Archive for the ‘ Politics ’ Category

Authority, Government and God

I have been invited to join a top secret group (oops) of men who will be meeting for several weeks while wrestling, and growing in our grip of theology.  We are working though several theological topics and the practical implications of them.

This isn’t a debate club; our hope is to grow closer to one another while growing closer to God’s word.  We are to study some of the topics ahead of time and work though them before we arrive at our undisclosed location so I thought I would work through them a little bit here.  So, I warn you this may be a little more like stream of consciousness writing than a well thought article, if you want one of those I suggest you try the discovery that change my life, and biblical church leadership.

This week we are talking about Government, Authority and God.  A topic I get particularly fired up about because my first exposure to it was a class in Bible College where we read “Spiritual Authority” by Watchman Nee, who all but said you must obey your authority even into sin because the sin would be your leaders and not yours.  The class was very extreme but I had never heard any thing on the topic before so I was interested, although being a fairly rebellious person by nature I was very turned off at the same time.

What does God say about authority explicitly?

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 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, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. 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. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 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.  — Rom 13

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,  whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.- 1 Pet 2:13-17

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.– Titus  3:1-2

A verse many evangelical Christians would be well served to mediate on considering most thing our current President or any with a ‘D’ after his name are Satan’s right hand man.

Does that mean that God has appointed President Obama to be our President at this time?  Yes, but why?  The notes in my ESV bible express it very well:

It is true that those governing authorities that exist have been instituted by God, but sometimes God gives good authorities as a blessing, and sometimes he institutes evil rulers as a means of trial or judgment (2 Chron. 25:20; 32:24-25). On God’s rule over earthly authorities, see Ps. 75:7 and Dan. 2:21. These earthly “authorities” will ultimately be superseded by the rule of Christ (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 22:1-5).

I am not about to try to decide which our current President is, he is my president and I respect that office.  (In the interest of full disclosure; I am more Libertarian than Republican or Democrat so I think both of our major parties stink on ice and both running our country head long into a brick wall, although one may be doing it faster than the other I am not sure)

So what does the mean for a citizen of a country that is born of rebellion?  Were our Founding Fathers in sin for rebelling against the crown?  Can our president whom ever he is even be considered an authority when we are simply rebelling against the rule of Great Brittan?  Should we repent and be subjects of the crown?

At what point did the Constitution become a binding authority of God?  Was it after the 14th amendment was ratified officially recognizing “all other citizens as 3/5th of a person?  Was it while Slavery still existed in a non biblical form?

How are we to handle our disagreements with the government in a republic where the government is to be of the people, for the people and, by the people.  Paul was working in the context of a sovereigjn ruler not a republic, does that change things?

Was Martin Luther King in sin with his civil disobedience?  Was he rebelling against the God ordained authority? (I cringe to ever write that).

Should we use the government to regulate human morality?  Should we out law “Victimless” crimes because we see a biblical mandate to not do it personally?  Drinking isn’t a sin although the bible warns against drunkenness so do we make a crime to be drunk?  Not drink and drive just sitting home alone getting drunk, should that be a crime?

Should we try to change people though the law or through the Gospel or both?  Should we just legislate that everyone should be a Christian?

How does the affect the Gospel?  I know I fear making my political opinions more important than the Gospel.  I get very fired up about politcs but not as much about the gospel?  Have I made politics into an idol?

That is all I have time for and you probably haven’t read the whole things anyway.  If you did, tell me what you think but I would prefer not to simply have an opinion, but I would like to know what the Bible has to say on the matter and how we are to live that out.

How long do we have?

I have refrained from discussing politics as much as possible because I am attempting to focus more on the gospel but I have to ask. Why do we allow the Government so much power in our lives?

About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:

‘A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.’

‘A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.’

¡From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.’

‘The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years’

‘During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith;

2. From spiritual faith to great courage;

3. From courage to liberty;

4. From liberty to abundance;

5. From abundance to complacency;

6. From complacency to apathy;

7. From apathy to dependence;

8. From dependence back into bondage’

Professor Joseph Olson of Hemline University School of Law, St. Paul , Minnesota , points out some interesting facts concerning the 2000 Presidential election:

Number of States won by: Democrats: 19 Republicans: 29

Square miles of land won by: Democrats: 580,000 Republicans: 2,427,000

Population of counties won by: Democrats: 127 million Republicans: 143 million

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Democrats: 13..2 Republicans: 2.1

Professor Olson adds: ‘In aggregate, the map of the territory Republican won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare….’ Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the ‘complacency and apathy’ phase of Professor Tyler’s definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation’s population already having reached the ‘governmental dependency’ phase.

Tax Day

Well again I don’t like to be all political but this is the only time of the year it seems you can get people to pay attention. There will be news stories of Post Offices being open late so people can file. There may even be a few stories about how much the squeeze is being put to the ‘middle class’ and all candidates will be promising that if elected they will only tax the rich and most of us don’t consider ourselves rich.

According to the Tax foundation, a non-partisan group. Tax freedom day will not happen for most of us for a few more weeks. Tax freedom day is the day you would be done paying taxes if you paid every penny you earned from January 1. This year it is April 23 as an average. You can check out their site for more information and your states specific freedom day. But think about it, if we had to pay every penny we made to the government until we had paid our taxes we wouldn’t be done until almost 4 months into the year.  It is longer than it takes us to pay for our housing, food, health care, and recreation.

You know when my family was spending more than we took in I had a few choices, get a new job, demand more money or cut back on spending.  If you can’t demand more money from your boss, and you can’t find a new job you have to cut back on spending.  I wish the government didn’t have the power to demand more money from it’s bosses (us) and would realize there is a need to cut spending so we could all hold on to what we earn.  Think of what you could do with an extra 4 months worth of pay a year.  I bet you could spend it better than uncle Sam.

The Tax Foundation

Friday Videos: Global Warming

This one is a bit longer than normal but it is always to get the other side out since all we hear is Al Gores side.

Tax Time

Tax ManI try to keep this blog as clear of politics as possible but it is the time of year I can’t help but vent.

Imagine if you will the scene at a grocery store where a woman has a two hundred and fifty dollar bill. She hands the cashier three hundred dollars to pay for said bill and when she receives her fifty dollars of change she shrieks “Oh, I have fifty dollars. I am so glad for this time because now I have more money.” The cashier and those around her look at her peculiarly as she dances away thrilled with her new found fortune.

This would be a strange event would you witness it but daily this time of year. People are thrilled to get their tax refund without realizing that it is nothing but change from a bill they have been paying all year. Only in this case the government holds your money all year so that they can earn the interest on it instead of allowing you to spend it on what you wish. This was started to bring in extra money to pay for WWI but has continued because according to the Department of Treasury:

This (withholding) greatly eased the collection of the tax for both the taxpayer and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. However, it also greatly reduced the taxpayer’s awareness of the amount of tax being collected, i.e. it reduced the transparency of the tax, which made it easier to raise taxes in the future. (History of the U.S. Tax System. U.S. Department of Treasury. Retrieved on 200610-31.)

Ask many people how much they pay in taxes and they have no idea or even worse they may say “None, I got a refund this year” not even realizing they have merely gotten change from a bill they have been forced to pay without their knowledge or even consent.

According to the Tax Foundation people work from January 1 until April 30 just to pay their taxes, one third of our labor is just to pay the taxes on that labor. And this date is getting latter and latter every year, but most people never realize it because they have been drugged with the chemical of withholdings. Wake up and pay attention to the amount of money taken from your pay check, the thousands in income tax, the hundreds in social security (you will NEVER see again), and hundreds more in other taxes.

CARRYING GUNS WILL STOP VIOLENT CRIMES | National Center for Policy Analysis

Thank You Mr. President

Today President Bush signed a bill into law that does several things, but in the end accomplishes more harm than good.

First it will begin a phase out of the incandescent light bulb (the ones you are used to) in favor of Compact Fluorescent light bulbs which uses less energy to light a home, however I have seen no research personally on how much energy it takes to create it over it’s counter parts.  Although based on the price charges for a CFL (up to three dollars per bulb) I would imagine the costs are steeper.  I have heard that they do take much more energy to create but haven’t been able to track down those sources yet.

Additionally as I have pointed out in an earlier post the mercury contained in a single broken bulb can cause a $2000 environmental clean up bill.   If these bulbs are not recycled properly they can lead to up to 30000 pounds of mercury each year in our landfills and in our water supplies.

The bill, additionally, will somehow magically create new technology that will get not only cars but light trucks to a 35 MPG standard.  The most efficient cars of 2007 barely reach this mark, let alone trucks. It is ludacris for Washington to legislate this type of thing, if it was already possible perhaps but for the feds to declare that new technology must be created it just a sign that they have lost track of reality.  How about a bill that demands time travel by 2015.

Finally the bill speaks to the savior of our energy guzzling economy, ethanol.  Of course the demand that we produce more doesn’t take into consideration that we must design and build an entirely new infrastructure to transport it, because it will corrode our current pipelines.  Oh, and it takes two units of energy to create one unit of energy in the form of ethanol which means this is a losing proposition from the beginning.  It is great for the corn farmers, bad for the Mexicans that can’t afford tortillas anymore but it isn’t good for our energy crisis.

Of course, there was no mention of becoming independent by drilling our on reserves that has been successful in the past so why try it again.   AGHHHHHHH!!!