Against the Tyranny of Omnipotent Moral Busybodies

Could you imagine how pleasant it would be to be in the same circumstance as Adam before the Fall? One rule: only one command to keep. And that from the one who had just created you. It’s not like it would be difficult to figure out where his prerogative sprang from to throw down a rule for you to keep. Alas, how many rules must we keep? How many rules must you keep that you don’t even know of? Just remember, ignorance is no excuse for breaking any of them. From whence do the vast majority of these rules come? Man, not God. Now I know perfectly well that Christians are commanded to “be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” (1 Pet 2:13). I take that to mean any human institution that has the power to enforce its will upon you. I understand such subjection to be primarily for the purpose of refuting the calumnies of unbelievers through right living. It is also for the general purpose of Christians living quiet and peaceable lives (1 Tim 2:2).

Perhaps I may be forgiven for my rebellious tone after your participation in a simple thought experiment. If I were to declare myself the king of my neighbors and order them to do as I say, or else: would that obligate the Christians among my neighbors to obey me in order to be obedient to God? Of course not. Now, what if I had the power to enforce my will upon them via coercion through aggression against their persons and/or their property? I would submit that that is the only difference between me (in this hypothetical scenario) the earthly potentate the apostles had in mind: the ability to enforce one’s will on others. In other words, might makes right when it comes to figuring out whom the Christian should obey. The only caveat is if the “might” (i.e., the moral busybody, or run-of-the-mill tyrant) wants you to do that which is sin: a nonviolent resistance leading to a glorious death for obeying God is preferable to obeying that human institution. Let me try again, if Country A is invaded by Country B should Christians of Country A obey the dictates of Country A, or Country B? Biblically answering this question is easy-peasy (I would never say it’s easy to practice): the Christian should obey whoever has the ability to enforce their will through coercion by aggression against person and/or property (notwithstanding the above caveat). It may cost you your life, but there it is.

So, what does the tyranny of the moral busybody look like? Well, in general, it looks remotely close to the following universal: Person(s) A says, “I love square circles and think everyone one should be forced to accept the existence of square circles, support the manufacture of square circles, and pay for square circles (or at least their promotion); furthermore, the ‘might that makes right’ ought to exercise aggression against all persons, and/or their property, who do not celebrate and support the manufacture (oh, and accept the existence) of square circles.” Person(s) B (often also a would-be omnipotent moral busybody) respond(s), “I don’t believe square circles exist (or at least don’t like them). How dare you, Person(s) A propose such tyrannical machinations! I shall petition the ‘might that makes right’ to exercise aggression against all persons and/or their property who dare to feign that square circles exist, promote the manufacture thereof, or otherwise demand other peoples’ money to support such nonsense.”

Thus, every issue among man devolves into a wrestling match between Person(s) A and Person(s) B to control the “might that makes right.” This is true whether we are talking about square circles, or circular circles (that which actually exists). When it comes to circular circles, the argument made by Person(s) A/B is usually something like this: “Person(s) A/B should not be allowed to drink, smoke, or inject circular circles and ‘the might that makes right’ ought to aggress against all persons and/or their property who dare drink, smoke, or inject circular circles.” Additionally, the tyrannical moral busybody also presents itself in this form (perhaps its most prevalent and vicious): “Circular circles are great! ‘The might that makes right’ ought to steal the money of others (often euphemistically referred to as taxes, fees, or fines) in order to increase the manufacture, sale, and consumption of circular circles.” Might I remind the Christian that theft in any form and for any reason, save perhaps staving off starvation, is wrong?

All I can add is that there is a plethora of aggressions against persons and/or their property that some in modern democracies might advocate for; such as, “the might that makes right” stealing the property of widows and orphans (euphemistically referred to in our society as eminent domain) for the enrichment of this, or that, interest. There is a strange politeness to modern, western tyranny. What should a Christian do?

Love others, work hard, and mind your own business (1 Thess 4:11): that’s what a Christian is commanded to do. Oh, and then there is the whole “free speech” thing, at least in the USA. Can you believe it? In the USA you actually have the sanction of the “might that makes right” to speak the truth in love. Even if you live somewhere that will aggress against you and/or your property for speaking the truth in love, what do you have to lose? Christian, you’re going to live forever and there will come a day that the “might that makes right” will be exercised by none other than him to whom it belongs. Such a circumstance will far surpass the pleasant situation Adam found himself in.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” ~C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock

How the Gospels are Evidence

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When engaging unbelievers I consistently hear arguments along this line of reasoning, “There is no scientific proof for the resurrection.”

science_labs The argument usually presupposes truth can only be determined by one method — scientific research. So, if science and the scientific method must verify a fact, and we are unable to scientifically reproduce the resurrection, then it must be false. Therefore, “Although you believe the Bible, and that is good for you, it is really just myth created for another reason.”

There is a problem with this logic. But before addressing the solution, the problem is usually compounded by the Christian’s response. The response takes on this form, “Well, you just have to have faith and believe. Sometimes our faith is irrational.” This response actually accepts the skeptics reasoning and buys into his faulty presupposition. This response, just like the skeptic, fails to consider how truth can be verified.

In this discussion, the skeptic and the Christian seemingly accept and assert truth is only verified by scientific research. However, there are other ways to verify truth. One other way to verify truth is multiple eye-witness testimony.

Skeptics will often counter with the superiority of scientific research. However, to date, what proof exists verifying scientific research is the only way to obtain facts? Second, scientists do change their views and findings as more research becomes available. But primarily, no science lab in the world can prove, according to the scientific method, whether or not pizza is in my kitchen.

It is this third point Christians need to understand primarily. Multiple eye-witness testimony1-300x255testimony is a sufficient way to determine truth, especially historical fact. [1] It is extremely important to grasp this concept. Before there were crime labs in the world, men would be punished for murder when multiple eye-witnesseses testified. The more witnesses who said the same thing, the stronger the evidence. Even today, in courts, multiple eye-witnesses influence trials. The DA’s office would love for every case to have three or four eye-witnesses.

Justice can be upheld based on eye-witness testimony alone! Listen to God’s instruction to Israel when considering evidence.

  • “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness” (Deut 17:6).
  • “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed” (Deut 19:15).
  • “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses” (1 Tim 5:19).

To summarize, multiples witnesses is not only a means to determine evidence, guilt, and punishment, but also required when levying charges against a church elder. The Lord provides means for qualified, verifiable, and solid evidence in a court setting. Does the Lord negate science? No. Instead he provides support for eye-witness testimony.

jpg_law_justice_003This brings up the main point of the article. Christians need to understand multiple eye-witnesses provide valid evidence verifying historical events. So, how can we prove the resurrection? Simple, each Gospel is an eye-witness testimony to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. In fact, there are at least four accounts of the resurrection: Matthew’s, Mark’s, Luke’s, and John’s. We need to understand each Gospel testifies regarding Jesus, the Christ.

Now, is your faith reasonable? Answer?

[1] Now, some will claim, “But eye-witness testimony has been wrong.” Sure it has, but so has science. The fact some people have lied when testifying does not negate the veracity and integrity multiple eye-witnesses can have when observing an event. In other words, YES, sometimes there is another variable in the equation, but one person lying in a situation does not invalidate eye-witness testimony.

Prepare for Corporate Worship

Tomorrow is corporate worship. Are you prepared? Is your family prepared?

local churchAre you ready to gather with the church to engage in corporate worship? The corporate gathering is not a spectator sport or movie. Corporate worship is a continuation of your daily worship. It will require an engaged mind, a willing voice to sing, a desire to meet those around you and serve them, a Bible, note pad for notes, and your attention. Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Are you prepared to humble yourself to exalt God with other worshippers in the church? Are you ready to edify those around you and be attentive in worship to be conformed into His image?

Have you prayed for tomorrow’s corporate gathering? Pray for your pastor throughout the week as he studies and prepares for tomorrow’s message. Pray the Word would edify believers and bring unbelievers to reconciliation with the Father in heaven. Pray your motives would be focused on exalting Him. Pray for the singing and those leading the music. Be prepared to focus on content and not worry if the leadership does it another way then you prefer.

Are you usually early, get there just before it starts, or late? If you’re not early, what hinders you from being on time? How can you resolve this problem? Do you stay up too late Saturday night? Can you go to bed earlier? Can you set out your clothes? Make something easy for breakfast? Husbands, what can you do to better serve your family so you are on time?

Have you talked to your children about why you gather corporately? Do they know you gather to exalt Christ and serve others?

Finally, when dressing for church consider God’s requirement for attire, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourself with a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other . . . beyond all these things clothe yourself with love, which isn the perfect bond of unity” (Col. 3:12-14).

Personal Update on Writing

Recently I began writing for Parkingspace23.com in addition to here. Last week I took time off from the social media to visit friends in Cali — meaning 3 people missed me :) Come on, I don’t take myself too seriously and neither should you unless I’m speaking about coffee or the Gospel.

I pray this blog continues to encourage you to think biblically and worship the Lord. He is the greatest treasure a believer possesses and to know Him and follow Him is the greatest privilege we have! What a glorious Savior we have who died so I can be reconciled!

But just in case you are interested in some of my latest musings there are three posts at Parkingspace23.

First, I finally said something about Mark Driscoll. Check it out here.16095063-mmmain

Second, I want to be great and Jesus wants us all to be great. Check it out here.

Third, a believer is actually a lifetime student.

Fourth, I’d encourage you to add Parkingspace23 to your regular reading schedule. You will find the guys encouraging, biblical, they love Christ and care about doctrinal fidelity!

Finally, I’d like to encourage you to habitually read Peter Goeman. Even though Peter is a Minnesota Twins fan, he has great insights and will benefit you too.

Coming up next week I’ll continue my series on being blessed. I have some thoughts on cuss words & speech, and the most dangerous thing in the world too. Thanks for your faithful reading. As always, please feel free to challenge me and push me to love Christ more! Ephesians 3:17-19!!

Sunday blog

I am not sure why people read blogs on a Sunday. Especially blogs dedicated to the glory of God by studying His Word. But before we keep scanning the blogosphere please make sure you can answer yes to these questions.

1. Did I attend corporate worship today?

2. Was corporate worship lead by a pastor who opened the Bible and preached it’s content? Could I physically see the man?

3. Did I engage those in my church with a desire to serve and love them?

Go be with God’s people on the day set aside for corporate gatherings. That is God’s will and where He wants you (Heb 10:24-25).

(no, I’m not talking to you if you had to work all day today and missed)

Jean Calvin Responds to the Skeptic

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The Lord says all men are culpable and worthy of wrath because, “That which is known about God is evident within them” (Rom 1:19). Jean Calvin summarizes, “The knowledge of God being manifested to all makes the reprobate without excuse [to believe].”

Calvin then states the skeptics rebuttal to this point.

“[Therefore some maintain], that religion was devised by the cunning and craft of a few individuals, as a meansJohnCalvinFromJohn of keeping the body of the people in due subjection, while there was nothing which those very individuals, while teaching others to worship God, less believed than the existence of a God.”

People still use this argument. “There is nothing new under the Sun.” — Solomon

Calvin’s response, “I readily acknowledge, that designing men have introduced a vast number of fictions into religion, with the view of inspiring the populace with reverence or striking them with terror, and thereby rendering them more obsequious; but they never could have succeeded in this, had the minds of men not been previously imbued with that uniform belief in God, from which, as from its seed, the religious propensity springs.[1]

What do you think of Calvin’s response? How do you answer this question?

[1] Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translated by Henry Beveridge, Book 1, Chapter 3, argument 2.

Three Observations from Psalm 119

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Recently Cornerstone Las Vegas read through Psalm 119 in our Sunday gathering. While preparing for Sunday morning a few verses really encouraged me regarding the significance and importance of the Word.

bibleFirst, “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart” (Psalm 119:1-2). True blessing comes not by what I have — cars, homes, luxury, cancer free, obedient children — but through blameless living according to His Word. The redeemed person is blessed because she is forgiven. When her life exemplifies God’s Word, then her ways are blameless too. We can rest assured seeking Him through His Word with all your heart, mind, body, and soul will produce true blessing.

Second, “Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You” (38). Everything I do, I want to honor the Lord. I want my thoughts, words, and actions to honor Him. In other words, I need to fear the Lord. When honoring the Lord is priority, then my actions will reflect that commitment. How does one grow in a fear of the Lord? “Establish Your word to Your servant.” When the Word of God roots in the heart with conviction then reverence is produced. Knowing this encourages me to open His Word and study to know Him better.

Third, “I understand more than the aged, Because I have observed man-hands-holding-old-bible-olivier-le-queinecYour precepts.” (100). How many times do we hear, “Experience produces wisdom” or “Older men are wiser because they are older”? Here God says wisdom does not necessarily correlate with age. Instead, wisdom correlates with an understanding of God’s word lived out! A 70 year old man who learns, follows, and continues to study will be wiser than a 30 year old man with the same characteristics. But the same 30 year old can be wise than the 70 year old who solely thinks, “My experience makes me wise.” Let us not fall into the trap of thinking, age alone equals wisdom.

Studying the Word of God makes believers blessed, reverent of Him, and wise. All three I want in my life.

Is the Christian Free from Law?

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Here is what seems to be a common conversation.images

“The believer still lives under a moral law after salvation.”

“But the believer is free from law.”

“Right, but if there is no law, then we would be free to sin. A believer could commit adultery, lie, cheat, and steal and just say ‘grace’. Therefore there must be law.”

But this reasoning fails. Here is why.

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?

May it never be!
Continue reading

Sufficient OT Sacrifices and Other Musings

Were OT sacrifices sufficient for forgiveness? Sufficient how? Not in any ultimate sense. The OT sacrifices were most definitely nothing more than a picture of what was to come (see below for context). The reason I say this is because it is not defensible for God to forgive sin on the basis of animal sacrifices per se. God would be unjust to do so. In fact, that should be a massive tension for you when you read the OT. How, pray tell, is God justified in forgiving an adulterer and murderer like David on the basis of nothing more than some lamb getting its throat cut? He is not. David deserved death and hell; instead, all he had to do was butcher an animal and somehow he just blissfully says, “As for me, because I am innocent I will see your face; when I awake you will reveal yourself to me” (Ps 17:15, NET) Who cares if that was written before his greater sins: who does this guy think he is, and what kind of God would grant such felicity to such a man as one who committed, or would commit (would not God know what’s coming?) such outrages?. Something more is demanded if God is God: because if the God of the Bible is not just, he is not God. Continue reading

Were OT sacrifices sufficient for forgiveness?

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This is not a simple question. What is the question asking? Is it asking, were OT sacrifices needed for salvation? Or are we asking did a saint, before Christ, need to offer sacrifices to be forgiven?

Salvation has always been by faith alone in God. God says, “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness'” (Romans 4:3). Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, David, Solomon, and Paul all were saved because they placed their faith in God. “All these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised” (Heb. 11:39). Salvation has and will always be by grace alone through faith alone. Continue reading