Monday, August 16, 2010

Do You Consent?

If you've read any of the original writings of the Founding Fathers, you saw that history clearly records that the Founders established our nation upon Biblical principles. As they wrote the Declaration of Independence, and then the Constitution, they drew upon Scripture to instruct them in the ways of wisdom and liberty.

The Declaration states that governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed -." In the years prior to the American Revolution, 1 Samuel 8 was a favorite text preached in churches throughout the colonies. The same passage was Thomas Paine's primary theme in his pamphlet "Common Sense." It's time well-spent reading this passage, but for sake of space here, I'll just give you the story outline:

The Israelites decide they no longer want to be a Theocracy, they want a king like all the other nations, so they go to Samuel to ask him to appoint a king for them. Samuel goes to God about their request and He tells him to grant the people their request, for they have forsaken God as their king and want to go after other gods. But - and here's the kicker - God gives them advance warning about how a king will reign over them. A king will:

Make slaves of them and their children.
He will take a tenth of their produce and give it to his servants. (Try about 50% these days.)
He will take their employees and make them his own servants.
He will take a tenth of their possessions.

Then God warns them that they will cry out to Him for help, but he will not hear them because they have chosen to go after false gods and have rejected him. So, Samuel tells this to the people, and they reply, "No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." Then Samuel agrees to do what they have consented to, and he appoints them a king.

The nation of Israel consented. They consented to sell themselves and their children into servitude. Why on earth would they have traded their independence for that?! For a couple of reasons that we can see in this story: ( 1 ) They wanted to be like other nations. They wanted to be cool. ( 2 ) They were lazy and abdicated their responsibilities. They wanted the king to "go out before us and fight our battles."

American Christians have consented to the government we now have. We've run after the latest and greatest ideas, trading time-proven wisdom and principle for fads. We have been lazy. We've abdicated our responsibilities and now want the government to fight our battles for us. There are hungry people in the street? Oh, the government will take care of them. Can't afford to pay your medical bills? Oh, the government will take care of it. You're company has mismanaged its way into oblivion? Oh, the government will take care of it, after all, it's too big to fail. Our President promises a government that will take care of you from cradle to grave if only you will surrender your consent and abdicate all personal responsibility. Why, President Obama will give you money and refrigerators and new kitchens.

The government is not "them," it is "us." "We the People" have given our consent. Will you continue to consent, or will you withdraw it?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Choice Before Us

In my last post I queried as to what might be the next step that we as Christians should take in regard to the demise of our nation. Two or three things have come to my attention since then and I'd like to begin with this portion of John Winthrop's stirring sermon "A Model of Charity." Winthrop wrote and preached this sermon to his congregation in 1630 as they sailed across the Atlantic from England to the shores of Massachusetts. It's as relevant to us today as it was to those brave souls almost 400 years ago. We would do well to heed the admonition and the warning that Winthrop gives to us in these words:

"The end is to improve our lives to do more service to the Lord the comfort and increase of the body of Christ whereof we are members that our selves and posterity may be the better preserved from the common corruptions of this evil world to serve the Lord and work out our salvation under the power and purity of His holy ordinances.

Now the only way to accomplish this end and to provide for our posterity is to follow the counsel of Micah, "to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humble with our God." For this end we must be knit together in this work as one man, we must entertain each other in brotherly affection, we must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfluities, for the supply of others necessities, we must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality, we must delight in each another, make others conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor, and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us, as His own people and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of his wisdom power goodness and truth than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us - when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when he shall make us a praise and glory, that men shall say of succeeding plantations: The Lord make it like that of New England. For we must consider that we shall be as a "City upon a Hill."

The eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work, we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-work through the world; we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for God's sake; we shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

"Beloved there is now set before us life, and good, death and evil in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His ordinance, and His laws, and the articles of our covenant with Him that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced and worship other gods, our pleasures, and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it."

Therefore let us choose life that we, and our seed may live; by obeying His voice, and cleaving to Him, for He is our life, and our prosperity."