Tag Archives: covenant

Freedom’s God

By Daniel Downs

Last Friday, August 28, America commemorated the famous I Have a Dream speech of Martin Luther King, Jr. Throughout his pivotal protest speech, King alluded his religious faith, hope, and expectation of the freedom from oppression and the mundane challenges of realizing justice. He repeatedly referred to all people as God’s children. This expectant faith for freedom climaxed in the last three paragraphs in which King proclaimed:

… when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

… “Free at last, free at last.

… Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

The negro spiritual directs us back to the source and beginning of social, economic, and political freedom. The God of the Bible. This God liberated the Jews from Egyptian slavery. He is the God of Jesus who was sent to set free those enslaved by addictions, poverty, immorality, despair, as well as effects of oppression. Yet, the liberated are not free from a life without God. That would to return to Egypt or to some other source of bondage.

Is that not exactly what America has done?

The struggle for freedom that Americans enjoy began long ago in halls of Western Christendom. The legal and theological struggle for justice resulted in a long history of natural law rights that included life, liberty, property, and happiness. They were not vague principles as some seem to believe. Legal battles, social conflicts, and wars were fought against those authorities intending to deprive the descents of Anglo-Saxons and others of their inherent and inherited rights. America is an inheritor and promulgator of that long fought heritage of rights law that was firmly rooted and legitimated by biblical principles and right reason, none of which was outside the social or political geography of Christianity.

That is why the Continental Congress established the United States of America by a two-fold covenant: a covenant with God and a social compact with all citizens. That also is why America was established by a two-fold legal compact: a document defining the nation under natural law, the Declaration of Independence, and a document defining the type of government to fulfill the objectives of the national definition including the protection of those rights and perpetuate the right so defined, the Constitution.

King’s promissory note analogy of rights based on the equality of human nature is part of America’s national definition. Thomas Jefferson knew America was already in trouble with God because Negro slavery was made an exception to that equality and the enjoyment of those rights. It was made an exception by removing the clause from the national definition that would have ended slavery forever. Jefferson apprehension of divine judgment for this came to pass. Both the Civil War and the violence during the Civil Rights movement were proof. War, natural disasters, and similar tragedy represented to divine judgment to nearly all early Americans. That was the consensus view of the citizenry and leaders of Christian America until at least the beginning of the twentieth century.

The language of Abraham Lincoln’s speech the Emancipation Proclamation parallels the Declaration of Independence invoking God’s favor for an act of justice rooted in the Constitution. However, that justice was defined in the Declaration not the U.S. Constitution. The 13th Amendment did not become law until 1865. The Emancipation Proclamation was given on January 1, 1863. The language of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment (1868) references the Declaration as well.

Freedom’s God is nature’s God. Nature’s God is humanity’s God who created them. God created humans with an equality of worth and dignity because human nature is a reflection of himself. God created them in his image and capable of his likeness. Natural rights are constituted in socialibility of human nature. Jefferson saw them as gifts of God. They are the goods of the promise land that had to be fought for and must be maintained by a strong defense.

Unfortunately, it seems that that defense has been weakening because the Supreme Judge of the world has been ignored. Maybe God had been ignored for such a long time because America’s intentions has not been rectifiable before the divine bar of justice and truth. Consequently, the Protection of divine Providence cannot be expected. In fact, America officially seems to disregard divine Providence even after disasters like 9/11, Katrina, the great economic recessions, and the like.

Nevertheless, freedom has always been and will always be a divine gift based on moral law and human conformity to it. Without God, freedom progresses to various forms of slavery.

Presbyterian Church In-Bed With Spirit of the Age

Presbyterian Church (USA) is the latest protestant denomination to ordain homosexuals. The act of ordaining is supposed to signify a human recognition of the Jesus Christ’s calling of individuals to serve as His special representative. As representatives of God and Christ, ordained church leaders function a visible ambassadors of the divine will and purpose. As Jesus represented God during his earthly work, so too ordained church leaders are expected to fulfill the mission of the Lord Jesus.

Ordination is thus a multi-fold process. The qualifications include becoming a citizen of God’s kingdom through the merits of Jesus Christ. The life transforming event is intellectual but rather relational. People are confronted by the presence of God within an environment of learning about God, his kingdom, laws, justice, mercy, love, and holiness. The divine confrontation is an invitation to a change of life as well as citizenship. In the presence of God’s loving holiness, individuals become aware of unholy aspects of their lives. Adults often misinterpret this to mean they must work harder at being better to alleviate the guilt after God’s visitation. They misconstrue the part God is to play in that change: God is the actual source of achieving mature righteous living. However, God invites individuals to become members of His kingdom through the merits of Jesus alone. Training in citizenship comes after accepting the invitation. The church and its leaders serve as role models. Before God calls individuals to that role, they must first be members of His kingdom and have become citizens of good moral standing.

The standard the Church is supposed to use the same criteria to validate people called of God to ordained service. God reveals his chose of individuals to others, especially other ordained leaders, in the Church who in turn are to evaluate the same by God’s law and gospel. In other words, the book on citizenship, which is the Bible.

When consider what that book states about homosexuality and other immoral practices, it soon discovered that God and Jesus Christ are opposed to it. God’s chosen representative, Moses, taught the Israelites God’s laws concerning it. In the book titled Leviticus, Moses is quoted as saying, “You shall not lie with men as with women; it is an abomination…. If a man lie with man, as he lies with a woman, both have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death…. Do not defile yourselves by doing these things: for in [this] the nations are defiled which I cast out before you.” (Leviticus 20:10-20;18:24) In the book of Revelation, Jesus’ word to the Church reaffirmed the divine law against such behaviors. (see Revelation 2:6, 14-15, 20; 9:20-21; 21:7-8)

Some attempt to use the absence of any mention of sodomy in the gospels as positive affirmation that neither God nor Christ was against it. This erroneous argument ignores the fact that the Mosaic law was Jewish law during the Second Temple era. No mention was necessary because the death penalty was a sufficient deterrent.

Like other mainline protestant denominations, the Presbyterian has succumbed to the flirtations of the spirit of the age. The alluring politics of social acceptability propagandized by many different secular schemes, ideological and party agendas, and religious argumentation, the political Church has blindly embraced liberal democracy’s moral relativity. Sleeping with the devil may be too harsh an indictment. In keeping with actual crime against the Lord Jesus, it is more realistic to charge those leaders with sleeping with the devil’s children and with one another. Just as Israel played the harlot with surrounding nations, so her daughter, the Church, is now betraying her lover for others.

A little sensuality, a little drunkenness, a little dancing, and a little flirting add up to a lot of immorality and apostasy.

The gospel of tolerance preached by those ravaging wolves pretending to be children of God in His kingdom apparently dulls the keen senses of spiritual discerners causing many a sheep (over half of Presbyterians) blindness.

Even so, come soon Lord Jesus.

Imperial Health Care Anyone? Witness the Lord’s Day Debacle

If Democrats pass the Obamacare bill, America will enter further into the domination of global socialism. Contrary to elite members like Obama, Clinton, and Soros, our constituted nation was not founded on the consent of the duped by the deceiving salesmanship of power-mongering tyrants. It was founded on the coterminous principles of the informed consent of the governed and a covenant with the Providential Creator–God of truth. If that consent is based on cleverly devised half-truth or lies, the consent was not valid or legal.

If our supposed-representatives in DC have not even read the bill in order to determine its costs and benefits, it cannot be said that they have represented anything for any constituents. Their party line Yes or No vote means nothing. The only real meaning it has is a vote for the party agenda. Based on such a vote, no law can be enacted that violates our rights and Constitution.

That is what the Obamacare legislation does. Dictators dictate law. Obamacare law purports to dictate to free citizens by coercing them to purchase one of three healthcare insurance policies at the point of criminal prosecution, financial penalties, and possibly (at some point) imprisonment. By ultimately eliminating a free market in healthcare, the Democrats will force the same kind of failed socialist health care system experienced by Canadians and Europeans.

The grossly false claim that the best health care system and economy in the world will allow thousands of people die without a socialist take-over of the healthcare system is countered by the testimonies of Canadians and Europeans who would have died had they not come to America for treatment. They would have died like many others because they had to wait for their turn to receive medical treatment.

Just as many more unborn children will certainly be killed under Obamacare, many more elderly can be expected to die because of a decline in quality care.

Moreover, small businesses will be adversely affected by the mandates imposed on them by Obamacare. Small business owners and many in the middle income tax bracket will end up paying up to a quarter of their income on health care costs as structured by Obamacare, according to American Enterprise Institute Fellow and Physician Scott Gottlieb.

Health care costs will not decrease because of Obamacare; they will increase because of the various costs to insurers, businesses, and their inflationary costs passed on to consumers. Everyone will pay more for less.

Because the price tag of Obamacare is over a trillion dollars, all will pay higher taxes either directly or indirectly. On top of higher taxes and cost of goods, the increase in federal debt will trickle down through the loss of jobs, reduction of income levels, decrease in number of small businesses, or some combination of them. As financial analysts keep warning, more government debt means fewer investment dollars, which in turn means less capital for current and start-up businesses. Thus making it a real possibility that America will enter into a European-like level of value-add tax socialism that once characterized the Roman Empire. Rome fell in part because it was overburdened by financial debt, by many over-taxed angry subjects, and by ever-increasing political corruption.

Pax Americana may be next.

I pray the gracious, the powerful, and the providential God defend and protect America from the political scheme aimed at winning votes in November’s election at the expense of all our economically common good. Long live the true and supreme Lawmaker, King, and Judge.

(See also my previous posts on how health care reform legislation effects small businesses and its funding of abortion.)

Adventure with God to the holy city

Deal bountifully with your servant,
That I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from your law.
I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide your commandments
         From me.
My soul is crushed with longing
After your ordinances at all times.
You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed,
Who wander from your commandments.
(Psalms 119:17-21)

Studying the word of God is a wonderful adventure. It is a journey of exploration. The journey is not unlike the kind portrayed in Indian Jones movies. It is life-long profession that is often perilous. Overcoming the terrible obstacles means getting to and possessing the treasure. The Lost Ark is the treasure. The Ark represented the presence of God. The journey is thus both with and to God. It is a progressive relationship with our creator-redeemer-king. Inside the Ark was deposited the covenant and testimony God gave to Israel and the world. Thus the treasure deposited inside the Ark is God’s word.

As Psalms 119: 17-18 states, the treasure is more than something to gain for personal profit. It is something learned and lived while on the adventurous journey called life. It is life lived by the bounteous provision of the divine King in His kingdom. God’s kingdom encompasses our world as well as the entire universe. Nevertheless, those invited chose to enter by choice not by coercion.

The Psalmist expressed his emotional attachment to God. As above, the Psalmist’s emotional bonds to God are mediated through God’s concrete laws, testimonies, and judgments–in other words, God’s covenantal word.

As we are on the journey, we too may keenly feel like a stranger in a secular world. The secular world does not know God. Even many religious communities or nations, do not seem to know God. At least not as we experience the living God. You, I, or the Psalmist are not alone in this sense of being in a foreign land. The gospels express in great detail how Jesus not only felt this but, according to Christian teaching, he was literally from another world–from heaven. Like other acclaimed prophets, the feeling of not being of the present world is typical. The 11th chapter of Hebrews gives us a list of how many of them were treated as aliens as well. A more contemporary version of such a list is the Book of Martyrs.

As for the Psalmist, the people of God living in a world of biological and social necessities often experience periods of distraction in which they feel like souls disconnected from the life-giving Spirit. This is often described as weariness but not necessarily physiological. It can be spiritual affecting our mental state. Spiritual fatigue can create an intense longing for the renewed vitality experienced by communing with God mediated through meditation on His word. It is a moving meditation because the time spent contemplating the word results in mutual human-divine acts along the journey. Genuine relationships are always lived through mutual acts of communication and support.

That is meaning of verses 19 and 20.

However, the Psalmist is right to remember the consequences for erring from the commandments of God. Is it any different in secular society? Does breaking the law not result in suffering the penalty for doing so? Can mates violate their sacred vows of trust and loyalty without doing harm to their once mutual trust, love, and future life together? The end result is best defined as death. Death is the severance of morally bonded relationships. Can there be any worse curse than such a death? (v.21)

One reason for believing Psalm 119 was authored by King David is found in verses 22-24. Here again we read expressions of one who must have experienced injustices similar to those suffered by king David. Although anointed as king by the prophet Samuel, the same prophets who had also anointed Saul, David’s ascent to the throne was met with violent attempts to kill him. His rival was then King Saul, who had both ordered others to kill him as well as attempted it himself many times. After divine providence saw fit to end the evil reign of Saul, David was finally made king over Israel. Yet, his son, Absalom, was later to counsel with others about taking over the kingdom. Even David’s son attempted to kill the anointed one. There were leaders of other tribes and kingdoms who schemed against David as well. Yet, God’s chosen one overcame them all.

It is reasonable to conclude that these verses were part of very intensely felt prayer for help from God by David. For consider their content:

Take away reproach and contempt from me,
For I observe your testimonies.
Even though princes sit and talk against me,
Your servant meditates on your statutes.
Your testimonies are also my delight;
They are my counselors.
(Psalms 119:22-24)

Our Lord Jesus seconded David’s prayer when he proclaimed:

Blessed are you when people insult you and
Persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of
evil against you because of me. Rejoice and
be glad, for your reward in heaven is great;
for in the same way they persecuted the
prophets who were before you.

This is the last in a list of beatitudes and part of a summary of messages delivered by Jesus during his prophetic and redemptive ministry in ancient Israel. It is called a be-attitude for obvious reasons.

Because the Lord claims the sole right to vengeance for evils done against His people, we who are members of His kingdom must follow the righteous example David and Jesus. History has evidenced that both were victorious by doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God. (Micah 6:8). Whereas David was a victorious king in his time, Jesus remains victorious for all times. His victory is eternal because he perfectly and fully accomplished God will and redemptive plan without violating the moral law of God. Because the redemptive justice of God was fully satisfied through the sinless life, death and resurrection of Jesus, Jesus resign over God’s kingdom is the prize of the adventure and treacherous journey to the eternal city of God.

Unlike David, Jesus was killed but God raised him from death and made him Lord over all. God made Jesus a winner of the prize of a sinless life that accomplished redemptive justice for all humanity, or, should I say, for whomsoever will humbly accept the divine terms.