Interpreting the Constitution

Leave a comment

I’ve often compared what the SCOTUS does and how they interpret the Constitution and what a good pastor does in his sermon preparation to interpret the passage he is preaching on.

A good exegete (a pastor that draws out the meaning of a text rather than read meaning into it) has a great deal in common with a judge who is considered to be an originalist.

An originalist seeks to determine in it’s historical context the Framer’s intent when they wrote the Constitution and Amendments.

That is exactly what a good exegete does when preparing his sermon. He asks himself what did the author mean when he wrote what he did in the context in which he lived. The process to do this is laborious and it should be since the pastor is dealing with the Word of God and he wants to be sure he is thinking God’s thoughts after him. The method is called the Historical\Grammatical Method of Interpretation. It’s fits into the discipline of Hermeutics. The strength of the system is that it is objective and that is in contrast to other methods that are often subjective.

This does not guarantee total agreement among exegetes but it does given them a standard of debate that they can appreciate since everyone plays by the same rules.

For more basic information on what I mean by the Historical\Grammatical method go to to this YouTube link to see the subject discussed in a recent service my church. https://youtu.be/3B725REh5lI

Whenever the SCOTUS has to debate a law’s constitutionality they do so from one of two positions (in general). The first position is the one I’ve already mentioned, the position of being an originalist. What did the Framers mean when they wrote the Constitution? What was the intent of the words and phrases they used in the context in which they used them.

A jurist who is not an originalist believes that the Constitution and it’s Amendments are fluid; that they evolve according to the whims of the current culture. In that, the method is far more subjective than the more objective methodology of an originalist.

Like the exegete who uses the historical\grammatical method of interpretation the originalist needs some “rules” or guidelines to determine the Framer’s intent. Here’s list of the considerations they are supposed to take into account:

 •​The evident meaning of the words. •​The meaning according to the lexicon of the times. •​The meaning in context with other sections of the Constitution. •​The meaning according to the Framer who suggested the language. •​The elucidation of the meaning by debate within the Constitutional Convention. •​The historical provenance of the words, particularly their legal history. •​The words in the context of the contemporaneous social, economic, and political events.•​The words in the context of the Revolutionary struggle. •​The words in the context of the political philosophy shared by the Founding generation or by the particular interlocutors at the Convention. •​Historical, religious, and philosophical authority put forward by the Framers. •​The commentary in the ratification debates. •​The commentary by contemporaneous interpreters, such as Publius in The Federalist Papers. •​The subsequent historical practice by the Founding generation to exemplify the understood meaning (e.g., the actions of President Washington, the First Congress, and Chief Justice Marshall). •​Early judicial interpretations. •​Evidence of long-standing traditions that demonstrate the people’s understanding of the words.
The Heritage Guide to the Constitution: Fully Revised Second Edition (pp. 25-26). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition. 

As you can it can be a laborious process and it does not mean that all originalists will necessarily arrive at the same conclusion.

This stands in contrast to jurists who never seem to consider original intent. Instead, they think in terms of desired outcomes and that’s why conservatives call them activist judges rather than an originalist or constitutionalist. It’s also why since the Reagan Administration (at least) the Senate hearings for the confirmation of a Supreme Court judge are so contentious. The left wants activists to do their bidding and the right wants originalists to stick to the original intent of the Founders..

The Kavanaugh hearings are example “A” to the degree in which the left will go to ruin a man by convicting him of a crime in the court of public opinion without any supporting evidence.

Like the Bible the Constitution should not be twisted to get it to say whatever you want it to say.

A More Perfect Union

Leave a comment


The Battle of Gettysburg ended on July 3rd, 1863. On July 4th, 1863 the river city fortress of Vicksburg fell to Union General US Grant. The loss of both battles meant the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. Had Lee won at Gettysburg and Vicksburg held out longer it’s entirely possible that one of two things or both could have happened. The first is that France and England would have recognized the Confederacy as an independent nation. Among other things that could have meant the breaking of the Union blockade of Southern ports by the all powerful British Navy. (In 1863 the UK was the most powerful nation in the world and not necessary our pals.)

The second thing that is probable Lincoln would have lost the 1864 election in favor of Northern Democrats and Copperheads (a Copperhead opposed the war). If Lincoln was defeated it would have resulted in an independent Confederacy. The net result of an independent CSA would have meant a continuation of slavery-pure and simple. When news of the Union victories reached the North most realized it was the beginning of the end for the CSA although thousands more would die before the Confederates would surrender in the Spring of 1865. 

Confederate High Tide at Gettysburg

Note this quote from the preamble of Constitution of the USA:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Former President Barack OBama used the line, ” a more perfect Union” in a famous speech that spoke of race relations. The central idea of the preamble and presumably Obama’s speech was that the US keep striving for that more perfect Union. 

US History is full of warts and injustice but we have always striven to be that more perfect Union and fix what we can. There was a time when people of good will on both sides of the aisle recognized the common goal of striving for that more perfect Union. I truly fear that time has passed and that our country is in more trouble than it was in April of 1861. When one party refuses to condemn mob justice and violence and openly seeks socialistic Marxism we no longer have any kind of unity worthy of the name. It is not out of the question that a second Civil War is brewing and that would be tragic.

So what is the Christian to do? First we are mandated to pray for those in power no matter how distasteful that may be. After all, Paul’s instructions to do so involved the despot Nero. The question is how to pray for them. The most common answer to that question is that we are supposed to pray for wisdom. IMO, the wisdom to be prayed for is biblical wisdom that leads to practical application derived from the inalienable rights derived from our Creator.

The framers, for all their faults recognized this when formulating the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Therefore, it seems to me praying that those in power uphold the Constitution rather than treating it like silly putty would be the pathway to striving for that more perfect Union. That is my prayer.

Red Pill Spirituality

Leave a comment

I have to admit that I’m late to the Matrix party despite being a Sci-Fi fan. It’s only recently that I watched all three movies in the series. Perhaps when number one came out I didn’t quite get the attraction. Nevertheless, a couple of months ago I caught all three movies and enjoyed them all.

So, when Elon Musk encouraged folks to “take the red pill” I realized he said it in relation to opening his Telsa factory despite what the State of California thought about it.

According to Wikipedia taking the red pill means:

In The Matrix, the main character Neo is offered the choice between a red pill and a blue pill by rebel leader Morpheus. The red pill represents an uncertain future—it would free him from the enslaving control of the machine-generated dream world and allow him to escape into the real world, but living the “truth of reality” is harsher and more difficult. On the other hand, the blue pill represents a beautiful prison—it would lead him back to ignorance, living in confined comfort without want or fear within the simulated reality of the Matrix. As described by Morpheus: “You take the blue pill…the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill…you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Neo chooses the red pill and joins the rebellion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_pill_and_blue_pill

If Musk meant take the red pill like Wiki explains I would whole heartily agree. The bad guys in my opinion are those who have functioned as “controller matrix” during the CoVid19 crisis. They peddled fear and hysteria and to this day have not stopped despite evidence to the contrary. This includes most of the media and politicians. Sadly, the controllers have been successful and many prefer the “blue pill dream world” than the risky, uncertain real red pill world.

I think Christians who think about things theologically can see the spiritual dimension that relates to the red pill, blue pill comparison.

Red pill takers understand sound theology and within that sound theology understand the reality of an unseen world. Red pill takers know that it exists and know that it exerts influences on the world’s systems and governments. Paul and others in the Bible recognize the unseen world as the realm of spiritual warfare.

A blue pill taker, even if a professing Christian has poor theology if at all. They assume that all is well and are quite content to live in a kind of dream world where all is in order not understanding they have a weak understanding of the gospel or they really do not know it all.

A person is not saved by being a good person, by chipping in some good works, by being baptized as a baby or assuming that all roads lead to same dream world place. You are saved by placing all your trust in Christ and his finished work on the cross. Jesus becomes your Lord and Savior and that changes your life. Your eyes are opened to the truth; to the narrow way of salvation (John 14:6). All of a sudden the Bible makes sense as it serves as a type of red pill that reveals spiritual realities.

It happened to me about 35years ago.

Jesus was clear; you must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven. Read John 3:1-21 and take the red pill opening your eyes to spiritual reality.

For a great read on the unseen realm I recommend the books by Dr. Michael Heiser.

I recommend Unseen Realm and for an easier read Supernatural.

Something for Nothing

Leave a comment

My apologies to Dire Straits for stealing the name of their catchy tune, Something for Nothing. It was an 80’s song where blue collar appliance delivery men wished they could play the guitar on MTV instead of their own work drudgery. They saw the benefits of being in a rock band as getting something for nothing.

My wife and I recently received the $1200.00 stimulus check issued by the IRS. The reason for the check was the CoVid19 shutdown. The money was issued to stimulate the crumbing economy (spend it!) and in other cases to simply pay bills until unemployment insurance could kick in. We didn’t have to do anything for it except be taxpayers which is a little like something for nothing hence the song that popped into my mind.

I just read the other day that certain Democrat Senators are now proposing a $2000.00 check per month, per American with incomes less than $130,000.00 per year. The stimulus would last months until the crisis passes. That strikes me as more something for nothing and I think it’s a bad idea.

At first glance this looks compassionate since it’s apparent that many people are being denied the right to work and are hurting financially. It should also be pointed out that the Democrat led states are the most radical when it comes to re-opening. Other Democrats are even suggesting it’s the first step in establishing a universal basic income for every American. That appears to be the real agenda as the power of the nanny state and big government increase.

The motivation under the compassion is to pander for votes and make fiscal conservatives look bad and uncaring. It’s politics that motivates and not compassion. It behooves the political left to keep the country shut down as long as possible. The longer people cannot work then the better it is for the left and their socialist agenda. Whether you like Trump or not the end game is get him out of office and get as many people as possible dependent on government.

undefined

The net result of these type of proposals is to pay people not to work. When you pay people not to work it taps into aspects of human nature that are contrary to what the Bible says about work.

Allow me to use myself as an illustration when the incentive to collect unemployment was stronger than a need to find work.

Many years ago I worked in a manufacturing environment. I belonged to a union and the type business was seasonal. The slow part of the season was late spring, early summer and it was typical that many people, including me, would be laid off. The duration of the lay off could be anywhere from one month to about three months depending on various factors including seniority and supply and demand for the product..

During the time of layoff a person would draw unemployment insurance. At the time you did not have to look for a job. The insurance would last for 26 weeks and it was possible to file for an extension. You simply gambled you could wait out the layoff and eventually get your job back. Since the layoffs occurred in late spring many people did not mind at all if the layoff continued well into the summer.

Obviously, it depended on one’s individual circumstances in how one viewed the layoff. In some cases, the unemployment insurance was inadequate so the longer the layoff went the harder it would be to make ends meet. These folks would be anxious for the layoff to end.

In other circumstances, say a single person with few expenses or someone who had access to a second income, the layoff served as a nice paid vacation. Because my wife worked outside of the home we didn’t mind the lay off much at all and took the gamble I’d get my job back. I always did.

Here I wish to make the obvious observation that I made above. If you pay people not to work, many will not. By removing incentive you appeal to the desire to get something for nothing. In a desire to create a reasonable safety net the result is to encourage dependency on the state and make laziness a virtue. It also should be painted out that some people are actually making more money on the enhanced unemployment than they did when working!

I personally do not believe the Democrat initiatives are all that well meaning but even if they are, providing incentive to not work is not something the Bible would endorse. This New Testament passage is a pretty good indication of what God thinks of honorable work. Note that the passage is written as a command that should result from believing the gospel and being “in Christ.”:

10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.  The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Th 3:10–12). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

But that’s not all. Old Testament wisdom literature places a high value on work.

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)

Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty. (Proverbs 28:19)

Too often we see work as a burden because work is often hard and laziness is easy; especially when you get paid to do nothing!

These notions fly in the face of what God has revealed to us in Scripture regarding the value of work. Wayne Grudem in his book, Christian Ethics-An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning, begins his chapter of Work, Rest, Vacations and Retirement like this:

Although many people seek to avoid work or to work as little as possible, the Bible presents, in general, a positive view of work. It views work in itself as a good hing and as pleasing to God.

We see this first because, before there was any sin in the world, God gave Adam and Eve work to do: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion…” (Gen. 1:28). Furthermore, before there was sin in the world, “the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work and keep it” (2:15). Work is not simply a painful part of the fallen human condition, but it part of what God intended for us in his “very good” creation,”

Christian Ethics-An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning, by Wayne Grudem (pg 921)

Many people have been scared half to death by the CoVid19 crisis. Given the initial models that predicted millions would die it makes some sense to help those financially crushed by being forced not to work. But is that any reason to keep millions out of work even as the predictions have turned out to be flat out wrong?

The fact is the issue is so politicized I have little hope that all of a sudden our government as a whole would realize the biblical value of honest work and seek to do the right thing by creating reasonable mechanisms to get people back to work.

Christians should be counter-cultural when it comes to work. Working to please and honor the Lord is a good thing (Col. 3:21, 23). Therefore, we should seek to return to work as soon as we can and at the same time be as safe as we reasonably can. We can do both.

Bearing the Sword in Vain

Leave a comment

undefined

At one time the British Constabulary drilled with cutlasses, a type of sword used primarily by navy personnel for the purpose of boarding an enemy ship and fighting the crew hand-to-hand. According to the original caption these British policeman are drilling with the cutlass in 1877.

Because of the way my mind works I saw a few applications for the picture even though I confess my first thoughts were, how quaint and amusing.

Those initial thoughts soon became more serious.

I immediately thought of the fact that most British police routinely do not carry firearms. For a long time the well known “Bobbie” made his or her rounds without a service gun and that still is the case.

It suggested there wasn’t much of a need and it was assumed that Great Britain was a relatively peaceful country and violent crime somewhat rare. How nice some Americans thought wishing that our police would not have a need for a firearm. By the same token some British think our country looks more like the Wild West because so many people have guns.

News flash, it’s not the gun that commits the crime; it’s the person using the gun, but I digress.

The picture of the Constabulary drilling with swords suggests something different than a country with little violent crime. Why drill with a sword unless you believe you just might need a sword? (As a point aside British police have almost immediate access to firearms and apparently judge a situation on a case by case basis.)

I am a biblical counselor and pastor who counsels and teaches counseling. That means that the application of a biblical text is my speciality. The text that came to mind when I saw the picture was Roman’s 13:1-7 and in particular Romans 13:4

But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 13:4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The “he” in the verse is a reference to the governing authorities (v1). Paul clearly states that the governing authorities are servants of God. If we back up a little in the passage we see the purpose that God intends for the governing authorities:

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 13:3–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The question that often comes to mind is what is meant by “good.” It’s a logical question since most of us are aware that governing authorities are capable of much evil.

The first thing to remember is that the governing authorities are people and because they are people they are fallen people in the need of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. That the governing authorities are sinners just like anyone else means we should not be surprised when they use their position “as ministers (or servants) of God in an unrighteous manner.

The “good” then in the passage is a reference to the governing authorities punishing evil and pursuing justice. Verse 3 indicates that rulers (governing authorities) should be a terror for those guilty of bad conduct.

Wayne Grudem in, Christian Ethics-An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning sums up the point nicely:

This means we should think of government officials as serving God when they punish evil and promote what is good, whether they realize it or not. This is a strong passage in support of the idea that we should view the civil government as a gift from God, something that brings us great benefits. Although individual people and individual governments can do evil, the institution in itself is something good, a benefit that flows to us from God’s infinite wisdom and love.

Grudem, Wayne, Christian Ethics, pg 430

I had a conversation the other day with a retired policeman who lives near by. He served in a local police force for 28 years until the department gave him early retirement due to a back injury he received in the line of duty.

I knew the area where he was a policeman and I asked him what was the most frustrating aspect of his job. He said it was not the risk associated with enforcing the law. He said that just goes with the job. He said what is most frustrating is when the “governing authorities” go soft on crime and practice the all to common “catch and release” methodology that seems to dominate many large and medium sized cities.

The policeman sometimes has to use his or her sword to make an arrest. The prosecutor then has to make a case to convict and then the judge has to pass sentence. The sentence then becomes the point of catch and release and the criminal is free to commit more crime with little consequence.

The policeman I spoke to was not sorry to be retired. He added that his replacement was recently struck in the head with a machete (a type of sword). My acquaintance wondered out loud what kind of juvenile and adult record did the perpetrator have and how many times was he caught and then released.

Sometimes the police believe they bear the sword in vain. That’s on the governing authorities and the police.

Biblical Stewardship and Student Loans

Leave a comment

My parents were depression era kids. The experience made them frugal and they worked hard to earn what they had and to provide for me and my sister.

As I came of age I learned a couple of lessons from them regarding some basic principles of borrowing and lending. One principle was derived from my wife’s and I wanting to purchase our first house.

I didn’t ask, but my parents volunteered to help us with a downpayment. They gave us $6000.00. This was back in 1976 and interest rates were much higher (10-12 %) than they are at the time of this writing (Jan., 2020).

The conditions for the help were we had to pay back $5000 of the $6000. The first $1000.00 was a gift; charity from my parents. The $5000.00 to be paid back was a loan without interest. We had to make a monthly payment. I do not remember what the payment was but it was reasonable.

I confess that at the time I resented the fact that the entire sum was not a gift of charity. I was not over-the-top resentful but it bothered me that other parents paid for their kids education or gave far more substantial gifts to their kids. In other words, I was jealous and covetous. If you are a Christian that should remind you of a commandment.

My parents sought to teach me valuable lessons about life and finances.

My wife and I both worked full-time. We were childless for the first six years of our marriage. We saved next to nothing. While we did not make a fortune we did just fine with two incomes spending the surplus on “stuff” rather than saving anything substantial. We were immature and in our early twenties.

The rule of thumb at the time was you needed 20% of the total cost of the house for your down payment. The house we bought cost $35,000 so we needed $7000.00. My wife and I had a little over $1000.00 in savings and my parents provided the rest. I should have been grateful rather than jealous of others who received bigger breaks from their parents.

So the first lesson from my parents was, learn to save your money so you won’t have to borrow or borrow as much when the time comes to purchase something big like a house or car.

Although I’ve said that was the first lesson it really comes after what I’ll call the first principle. Both my wife and I worked from the time we were teens. I had my first job the day I turned 16 and my wife had a job at age 15. The principle is of course, work and then save. Start early.

The other principle that my parents taught was pay back what you owe regardless of to whom it is owed. We already had a car payment so we understood we had to pay that back because it was a legal contract.

Understanding that we had to pay back a parental loan was an animal of a different color since I was still thinking it should have been a gift of parental charity. Gee, aren’t parents mean when they try to teach you to be responsible.

A little while after the birth of our son my wife and I became Christians. I slowly began to realize that I had learned some basic principles of biblical stewardship from my parents who were not steeped in chapter and verse.

We attended a class at our church on biblical stewardship and were surprised by how much we had learned of personal financial responsibility from our parents. They really did know what they were talking about.

It’s beyond the scope of a short blog article to be comprehensive about all the Bible has to say about stewardship, especially borrowing and lending. For a comprehensive treatment on the subject I recommend Wayne Grudem’s book, ,Christian Ethics and the chapter, Borrowing, Lending and the Question of Debt.

One passage will suffice:

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. 

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 13:7–10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

In verse 7 Paul expects the Roman Christians to pay their debts. It would be stealing not to (verse 9). Paul assumes the repaying of debt is a simple moral responsibility. He does not attach any conditions to the responsibility. if you borrow pay it back.

In verse 8 Paul says owe no one anything, except to love each other because that fulfills the commandment to love your neighbor. Verse 8 does not contradict the command in verse 7 where he commands that payments be made for debt. How so?

Grudem comments:

Paul’s point here is to direct Christians in Rome to pay whatever is rightfully expected of them, including taxes, but also including honor and respect. This teaching does not prohibit all borrowing, so long as the debt is repaid at the time it is promised. The point is that we should pay what we owe when we owe it, and the command, “Owe no one anything” is simply a summary of the preceding verses and means we should pay our debts when they are due.

Christian Ethics, Wayne Grudem, pg 1047

In verses 9 and 10 Paul references the law regarding human relationships. Love your neighbor as yourself does not mean to love yourself more as some seem to believe. Rather, Paul tells us in verse 10 love will do no wrong to a neighbor. In other words, we are to do what is in their best interest.

My parents whether they knew it or not did that for me and my wife. They came from a “Christianized” culture that recognized the idea of taking responsibility for your decisions and actions. Later I came to learn the hard way the dangers of credit card debt-something my parents had cautioned me about the day I received my first credit card. Those cautions were ignored for a long time and because of that we had a hard time saving money since much went to debt service.

As we near the 2020 election there are a number of politicians campaigning on the issue of forgiving all student college loans. In particular, Bernie Sanders the avowed socialist and Elizabeth Warren, a socialist wannabe are promoting the policy. The premise seems to be that the debt is oppressive (and that no doubt is true) so the government that gives the loan should be merciful and just wipe it clean.

It is a popular idea for the student with a ton of debt. I can see where the idea gains traction to people who do not know any better and/or have been indoctrinated to believe that Marxist collectivism is a good thing. I can also see that way back when my wife and I were in our twenties we would have jumped at the opportunity for “free stuff” including someone forgiving all of our debt.

Besides the obvious pandering to young voters with a lot of student debt there is much wrong with the idea. At the outset it raises the question of basic “fairness” since there are plenty of students who have worked to pay off their loans-you know, the principle I just cited, pay what you owe when you owe it. If you think you can’t pay back then don’t take the loan.

One of the other things wrong with the idea is the whole idea that the government should forgive the debt. Allow me to state the obvious. Where does the money come from that goes to the government? In a word, taxpayers. Paul has much to say about that in Romans 13:1-6.

What you have in effect is taking from one person to pay off the debt of another. The emphasis is on the word “taking.” While Christians are to pay their taxes and this means the government can do what they will with those taxes, we must realize that what is being proposed is a form of stealing. It is not government charity since the government does not produce income, it taxes income.

I can imagine that back when Paul wrote the words he did that the Roman government spent the money on all kinds of stuff that a taxpayer might find objectionable. Do we really need a new aqueduct? How about that Coliseum, seems a bit much, don’t you think? You get the idea. The taxpayer had no say-so in these matters while we do.

We have the privilege of electing leaders. We also have the responsibility of examining their policies in the light of what Scripture says.

Those proposing the forgiveness of student college debt have a far more reaching agenda than simply pandering for votes. They seek to change the basic fabric of our country and turning it into a soft Marxist\collectivist state. To get there they need the votes from young people who have been taught to rely on government to solve all their problems. Perhaps they have been raised by parents who believe the same.

I have no objection if a corporation wants to hire a college grad and pay off their student loans. I can see where that might be a rather large incentive to take a job with that corporation.

I can also see some nice soul coming forward and helping a student pay off their debts as an act of charity just like my parents gave us the $1000.00.. gift. Charity, rightfully defined, is a biblical principle, but stealing from “A” to give to “B” is not charity nor is it in my opinion really helping the student to get responsible and prepare them for like.

I am forever grateful that my parents did not give me what I coveted. Their motto was earn, save and pay what you owe when you owe it.

Some will argue that you can’t apply biblical principles to a culture that does not hold the Bible in high regard. Well, I get that but I do get to vote (so far) for the politicians who do seem to be for sound financial principles. Whether they know it or not, they like my parents line up with good biblical counsel.

Taking the King’s Schilling

Leave a comment

When the United States was still thirteen colonies and part of Britain there was a popular saying related to joining the British Army.

The saying goes something like this: If you take the king’s dollar (schilling in those days) you become the king’s man. The meaning is obvious. If you get paid by the King then you do his bidding.

The saying has multiple applications today and I believe it applies especially to the federal and state governments and their relationship to faith based organizations.

To give a relevant example consider the concerns from Don Wilkerson from Adult and Teen Challenge (ATC) as recorded in the in the October 12, 2019 issue of World Magazine: “What concerns Don Wilkerson and others about these programs is that by accepting state licensing and funding , ATC centers won’t be free to present the gospel to all addicts.”

For those of my readers unfamiliar with Don Wilkerson and ATC understand that Don and his brother David started ATC way back in the 1960’s.

The ministry was for drug and alcohol addicts and the basic premise was faith in Christ could free an addict from bondage. To make this happen they developed Teen Challenge (later ATC). The strategy was a total spiritual immersion in a long-term residential program that featured evangelism, mentorship and Bible study. The program relied on donations.

The process was in stark contrast to the prevailing notion (that still prevails) that an addict will always be an addict. This meant that many secular clinicians believed in the rehab approach that often included medications and secular type therapies that had nothing to do with the gospel.

ATC exploded with about 200 centers situated in cities in the US and even abroad. With any faith based initiative funding can be a problem. Faith based ministries rely on churches and individuals to float the ministry boat and at times there isn’t enough funding.

Therefore, some ATC centers started to take the king’s schilling and with it came state licensing and with that came detox programs and short term programs that competed with ATC’s long term, gospel alone stance.

What ATC has now is a mess. It’s a mess to the point where individual ATC centers have to affirm the traditional stance or separate themselves as separate non-profits. World’s article in its entirely can be found here.

As a certified biblical counselor in a local church I immediately understood the tension. My church takes care of my ministry needs and we do not charge for counseling-counseling that is based on the sufficiency of Scripture to change a person from the inside out.

If I was in a parachurch ministry that was a separate non-profit it would be debatable as to the funding of the ministry. The temptation to take the king’s schilling can be huge and even thought to be a good thing “as long as it does not interfere with the gospel.” The problem is of course if you take the king’s schilling you eventually do his bidding and these days it often means “no gospel.”

Although the progressives have the whole separation of church and state thing wrong from a big picture point of view they do make a point with the little picture.

If you accept the king’s schilling and become state licensed you belong to the state and you must do the state’s bidding. In the anti-church climate of today this means the gospel is more offensive than it’s ever been in our nation’s history. All you have to do to realize that is be aware of the news on a daily basis. Conservative Christians are under fire and government is being weaponized in an effort to remove conservative Christianity from the public square. If you complain about that you are labeled a bigot. Well, Jesus said it would never be easy.

Separation of church and state did not mean the church could not have a public presence. It meant that the state could not control the church nor interfere with it. It had everything to do with imposing a particular state religion on a state and nothing to do with removing the church’s influence on society and culture.

Nevertheless, non-profits that are faith-based risk their ability to turn to Scripture and the gospel alone to help people when they accept a state license and the king’s schilling.

There is another old saying that comes from the Middle-East. It goes like this:

National Blame Shifting

Leave a comment

In biblical discipleship counseling a blame shift is exactly what the terms imply, a shifting of blame from oneself and on to a person or circumstance. It allows the blame shifter to avoid taking responsibility for his or her actions or words that contributed to or were responsible for the situation.

For example, a husband with an anger problem will blame his wife for his angry outbursts. A wife will blame the husband for the silent treatment (grudge bearing) she gives him because she disagrees with a decision that was made.

We are good at blame shifts because we are prideful people whose first line of defense for the wrong we do is to blame others or circumstances to justify our bad behavior.

As a biblical counselor I see blame shifts frequently and am perfectly capable of launching one myself even though I’ve learned it’s a bad plan. It’s also sin and nothing good comes from it.

When Jesus said get the log out of your own eye before you get the twig out of someone else’s eye what he meant was “get responsible” for your own sin and faults; then you just might be able to help someone else see their own.

Sadly, blame shifting is so common and so seemingly normal we rarely recognize how detrimental it is in solving problems, both personal and national.

On a national scale we see blame blameshifting on a massive scale. Examples are not hard to find especially in politics. Perhaps the best example is what happens every time there is a mass shooting.

The blame culprit always seems to be the gun. The victim’s families barely have to time to grieve or think before the parade of politicians emerge to blame the gun and the NRA for the problem. Their solution is what they call “common sense” gun control as if some new law would somehow reduce mass shootings or eliminate them all together. The call to “do something” presumably anything, resonates with people because every decent person recognizes that a mass shooting is a horrific event and who would not want to prevent them if we somehow could..

Sadly, even when it is suggested that the shooter himself is at least partially responsible it’s assumed he is deranged or somehow mentally ill thus putting the blame more on what’s assumed to be a type of illness rather than the real culprit-human nature and an act of pure evil.

This is why more astute observers of mass shootings correctly identify the problem as a moral\spiritual issue. Whether a person shoots one person or one hundred persons it’s still murder. The desire to murder someone comes from the inside out; not the outside in. This has been true from Cain and Able to the last mass shooting.

Here are the words of Jesus:

43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 6:43–45). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

The treasure in the heart is the key phrase. The word “heart” in our culture is often misused as some kind of emotional response such as “my heart told me” this or that. The biblical meaning of the term is much deeper. It refers to the inner person or soul. It includes the mind, the will, the emotions and what biblical counselors call the desires\passions of the heart.

Jesus clearly says what’s on the inside is what a person truly treasures and if evil is treasured it will squirt out often in horrific ways. This means that mass shootings are a moral\spiritual\societal problem that is not going to be solved by doing something, anything that does not deal with the depravity of man and what evil some are willing to perpetrate on others.

We live in a culture adrift from most moral moorings. What was once assumed to be wrong is now considered right. In fact if you hold to the old moral moorings you are accused of being a bigot. The venom is more often than not directed against bible believing Christians who understand Jesus’ words.

The cultural rot is plain to see for anyone with eyes to see and obviously most do not have the eyes to see or we would not have as much blame shifting as we do.

A portent is a sign or warning that something, especially something momentous or calamitous, is likely to happen. Mass shootings are portents in my opinion. They point to the depravity of man and what evil man is capable of. The evil is on the inside and a gun is the tool, a tool that can be used for good or bad but when wielded by a person bent on evil it has horrific consequences.

The murderer of all types; whether they kill one person, four persons or twenty five take the lives of image bearers-people created in the image of God (although we are flawed image bearers). Mass murder is the warning that tells us just how far down the moral\spiritual slippery slip we’ve traveled.

The solution to mass shootings is not “do something, anything” that means more laws. The solution is we stop blame shifting and that starts with ourselves. When we apply that at a national level it means looking at root problems and recognizing that we are in a spiritual crisis rather than a gun crisis.

Their god is Molech

2 Comments

In August, 2008 Barack Obama was running for President against John McCain. Obama was asked a pointed question by Pastor Rick Warren. This is how it went down.

Asked at what point a baby gets “human rights,” Obama, who strongly supports abortion rights, said: “… whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question  with specificity … is above my pay grade.”

http://blogs.reuters.com/talesfromthetrail/2008/08/16/obama-says-pointed-abortion-query-above-his-pay-grade/

John McCain was asked the same question. His response:

He said a baby’s human rights began “at the moment of conception … I have a 25-year pro-life record.”

http://blogs.reuters.com/talesfromthetrail/2008/08/16/obama-says-pointed-abortion-query-above-his-pay-grade/

Obama, ever the clever pragmatic politician clearly evaded the question. From the article cited Warren did not challenge him and instead let Obama obliquely agree with R v Wade and the 1973 SCOTUS.

McCain, on the other hand stuck to principle and did not equivocate.

The exchange boiled down for all time how the Democrats and their media allies evade the central issue of life and instead talk about ” rights.” Today, some 11 years after the exchange the Democrats and their media allies (but I repeat myself) have moved well beyond Obama’s pragmatism. If they were to be asked the question Warren asked today the answer would have to be “when the mother and her doctor say the baby has human rights.”

The answer would reflect the reality of where certain states and Democrat governors are on the issue. The answer to the question is never about life; but always about perceived rights, granted by the Constitution or found in the Constitution by a liberal SCOTUS (R v Wade, 1973).

Whether they care to admit it or not by not dealing with the life question the left moves ever closer to outright infanticide (and I would argue they are there already.)

A person does not have “human rights” until a government agency or a mother and a doctor say they do. That’s their higher standard and their “moral high ground.” Their god is Molech and he must be pleased.

A Silly Putty Bible

Leave a comment

Silly Putty was (and probably still is) a fun toy. You could take Silly Putty and transform it into any kind of shape you wished. You were a sculptor who was only limited by your imagination and your own interpretation of what you just created.

This is how liberal\progressive\social justice Christians view the Scriptures. It follows that liberal progressives in general view the US Constitution in the same way. Both Scripture and the Constitution are fluid in their minds and like Silly Putty can be twisted to say whatever one wishes or what the prevailing culture demands.

In the crowded field of Democratic hopefuls Pete Buttigieg is unusual. He fits into the category of a self-identified Gay Christian who recently criticized the conservative Christian VP Mike Pence on his views regarding homosexuality. Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Mike Pence was the governor of Indiana and the two know each other.

A lot could be said about this but at the end of the day the manufactured dust up is not about a Scripture debate and what Scripture actually teaches. We are long past that. Instead, what we have is a hatred for the conservative interpretation of some clear and unambigious Scripture.

The hatred stems from the fact that the Bible labels homosexuality sinful. Pence agrees as do millions of Christians who do not treat the Word of God as Silly Putty.

The hatred is directed at the conservative who affirms there is such a thing as sin. A person who affirms that homosexuality is sin as a Scripture realty is therefore a bigot. That’s the end game of the political left and obviously why Buttigieg targeted Pence someone whom he got along with rather pleasantly until he decided to run for office.

The link provided above will take you to the New York Times article about the issue with VP Pence. The reporters mobbed Mr. Pence asking him if homosexuality was a choice. In an obvious set-up Pence refused to answer.

If he said no, then what’s the problem? If he said yes then he’s a bigot. I rather admire Pence for not falling for the obvious “gotcha.” As VP he needs to avoid the leftist traps set for conservative Christians.

The only way Pete Buttigieg gets to claim it’s ok to be a Gay Christian (and married to another guy) is by treating Scripture like Silly Putty and twisting it beyond all recognition. In this, he has been assisted by his very liberal Episcopal Church-a church, that as a whole abandoned the clear teachings of Scripture long ago. It must give Buttigieg and others like him a wonderful sense of security as a church remakes what God has clearly said into something else.

The article states that Buttigieg likes to quote Scripture but doesn’t give any examples, nor did I wish to take the time to find out how and where he has done so.

My immediate reaction to reading that Buttigieg likes to quote Scripture was to go to Matthew 4.

Matthew Chapter 4 begins with the temptation by Satan of Jesus in the wilderness. Satan quotes Scripture twice (Deut. 8:3; Psa. 91:11, 12). He then offers Jesus the world if only Jesus will fall down and worship Satan.

Jesus will have none of it of course and he rebukes Satan twice and then the third time tells him to basically get lost.

There is much to unpack in the passage but at the very least it illustrates that anyone, including the king of liars can quote Scripture for his own purposes.

This is the kind of world we’ve lived in ever since. Anyone at anytime can, if they choose to do so rip Scripture from it’s context and twist it like Silly Putty to mean whatever their heart desires.

The left is relentless. They do not have a live and let live point of view any longer. Anything less than a full fledged affirmation of the whole LGBTXYZ nonsense won’t do.

I would not underestimate Buttigieg’s influence on young evangelicals whose Bible knowledge is poor or non-existent and come from churches who are afraid of hot potato issues in the first place.

Jesus told Satan he needed to worship him rather than the other way around. He did so by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13. Apparently, Jesus thought Scripture was very clear and would not allow Satan to twist it like Silly Putty for his own purposes. Nor should we when Buttigieg and others like him seek office and our votes.

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: