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Posts Tagged ‘Romans 13:1-8’

Should Christian Pastors Speak Out Against The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Laws? I Say No!

Posted by Job on December 26, 2009

Homosexual activists and others who would promote and proliferate various forms of disorder and perversion throughout the world have tried to target and discredit Uganda ever since they proved on a national scale that it was possible to successfully fight the spread of AIDS, and it was done through a Christian woman in the Ugandan public health department who advocated abstinence. Now it seems that such people have their opening: Uganda’s considering a law that would criminalize homosexuality.

Now make no mistake, in general I oppose efforts to legislate morality. The purpose of human institutions i.e. cultures and governments are to restrain evil, and because humans are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26) and are recipients of His common grace and used to achieve His purposes (Romans 13:1-8). However, because human institutions also reflect man’s fallen nature, they are incapable of achieving or imposing God’s righteousness and are not participants in or beneficiaries of special – that is saving – grace. Human institutions cannot and will not ever redeem cultures or nations. Instead, God will redeem His holy and elect nation, His church. Whenever a government passes the boundary of restraining evil, it becomes evil itself.

Now of course, the definition of government action which restrains evil varies with times and places because of the  state of the culture. What restrains evil in some cultural contexts creates confusion and chaos in others. (This is a principle that was quickly discovered by Christian evangelists on the mission field who at times caused real problems by attempting to change offensive local practices before the minds and hearts were ready for such changes.) That is one reason why we need wise, honest and prudent rulers, governors and administrators.

So, a law against homosexual behavior in America would be utterly ridiculous in a nation whose culture has been defined by 40 years of the sexual revolution – and also humanistic Enlightenment ideas for centuries before that – and now has large numbers of homosexuals in positions of authority in government, academia, media, culture (and increasingly clergy!) and where large portions of the population of major cities have given themselves over to this abomination, either by participating in it or having pleasure in those who do (Romans 1:32). But, a law against homosexuality in a culture where the homosexual population, culture and influence is small and more importantly the prevailing cultural mindset does not embrace the idea that living to please oneself is the goal and duty of man’s existence (and yes, American culture has long exalted the individualistic ideal of pleasing oneself) may be practical and effective in restraining evil in that culture.

This is important because in order to restrain evil, a law must be practical and effective. If a law is impractical or ineffective, it increases evil by making a mockery of the law itself and the rulers and servants who administer it. That is precisely an issue in America, which is plunging into disorder in no small part because of a labyrinth of laws that can never be enforced, causing the populace to view our government and leaders as weak and ineffective. A law against homosexual behavior would only cause more people to despise and defy the government, making the ability of the government to restrain evil in other ways (i.e. enforce laws against murder and theft) that much more difficult.

But would such a law be practical, effective and necessary (another vital component, as laws must also be needed and not capricious vanities) in restraining evil in Uganda? To this only Ugandans know the answer. But if a law against homosexually is necessary, practical and effective in Uganda and thereby restrains evil, what basis does a Christian  have for speaking against it? In Biblical terms, we have no reason.

Instead, the ability of such a law to restrain evil and the need for such a law is a matter for the Ugandan rulers to decide. Claiming otherwise is bad policy in the secular arena and bad theology in the Christian one. Yet many western Christian pastors and religious leaders are falling over themselves to criticize and denounce Uganda and in the process humiliate, undermine and make appear less effective government, rulers and administrators in an area that badly needs it (and yes, the failure of so many civil governments in Africa and the disastrous consequences of these failures is a major argument for one world government!) without stopping to consider that by acting against a government that appears to be effective at restraining evil that they are violating Romans 13:1-8. Why? In order not to offend mainstream sensibilities. In order to curry and maintain favor with those in power. In short, to be relevant.

Further, it is hypocritical for American pastors. What is the difference between a law against homosexuality and a law against polygamy? Please realize that where the Bible calls homosexuality a sin in both the Old and New Testament, it nowhere does so for polygamy. What about our laws regulating or criminalizing the use of some drugs (particularly allowing the ones that cause the most damage – alcohol and tobacco – to be legal while forbidding others)? What about our laws against gambling? Claims that either are based on the Bible is absurd. There are lots of things that are declared illegal by our laws but aren’t explicitly declared to be sins in the Bible.

And what of things that are illegal in America ONLY because they are declared to be sinful in the Bible? Best example: prostitution. Make a case that prostitution should be illegal without resorting to what the Bible says about fornication and adultery. You can’t. Plus the fact that pornography is legal makes laws against prostitution ridiculous. There are other areas also. Why, for instance, do statutory rape laws – a matter completely different from child molestation mind you – exist? And what about age-consent laws for marriage?

So, now we have the bizarre state of affairs where evangelical pastors in the west are speaking out against anti-homosexuality measures in Uganda while remaining silent concerning THOROUGHLY INEFFECTIVE measures against gambling, marijuana and polygamy (the state can only prosecute a person for legally marrying multiple spouses but can’t do a thing to prevent it socially or culturally, and yes religious groups can and do perform marriages to polygamists) in their own countries, and moreover lack the theological consistency to recognize that an anti-homosexuality law is no different from a law against prostitution or statutory rape in their own countries.

So, their stand is not based on the Bible, for if it were such pastors would – in order to be consistent – oppose our own laws against prostitution as well. But as the evangelical pastor who favors decriminalizing prostitution would soon find himself without a congregation – and the influence that comes from being a pastor of one – on this issue they remain silent. That exposes the danger of playing politics and attempting to mix being a religious leader and a secular one. It is, quite simply, impossible to be effective in both religious and secular leadership spheres because in the former you are leading (mostly) born again people and in the latter you are influencing (mostly) unsaved ones, and you are bound by the duties of your leadership to respond to the needs and desires of both. It is inevitable for the leadership spheres to be in conflict, and you must wind up choosing one over the other. As Jesus Christ said, you cannot serve both God and mammon, for you will either love one or hate the other.

This is not an argument against Christians being in government service or even against pastors’ having secular jobs. Instead, it is a statement that Christian pastors, when acting and speaking from the role of pastor with the authority of pastor, should rule wisely with wisdom, caution, prudence and consistency. Speaking out against Uganda’s anti-homosexuality laws because retaining your place of popularity and leadership in mainstream society requires that you do so falls short of this principle, especially if by doing so you ignore similar problems with our own government and laws. Pastors, concentrate on effectively serving your own churches first, and let God take care of the rest.

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Posted in abomination, Christianity, government, homophobia, homosexuality | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

Pulpit Freedom Sunday Is A Stench In The Nostrils Of God

Posted by Job on October 2, 2008

Romans 13:1-8 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Now read how people below plan to commit a high handed premediated sin against the Bible. Keep in mind: they are not sinning against man by doing this, but against the Word of the living God!

Pulpit Freedom Sunday

Participating pastors will exercise First Amendment right to speak on positions of electoral candidates Sept. 28 Thursday, September 25, 2008, 8:05 AM (MST) | ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Pastors participating in the Alliance Defense Fund’s “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” will preach from their pulpits Sept. 28 about the moral qualifications of candidates seeking political office.  The pastors will exercise their First Amendment right to preach on the subject, despite federal tax regulations that prohibit intervening or participating in a political campaign.

“Pastors have a right to speak about Biblical truths from the pulpit without fear of punishment.  No one should be able to use the government to intimidate pastors into giving up their constitutional rights,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley.  “If you have a concern about pastors speaking about electoral candidates from the pulpit, ask yourself this:  should the church decide that question, or should the IRS?”

Pulpit Freedom Sunday is an event associated with the ADF Pulpit Initiative (www.telladf.org/church), a legal effort designed to secure the First Amendment rights of pastors in the pulpit.  A document explaining what the Pulpit Initiative is and is not is available at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/WhatIsPI.pdf. “ADF is not trying to get politics into the pulpit.  Churches can decide for themselves that they either do or don’t want their pastors to speak about electoral candidates.  The point of the Pulpit Initiative is very simple:  the IRS should not be the one making the decision by threatening to revoke a church’s tax-exempt status.  We need to get the government out of the pulpit,” said Stanley. Stanley explained that, contrary to the misunderstandings of many, tax-exempt status is not a “gift” or “subsidy” bestowed by the government.

“Churches were completely free to preach about candidates from the day that the Constitution was ratified in 1788 until 1954.  That’s when the unconstitutional rule known as the ‘Johnson Amendment’ was enacted,” explained Stanley.  “Churches are exempt from taxation under the principle that there is no surer way to destroy religion than to begin taxing it.  As the U.S. Supreme Court has noted, the power to tax involves the power to destroy.  The real effect of the Johnson Amendment is that pastors are muzzled for fear of investigation by the IRS.” After Sept. 28, ADF plans to provide via news release a list of pastors who participated in Pulpit Freedom Sunday.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. (Please note that this statement mentions Jesus Christ in no way, shape, or form.)

www.telladf.org

How do we live out Romans 13:1-8 in a lost and dying world? Simple: by not acting like the lost and dying. Jesus Christ said that we must fulfill all righteousness. So, one of the reasons why Christ did not follow the false teachers and political revolutionaries by refusing to pay taxes was because had He done so, He would have been, well, indistinguishable from false teachers and political revolutionaries.

The political revolutionaries stated not to pay taxes because they felt that it was God’s Will for them to be sovereign, free from Roman rule, and that paying taxes was submission to a wicked order that would be overthrown when the Messiah came to defeat Rome and take the throne of David. These people ignored that Israel lost its sovereignty when they the Sinai covenant, the result of which was the northern kingdom being wiped off the map and Judah going into captivity. The Messiah was not coming to restore the broken covenant, but to bring a new covenant. So, at best the political revolutionaries were being presumptuous in acting as if God needed their help by way of subversive behavior. At worst, they were pretending as if the Sinai covenant had never been broken, and the words of Jeremiah, Hosea, and Ezekiel had never been given by God. (Keep in mind, it was the Hellenistic Sadducees who denied the validity of the prophetic books, and they supported the Romans!)

As for the religious leaders, they may have had superficially religious reasons for claiming that taxes should not be paid to Caesar (i.e. idolatry), the truth was that their actual motivations were that they agreed with the political objectives of the subversives. So then just as now, you had false teachers at best claiming that secular aims were spiritual, and at worst calling sin righteousness. Jesus Christ rejected both groups (which in truth were really only one) by stating that it was OK to give back to Caesar what was Caesar’s anyway. The things of this world are ruled by the prince of this world (Satan) but the gospel and the kingdom are not of this world and cannot be given or taken by this world or those of it.

Now John Calvin did do the work of a theologian (that is, in Bible speak, a doctor of the law, or that is one who creates doctrines for Christians to live by) and state that it is OK to defy the law if it forces a Christian to sin. That is consistent with Biblical example, particularly how the apostles refused to stop preaching the gospel when the Sanhedrin told them to cease in Acts. (Please realize that the Roman empire gave local nations and tribes some degree of autonomy, so the Sanhedrin was the legitimate authority in this matter!) But a law against getting in the pulpit and telling your congregations that their key to justification and sanctification is voting for John McCain, Barack Obama, Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr, or Cynthia McKinney (Republican, Democrat, Constitution, Libertarian, and Green Party candidates for president) or even for one of your own deacons for dog catcher does not hinder the gospel of Jesus Christ in any way, shape, or form. Were it the case, then in monarchies and other situations where rulers are not democratically elected, there would be no way to spread the gospel at all, and that was certainly the case in the Roman Empire, which was not only a monarchy, but in the time of the early church most Christians weren’t even citizens! 

This is the best part: these pastors aren’t even invoking their right or duty to break these statutes as coming to them from God either by special revelation via the Bible or even universal revelation and common grace through natural law. Instead, they are claiming that their right to use their pulpit to promote a bunch of lying thieving adulterous new world order occultist viper crooks into office comes from the state: the first amendment. Now from the example of Paul in Acts fully exploiting his legal rights as a Roman citizen to spread the gospel, on the surface this would seem to be OK. But look closer and you will see that A) Paul invoked his Roman rights TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL, not to put more evil people in office and B) if the state has the right to give you free speech, then that same state has the right to narrow or clarify that right. 

The state is not forcing you to kill your child, like China’s forced abortion policy. The state is not imprisoning you for preaching the gospel, like China is. (And by the way: the very same George W. Bush that so many of these people voted for LAST TIME worked very hard to get China into the WTO and most favored trade nation status!) The state is merely telling you that you cannot abuse your spiritual authority by telling your congregation to go out and vote for someone fully controlled by the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Bilderbergers, the Council on Foreign Relations, you name it. In this instance, the righteousness of the STATE actually exceeds the righteousness of the CHURCH who not only seeks to break the law, but is deceiving their adherents into thinking that by voting for wicked men that they can advance the kingdom of heaven! 

The worst part is that there is no need whatsoever to do this. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State would LOVE to go after pastors for their political activism. But pastors have studied the law and found a way to legally separate their actions as private citizens from those as pastors. So, when a pastor would endorse candidates for office, the pastor does so not from their position as pastor of a particular congregation or leader in a denomination but as individuals, and they make it clear that their positions and activities were their own apart from their employers (churches or denominations). Now you may disagree with this SCRIPTURALLY, but the fact is that pastors has the same LEGAL right to do whatever they please when not on the job as does any doctor, lawyer, engineer, schoolteacher, janitor, construction worker, etc. Now your workplace can certainly fire you, but the state can’t touch you. 

So if a pastor is certain that the kingdom of heaven will be advanced by endorsing the candidacy of his dogcatcher, well then they have a very effective and legal model available for them. But instead of following the accommodations that do exist for them in the law, these people in their pride and hardened hearts have decided to be rebels against the living God and His Word. People, see how the mixing of religion and politics leads people into apostasy? This, my good Christians, proves that the Bible is true. For politics is of the world. The Bible states that you should not mix things that are common with those that are holy. Take a look at the Old Testament sacrificial system, and God spent thousands of years teaching His people with the Sinai religion that principle: certain altars and certain religious implements such as things used in sacrifices and religious ceremonies were either holy or most holy, and those things could not be defiled by unclean people or things. So why are these people trying to defile the gospel of Jesus Christ by A) electioneering for wickedness and B) engaging in and encouraging illegal behavior? The answer is that they love the world and the things in it. Well, to them this verse applies: 1 John 2:15 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

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