Thursday, September 13, 2012

THE SACRED / SECULAR DELUSION


A very important contribution Dr. Francis Schaeffer (among others) has made, in general but specifically in my thinking, is to expose a form of dualism that assumes there are realms of life in which God is not “permitted” to play a role, be recognized for who He is or function as Lord and supreme authority of the universe. I am not speaking of a controlling, cause and effect authority but rather a moral authority that we should willfully acknowledge in obedience and cooperation. Though it surely presents a challenge on every level, we, as individuals and as a society, must grapple with and labor to arrive at a healthy relationship with “Him with whom we have to do.” I find this dichotomy infectious in the minds of many when it comes to the issue of civil government. I state with confidence that we will promote various forms of imbalance in this social institution as long as we fail to structure the parameters and guidelines of this realm according to the Divine design. There are not areas of life that are truly “secular,” functioning better without an acknowledgement and openness to the guidance, wisdom and blessing of God. Amazingly, God has granted us enough freedom that we can, if we so choose, attempt to pursue other arrangements while warning, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” No matter how clever we become in our effort to relegate God to “His room,” whether in the area of family, education, marriage, sexuality or civil government (just to name a few), we lose in the effort.

So, as I’ve stated many times, our task is to put things in their proper place. Is there a proper place for God in the social, civil and political affairs of a nation? Many have conveniently, but inappropriately and detrimentally, drawn upon the “separation of church and state” concept in defense of locking God out of “politics.” As long as we get this issue wrong, we will suffer the consequences, reap what we sow. We need to think long, hard and accurately, especially in this present age during this current presidential election, about this tremendously influential consideration. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD..." (Ps.33:12)

Monday, September 10, 2012

IN SELECTING MEN FOR OFFICE


“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character… When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country.” – Noah Webster
 
“When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.” – Edmund Burke
 
As we near the 2012 Presidential Election, it should be emphasized that every individual and institution in society plays a significant God-given role in the formation of said society. In a democratic republic, the character, intelligence and initiative of the citizen is intended to play a major role in the formation of our institutions and of our federal, state and local governments; the representatives that occupy such offices. An ignorant, careless, deceived and lazy people will likely choose representatives that will reduce liberty in fulfillment of the promise of “taking care of” the citizen. The informed, cautious, discerning and responsible citizen welcomes the opportunity to embrace liberty coupled with virtue and hard work and will elect public servants accordingly. The foolish citizen disconnects altogether, relinquishing all to their fellow citizens. It is never appropriate or responsible to say, “I work hard at x, y or z so I have no interest in or responsibility to concern myself with the political activities of the land.”

As Hollywood and marketing techniques increasingly set the stage for what people believe and why they believe it, we must exercise increased care in evaluating our options and candidates. We must not allow hype and hollow, scripted language distract our minds from understanding the political philosophy, worldview and agenda of those seeking to become public representatives.
 
“Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.” – Edmund Burke

 

 

Sunday, September 02, 2012

God and Man in History


Prior to creating man, God established a plan of salvation.  God determined that he would create beings with free will, and in the event that they would rebel, He would have a plan in place, BEFORE the foundation of the world.  The Trinity agreed that if man needed to be redeemed and rescued, that they would have a plan in place for this redemption/rescue from man’s rebellion and sin.  In John 17:24, Jesus stated "Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”  Thus, we have the Son of God becoming the Son of Man and becoming an offering and a sacrifice for the sin of mankind.  God, in His wisdom, determined the need for this redemptive plan and the Trinity initiated this plan before the foundation of the world. 

 
God implemented this plan of salvation FROM the foundation of the world, as a response to man’s sin and rebellion against His precepts.  Jesus said, in Matthew 25:34, "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  Jesus also said, in John 12:46 “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”  Jesus Christ is the ultimate provision of God’s plan of salvation for a human race who has rebelled and rejected His precepts.

Throughout history, God has demonstrated a consistent nature and character that do not change, while dynamically interacting with mankind.  He has revealed to us, in the Old Testament scriptures, that He can and does change His mind in accordance with mankind’s influence and reasonable requests.  The most noted of these examples is found in Exodus 32 when the Israelites worshipped a golden calf while Moses was on the mountain with God… verses 11-14 - Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? "Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth'? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'" So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.   This is just one of many examples where God interacts this way with His created beings.

The point is this, that although God may initiate and carry out plans that we have nothing to do with, He also responds to us and interacts dynamically with us while also remaining consistent to His nature and Character.  A thorough and honest reading of the Old and New Testament scriptures will reveal this to you as you study God’s word.   Written by Keith A. Dunlap