Lex, Rex

Understanding current events, philosophies, politics and worldviews in light of God's unchanging Word!
 
Thursday, March 14, 2019 • Gary Fox • Government
Scriptures: 1 Peter 2:13-17

How Do We Know When It's Time To Grab The Pitchforks?

Say When...

So, when are Christians allowed to grab the pitchforks and storm the castle? In our last installment we clarified that times will inevitably come where such actions are warranted, the obvious question is "when"? At what point has a government become so abusive, so corrupt and so dangerous to the people that it must be overthrown?

This question is a big deal for everyone to think about, it's a super big deal for Christians who take the Bible seriously to think about. When the Apostle's Paul and Peter commanded Christians to be submissive to government, they were writing to people being governed by ruler's who were hostile to Christians. Eventually these hostile rulers began to throw them to lions, and while things were not at that point when Paul and Peter wrote, clearly things were heading that way…and they knew that. In fact, Jesus Himself told them what awaited them, and yet they still wrote in strong and clear language that we are to assume a submissive posture before government. But, as we wrote last time, that is not an endless submission, or an unqualified, unconditional submission. It is, however, always the initial Christian disposition and desire to be submissive to ruling authorities. And since that is our assumed relationship with the government, any thought of revolution should give every Christian significant pause.

And it gave the American patriots who founded these United States great pause indeed. Students of history will confirm for you that none of them rushed to declare independence, and certainly none of them rushed to war with England. They agonized with the British, appealed to them, petitioned them over and over to address their grievances. By no means were they quick to revolt and none of them started off with a desire to separate from England. What ended in revolution started off as seeking recourse and nothing more. They acknowledged their hesitation and understanding of the gravity of what they were doing when they wrote in the Declaration of Independence these words:

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

They're saying "this is a real big deal" and "we understand it's a big deal". People are disposed to suffer for as long as possible, rather than to revolt, why? Because revolution is a painful thing! Even if victorious the sacrifice, the agony and the death are heavy tolls to pay and people should not be willing to pay it over "light and transient causes". Amen to that! It might seem adventurous and romantic to revolt in the movies, in the real world it brings misery no matter the ultimate outcome. Oh, and it might be sinful as well, depending on the reason for revolt

Yet we must still answer this question, the same question the founders had to answer...how much sinful government should we tolerate? Or, when do we stop tolerating abuse? How do we know when it's go time? How can we have inward peace in revolting against a government? Where is the line?

Of course, as in all questions about moral action, the Bible must guide us. Last time we referred to the following passages: Romans 13:1-7, Acts 5:29, 1 Peter 2:13-17, Daniel 2:20-21 and Deuteronomy 16:18-20 and so we will remained focused on them here.

These passages define what God "appointed" or "instituted" government is and what our relationship to that government looks like. Any government that does not look like what is described in the verses above is not (or has ceased to be) God "appointed" or "instituted" and is therefore illegitimate. So, the answer to our question is that it is only justifiable for Christians to grab pitchforks and storm the castle when a regime is not God appointed. God appointed and instituted government must be submitted to. Government not (or no longer) appointed by God must be overthrown so that God appointed government may be established.

How do we know if a government or regime is (or has become) illegitimate? Well, take the Biblical descriptions of God appointed and instituted government in the above linked verses and flip them in order to find out.

Illegitimate, Unappointed, Not-God-Instituted Governments:

Are a terror to good (Godly) conduct

Do not approve of good (Godly) behavior

Do not serve or minister for God (it functions as if it were God)

Do not serve the people's good

Bear the sword in vain (unjustifiably)

Carry out wrath on the law abiding (good) people

Punishes those who do good (the Godly) and praises those who do evil (the ungodly)

Uses unrighteous judgment

Perverts justice

Shows partiality (multi-teared justice system)

Accepts bribes

Does not follow justice

When a nation is ruled by a government defined like this those people can be sure God did not appoint it or institute it and it ought to be torn down, allowing a God appoint government to take its place.

Governments like North Korea, China, Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Sudan, Yeman, Myanmar and about 40 other governments are all prime candidates for revolution. They meet the Biblical criteria for disqualification and anyone working to overthrow these regimes are doing God's work without a doubt.

In these politically radical times here at home I get asked from time to time if the United States government needs overthrown. Do we need to have another 1776 moment? I'll tell you the same thing I said back during the Obama regime…no. Not if you are talking about taking up arms and actually fighting our government, absolutely not. And I don't believe we are near that point either (although our government does meet at least two of the above listed disqualifiers such as showing partiality with a multi-tier justice system and accepting bribes). If we were anywhere near the point where taking up arms against our government was necessary, I wouldn't be free to write such things on this blog and you wouldn't be free to sit there and read it.

Of course, you and I could sit down and list out many evils which mark this nation. True evils such as abortion which must be confessed and repented of, there is no doubt. Sins which will cause the judgment of God to continue to fall upon us. But even with that being said, I am not being terrorized by the government for preaching the Gospel like my brothers in North Korea and China are. I am not being hit with wrath from the government like my brothers in Saudi Arabia are...and neither are you. That day may well come. The day may come when the United States government begins to shut down churches, arrest preachers, confiscate guns, ban Bibles and force abortions. And if it does come I'll be ready to unload all my ammo on them in response. I'm prepared just as our founders prescribed and I hope you are as well. But we are not there yet. Right now we are engaged in what Alex Jones has called the "infowar" and let's pray it stays that way.

Nobody should hope for violent revolution, because things must be dire before it can be justified Biblically.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019 • Gary Fox • Government
Scriptures: Romans 13:1-7

Are Christians Supposed To Put Up With and Submit To Everything The Government Does?

Can Christians Revolt?

Is it ever justifiable for Christian people to be involved in the overthrow of their government? Many of you will be quick to point to Romans 13 and say, absolutely not! According to Romans 13 we are supposed to submissively tolerate anything our government does, no matter what! I wonder how many of you pious people would favor surrendering America back to the Crown of England because if we follow your line of logic that would be the only Christian thing to do!

Christian American leaders overthrew their government and when declaring independence, they wrote and signed these famous words…

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident...

Let's make note of a few assumptions they were working with at that time. Do you see that word "when"? Notice how it does not say "if". They believed revolution was inevitable. Then notice the word "necessary" …not only did they believe revolution was inevitable, they believed times would come when revolutionary overthrows of government are essential and needed…they believed they would become necessary!

There is no doubt that they thought like that, but were they right? Can that position be justified in light of Scripture? Should Christians agree with a sentiment like that? Here are a few relevant passages we need to be mindful of before answering a question like that:

Romans 13:1-7 ESV

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. 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, 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. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 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.

Acts 5:29 ESV

But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men."

1 Peter 2:13-17 ESV

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

Daniel 2:20-21 ESV

Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding

Deuteronomy 16:18-20 ESV

"You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you."

Certainly, there are many other passages that we can look at, but these five are important. The first thing you will see, as we have pointed out repeatedly on this page, is that God ordains human government. Also notice that not only is disobeying government an option, it is a requirement when submitting to government causes one to disobey God. We also see that God does cause kings to rise and fall, God is directly involved in uprisings and overthrows. And lastly, God commanded His people to appoint their rulers (later on He allowed them to have a king to rule over them just like the heathen nations had, but that was a concession, it was not the first form of government God created).

You will also note in these passages and other passages like these, that God specifically defines what legitimate, appointed government is, and by logical deduction, what legitimate government is not. We don't have to guess at this, we know for sure what the traits of valid government are and what the traits of usurping, unlawful, imposter government are. A "God appointed" government is not a terror to good conduct. Those who do good receive the approval of God appointed government (not oppression). God appointed government is God's servant for our good, it is an avenger of God who carries out wrath on wrongdoers (not on lawful citizens). Governments sent by God punish those who do evil and praise those who do good. Governments are forbidden to judge with unrighteous judgment, to pervert justice, to show partiality or to accept bribes. A God appointed governmet will follow just one thing, ultimately...justice. We see all of these identifiers in the verses above.

While every human government is comprised of sinners, none are perfect, there does come a point when a government no longer functions at all by the standards God has for them in the Bible. They become a terror to good conduct. They pervert justice. The carry out wrath on lawful citizens. They are bribed and paid for. When it is obvious that a government is no longer resembling the way in which God defines His appointed government, then their authority is forfeited. The authority given to rulers is a trust, it is not a right. No person has the right to rule, no regime has the right to govern. They stand as minsters of God, they derive their authority from God and can be replaced when they no longer serve Him according to His standards. This is true of every minister of God, it is no less true for kings, governors, presidents, chiefs, khans, sultans, shahs and kaisers. They can be rejected and replaced when they reject their role as God's servant, and the people can rise up and force them out with violence if needed in order to install governors who will serve God and the people justly. Christians revolt in an effort to establish a Godly leadership in government. Christians never revolt in order to do away with government as an institution.

We will stop right here, for now. You should notice we have not described the sinful threshold needed to be reached to justify revolution. Obviously, no government is perfect because none of the people running it are perfect. Every government sins because people sin. So, at what point can the people be sure that they are justified to actually rise up, or in other words, how much sinful government should Christians peacefully tolerate? We will unpack all of that next time, for now let's just leave it suffice to say that the concept of revolution is not unBiblical and such action may be necessary at times.

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Thursday, January 03, 2019 • Gary Fox • Taxation
Scriptures: Romans 13:1-7

There comes a point when taxation becomes theft...

"For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God..." Romans 13:6 ESV

Yesterday we examined the charge that "Taxation Is Theft" in light of Biblical revelation and concluded that such a sentiment is unbiblical, unchristian and untrue. However, we did leave the door open to the idea that taxation may well become theft at a certain point. That seems hard to argue with from any perspective short of full-blown Marxism. The Bible never suggests the government has the right to take all of our wealth, but only to tax a portion of it. The tricky part however is that the Bible never defines those parameters in clear cut terms. That would seemingly make this much easier, wouldn't it? "The Bible says right here in 2 Corinthians that the state can not tax citizens beyond 20%" …end of discussion.

Of course, the Bible never defines things in that way. Why is that? Certainly, if God had something in mind, an absolute standard regarding the levels at which the government can tax the people He would have made it clear, cut and dry for us. But He doesn't make it clear so one can only presume that He doesn't have any set, hard and fast standard. Presumably the government has discretion to set tax policies as needed.

As needed.

And that seems to be the key. Clearly the government has the right to exist, God created and ordained it after all (see, Romans 13:1-7). And since it has the right to exist and has the right to extract taxes from the people, it seems highly plausible to conclude that the government has the right to gather enough taxes from the public in order to exist and serve the people appropriately. It has the right to tax the people to the degree needed for it to function as it was designed and ordained by God. It also seems reasonable to conclude that taxation crosses the line into legalized theft once the government exceeds the tax levels needed to operate within the parameters God has set for it. The government has the right to exist and to perform its God ordained functions but has no right to exceed those functions. It furthermore has no right to wrest taxes from the people to pay for that usurpation of authority. The people are not required by God to pay for their own abuse and if they are willing to pay the temporal consequences of defying the régime they are free to disobey the government and not pay the excess taxes.

So far, so good, right? The government only has the right to tax as needed for it to exist and properly function…but…what does God ordain for the government to do? How do we know the difference between a legitimate government expenditure and an illegitimate one? How do we know when lines have been crossed and governments are stealing from the people?

We will get into that next time because understanding the Biblical role of government is where we are heading in ensuing articles here at The Under God Blog…

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Wednesday, March 06, 2019 • Gary Fox • General
Scriptures: Deuteronomy 10:18

God loves them very, very much...and so should we.

Illegal Immigrants

What is your opinion of illegal immigrants? I'm not asking you what you think about illegal immigration nor am I asking what you think immigration policy should look like. I'm asking you what you think about illegal immigrants, as in, the people?

As Christians we are called to see life, situations and people in the way God does. What does God think about illegal immigrants? Does He love them? Does He have concern for them? Does He have compassion for them? Does He care about their suffering?

Of course, He does. The Lord sees them for who and what they are, His image bearers. And He loves them. He demands they be treated with dignity and justice.

How do you see them?

They're not second class, they're not a disease and they are not locusts. They are (generally) suffering people doing whatever they can to get out of a terrible culture which perverts justice and impoverishes its citizens. There is no doubt about the fact that there are plenty of bad hombres in the mix, but most are not bad hombres. Most are coming to America to have a shot at living the American dream which includes not just prosperity but more importantly, the rule of law. Can you blame them? What would you be willing to do to get out of a s-hole country? And can you blame them for breaking our immigration laws when we've been so lax, so inconsistent and such a joke in our enforcement of them for the last 30 years? I mean, come on, unless you come here to sell drugs, gang-bang, murder, rape or mug, ICE is not likely to bust your doors down in the middle of the night to haul you off. They know what we all know which is if they can get in here and keep their head down for a while, they'll blend into the mix and will not be bothered. Not only will they not be bothered, their kids will be educated, treated for ailments and welfare is on the table. So really, can you blame them for at least taking a shot?

I don't blame them and neither should you. It's hard to blame someone for ignoring a law that is all but unenforced if doing so means you have a shot at a safe and prosperous future. Seeing all of this and taking advantage of an opportunity to come here doesn't make them bad, it means they're real. They're human. Most of them are decent and that is exactly why they want so badly to get here.

Now, before we go any further, let me just stop some of you from having an aneurysm on me. I'm very much against illegal immigration. Americans have every right to enjoy sovereign and secure borders. Americans have every right to vet foreigners who wants to move here. And unless Americans want to stop being a welfare state, having open borders is way beyond crazy. If Americans want to be serious about stopping illegal immigration, then building a massive border wall is only common sense. And illegal immigrants should be shipped back home to Mexico or wherever they are from if they are caught. Businesses that hire illegal immigrants should be punished and anyone assisting an illegal immigrant in voting in our elections should be jailed. Cities which provide sanctuary to known illegal immigrants should have its leaders prosecuted for aiding and abetting criminals. Did I miss anything? Am I clear? I was for a massive border wall long before being for a massive border wall was cool.

None of that has to do with the point of this article. Although we are not given the impression by the right and left wing talking heads, it is entirely possible to support strong border security and immigration policy AND love illegal immigrants as people. It is possible to support the strict enforcement of our laws AND have compassion on illegal immigrants.

My Christian brothers and sisters, we need to be aware of our hearts when it comes to how we discuss these issues. God forbid we ever come off as calloused or uncaring or indifferent to the real life suffering that goes on in war-torn and/or third-world nations. If we are uncaring we need to ask God to melt our hearts because that isn't right. Christians are called to champion the cause of the downtrodden and the oppressed. Not only should we educate ourselves to the suffering of those people, not only should we express our compassion, but we should be strong advocates for them. I promise you that your church either directly supports missionaries in those countries or your church supports agencies that do. Get involved. Learn about those missionaries, learn about their work and the people they are serving. Pray for them. Send them letters of support. Send them money. Seek out opportunities to go on short term mission trips yourself to serve those people personally.

Not only should we be active in the benevolent care of those trapped in third-world nightmares, we need to be very clear as to why those "s-holes countries" are "s-hole countries" in the first place. The answer to illegal immigration is to EXPORT the principles of liberty, the rule of law and sound money! Socialism and other totalitarian systems are why those people are suffering and Christians need to be the champions of free markets not just here but there as well! We simply cannot take in every suffering immigrant or refugee in the world, that's insanity. Instead of propping up these terrible and failed regimes we need to pressure our governing leaders to insist on real reforms in those nations receiving our foreign aid. And I mean big time reforms. Christians must insist the real issues which are causing their suffering be addressed firmly and effectively. That is the solution, it's the only solution. How many Mexicans would rather leave their homeland if their homeland was ruled by law and not cartels? If they were free to arm themselves to protect themselves? How many Muslims would be on rubber rafts trying to flee their homes if justice and prosperity were hallmarks of their birthplace? America isn't prosperous on accident and third-world countries aren't impoverished on accident. The answer isn't bringing them here, the answer is sending our formula there. (And no, I'm not talking about dropping freedom bombs all over the place like we do in the Middle East, I'm talking about strong-armed diplomacy and education).

So yes, we need to love illegal immigrants AND send them home when we find them, we have to. If we could take them all in without hurting Americans in the process, then that would be one thing. We can't do that, we have to send them back. But as we do so it should be with a degree of heaviness. We should not hate them or disparage them or malign them or mistreat them. They are people, very desperate people who need relief and we must see them as such. As Christians we should be tripping over ourselves to provide aid to them…and we are. Christians get very little credit for the incredible work with the poor that we do, but it takes more than our giving of dollars. May God truly melt our hearts for these hurting people, let us speak out for them and help them as best as we can while our government applies the appropriate pressure needed against their failed governments for true reform.

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Tuesday, March 05, 2019 • Gary Fox • Globalism
Scriptures: Revelation 13:1-18

Globalism is a Marxist conspiracy to create world government...

Globalism is Marxism

It still amazes me to hear the term "globalism" bounced around on the mainstream news as if it's the most commonly used geopolitical term of all time. In reality not even five years ago the term was used only by those kooky "conspiracy theorists" we are told by the sophisticated people to pay no attention to. The term "globalism" was never discussed or debated or commonly used in mainstream politics whatsoever until Donald Trump decided to finally run for office and made it an issue, a big one…a central one. During a major foreign policy speech given in Washington during the campaign he very famously said, "We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism". I remember hearing that and just about coming out of my seat in joy! Finally, someone running for the Presidency had a clue! (Yes, Ron Paul had a clue, but never came near the Republican nomination, the establishment saw to that). Someone was finally "breaking the Matrix" and drilling down on the number one issue which imperils the liberty and prosperity of the American people, globalism! Americans were beginning to have their "red pill moment". Global government is by far the greatest threat to humanity of all time, and suddenly a massive number of people were being jolted awake to the threat!

What is so dangerous about globalism? What is wrong with a global authority which moves nations in the direction of bringing all people together? Why not concentrate global power into lifting the poorest in the world out of poverty, to make sure peace and worldwide stability is maintained? What would be so wrong with a governing body to oversee trade between nations? Wouldn't such an authority be able to solve disputes peacefully rather than to allow such a quarrel between nations to spiral out of control and into armed conflict? Sure, sounds great, doesn't it? But make no mistake, the end result of concentrated power, of course, is never great. The greater the concentration and centralization of power the greater the suffering, poverty, and suppression of the people. This has been the case in every nation where the power of government has been centralized, it's hard to fathom how bad it would get for humanity if global power was centralized.

Globalism is based in Marxist philosophy, it is Marxism on a global scale. It announces the same utopian promises and follows the exact same line of reasoning as how to get there (really smart people guiding society in a fair way). It also has the same demonic lust for power and cruel indifference to the suffering of humanity which quickly ravages as a result.

Globalism (like its evil mother, Marxism) is entirely about controlling wealth and resources for a select, elite few. It has nothing to do with benefiting the masses, nothing at all. Marxists always promote and justify revolution by declaring their selfless love for the masses. Always. Always. Always. Globalists are Marxists and so they also frame their subversive, treasonous actions in the name of justice. Their real intentions are easy to discern simply by looking at where they've taken us. In the name of prosperity, the world…the WORLD…is hopelessly in debt to international banking cartels. In the name of peace, the world is more chaotic, unstable and treacherous than ever in history. In the name of equality, wealth is horded by a super-ultra-elite class in amounts so huge the mind can't even comprehend it. In the name of tolerance, western culture is being dismantled. Globalists are not working to create a better society for the masses of humanity, globalists are working to crush the structures which allow for human freedom to create prosperity. Globalists can't control a free, prosperous and peaceful world so the structures which undergird such things must come down first. And so, for just over 100 years now,there has been a nonstop effort to usher in a "New World Order" where international law is supreme and state sovereignty becomes increasingly meaningless. Globalists have shown no ambition to serve, only to rule. Ruling is the ambition of every Marxist.

The Bible of course foretold this so it should be no surprise for the Biblical Christian to see that global governance has begun to take shape. The structures standing in the way of the Antichrist are being torn down all while the arrangements and systems he will need to rule over a one world government are being erected. This is what the UN, EU, NATO, OPEC and the TPP are about. They are significant steps in the direction of world government. Can you imagine trying to corral nearly 200 independent, nationalistic, patriotic nation-states into one totalitarian centralized system? It would be impossible, and it has been impossible since Babel. It just can't be done with so much ethnic, economic, religious and political diversity. It can't be done unless those nations lay down their nationalism, unless they open up their borders, unless they get into massive foreign debt, unless they become regionally aligned. The idea is to get Europe to consolidate and intertwine, and Asia, and North America, and South America and Africa. Now, instead of 193 independent nations to coordinate, all there really is to deal with are 5 or maybe 6 regions. Obviously 5 or 6 regions will be far more manageable for the Antichrist to dominate over than 193 independent, sovereign nations.

There are only two world leaders defying the globalist conspiracy…President Trump and President Putin. Now, let's not get carried away…I'm not suggesting that I admire or support Putin, far from it. He's an old world strong man, a throwback to another time for sure and I'd never want to live under his fascist authority. But, none the less, he's a Russian nationalist and while he'd certainly like to get along with the other nations of the world, he's not at all willing to surrender Russian sovereignty to globalist control. And President Trump is an American nationalist with similar resistance to globalism and so it should be no surprise that globalists in the media and establishment politics, along with shadow government elements within the Deep State, are so ardently targeting and vilifying them both. Remember, the Antichrist will end up going to war with the Russians one day because apparently the Russians will be the last power standing in his way…and he will defeat them. There is no clear mention of the United States in end times Bible prophecy and so that would indicate to me the United States will not be a significant player on the world stage when that time comes, that's a hard thing to even imagine (more on that in future articles).

Globalism is Marxism, it is totalitarian, it is antihuman, it is an elitist conspiracy to control the resources of the planet for the benefit of only select few. It is also the movement which will pave the way for the rise of the Antichrist. We have every reason to resist it. We have every reason to reject international law, courts, governments and trade regulation…all of that stuff undermines our national sovereignty. We have every reason to support President Trump any time he speaks against this wicked movement and any time he takes steps to untangle our nation from it.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2019 • Gary Fox • Taxation

Don't be too quick to answer that one...

"Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" Matthew 22:17 ESV

"Taxation is theft!" If you have spent much time around libertarians at all (especially online) you have certainly heard this cry and in this day and age of big government running our lives it sure does sound refreshing! It's short, sweet, clear and packs a big rhetorical punch! I mean just think about it, the line of reasoning seems clear enough:

  1. You own money.
  2. The government wants at least some of that money.
  3. You do not consent to them having any of your money.
  4. The government demands you give them the money, or they will come into you house with guns and will haul you off to jail, and then take the money.
  5. You give them your money because you really have no other good choice.
  6. They call it taxation.
  7. It's actually legalized theft.

The Christian libertarian (which in full disclosure I count myself as one) might add these last two points in for good measure:

  1. Theft is a sin.
  2. Taxation is therefore a sin.

When laid out like this it certain does seem like a compelling argument to make. Taking money from someone without their consent absolutely IS theft in any other context, so why is it ok when it is the government doing it? Does it make it right just because they're able to dress the action up by calling it a "tax"? Those are indeed valid questions, no doubt about it.

Let's unpack all of this and establish a bit of a framework and set up some basic categories. First of all, if you are a Christian you must acknowledge that not only does the Bible allow for taxation, it commands it! The Bible commands God's people to pay taxes and if you are a CHRISTIAN before anything else (such as a libertarian) that ought to be the end of the argument for you. Just look up passages like Matthew 22:17-21, Luke 3:12-13, Romans 13:6-7 and you'll see it's clear...I'm not making this up…God commands it!

So, what should we make of this? Is God condoning legalized theft? Of course not! God commands "You shall not steal" and that goes for all people in all ages and at all times! The whole concept of stealing being sinful proves God establishes the right of individuals to own private property and that idea alone utterly destroys the basis for Marxist philosophy, economics and politics. No Christian could ever be a Marxist, the two worldviews are diametrically opposed to one another. Marxism denies the God given right to own private property, there's no more such thing as a "Christian Marxist" as there is a "Christian Atheist", you just can't be both. And yet God does command people to pay taxes to the state, how is all of this reconciled?

We must first examine what we mean by "theft". Theft is when one takes property from another without any right to it. So, for example, if I come over and take your car without your permission that would be theft, unless I had the right to take that car with or without your permission. Let's say for example I sold you that car, but instead of having the money all upfront you agreed to make payments to me until the agreed upon purchase price was met. And then let's say that you stopped paying me back. Well, that would certainly change things because I'd obviously have certain rights regarding that car. Coming for it would be within those rights even though the car is your property. That's just one example, theft is not simply taking property without consent. Theft is the unjust taking of property, it is taking property that one has no right to take without permission.

And that is the catch. According to the Bible, the government has the right to tax and therefore we owe the government a portion of our wealth in taxes. We owe it to them and it is the right of the government to claim it. Therefore, it is not theft for them to take it. Look what the Lord says (emphasis added), "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's". The Apostle Paul drills down into even greater clarity (emphasis again added), "For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 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."

Notice at this point we are not touching on the amount "owed". The Bible nowhere explicitly details that amount,  however there are ways to reasonably deduce a basic context regarding how to think through that particular question. It certainly can be argued that taxation can become theft at a certain point. Jesus said we are to pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and no more than that. But the point of today's post is not to figure out how much actually is "Caesar's". Today's post is to detonate this idea that taxation is in and of itself theft…it's not. That's an unbiblical position to take, so don't take it. Taxes are owed to the government and the government is right to demand what is owed from its citizens.

Tomorrow we will get into how to determine what is and is not owed, and no, the government doesn't get to simply declare what is owed. There are certainly parameters, more on that tomorrow.

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Thursday, July 25, 2019 • Gary Fox • Rights
Scriptures: Proverbs 6:16-17

The Alternative Is The Feudal Justice System

The Presumption of Innocence

God ordained government to exists to protect the rights and liberties of the people, period. There is no other reason for there to be a government at all if not for that. People were created to be free and will one day they give an account to God for how they lived. The role of government is to protect their ability to live freely and laws are needed for society to prohibit activities which seize the rights and liberties of individuals to live self-determined lives. Therefore, laws prohibiting murder, theft, rape and fraud are very much needed for society to remain healthy and for it to grow peacefully and prosperously. Lawbreakers must be punished and must be removed from society to prevent them from further violating (or even jeopardizing) the rights and liberties of others (either by imprisonment or death). Obviously such removals also serve as a deterring example to the rest of the society as to what will await any of them if they follow in the lawbreakers footsteps.

God has given the state the power to mete out such punishments, and that is a significant authority. Stop and think about the God sanctioned authority of government over nations. You and I are not authorized by God to imprison someone, but the government is. You and I are not authorized by God to execute someone, but the government is. Think about the special mandate God vested in the state, it truly is profound. Here is how the Apostle Paul describes it:

Romans 13:4 ESV

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.

It's hard to misunderstand what the Apostle was saying there, God has appointed an agency to serve as His avenger to carry out His wrath upon wrongdoers and lawbreakers.

If only this agency was run by angels, obviously it is not. God has created this agency, the state, and has ordained that it be run by sinners who will give an account to Him regarding how they governed the affairs of their respective nations. They will be held to a strict standard and one that He has defined with brilliant clarity. More than any other charge, kings, governors, state officials and judges are to operate justly. Justice, more than any other concern, is their top priority.

Deuteronomy 16:18-20 ESV

"You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you."

Justice, and only justice. The Lord is emphatic on this point because the authority consigned to the state is solemn. No form of corruption has more potential to create temporal miseries than corruption in government. When governments are corrupt real people starve, real patriots are executed, real innocents are robbed, and real churches burn. There is no such thing as a prosperous tyranny or peaceful despotism. Governments which detach themselves from the vestiges of Godly, just rule end up disqualifying themselves and must be overthrown. Submission to rulers described in Romans 13 only applies to God appointed government, not wicked usurpers who have disqualified themselves by being terrors to good conduct. There simply can be no tolerance for unjust, oppressive rule over people. Such tolerance is contrary to God's expressed will for humanity.

So, God appointed government is one in which good conduct is not terrorized and justice is not perverted. One of the foundational hallmarks of government which safeguards justice from perversion is a judicial system based upon the presumption of innocence any time someone is charged with or even accused of a crime. Sadly, this priceless shield of liberty and justice is no longer appreciated by democrats and other socialists in America today. This should come as no real surprise as Marxists have historically weaponized their court systems to suppress opposition and maintain power. Today's American leftists are not concerned with the presumption of innocence because they do not look at the court system as the way to preserve justice for all. Justice for all is not their concern or priority. They do not care if the charged is innocent or guilty. Understand the implication of that statement. Their concern is the political and the balance of power ramifications of finding someone innocent or guilty. All you must do to conclude that is listen to them discuss various situations of public interest. For example, (for the most part) democrats today do not care whatsoever if Hillary Clinton actually violated the espionage act or not and they do not care if President Trump actually obstructed justice. None of that stuff matters to leftists. The facts of the matter, due process and equal application of the law are not values they care about today, again, just listen to them. All that matters in either case used in the examples above are the political consequences and the gaining or losing of power due to the outcome of a criminal investigation or a trial.

Or take the difference between the way former President Bill Clinton is treated with how Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has been treated, both have been accused of rape. Do democrats care at all that the former President and almost First Gentleman of the United States was a frequent flyer on the Lolita Express? Do they care that he has paid out massive amounts of money to settle sexual harassment claims against him? Of course they don't care about that stuff! He and his wife very recently had the potential to shift the balance of power in their favor and that is what is important to modern day democrats. How do leftists feel about Brett Kavanaugh? Without even the smallest shred of evidence or even the littlest bit of coherent accusations against him, he was smeared, lambasted, castigated, and hauled over coals as an abject monster by democrats in this country. And while he was not being charged in court, the charge was made in the arena of public opinion and he was declared guilty for no reason other than the Marxist obsession to control this country through political courts. He stood in the way of that, so the verdict of guilty was issued. And lest you think the presumption of innocence is only a virtue necessary in the criminal justice system, let me remind you that libel and slander laws rest upon the principle of the presumption of innocence. You simply cannot publicly condemn someone and ruin their reputation by declaring them "guilty" of a heinous crime without potential legal reprisal. Why not? Because people are presumed innocent and even charges made in the public sphere must be provable. The presumption of innocence extends to the public square in a society based in justice as well.

A nation being vigilant to maintain the presumption of innocence is enormously important because it is the definitive shield against the unjust persecution of those whom the powerful elite find threatening. Once any nation abandons the genuine practice and protection of the presumption of innocence, full blown feudalism will be unleashed and that nation will be catapulted back to the system of justice which followed the fall of the Roman Empire. That feudal system of justice rested upon the presumption of guilt and it would take up to 12 witnesses to come in and testify that a charged person could never have done such a thing as is charged in order for a court to even consider judging him not guilty. The burden of proof was on the accused, not on the accuser and people had to prove they were innocent! And even if that were possible the credibility of those 12 witnesses would be called into question or weighed against the testimony of the prosecution based upon their social caste and status.

People, it's not like we haven't seen the outcome of systems where the presumption of innocence isn't exactly sacrosanct. We know what this looks like and we know the tyrannical ramifications that ensue. Nobody is presumed innocent in China, Vietnam, North Korea or in Cuba today. Nobody was presumed innocent in the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany either. Political dissidents and religious zealots (frequently Jews and Christians) are routinely charged with baseless crimes and hauled off to Gulags, Konzentrationslagers or Reeducation Camps. Courts in those Marxist and fascist nations exist to validate government persecution of religious and political minorities, nonconformists, mavericks and protestors.

How many democrats hope to see Bill or Hillary Clinton in prison? How many democrats hope to see President Trump in prison? How many democrats base their hopes upon what the facts actually are in either situation?

This nation is in real trouble, folks. Just about half of its people do not see the presumption of innocence as sacrosanct any longer. They see the court system as a political weapon to be used or not used depending on its effect on political outcomes. God help us.

If we lose the untouchable, revered vision of the presumption of innocence, if that doctrine is no longer safeguarded in real, tangible ways then this nation is doomed. We will no longer be a nation that upholds justice, and only justice as God commands. And if that day ever comes revolution and overthrow will be the only Godly solution.

Again...God help us!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019 • Gary Fox • Reparations
Scriptures: John 7:24

An Uncomfortable Talk Christians Need To Engage In

Do Whites Owe Blacks Reparations?

There can be little doubt that people of African descent have historically been shortchanged in receiving their full birthright as Americans. When the patriots avowed independence from England they declared all men have been created equal and are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (the term "pursuit of happiness" should not have replaced the previously recognized primary right detailed by John Locke, "ownership of property", but I digress). No rational person can believe Americans of African descent have been treated equally with Americans of European decent until very recently. It was not long ago at all that Blacks where discriminated against not only in the private sector, but by law. And there can be no doubt whatsoever that this systemic inequality has created deep, impactful and long-lasting hardships within Black communities and that's not even debatable. There are, sadly, countless examples it seems, but take the unfair lending practices as an example, where Blacks did not have near the access to lines of credit as Whites which made it much harder for Blacks to start business, buy homes or go to college. Fundamental inequalities like these created a cascading, snowballing effect where generation after generation of families where unable to get a solid financial footing under them, making wealth creation and then the passing down of wealth by way of inheritance almost impossible. Think about what President Trump did as a young man. He was able to stand on the shoulders of his father and build upon the momentum created by his father's wealth and, to his credit, was able to multiply it many times over. His children will, of course, be able to inherit the wealth he was able to generate and then either squander it or increase it themselves depending on the decision they make with the opportunity afforded them. The Trump's are an extreme example but think about the opportunities most of you reading this were afforded because you were able to stand on the shoulders of your parents or grandparents. This is the way it is supposed to be. It's not White privilege, it is the Biblical concept of inheritance of and expansion of wealth. Each generation is supposed to pass on their wealth and resources to the next, allowing that next generation to take off faster, fly higher and further than the previous generation did. Folks, this is how civilization was created and modern society was built. The systemic bigotry and social inequality, generation after generation, drastically stunted this natural and normal wealth creation and passing down cycle from functioning properly in the Black community. That is simply undeniable. Legalized discrimination messed the natural cycle up and "held the Black Man down". The deck was unquestionably stacked against an entire people group from the moment they were school aged, up through the time where they were of age to conduct business, to the uphill battle they had to endure in order to get the credit needed to take out home or business loans (the cornerstone of the American Dream). It wasn't long before we ended up with chronically poor (and unequally educated) second class of people trying to climb out of a hole by very unstable means, in a system rigged against them, struggling to keep their heads above water and were almost totally prevented from building any nest egg at all to pass down. This then left generation after generation of young Black kids starting at square one just like their parents started at square one. Generation after generation were all but totally stuck in the same, race-based, rut.

With all of that said, while the game was obviously rigged, it wasn't totally impossible for Black people to climb up the ladder of career and financial success. There have been highly fruitful Black Americans who were able to emerge out of that systemic trap such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and current HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, but it wasn't easy and it wasn't a fair fight. If you don't believe me, ask any of them. Ask them about the conditions they had to overcome to reach the heights of success personally and professionally they were able to reach, it's remarkable. So, no, the system never made it utterly impossible for Black Americans to get their feet under them after slavery, but it was disgracefully unequal and purposely rigged against them. The damage to that entire people group cannot be denied and any suggestion to the contrary is either woefully ignorant or perhaps rooted in lingering bigotry. For decades and decades and decades it took far more work, effort and talent for Blacks to "make it" than it did for Whites. The sort of unfair social dynamic can't go on without causing sweeping, long lasting damage...and it did. How could it not? You take an entire people group and put them in terrible schools, make it almost impossible for them to get lending to start businesses or buy homes, incentivize them to make babies out of wedlock and then put most the abortion clinics within walking distance from them and what do you think will happen?

The question we must all deal with in our day is, "what now"? Socialists in America contend Americans of African descent should be given, in one form or another, reparations by the US government to even things out. They argue that since our laws stunted the ability of generations of Black people to get their feet under themselves, the vacuum created can only be rectified by reparations. This certainly could have been a more compelling argument in the 1960's when those unjust laws first began to change and the people who benefited from discrimination where still players in the rigged game. The problem of course is that it's been a good 40 and 50 years since those discriminatory laws were in effect and an entire generation has grown into adulthood without experiencing systemic discrimination (at least nothing like previous generations did). There are countless Black doctors, lawyers, police officers, judges, politicians, teachers, business executives and even one former President of the United States who personally know NOTHING about the struggle against systemic injustices that a Justice Clarence Thomas had to deal with. To suggest any Black person 40 years old and younger deserve some sort of reparations is almost laughable, which is a good thing! It means America has made a radical shift in race relations and legal justice.

Not only do Blacks 40 years old and younger have no personal experience with the discrimination their forebearers faced, Whites 40 years old and younger have no personal experience with supporting a system of racial discrimination. The thought of holding an entire group of people down based upon their race or ethnicity is so bizarre to Gen X Whites (and younger) that they can't even comprehend the view that supported it. And don't forget that many White baby boomers marched and protested such practices while smoking pot and holding up the two fingered peace signs in their youth. You'd be very hard pressed to find any White American in mainstream society longing for the days of Jim Crow or anything resembling it.

There is simply no way to appropriate reparations without punishing people who not only had nothing to do with systemic racial inequity, but who abhor the thought of it. It's not ethical, it is not moral and it is certainly not Biblical to require children pay the debts of their parents or to be punished in any way for the sins of their forefathers.

Deuteronomy 24:16 ESV

"Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.

Ezekiel 18:19-20 ESV

"Yet you say, 'Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?' When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

The only right way to deal with the effects of systemic discrimination is to outlaw it. The ironic thing is at this point, reparations is just another form of targeted racial discrimination.

We must emphasize the powerful and equalizing social dynamic of free markets and the Rule of Law! Any people group who are unhindered to engage within a free market economic system and are shielded from repression by the Rule of Law (and the equal application of the Law) will flourish and they will flourish quickly. In fact, the gap created even by generations of complete subjugation will evaporate almost instantly once all people are truly free, and that is just one of the reasons why racists have worked so hard to make discrimination lawful! They very well knew (and still know) that if Black people were truly free to engage in free market capitalism and if the Rule of Law applied to Whites and Blacks equally, perceived White superiority would dissolve rather abruptly.

The only thing modern day White Americans owe modern day Black Americans, Native Americans, Japanese Americans and every other ethnic group in this country is equal treatment...that's it. The only thing modern day White Americans can do to correct the sins of their forgoers is to not commit those sins today and not allow them to be committed in the future. As that is achieved and maintained the inequalities and resulting socioeconomic gaps will vanish in quick fashion. These disparities and gaps will become a thing of the past, a dynamic our kids and grandkids will read about in history books.

If we decide to take wealth from Whites and distribute it to Blacks, or any other group, what our kids and grandkids will be reading about in history books will be a far different thing. They will read about how people in our day exasperated racial tensions instead of releasing them and drove people groups further away from each other just as they were on the verge of eradicating racial discrimination from society.

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Thursday, May 02, 2019 • Gary Fox • Government
Scriptures: Acts 5:29

The Majority Should Never Rule...

Democracy Is Vulgar

If you care about human rights, especially about the rights of minority communities, then you should be ardently opposed to democracy. If human history has shown us anything, it has shown us the despicable treatment the majority population likes to hammer minority populations with. To be very candid, anyone who hubbubs for democracy is a sucker and is totally unaware of history (sorry/not sorry).

Why would anyone ever want the majority to rule? Sure, it's not so bad when you are in the majority, but what if you're not?

The founders of America hated the idea for this very reason. How can we guarantee rights and liberties of citizens are protected if the mob can rule over unpopular groups, religions, political parties etc.? We can't. The only way to assure the maximum protection of rights and liberties of all is to submit ourselves as a people to the rule of law. There must be only one law which applies to everyone and therefore protects everyone equally (NOTE: They were woefully inconsistent in the application of this philosophy with how they treated the Native Indians and African slaves, but the principle is in and of itself very sound and very moral). Jesus said that no one can serve two masters and that truth applies to this principle as well: People can not be ruled by law and be democratic at the same time, it's just not possible. There will either be the rule of a king, rule of the majority or the rule of law.

The most obvious danger of democracy is the blatant exploitation of the majority over the minority. A simple vote could impoverish 49% of a nation if the 51% decided to tax them at a high enough rate (and if they have the firepower to enforce it). That's an obvious danger. But democracy has other dangers as well which is the highly irrational and suggestable nature of mobs. Why do you think Communist dictatorships refer to themselves as "democracies"? In fact, every tyrant enjoys majority support, at least outwardly they do. And even if the tyrant doesn't truly have majority support from deep within the hearts of the people, you'd be shocked at how high of an actual approval rating he does have. Tyrants manipulate the masses, if they didn't, they'd never have the ability to maintain control for very long. Have you ever asked yourself why that is?

Humans like to be on the winning team, and if they can be associated with the power structure they will usually latch on with great passion and loyalty. We even see this in small ways such as in family disputes, office politics and in teenage social drama. Humans are simply prone to pile on with the rest of the pack if such an opportunity is available. You have seen this your whole life and I have seen this my whole life. Have you ever stood up against the majority before? How did that feel? Is there anything more frustrating than to be in the right yet in the minority and then to argue against the majority who are factually wrong but emotionally undeterred and unconvinced? I don't know about you, but I find that unbelievably irritating to say the least. It can seem like you are talking to brainwashed people who are going to push back against you no matter what the facts say. Groupthink is a very powerful, perhaps in some ways the most power, social dynamic found in people. Humans are predisposed to be like that because we are energized and motivated by feelings of supremacy and significance over others and being with the power is a great way to encourage those feelings, being seen as a dedicated and valuable member of that power structure is even better. We find being part of the power structure, the winning team or the core of influence to be well worth defending at almost any cost. Fighting the good fight for the winning team only adds to our bona fides and cred within the dominate community or group. As a result, groups are easily manipulated and easily provoked by great, powerful, charismatic communicators who are unafraid to challenge the loyalty of his supporters and in so doing goad them into more extreme behavior and dispositions. The mob mentality is a real sociological dynamic and every tyrant in the history of mankind has known that and has known how to work that. All a tyrant needs to do is convince the mob that he speaks for them and if they will just give him their devotion as he has given them his all of devotion (so he says), even when his policies and actions are actually hurting them in truth, he will have the momentum needed to arrest control of a nation and the support to keep it. Democracy is the preferred system of every dictator because he knows the majority is not difficult to control once one understands how the mob mentality works and how to trigger it. Most people do not like to admit they are wrong, or to admit what they have been taught is wrong and or to admit what they have taught others is wrong…therefore excuses are easy to come by for humans. The tyrant can parade naked down the street and most people will celebrate his new clothes. Democracy is dangerous because mobs of people are easy to manipulate, move and control.

The last thing a dictator wants is for individuals to think for themselves, speak for themselves and act in the best interest of themselves. This is a crucial point, pressuring people to put the majority ahead of their own personal needs, desires and preferences is the key to having a powerful dictatorship. Democracy emphasizes the majority and marginalizes the individual. In a libertarian republic, everyone…even the minority…has the same law applying to and protecting them. The individual is spotlighted, even if the majority hates everything about what that individual is doing, saying, thinking or making. So long as that individual is not violating the rights and liberties of another individual (or individuals) she is free to live as she pleases, earn what she can, buy what she desires, give to who she wants to give, worship however and whoever she is so inclined to worship and is free to do with her property whatever she wants to do with it. In a libertarian republic, laws would only prohibit her from violating the liberties of others…how could a tyrant possibly control a population who lived like that? The answer to that question is simple, he couldn't. He needs them to all walk-in lockstep, he needs them all to think about the "needs" of the "majority" which just so happens to coincide with the objectives he has for them all.

What does the Bible have to say about democracy? Well, one thing is for sure, it never prescribes full blown democracy or direct democracy whatsoever. The Bible both describes and prescribes what we now refer to as a representative form of government where wise, smart and capable men (and at times women) ruled as judges and heads over the people. The term judge is key because it underscores the concept of the rule of law over people. Take for example:

Deuteronomy 1:13 ESV

Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.

Exodus 18: 25-27 ESV

Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves.

Pay careful attention to the way in which the Children of Israel were first governed. Remember, they never had a national government before. Israel went into Egypt as a comparative handful of family members, they exploded into a large population and then became slaves…this was their first opportunity to organize nationally. How did God through Moses establish them? He created neither a monarchy nor a democracy. He create representative government based upon the rule of law. Yes, later God did allow the Israelites to establish a monarchy, but that was at their request. His acquiesce to their desire to be ruled over like the pagans was indeed used by God to orchestrate redemptive history, but just because God allows foolishness and turns it for good does not mean that the foolishness was at God's instruction. The Israelites creating a monarchy wreaked absolute havoc, divided their nation and ended up causing them to repeatedly fall into pagan worship to match their pagan form of government…and that of course led them into captivity.

Christ is KING. No other form of human government more clearly allows for that understanding than a libertarian republic which has a people ruled over by Natural Law. Democracy does not do that. Democracy elevates the majority to God-like status where the strong implication is that the majority can decide by way of vote what rights are, what justice is and what morality is. Monarchy does the same thing except it is a monarch rather than a majority vote who declares such things. In a libertarian republic, people answer to God for how they conduct their personal lives. Morality is not determined by anyone other than God dealing directly with the individual and judgement is equally as a direct.

I highly admire the brilliance of the Framers of our Constitution and do agree the government they created was by far the greatest form of government ever established on Earth to date. I also agree that if America were to return to Constitutional government as written and as was intended things would drastically improve economically and socially in this country. However, I do not believe the Framers created a flawless form of government. I do have problem with it…they created a democratic republic rather than a libertarian republic. In other words, there is entirely too much voting going on and as a result we are speeding towards either an economic collapse due to an obscene debt crisis or the second American Civil War due to the tribalism democracy will always create…or both. If I had my way, I'd amend the Constitution in a couple very significant ways. In future installments here on Lex, Rex I'll share with you my thoughts on a few key amendments that I believe would provide far more stability in our government and would maximize personal liberty to a point where many of you might actually get uncomfortable.

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Monday, February 25, 2019 • Gary Fox • Violence
Scriptures: Isaiah 9:6

Is Violence Ever OK?

Christians and Self-Defense

"Jesus said to turn the other cheek…" that is, of course, the most common reason given as to why Christians should restrain themselves from physical self-defense. Another reason given is taken from the life of Jesus Christ Himself, who like a lamb led to the slaughter, never resisted His unjustified arrest and certainly didn't use force to prevent it. Peter, in fact, did use violence to defend the Lord (and himself), and he didn't just strike out, he attempted to unleash deadly force! Try to picture the scene in you mind. Peter knew what this midnight arrest was all about, the whole thing was a sham and was only intended to thinly veil the conspiracy to kill Jesus...and Peter got brave. Peter got very brave, pulled out his sword and swung violently at the head of a nearby soldier, barely missing him yet coming close enough to hack the man's ear off! Think about how close of a shave that swing was!

And Jesus rebuked Peter for it. Jesus then healed his captor and followed them willingly to His fraudulent show-trial.

There are other examples we could mention as well. Take the life and behavior of the Apostles, almost all of them were martyred and none of them took up arms in self-defense (at least we have no record of them doing that if they did). None of them organized militias, none of them had security forces and none of them even suggested such a thing. They were persecuted people writing to and serving a persecuted people and no such measures were ever instructed.

It is not at all hard to understand how a Christian can assume a "soft" pacifism at the very least, if not hard and fast pacifism.

To further buttress that argument, take the character and life of the Christian who is being led by the Spirit. He is peaceful. He is forgiving. He is gracious. He is slow to anger. He is not quarrelsome .

Unlike Islam, Christianity was spread peacefully by preachers and teachers who by grace convinced others to willingly follow Jesus.

I think I'm about to convince myself that I should be a pacifist! It is truly hard to argue with, especially upfront. Christians are peacemakers!

But does this really mean Christians are to never take up arms to defend themselves or others? No, the Bible nowhere commands a totally pacifistic ethic. In fact, it commands otherwise. Take the time Jesus commanded His disciples to walk around in undergarments if need be in order to buy themselves swords. Also think of all the many commands in the OT regarding defending the weak. There is only one way to do that and that is to be prepared to get physically violent, if not lethal. Nowhere in the NT are these commands and expectations lifted off of God's people. We are still to defend against oppressors, and that includes those who would oppress us.

So, what are we supposed to do and when are we supposed to do it? I'll share with you what I believe are the best ways to think about the use of violence and how to harmonize it all with those passages calling us to peace. These principles have been commonly accepted throughout Church history and are related in some ways to what has become known as the Just War Theory.

First, our disposition must always be peaceful. Christians are never to look for physical confrontations and certainly never start them. It is never appropriate to return an insult with a punch. It is never appropriate to seek out vengeance (physical or otherwise). It is never appropriate to threaten force as a means to intimidate others into complying with our wishes. It is never appropriate to lose self-control in outrage.

Second, commands for God's people to use force have a high threshold to meet before they can be justified. Certainly, violence to fend of oppression, rape, murder, maiming, serious bodily harm and even theft of vital/valuable property all fall within the Scriptural bounds, in fact, we are commanded to defend against such actions. The threat, however, should be imminent, clear, direct and serious, otherwise the Christian should restrain himself. Every idle threat does not justify a physical confrontation. And there is never a justification to retaliate with physical force or threats of physical force to verbal insults, mocking, unfair treatment, or discrimination. The only Christlike way to respond to nonviolent persecution is to turn the other cheek. In fact, unless one can reasonably conclude that a particular slap to the face has created a real and imminent possibility of oppression or may lead to serious harm, even a physical slap in the face should not only be tolerated, but the other cheek should be offered as well. There is nothing in the context of that passage or related passages to suggest Jesus was simply being metaphorical. He was being very literal. Unless life, health or liberty is in peril we should not retaliate with violence. The Christian threshold for justifiable violence is HIGH.

Third, while the use of violence may be Biblically justified in certain (rather extreme) situations, the means and degree used may or may not be justified. The Christian ethic is always to use the least of amount of violence necessary to stop an immediate or imminent assault. There is never room for retribution, payback, punishment or vengeance within the Christian worldview. Once the assault has stopped and the assaulter is neutralized the justification for further violence instantly evaporates. Of course, lethal force may be justified in order to stop an assault, no doubt about it, but that would mean nothing short of lethal force could have been reasonably attempted to stop it (or that non-lethal efforts already failed). These lethal decisions are not always provided much time to contemplate and weigh. Hesitation in an out of control and dangerous situation could end with someone including yourself getting killed, so when lethal force is used we need to keep that in mind when evaluating the situation after the heat is off. The bottom line is this: The Christian is not out to personally punish anyone, that's why we have courts. If violence is necessary, it is only justified up to the point when the assault is stopped, anything beyond that point is sin (and should be lawfully punished).

Lastly, go back up and read the first principle. Christians pray for peace, long for peace, and seek out peace. It is no secret that liberals in this country are constantly pressuring the people to disarm and such pressure can cause many of us to overact with emotion. Certainly, we should react to such charges, we should just avoid emotional overreactions. We absolutely should tell them in very clear tones to forget it, disarming is a nonstarter for Americans. However, without really noticing the heart-change, we can become calloused to the use of violent force. I think the reason for this is our not wanting to in ANY way validate the stated concerns of the left (thereby, the fear would imply, validating their solutions). The truth is that the left expresses many concerns which we ought to share with them! We should all hope for a more safe and peaceful society, as far as that goes we do agree with the left. It seems as if in an effort to convince ourselves how right we are about the need to defend ourselves, we can find ourselves admiring the use of force instead of regretting the need for it. Glorifying violence as we talk about it instead of lamenting that a situation required it. We can even get into fantasizing if not hoping for the chance to employ it rather than praying no such requirement in our lives ever arises. I need to hear these reminders as much as most of you do. Many of us need to check our hearts and remember who we are. We're Christians. We follow Jesus who it the Prince of Peace.

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