Dr. Russell Moore, a former dean of my seminary and current president of ERLC, has been one such person pushing for illegal immigrants to receive amnesty.  In one of his blog posts , he wrote that, “our Lord Jesus himself was a so-called ‘illegal immigrant.'”   Well certainly if it is the case that Jesus was an illegal immigrant than we must give some credence to the idea that our immigration laws need to be changed to allow for amnesty.    The problem with this statement by Moore and others is that it fails to distinguish between legal and  illegal immigration

It also fails on another point.  When Moore refers to Jesus as an illegal immigrant he is referring to when Joseph and Mary fled the region of Judea when Jesus was an infant.  Mark Tooley in writing for the American Spectator explains:

“(W)hich Egyptian immigration laws did Mary and Joseph violate when they fled there to protect the Baby Jesus from a murderous King Herod? Neither Scripture nor non-canonical sources reveal any such violations. Joseph, Mary and Jesus remained in Egypt until Herod was dead, when they settled in Nazareth. They were essentially temporary religious refugees who fled persecution.  Besides, if both ancient Judaea and ancient Egypt were under the Roman Empire, was moving from one to the other an act of “immigration,” much less “illegal”?”

Thus  Jesus was far from being an illegal immigrant.   Pointing to the fact that Jesus moved from one region of the Roman Empire to another does not equate to the act of illegal immigration today.

There is an area of the Bible which may have more to say about this rather than trying to paint illegal immigration into the  Christmas narrative.  The Epistle to Philemon is a letter from Paul written on the behalf of a fugitive slave or bond-servant, Onesimus.  Paul had met Onesimus possibly in Colossae and had shared the Gospel with him.  Onesimus accepted Christ as his savior and had become a useful brother to Paul.   Paul however sent Onesimus back to Philemon.    Paul wrote Philemon to encourage him to receive Onesimus as a Christian brother and to forgive him for any offense that his abandoning Philemon had caused.  Paul even offered to pay for any expense that Philemon may need.   Without getting into the issue of slavery and all that it entails (It may make for a good blog at another time, however.  Doug Wilson in his book Black and Tan does an excellent job trying to discuss the issue of American slavery and the Civil war though it is not without controversy.), the Epistle to Philemon provides an excellent biblical case study for our understanding of the Christian response to illegal immigration.

While Onesimus was not an illegal immigrant, his status as a runaway slave would put him in a similar situation. We notice from this letter that there are several things that Paul does.  First of all, he shared the Gospel with Onesimus.  Paul did not treat this man with any less dignity or respect than any other person.  He cared for him deeply because he shared the love of Jesus with him.  Paul considered him a Christian.   Christians when they come into contact with immigrants, illegal or otherwise, need to remember this.  ( My wife is a legal immigrant and so it is especially important to me that we get this correct.)   Christian love and charity is to be shown to everyone.

Yet Paul’s love for Onesimus did not excuse the situation.  Onesimus had wronged someone and was illegally away from where he was committed to be.  Paul then sends Onesimus back to Philemon.   There are a lot of questions as to the exact nature of the slave situation for Onesimus but we can imagine that for Onesimus it would probably have been financially and politically better to be with Paul than to go back.  Yet, Paul sends Onesimus back.  ( There does seem to be some intent by Paul for Philemon to receive Onesimus not as a bond-servant any longer.  Phil 1:15-16 “(O)r this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservantbut more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”)

This passage fits in with teaching of Romans 13 that calls for Christians to be obedient to the rightful authorities.  It also gives good reason for illegal immigrants who have been converted to return to their home countries willingly.   This is a hard teaching but yet is in full accord with the Bible.  It would also be just then for the government to enforce its immigration laws.   There are great many reasons why this should be the case.  For one, it would be unjust to those who immigrated legally to give amnesty to those who did mot.
Lastly, from the book of Philemon we notice that Paul did not just sent Onesimus back empty-handed.  Paul was willing to pay for any expenses that Onesimus might need.   Christians should be willing to help illegal immigrants return to their home country.   Christian charity can help provide resources that an illegal immigrant might be lacking in order to help them return safely.    Christians in the home countries of the illegal immigrants must be willing to receive their brothers and sisters back with open arms.  They may also push for political reforms in their own governments.

To borrow a phrase that I don’t really like, the “Socially Just” thing to do for  Christians is to obey immigration laws.  They should not call for rewarding those who have broken them.  Christians should obey the laws of the land if they have been rightfully put in place.  There may be times when Christians must disobey laws in order to obey God but the immigration laws as they are do not rise to this standing.

To summarize, arguments that try to squeeze illegal immigration into the Christmas narrative are uncalled for.   The Bible encourages Christians to obey the rightful authorities.  When one becomes a Christian, their faith pushes them to repentance.   This repentance will entail that Christians who have broken immigration laws will attempt to obey them.   Christians have no moral duty to push for the breaking of immigration laws.  Christians do have the duty to treat all people with dignity and to share the gospel with everyone they may come in contact with.   The case for amnesty and rewarding those who have broken our laws is not one required from scripture.

The Color of Christmas

    prayingsanta

Social Media erupted into a firestorm over a recent segment on Fox New’s in which on-air host Megyn Kelly declared that Santa Claus and Jesus were white.  Accusations of racism and ignorance flew from all corners of the web.  Kelly later released a statement saying that her remarks were meant in jest and had been blown out of proportion.   What was kind of lost in the hype was that Kelly’s statements came as a response to an article from Slate by Aisha Harris titled, “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore.”  The main thesis of the article is that the common depiction of Santa Claus as a chubby old white man is unfair and makes kids of other races feel unwelcome.   Harris writes, “Two decades later, America is less and less white, but a melanin-deficient Santa remains the default in commercials, mall casting calls, and movies. Isn’t it time that our image of Santa better serve all the children he delights each Christmas?”   This of course led to the Fox News segment in which Kelly proclaimed that Santa Claus is white.  She went even further and asserted that Jesus was white too.

What the whole controversy boils down to is nothing identity politics and racism.  Why does it matter what race Santa Claus is?   It matters because people have been told so long that they must identify with the color of their skin.   For Mr. Kringle not to be the same color as you is a tragedy.    It means that black children are not supposed to look up to and identify with white people .   It means that white people must have a Jesus who is blond hair and blue eyes.   The idea is that if your hero is not the same race as you then they can not really be your hero.  This is the message that is being sent.   It is why Black support for Barack Obama has remained close to 95% while anyone who criticizes him is a racist.   We are taught that we are nothing more than the color of our skin.  It is a far cry from MLK’s dream of content of character over appearance.

So what is the truth?  The truth is that St. Nicholas, the basis for the figure of Santa Claus, was a Greek Christian and bishop.  He was known for his faithfulness to Christian orthodoxy and was one of the bishops who signed the Nicene Creed.   In one story, St.Nicholas was so fed up with those teaching heresy that he punched one them in the face.   Of course, he was also known to be fond of children and for giving gifts.   According to a recent survey of his skeletal remains, he was “of average height and slender-to-average build. He was 5 feet 5¾ inches tall.”   Over time the stories of St. Nicholas combined with Dutch and Germanic mythology to form the figure of Santa Claus.  This Santa Claus is a portly white bearded man in a red costume driving a sleigh powered by reindeer.  Therefore, while historically St. Nicholas was a Greek Christ-following heretic puncher,  our image of Santa Claus came to be dominated by the culture of Dutch, German, and England.  It is no wonder than that the depiction today of Santa Claus is a white man.

     What about Jesus?   The Discovery news website gives a quick glance at how our modern depiction of Jesus came about.   A faithful depiction of what Jesus actually looked like though is hard to nail down.  The Bible does not spend a lot of time answering the questions that our modern society may have.   It does not give a detailed account of Jesus appearance.   There are many reasons for this including the fact that Jesus’ purpose did not depend upon his appearance.  Jack Wellman in an article on Patheos does a pretty good job of describing what the bible has to say about Jesus appearance.

“Isaiah described Jesus as looking like an ordinary man and that there nothing special in His appearance that would make Him stand out.  Isaiah described Him in 53: 2b “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”  He wouldn’t fit in well with the prosperity preachers on TV.  He wouldn’t make a popular itinerant preacher today.  He wouldn’t be getting millions of hits on YouTube.  This is because Jesus was not especially handsome and there was “nothing special in His appearance that would make Him stand out” which matches with the many New Testament references of Him easily slipping through the crowds.  He was not desirous to look upon nor had no beauty (in the Jewish vernacular this means that He wasn’t handsome).  Jesus’ humanity made Him out to be no different looking than any other man of the day.  Otherwise, we really don’t know what Jesus looked like other than He was an ordinary looking man, that He was strong and extremely physically fit and that He was able to blend in with the crowds very easily. “

Jesus therefor would have looked like a typical Jewish man from Bethlehem.   This means that skin color wise he was  not white nor black.  He would have been dark-haired, brown-eyed with tan skin.    That said, the Bible does not focus on this aspect.

This brings us back around to the premise of the whole debate.  The truth is important.  What is not important is that we must have a Jesus who is the same color as us.   The Bible teaches that in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile.   The color of our skin is ultimately unimportant.  Christians identity is not about our race.   There are, have been, and will be Godly men and women of all races.  Revelation 7:9 gives a beautiful picture of our future.  “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”   In heaven, there will be people of all races and colors.

This also means that we can celebrate people of all colors.  We can look up to great heroes in the past who were of different skin colors than ourselves.    Early in Christian history, North Africa played a vital role.  St. Augustine was one such African.  He played a crucial role not only in the history of the church but in the history of the west.  His contributions to European and American political and cultural thought are foundational.  White protestants can look to St. Augustine as a vital hero without having to think of him as a white man.  Black people can also look back at white men who helped led the charge against slavery and count them as heroes.

What does this mean for Santa Claus?  It means that children of all races can have fun and dream of Santa and his reindeer coming to visit them without worrying that he is depicted as a jolly white man.  There is nothing shameful about having a hero who is not the same race as you.
Which leads us to the final and most important fact.   People of all races can look to the historically factual and true Jesus as their savior even while he is not the same color as them.   Jesus does not need to be white to save white people.  He does not need to be black to save black people.  The truth is that a Jewish tan-skinned man is the savior for all people.   He is the ultimate hero for all races.

SPREAD THE WEALTH: A BIBLICAL LOOK AT ECONOMIC INEQUALITY AND REDISTRIBUTION

SPREAD THE WEALTH: A BIBLICAL LOOK AT ECONOMIC MoneyINEQUALITY AND REDISTRIBUTION

Economic inequality and redistribution in recent years have become a hot topic in part thanks to the presidential election of Barack Obama. On October 12, 2008 at a campaign stop in Ohio, then senator, Barack Obama famously said, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”1 The focus on economic inequality and the redistribution of wealth is not limited to presidential elections2 but is important to think about when discussing Christian views on the role of government and the ethics of economics. This paper will be an attempt to look at the issue of economic inequality and the solutions that are often proposed to change it. Turning to the Bible, we will find that the inequality of wealth and income can be attributed to three things: God’s sovereignty, human responsibility, and sin. A biblical understanding of wealth inequality exposes the faulty foundation for governmental redistribution of wealth.

One does not have to be an economist to be aware that some people make more money or have more material belongings than others. A Pew Research Center analysis of data released by the US Census Bureau shows that “the upper 7% of households saw their aggregate share of the nation’s overall household wealth pie rise to 63% in 2011, up from 56% in 2009.”3 Forbes’ Deborah Jacobs explains this a little clearer by saying that “the top one percent of the country owns 34.6% of the wealth in total net worth; the next 19% owns 50.5%; the bottom 80% owns 15%.”4 This data reveals that a small number of people own the majority of wealth in the United States and that number has grown smaller.5

This issue of economic inequality has led many to conclude that something has to be done. Philosophers, religious leaders, and politicians have proposed solutions ranging from full-blown rejection of capitalism to a modification of the economy through strict regulation and high taxation. These are all forms of redistribution. Stanford Encyclopedia offers a rather lengthy definition of redistribution but it can simply be defined as the taking of wealth from one group of people and giving it to another.6

In 1816, Welshman Robert Owen wrote A New View of Society in which he called for the formation of groups or societies that would reject capitalist ideas. He was highly critical of private property and the free market, on which he blamed inequality and crime. He said, “For it is now obvious that such a system must be destructive of the happiness of the excluded, by their seeing others enjoy what they are not permitted to possess; and also that it tends, by creating opposition from the justly injured feelings of the excluded, in proportion to the extent of the exclusion, to diminish the happiness even of the privileged.”7 He proposed that people could form societies, similar to hippie communes in the 1960s, in which everyone would have joint ownership over all assets and property. The democratically elected leaders of these societies would oversee the management of the communally owned property and assets.8

In the 1840’s, Karl Marx would transform Robert Owen’s idea by applying Darwinian evolution and class warfare. Marx taught that “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.”9 It was these class struggles that he proposed would cause the formation of Communism. He believed capitalism was run by the wealthy classes for their own benefit. He predicted that capitalism due to class warfare would self-destruct and be replaced by a new system: Socialism. Marx in The Communist Manifesto wrote, “the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”10 This climatic revolution would result in the complete redistribution of wealth.

Marx and Owen’s ideas, though initially opposed to religion, would find some acceptance in liberal Christianity in the 19th and 20th Century. In November 1914, Episcopal bishop Franklin Spalding stated:

The Christian Church exists for the sole purpose of saving the human race. So far she has failed, but I think that Socialism shows her how she may succeed. It insists that men cannot be made right until the material conditions be made right. Although man cannot live by bread alone, he must have bread. Therefore the Church must destroy a system of society which inevitably creates and perpetuates unequal and unfair conditions of life. These unequal and unfair conditions have been created by competition. Therefore competition must cease and cooperation take its place.11

The idea the church exists to liberate people from a capitalist society and all its trappings is called Liberation Theology.

Liberation Theology never became main stream in the U.S., though it did catch on in some Latin American countries. In 2006, the President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez was quoted as saying, “Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation. If you really want to look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ—who I think was the first socialist—only socialism can really create a genuine society.”12 Liberation theology also has found adherents in some black churches.13

In the early 1900’s, Liberal Christianity melded with politics to form Progressivism. Progressive Presidents like Woodrow Wilson and FDR would use the government to increasingly regulate the economy and to begin redistributing wealth. One way this was accomplished was by a progressive income tax in which the wealthy pay a larger percentage of their income than those of the poor.14 

In recent years, some Christians have called for the wealthy to pay an even larger share of the income tax. Jim Wallace, a religious advisor to President Obama and founder of Sojourners, has been a proponent of economic redistribution. Wallace argues in his book, On God’s Side, that economic inequality is unjust and that Christians should be working for the common good.15 William O’Brien in a recent article for the Huffington Post argued that redistributing wealth is a biblical mandate. O’Brien writes, “God’s holy people are clearly and undeniably commanded to redistribute their holdings, to ensure that inequities of wealth and poverty do not corrode their community, to make sure that none of God’s precious children have less than they need or more than they need.”16 Does the Bible really mandate the redistribution of wealth? We will turn now to the Bible to lay a foundation for better understanding the issue.

Francis A. Schaeffer wrote in A Christian Manifesto that “True spirituality covers all of reality.”17 Thus while the Bible is not an economic manual18, it has quite a lot to say about wealth and the acquisition thereof. Most people will be familiar with 1st Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” This verse alongside others provides a warning about greediness and materialism. The Bible ,however, does not condemn wealth altogether. Instead it presents three reasons for economic inequality.

One of Jesus’ parables, the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), provides a structure for understanding economic inequality. The primary purpose of this parable is to remind Christians to use their talents and abilities wisely in preparation of the Kingdom to come but the parable also provides some understanding of economic inequality. In this parable, three different causes naturally result in economic inequality. The parable begins with a man preparing for a journey by leaving some of his belongings behind for different servants to oversee. It is clear from this passage that this man symbolically represents God. Economic inequality in this parable is a condition that begins at the beginning when the man gives his servants differing amounts. Therefore, the first principle in understanding economic inequality is God’s sovereignty.

All wealth comes from God. Being creator (Gen. 1:1), God has complete ownership and control of all things. Deuteronomy 10:14 says, “Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.” The Bible consistently teaches that everything everywhere belongs to God (Ps. 50:12). His ownership includes all of the world’s gold (Hag. 2:8) and livestock (Ps. 50:10). Not only does God have complete ownership over everything, he is in total control of it. God raises up kings and rulers and also humbles the mighty. In 1 Samuel 2:7, God is the one who makes people rich or poor. The Bible also teaches that riches and wealth are gifts of God (Ecc. 5:19).

God’s sovereignty and creative power is on display in his creation of mankind. People are created with different abilities and talents. Some people are given the ability to be neurosurgeons, professional football players, or business leaders. Some are given natural talents to work with numbers or abstract principles while others enjoy working with their hands. Some people have higher IQ’s or may be more inclined to musical talent. This does not mean that some people are of greater eternal worth or due less respect. In our world, however, it will mean that people will naturally have different levels of wealth. Dr. Anne Bradley explains “Because gifts are different and value in the market place is subjective, incomes will be different. . . Income inequality is a natural part of the human condition. We are created uniquely and that means that there is no universal Biblical standard for income equality”19

This first principle of God’s sovereignty goes hand in hand with the next principle, man’s responsibility. Man is given responsibility by God just as the servants in the parable are entrusted with the talents. The responsibility for taking care of the creation is given to Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:8, 15). Dr. Chad Brand explains that “Men and women were created, in part, to work … they were intended to employ their creative genius in understanding the world they were placed in, they were intended to mirror God’s eternal triuneness in enjoying one another’s fellowship, and they were intended to worship the One who had made them and placed them there.”20 The book of Proverbs speaks often about responsibility. Possessions or property can be gained by industriousness (Prov. 13:4, 14:23), wisdom (3:16; 24:3), or by development of insight (14:15).21 Work is a gift from God and for His people to be blessed (Ps. 104:1-35; 127:1-5; Ecc. 3:12-13, 5:18-20; Prov. 14:23).

This responsibility of man coupled with God’s sovereignty gives dignity to career choices. This also means that people will vary in their material wealth. Wayne Grudem explains that:

In a free society, with no government confiscation of wealth, the amount of money that people earn will vary widely. This is because people have different abilities, different interests, and different levels of economic ambition. . . Therefore, if people are free from government intervention, some will become very wealthy, others will have a comfortable level of income, and some will remain relatively poor.22

Thus income inequality is a natural result of man’s responsibility to work.

Sin is third contributor to economic inequality. Two of the servants put their talents to good use and earned a return on their investment (Matt. 25:14, 16). They were reward by their master while the third servant out of fear did not earn a return on his investment and thus lost all he had (25:18, 28). Sin keeps this servant from using his talents. There are several sins that can contribute to economic inequality. In this parable it is fear and laziness. The Bible is firm in its condemnation of laziness (Prov. 18:9). Paul makes the Christian work ethic abundantly clear: “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially those of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).

Greed and jealousy also lead to inequality. In Luke 12:15, Jesus warned a man who asked him to force his brother to share his inheritance that he should “take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The last of the Ten Commandments forbids coveting our neighbor’s belongings. These sins are not limited by the amount of money one has. Both rich and poor can be greedy and jealous. Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Theological Baptist Seminary, wrote “those given to comparisons of personal wealth can always find someone with a larger fortune,”23 when describing millionaires in California who have been complaining about having a hard time maintaining their lifestyles.

The Bible is abundantly clear about theft and unjust gain. James condemns poignantly those who have gained riches by not paying their workers (James 5:1-6). Stealing is forbidden in the Ten Commandments thus protecting the right to private property. The Bible condemns those who abuse others to gain wealth whether through fraudulent business deals or theft (Prov. 15:27 & 22:16-17). Thus some levels of economic inequality can be attributed to man’s wickedness.

Having now laid a biblical foundation, the redistributionist view does not adequately take into account the three biblical reasons for economic inequality. The redistributionist position does not acknowledge God’s sovereignty nor does it account for the positive contribution of human responsibility. This would leave one to think that the problem for redistributionism is that it places too much emphasis on sin. However as Francis Schaeffer explains these views are:

(B)uilt on the concept of Man being basically good, linked with the idea that all people need is to be released from their economic chains. The Perfectibility of Man was the basis of much of the Enlightenment and of the French Revolution. Theoretically it was a basis of the Marxist-Lenin revolution in Russia. Each place this concept of the Perfectibility of Man has been acted on it has led to tragedy, to political chains, and to the loss of humanness. Every attempt to put this utopian concept into practice has led to failure because it is false to what Man as he now is, really is. Man is not intrinsically unselfish, corrupted only by outward circumstances. He is fallen; he is not what he was created to be.24

John Humphrey Noyes, a socialist in the 19th century, wrote a book entitled A History of American Socialisms in which he surveyed the various attempts to form socialist communities in the US. Over and over again, he recounts the formation of communities that start off enthusiastically using socialist concepts and in the course of just a year or two succumb to failure because of infighting and other problems. In his analysis, he comes up just shy of renouncing socialism and communism instead concludes that it must be the upbringing of those involved.25Instead of understanding that the problem is human nature, redistributionists blame the system. They believe that if just the right leaders can get elected then the government can lead the world into economic equality.

Lacking this understanding of human nature and God’s sovereignty, redistribution has another fatal flaw, the problem of unintended consequences. When the state or government heavily imposes itself in the economic system there are often unintended and disastrous outcomes. The problem occurs when a complex organization tries to control an even more complex system. Adam Smith in his book The Wealth of the Nations noted that the division of labor in modern countries has led to many great contributions for civilization. This division of labor is one of the reasons that markets are extremely complex. Smith while observing the making of a woolen coat notes that even “the woollen coat . . . as coarse and rough as it may appear, is the produce of the joint labour of a great multitude of workmen.”26 He then lists all of the different workers and supplies needed to make a single coat. While the technology of 1776 has since become out-dated, the concept has not. The economy has become even more complex with an almost infinite number of variables.

The governmental system is almost as complex. It operates through a bureaucracy that takes many steps to accomplish even the smallest of tasks. Add in the political process and one can see how complicated things can be. No wonder it often seems like the government moves at a snail’s pace. There is nothing necessarily wrong with government operating this way because the complexity and slow process should help prevent one person from making large sweeping changes that would be detrimental to the entire nation. Of course, if the constitutional limits to government are not followed then it can become easier to make these changes.

Noting the complexity of both government and the economy, we can then see why it becomes impossible for government to be able to adequately account for all of the variables. The history of the 20th century has shown that this complexity has not prevented the government from trying to assert a controlling influence on the economy. To be fair, there are some legitimate economic areas in which government should be involved such as punishing theft and immoral business practices. However in central planning and attempting to redistribute wealth from one group to another, the government has often caused additional problems.

One consequence is that in taking money from the wealthy and giving it to those who did not earn it, the government ends up punishing hard work and creativity while rewarding slothfulness. It is not fair to say that all people who have received government benefits have been lazy bums mooching the system. There are some people who are truly in need of help. However, the governmental programs often cannot distinguish between those who are truly in need and those who are slothful. Dr. Brand notes that a similar situation happened in Solomon’s kingdom, “There is a clear link between Solomon’s extraction of wealth from fruitful people to use in building his empire and the moral weakness, decay, and corruption that resulted in his life and the life of his sons. Here are people, living on other people’s money, and all it does is drive them into moral decay.”27

Another unintended consequence is that redistributionism often creates more inequality. It works by two methods. One, it often makes it hard for people to move from one class to another. Instead of raising all people it often limits success. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Craig Mitchell notes that “Class warfare, wealth redistribution, and socialism can, at best, make people only equally miserable.”28 The second way it creates more inequality is through abuses of the governmental system. This can lead either to tyranny as warned by F.A. Hayek29 or to what is often called crony capitalism. Crony capitalism is what happens when certain businesses or people work to get preferential government treatment. This leads to even more economic inequality.  In the last century as the US government has grown larger and extended more control over the economy, economic inequality has increased.

Redistribution of wealth has many other problems including the questionable moral nature of taking from one person to give to another.30 Its fatal flaw is that it does not have a biblical understanding of the reasons for inequality. What should Christians do? The Bible gives us a clear picture of the attitudes we should have regarding wealth. Money and wealth are tools to be used by Christians to bless others. We are commanded to help our neighbor and to use our wealth for others. We are not however given the option to outsource that duty to the government. We should use our influence in the political realm to ensure that government is operating in a way that gives people the freedom to be able to use the talents and gifts that God has given them.

In the book of Acts, we are given a picture of Christians of various economic standing caring and giving to each other voluntarily. As Christians, we should be known for our charity. Charity is not only a monetary donation but an investment of our lives into the lives of others. Andrew Carnegie, a wealthy business man in the early 20th century once said that ““The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.”31 He did not believe in governmental redistribution of wealth but believed that people should work to gain wealth so as to be able to help others. He set up many charities and worked to give away much of his wealth before his death. This is the attitude we should have as Christians.

In God’s wisdom, he has given us each talents, gifts, and resources. We should be wary of systems or proposals that may sound good on the surface but ultimately do not conform to what the whole Bible teaches on the reasons for inequality. In some way, economic inequality exists to give us an opportunity to use our resources to help others. Economic inequality instead of being a great evil may be a gift to the church that will encourage us to trust in God’s provision, and to enable us to be a blessing to the world around us. We should be a people who use our resources to enrich the lives of others. In that way, we may not all die materially rich but we can die wealthy in the kingdom.

1Natalie Gewargis, “‘Spread the Wealth’?,” ABC News Blogs, last modified October 14, 2008, accessed November 13, 2013, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2008/10/spread-the-weal/.

2During his 2012 re-election campaign a video surfaced from 1998 in which Mr. Obama was filmed saying, “I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.Peter Grier, “Romney, Obama, and ‘Redistribution’: How Much Do US Taxes Reallocate Wealth? (+video),” CSM Blog: Decoder Wire, September 21, 2012, accessed November 13, 2013, http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/Decoder-Wire/2012/0921/Romney-Obama-and-redistribution-How-much-do-US-taxes-reallocate-wealth-video.

3 Richard Fry and Paul Taylor, “A Rise in Wealth for the Wealthy; Declines for the Lower 93%,” Pew Social & Demographic Trends, accessed November 13, 2013, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/04/23/a-rise-in-wealth-for-the-wealthydeclines-for-the-lower-93/.

4 Deborah L. Jacobs, “Occupy Wall Street And The Rhetoric of Equality,” Forbes, accessed November 13, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2011/11/01/occupy-wall-street-and-the-rhetoric-of-equality/.

5 This data does not take into account the fluidity of movement among people from one grouping to another.

6 Christian Barry, “Redistribution (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy),” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed November 19, 2013, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/redistribution/.

7 Robert Owen, A New View of Society (Prism Key Press, 2013), Kindle.

8 Ibid.

9Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto (Point Blank Classics, 2013),Kindle.

10 Ibid.

11Berman, David (2007). Radicalism in the Mountain West 1890-1920. University Press of Colorado. pp. 11–12.

12 Tim Padgett, “Chavez: ‘Bush Has Called Me Worse Things,’” Time, September 22, 2006, accessed November 13, 2013, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1538296,00.html.

13 Anthony Bradley, “The Marxist Roots of Black Liberation Theology,” Acton Institute, last modified August 18, 2010, accessed November 19, 2013, http://www.acton.org/pub/commentary/2008/04/02/marxist-roots-black-liberation-theology.

14 Thomas G. West and William A. Schambra, “The Progressive Movement and the Transformation of American Politics,” The Heritage Foundation, accessed November 19, 2013, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/07/the-progressive-movement-and-the-transformation-of-american-politics.

15 Jim Wallis, On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good (Brazos Press, 2013), 201.

16 William O’Brien, “Memo to Presidential Candidates: Redistribution of Wealth Is a Divine Commandment,” Huffington Post, March 8, 2012, accessed November 13, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-obrien/redistribution-of-wealth-is-a-divine-commandment_b_1322365.html.

17 Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto (Crossway, 1982), Kindle.

18 Aryeh Spero, “What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism,” The Wall Street Journal, last modified January 30, 2012, accessed November 13, 2013, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970203806504577179303330474134.

19 Anne Bradley, “Why Does Income Inequality Exist? | Institute for Faith, Work & Economics,” Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, last modified May 18, 2012, accessed November 13, 2013, http://tifwe.org/research/income-inequality/.

20 Chad Brand, Flourishing Faith: A Baptist Primer on Work, Economics, and Civic Stewardship (Christian’s Library Press, 2013), Kindle.

21 Bradley, “Why Does Income Inequality Exist?”

22 Wayne A Grudem, Politics according to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010). 281-282

23 Albert Mohler, “How Much Is Enough?,” AlbertMohler.com, last modified August 7, 2007, accessed November 13, 2013, http://www.albertmohler.com/2007/08/07/how-much-is-enough-2/.

24 Schaeffer, A Christian Manifest.

25 John Humphrey Noyes, History of American Socialisms (HardPress Publishing, 2013), Kindle.

26 Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (Simon & Brown, 2013), Kindle.

27 Brand, Flourishing Faith.

28David Roach, “Bible Doesn’t Command Wealth Redistribution, Presenters Say at Theological Meeting,” Baptist Press, last modified December 13, 2012, accessed November 13, 2013, http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=39349.

29 F. A. Hayek and Bruce Caldwell, The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents–The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 2) (University of Chicago Press, 2010), Kindle.

30 John Calvin saw this kind of tax as theft and perverted form of charity. John Calvin, “Commentary on Isaiah – Volume 4 – Christian Classics Ethereal Library,” accessed November 13, 2013, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom16.xi.i.html.

31 Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Carnegie, The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie; And, The Gospel of Wealth ([S.l.]: Renaissance Classics, 2012), Kindle.

The Lone Ranger Killed by Liberalism

the_lone_ranger

On July 3, Disney released The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer.  Disney was hoping that this remake would be the beginning of another franchise like The Pirates of the Caribbean.  With a budget of 250 million, the film needed a lot of ticket sales to be a success.   Unfortunately for Disney the film did poorly in its opening and has been labeled a bomb by pretty much everyone.  This came as a surprise to the execs at  Disney because the team behind this was pretty much the same as the Pirates movies.   I am sure there will be much hand wringing and discussion in Hollywood to figure out why this turned out to be a flop.  Some will blame the genre (westerns) and others will blame the actors.  However, I think  the blame falls on the script writers and producers who let this film make it to the box office.

I was one of the few, I guess,  to go see the movie.   My wife and I love western movies and were excited to go see it.   The heyday of The Lone Ranger came before I was born but my dad loved it. Therefore I saw a lot  of the tv show growing up.  When I heard that a new Lone Ranger was being made by the same people as the Pirates movie, I was excited to see it.  When the negative reviews flowed in, I didn’t let that keep me from the movie.   However after watching the movie, I can say that what killed this movie was a liberal/progressive agenda that turned the title character into something he was never intended to be.

First of all, it was not all bad.  The scenery was beautiful and the special effects where spectacular.   The actors did a pretty good job with the script they were given.  The movie was action packed as well.   The music was very well done. When William Tell’s Overture kicked it almost felt like the  original Lone Ranger.  That is where it’s connection to the original really ended.

What ultimately did this movie in was a total lack of respect for its source material.  Instead the movie was drowned in liberal/progressive idealism.  When movies are made that are remakes or a treatment on a book, two problems can occur.  First, the producers can be so in love with the source materal that they do not do anything original.  Superman Returns is an example of this problem.  The producers of that movie where so in love with the Superman movies starring Christopher Reeves that they tried too hard to copy it.  This first problem though is pretty rare.

The problem that occurs more often than not is that the movie does not treat its source with any respect or fairness.  That is the problem of The Lone Ranger.  When watching this movie it becomes evident that the producers did not have any fondness for the Lone Ranger character himself.   This is evident by the fact that the character of the Lone Ranger in this movie is a bumbling naive idiot for most of the movie.  There are constant jokes about the mask that he wears. The final scene is a mockery of the classic Loner Ranger line, ” Hi-Yo, Silver Away.”  One scene in particular is indicative of how the producers felt about the Lone Ranger.  Tonto purposely drags an unconscious Lone Ranger through horse manure.  The movie seemed like an attempt to drive the ideals of the classic Lone Ranger through manure.

The original Lone Ranger was no idiot.  He was a hero for kids to look up to and emulate.  He lived by a strict code which included the  belief  “in my Creator, my country, my fellow man.”    The original Lone Ranger was a man of  God and the actor who played Tonto, Jay Silverheels was a Christian.  The son of Silverheels even has a video on amazon where he preaches the gospel.  It can be found here.

The new movie though portrays Christians as weak hateful fools or as villains.  The main villain in the movie even prays a prayer to Jesus while getting ready to kill others.  In a review of the movie Jeffrey Weiss lays out the movies portrayal of Christianity:

“We first meet the man who will don the mask as he sits in a train car otherwise filled with annoyingly hymn-singing Presbyterians. Their musicians are crummy and their singing is off-key. Attacked moments later by outlaws, the Presbyterian pastor’s attempt at a nonviolent resolution is met with a bullet to the leg. Take that, blessed peacemaker.Later in the movie, we spot the pastor again, limping and wild-haired and all but frothing at the mouth as he screams “Heathen!” as the Ranger and Tonto ride by.”

But what about the Lone Ranger?  Surely the producers would have realized that he was a Godly man.   Nope, in the movie when the Lone Ranger is asked to pray, he responds by holding up John Locke’s Two Treatise on Government and saying that it is his bible.   That statement is just ridiculous on several fronts.  First of all, as said above the original Lone Ranger stood for belief in God and country.  Second of all, no one in their right mind would point to John Locke’s Two Treatise and declare that to be his Bible.  They would not do that because Locke’s Two Treatise quote the Bible over 1500 times.   This is indicative of the liberal ideology of the film.  Liberals for years have been trying to claim John Locke as a secular philosopher who may have dabbled in deism.  John Locke though would beg to differ.  Locke once said, ““The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its Author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure, all sincere; nothing too much; nothing wanting!”  But liberals don’t let facts get in the way, so in this movie John Locke’s Two Treatise are purely secular.  But don’t think that the movie producers are going to make a positive statement about Lockes ideas.  We all know that liberals are not too fond of Locke’s ideas anyways especially the idea of private property.  Which is why in the film the only other person who knows about John Locke’s Two Treatise is the bad guy.

So now the bad guy is a Christian with a fondness for John Locke.  But that is not all.  He is also a capitalist with a desire to build railroads.   He also has a “sick desire”  to have a family of his own.   His greatest fault is being a white man, which is really the point of the movie.  It is to paint white conservatives in bad light.  Thus the Lone Ranger who is white can only get a pass by being naive and foolish.  The  Lone Ranger naively believes in the ideals of John Locke and the rule of law.   The Lone Ranger is also anti-gun.

This movie released on the forth of July week has a big problem with America.  The US Armed forces are portrayed as tools for the bad guys.  And even the singing of the National Anthem in the movie is interrupted by Tonto. America’s ideals and heritage are turned into evil traits.

The movie is really just an attempt to take an American hero and turn him on his head while using the platform to showcase anti-American, anti-Christian racism.   To highlight the racist element of the film, Tonto has described the villain as a demon the whole movie long.  But at the climax and conclusion of  battle, Tonto says to the villain, “You’re not a demon, you are just a white man.”    The only word missing was “typical” as in “you’re not a demon, you are just a typical white man.”   I hate racism in all its forms and would be just as upset if this was putting down Asians,Africans, or any other race.   However it seems that it is OK to be racist now as long as you are putting down white people.  It is OK to be a bigot as long as you are putting down Christians.   This is the tolerance of liberals.

I am more than convinced this movie fell flat because the producers showed no respect for the source material.  They showed no respect for the character of the Lone Ranger, who used to be a role model and hero to many Americans.   They showed no respect for America’s heritage. Another review by Steven D. Greydanus puts it this ways:

“It isn’t just the masked hero himself the filmmakers don’t love. Verbinski and company flip the bird, just about literally, to everyone and everything in sight: Tonto (wearing the bird on his head); the Western genre and the heroic ideal as such; the United States and just about everything connected with it, from its military and industry to its rule of law and religious heritage.”

The problem is that much of Hollywood has forgotten how to make heroes that stand for virtue and morals. Instead they instinctively push a liberal worldview in which virtue is vice and vice is virtue.

National Time of Humiliation and Fasting and Prayer

2 Chronicles 7:13 14If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

first_prayer_in_congressjpg

On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7, at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., about 65 miles northeast of New York City.  By now the news of this horrible tragedy has traveled around the world and has struck at the hearts of Americans everywhere.   Parents in America have given extra hugs to their children as they have had to send them back to schools this week.   President Barack Obama in an emotional speech paid tribute to the victims and encouraged the nation.  The lives of the survivors of this tragedy will never be the same and hearts are broken for parents and families who will not be able to hug their children again.   This event in a small town in Connecticut was truly a national tragedy.

This is not the first time that a massive killing has happened in the United States.  It is not the first time that American’s have watched the news helplessly as reports of the death of children at the hand of a killer flashed across the screen.  And just as the tragedies before, Americans have begun asking why and how is something like this prevented.  Politicians like NYC Mayor Bloomberg and WV Senator Joe Manchin have called for greater gun control efforts even in the face of  evidence that suggests that gun control was not the problem while twitter was abuzz with blame pointed at gun makers and the National Rifle Association.    The attention and blame has also focused on mental health issues.  FoxNews writer Jennifer Cerbasi wrote a report about how schools are not prepared for dealing with mental health issues.  The blame will be passed from one source to another without really ever touching the source of the problem.

The source of society’s problems is that humans are evil.  Humans every day do evil things.   I recently wrote an article about the mistaken view of human nature that socialism has.  Please visit that article for more information on human nature and evil.  That will not be the primary focus of this article.

President Obama in his recent speech said that he would use all of the power of his office to work to prevent killings in the future.  He said “We can’t tolerate this anymore. We are not doing enough and we will have to change.”   This seems to be a message that Mr. Obama will seek to impose gun control and/or psychological  programs on the American public.   While the constitution gives the president no power to do these things, Mr. Obama has shown before that he is not averse to creating new executive powers.

So what should the government do in instances of national tragedy?  Looking back through our history and especially the founding of the country, the response to national tragedies has not always been a rush to more legislation and less liberty.   Instead the government has in the past taken  a more solemn approach.  We will now take a look at a few responses to tragedies.

In 1775 during a time of great upheaval and stress for the colonies that would later make up the union of the States, the Continental Congress met together.   This was during a time when the King of England had all but declared war upon the colonies.  The Boston Massacre had already occurred and the colonies were on the verge of declaring Independence.  It is at this time that the Continental Congress took the following action.

In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.

The Congress, therefore, considering the warlike preparations of the British Ministry to subvert our invaluable rights and priviledges, and to reduce us by fire and sword, by the savages of the wilderness, and our own domestics, to the most abject and ignominious bondage: Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; and by inclining their hearts to justice and benevolence, prevent the further effusion of kindred blood.

But if, continuing deaf to the voice of reason and humanity, and inflexibly bent, on desolation and war, they constrain us to repel their hostile invasions by open resistance, that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis – That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity.

And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.
Resolved, That the foregoing resolve be published.

Congress called upon the nation to fast from work and food and to get together for a time of prayer and worship.   Unless anyone thinks this was a political statement only we will look at another statement put forth by none other than Thomas Jefferson.

Tuesday, the 24th of May, 14 Geo. III. 1774. This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great
dangers, to be derived to british America, from the hostile Invasion of the City of Boston, in our Sister Colony of
Massachusetts bay, whose commerce and harbour are, on the first Day of June next, to be stopped by an Armed force,
deem it highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the Members of this House, as a day of
Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer, devoutly to implore the divine interposition, for averting the heavy Calamity
which threatens destruction to our Civil Rights, and the Evils of civil War; to give us one heart and one Mind
firmly to oppose, by all just and proper means, every injury to American Rights; and that the Minds of his Majesty
and his Parliament, may be inspired from above with Wisdom, Moderation, and Justice, to remove from the loyal People
of America all cause of danger, from a continued pursuit of Measures, pregnant with their ruin. Ordered, therefore,
that the Members of this House do attend in their Places, at the hour of Ten in the forenoon, on the said first day
of June next, in Order to proceed with the Speaker, and the Mace, to the Church in this City, for the purposes
aforesaid; and that the Reverend Mr. Price be appointed to read Prayers, and the Reverend Mr. Gwatkin, to preach a
Sermon, suitable to the Occasion.

As you can tell from the above proclamation.   The members of the congress were ordered to attend a church and a reverend was appointed to read prayers and to preach.

In 1795, Governor Samuel Adams issued a proclamation for Massachusetts. This proclamation called for fasting and humiliation and prayers:

THE supreme Ruler of the Universe, having been pleased, in the course of his Providence, to establish the Independence of the United States of America, and to cause them to assume their rank, amount the nations of the Earth, and bless them with Liberty, Peace and Plenty; we ought to be led by Religious feelings of Gratitude; and to walk before Him, in all Humility, according to his most Holy Law.-But, as the depravity of our Hearts has, in so many instances drawn us aside from the path of duty, so that we have frequently offended our Divine and Merciful Benefactor; it is therefore highly incumbent on us, according to the ancient and laudable practice of our pious Ancestors, to open the year by a public and solemn Fast.-That with true repentance and contrition of Heart, we may unitedly implore the forgiveness of our Sins, through the merits of Jesus Christ, and humbly supplicate our Heavenly Father, to grant us the aids of his Grace, for the amendment of our Hearts and Lives, and vouchsafe his smiles upon our temporal concerns:

I HAVE therefore thought fit to appoint, and with the advice and consent of the Council, I do hereby appoint Thursday, the Second Day of April next, to be observed as a Day of Public Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer throughout this Commonwealth:-Calling upon the Ministers of the Gospel, of every Denomination, with their respective Congregations, to assemble on that Day, and devoutly implore the Divine forgiveness of our Sins, -To pray that the Light of the Gospel, and the rights of Conscience, may be continued to the people of United America; and that his Holy Word may be improved by them, so that the name of God may be exalted, and their own Liberty and Happiness secured.-That he would be graciously pleased to bless our Federal Government; that by a wise administration, it may be a sure guide and safe protection in national concerns, for the people who have established, and who support it-That He would continue to us the invaluable Blessings of Civil Liberty; guarding us against intestine commotions; and enabling the United States, in the exercise of such Governmental powers, as are devolved upon them, so that the honor and dignity of our Nation, upon the Sea and the Land, may be supported, and Peace with the other Powers of the World, upon safe and honorable terms, may be maintained.

That he would direct the administration of our Federal and State Governments, so that the lives, liberties and property of all the Citizens, and the just rights of the People, as Men and Citizens, may be forever acknowledged, and at all times defended, by Constitutions, founded upon equal rights; and by good and wholesome Laws, wisely and judiciously administered and duly executed.

That he would enable Legislators and Magistrates of this Commonwealth, to discharge the important duties incumbent on them, that the People may have good reason to feel themselves happy and safe, and lead quiet and peaceable lives in all Godliness and Honesty.

That he would incline the Natives of the Wilderness, to listen to reasonable offers of Peace, that tranquility and security may be established on the Frontiers Of our Country;-That he would graciously regard the Lives and Health of the People of this and our sister States, and preserve them from contagious and wasting diseases: To crown the ensuing Year with Plenty and Prosperity, by his blessing on our Husbandry, our Fisheries, our Commerce, and all the labor of our Hands-to affect our minds with a sense of our entire dependence upon Him, and of his great goodness towards us, that when we may present ourselves before Him, at the close of the Year, with our thank-offerings, our Hearts may by his grace, be prepared to do it in a manner acceptable to Him.

That He would be graciously pleased to establish the French Republic, and prosper others who are contending for the Rights of Men, and dispose all Nations to favor the same principles , and return to Peace and Friendship.

That He would in his great Mercy, remember the unhappy state of our Fellow-Citizens and others, who are groaning under bondage, in a foreign Land. That He would soften the Hearts of those who have led them captive, inclining that People to show them favor during their Captivity, and in His own due time open a door for their relief: -And finally, that He would over-rule all the confusions that are in the Earth, of the speedy establishment of the Redeemer’s Kingdom, which consisteth in Righteousness and Peace.

And I do recommend to the People of this Commonwealth, to abstain from all unnecessary Labor and Recreation on the said Day.

GIVEN at the Council-Chamber, in Boston, this Twenty-eighth Day of February, in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-five, and in the Nineteenth Year of the Independence of the United States of America.

SAMUEL ADAMS

Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut in 1807 also issued a proclamation calling for his state to turn from their sins and turn to God:

WHEN we seriously consider the Being and Perfections of God, with our relation to and dependence on Him, as our Great Creator, Preserver and Benefactor;-and when we reflect on the Evil of our Ways, and the folly of our Conduct towards the Author of our Being and of all our Mercies,-we should be humbled in the Dust before our God, for our sinful Ingratitude and unworthiness:-We have reason to cry out with the humble Publican, “God be merciful to us Sinners.”

WITH these Impressions I have thought proper to appoint, and I do hereby appoint Friday the Twenty-Seventh Day of March next, to be observed as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer throughout this State. And I do hereby call upon the People of all denominations of Religion, devoutly and solemnly to keep said Day and appropriate it as a Day of special religious service, devoted to God in solemn Duties of penitential acknowledgment of their Sins, private and social, against the Divine Will and government: and while lamenting their Sins, and forming sincere and humble resolutions of new Obedience, may they be solicitous to keep the Day in such manner as may be acceptable to God, and prove of lasting benefit in their future Lives and Conduct. At the same time it will become us humbly to reflect upon and seriously to consider the Judgments of the Lord, which in various ways, at this time, seem peculiarly abroad in the Earth; and endeavor to search out the procuring causes of God’s singular Displeasure. “When the Lord ariseth to shake terribly the Earth,” may the People return to their God. “It may be we shall be hid in the Day of the Lord’s fierce anger.”

And while performing the Duties of Repentance for past Offences, and forming devout resolutions for future Lives of Obedience, let us offer to our Almighty and all-gracious God, through our Great Mediator, our sincere and solemn Prayers for his Divine Assistance and the Influences of His Holy Spirit; that God may freely pardon all our Sins and strengthen our resolutions of future Obedience; that He will give us an Interest in the Covenant of Mercy through our Divine Redeemer; and that in addition to these unspeakable Blessings of His Grace, our God will mercifully grant us all those temporal Favors which he may see convenient and best for us. -And let us particularly and devoutly supplicate the Divine Favor and Influence on our public and private Interests: that God will be pleased to bless and guide the President of the United States in all his important duties; that our God will mercifully preside over all our national and state Councils at this critical and eventful period: that our public Rulers may be enlightened in and led to a just discernment and ardent pursuit of the public Interest, as relates to our internal concerns and external relations: that God will mercifully preserve our country from internal Confusion and civil Discord, and from external insult and aggression. -Also let us humbly entreat, That our God will bless us in the fruitfulness of the coming season: give us a continuance of Health in our Cities and in our Dwellings: succeed the Labors of the Husbandman: prosper our Commerce, Navigation and Fisheries: enlarge our Manufactures, and give success to our various lawful arts and industrious enterprise: smile on all our means of Learning and Science: bless and succeed a preached Gospel, and animate all its Ministers with the true spirit of their undertaking, and encourage their Hearts by a happy experience of their successful Labors: pray God to give Peace to contending Nations: cause that the peaceful Kingdom of Righteousness may be advanced in the World; and that the Gospel of our Lord and Savior may be extended throughout all the habitations of men.

All Servile Labor and Recreations on said Day are by Law forbidden.

GIVEN under my Hand at Lebanon in said State, this Twentieth Day of February, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seven-and of the United State of America the Thirty-First

JONATHAN TRUMBULL

Coming back around to Mr. Wall of Separation of Church and State himself, Thomas Jefferson when Governor of Virginia issued the following proclamation:

BE it enacted by the General Assembly, that the power of appointing days of public fasting and humiliation, or
thanksgiving, throughout this commonwealth, may in the recess of the General Assembly, be exercised by the Governor,
or Chief Magistrate, with the advice of the Council; and such appointment shall be notified to the public, by a
proclamation, in which the occasion of the fasting or thanksgiving shall be particularly set forth. Every minister
of the gospel shall on each day so to be appointed, attend and perform divine service and preach a sermon, or
discourse, suited to the occasion, in his church, on pain of forfeiting fifty pounds for every failure, not having a
reasonable excuse. ( emphasized by me) Dreisbach, Daniel L. (2002-09-01). Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation between Church and State (Critical America (New York University Paperback)) (Kindle Locations 2742-2747). NYU Press academic. Kindle Edition.

Notice that every minister was required to be at their post or pay a fee.   These proclamations were taken seriously and the country took them seriously.   Those days were set aside to turn to God and seek his face for forgiveness and for blessing.  The above are only a handful of such proclamations.

The practices of setting aside a day for seeking God’s face comes straight from the Bible.   There are countless stories in the Old Testament that tell of when good kings sought God’s face and turned their nation to Him.     In 2 Kings 23 we have the story of Josiah a young King who turned  Israel back to God.

Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

When Kings and Leaders turn to God, God blessed their nation.  As the scripture quoted at the beginning of this article says, God promised if his people would turn to him that He would be just and forgive them of their sins.

Our nation is a nation in distress.   Since the 1940’s, Christianity has taken a smaller and smaller role in the process of our community.   Our nation has seen the countless destruction of children at the hands of so-called doctors and their own mothers.   We have witnessed in horror as terrorists have attacked our land and demonic possessed people have entered schools and theaters to kill.   Our political leaders have usurped their constitutional bounds and our country is no better for it.  Unemployment is high while on the day after Thanksgiving countless people punch and kick each other to get the latest crazed technology.  Sexting and other immoral practices are on a rise among our children.   After the latest killing of children in Connecticut there is much ringing of hands and political bickering as to what our country can do in response.

I suggest that instead of rushing to rash emotionally driven attempts to take away liberty that we instead take a page from the founders of this nation.   I call upon President Barack Obama and congress to issue a Proclamation of Fasting Humility and Prayer.   We as a nation should take a day off of work and school and what ever consumes our busy lives.   We should take this day to fast from entertainment and trivial pursuits.   I suggest that we get on our knees in humbleness before God and spend a day in trembling worship.  We should repent of our sins and seek Him.  We should thank God for his provision in the past and seek his blessing moving forward.    We as a nation need to turn from our wickedness and turn to God’s goodness.  Maybe then God will work to restore our liberties and our bountiful blessing.

Please join me in signing this petition to call upon our government to make this a reality.  https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/issue-proclamation-fasting-humiliation-and-prayer/7Jd2LsKt

Please join me in praying for our country.     God bless the USA and USA bless God.