Lex, Rex

Understanding current events, philosophies, politics and worldviews in light of God's unchanging Word!
 
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 • Gary Fox • Government
Scriptures: 1 Peter 2:13-17

Divided and shared authority is not "a" way to liberty and prosperity...it's the ONLY way...and its basis for doing so is thoroughly Biblical!

Why The Founding Fathers Divided Federal Power

Have you ever noticed that Republicans only care about "executive overreach" when a Democrat is President, and Democrats only care about it when a Republican is President? Neither party minds too much when their guy is in there of course, better he take the heat by himself rather than having to go on record with a vote themselves. The same is true with angst over "judicial overreach". It's cool only if the court is doing their dirty work, it's almost Armageddon when the courts do the dirty work of the other side.

Where do these terms come from, "executive overreach" and "judicial activism" and why are they so bad? Humans have lived under some form of monarchy throughout most of recorded history and there's no such thing as "executive overreach" in a monarchy. The king rules and does what he believes is best at the time he decides. Imagine the red tape that is immediately evaporated under such a system. Often times we hear people complain about how government just "needs to get stuff done", as if all the haggling and debating and maneuvering is really bogging "progress" down. People living under a monarchy never have to worry about things getting bogged down like that, the monarch declares his will and things start to happen with haste.

Maybe people are just more comfortable living under a monarchy, it seems like the societal default of humanity. Even Americans these days are becoming more and more comfortable being ruled over by a kingly figurehead. Liberals stood and still stand at the ready to enthrone Obama, conservatives are ready to crown Trump. I'm sure this has been true to some degree since our founding, but in my lifetime, I've never seen this level of unwavering loyalty to (and hatred for) Presidents.

It's also interesting to see how people seem willing to serve under the rule of courts, the Supreme Court is seen as near holy ground for many if not most people today.

The founders weren't so fond of being ruled over, they were not fond of it at all. They knew God had ordained government, so trying to create a society without government would not only be sinful, it would be folly. But they also knew they desperately wanted to avoid the tyranny of a king…and the tyranny of the majority…and the tyranny of courts. You see, monarchy, democracy and kritocracy are all possible forms of government, each promising to be a better option than the other two…but all three create the very real potential for tyranny. The founding fathers of America saw no advantage to being ruled over by one over the other, all three options created the potential for terrible outcomes.

But why? Why were they so pessimistic? Why would they so ardently rule out all three options? Were they paranoid? Maybe, but that's not really the underlying assumption they were working with. They started with the conviction that man is selfish, fallen, and sinful. This was by far the most influential factor in their thinking, it kept them from becoming anarchists (man is sinful therefore needs to be governed) and it kept them from quickly adopting a system which could be dominated by men (man is sinful therefore needs to have his authority restrained). James Madison said "there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust". Alexander Hamilton believed "men are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious." This view of man comes of course from the Biblical worldview, as does the axiom "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". Even the best, brightest and most well intentioned can be corrupted, compromised and manipulated because everyone is sinful. Everyone deals with selfish ambition and can justify and rationalize in their own minds' unjustifiable things in the pursuit of self-interest, self-serving goals and the advancement of personal agendas and preferences. This fallen nature makes everyone prone to self-deception, believing they know what is best, they have the deeper and more clear insight and that everyone out there standing in their way is wrong.

So, they knew they must reject anarchy, but they also needed to reject the rule of man. They providentially insisted a system be instituted where people are ruled by law, not man. That law of course was predicated on the recognition of natural law and natural rights (more on that in future installments).

That's a great thing to aspire to, right? The rule of law, not man…but how is that supposed to happen? How can men govern but not rule? How can men act in the name of the law? The founding fathers, again by nothing short of divine providence, came up with a scheme to use the sinful ambition of men to create a tension in government, a stabilizing tension. The way to do that, they reasoned, was to divide power up and share it among equal branches government…three of them. I can't stress how important that point is, three branches pulling on the reigns of government with shared authority created the desired effect of stabilized tension in mind blowing fashion. Sadly, we've replaced that system with a two party system, with only two sides pulling against the other...and we see anything but stability as a result. The two party system has screwed it all up, it's caused all three branches to move in unison along one of only two party lines OR obstruct movement along one of two party lines, making serving party interests paramount and the sharing of power between branches of government only theoretical, but that's the topic of another article. Suffice it to say for now our government was designed for three distinct branches, equal in power.

Knowing that these three branches would end up at times competitive with the other two, the founders reasoned all three would be careful to not encroach on the natural rights of the people lest they be humiliated, stopped or even punished by the other two branches for doing it. The other two branches, in fear of losing their own influence and power, would be quick to call out and smash any overreach of the other branch. This resulting tension provided maximum protection, liberty and prosperity for the people. The framework was ingenious for that reason alone. But its wisdom went beyond that.

The American founders knew that government always drifted away from the people, that it always sought more and more power. So, this system of government was designed to get bogged down. It was designed to take "forever" to "get things done". It was designed to do that. The idea was that the slower government moved, the better, because any human government will always be totally bent to move in the wrong direction (because humans are involved!). Even if it takes two steps in the right direction it won't be long before it takes three steps the wrong way.

A governing system that is so easily bogged down into deliberate, unavoidable gridlock when it comes to making big changes will always allow for maximum freedom of the people. Of course established norms and laws must move smoothly, but big changes should go slowly and when that is the case the people, overall, will flourish. This system of checks and balances and gridlock and slow, incremental change creates a nearly unchecked people freely moving, changing, developing and revolutionizing in the "private sector". The speed of government to make big change directly affects the freedom and prosperity of the people. This is counterintuitive for half of this country today, people assume the government needs to make big changes with ease in order to straighten things out and nothing can be further from the truth. The opposite is true. There is little or no gridlock in Chinese government for example, the ruling party can decide to change a policy this morning and begin to implement that change this afternoon. This imminent power of Chinese government stunts the freedom of Chinese people. If the government is hindered or at least slowed down in making big sweeping changes the people are left unhindered. If the government is unhindered to make big sweeping changes the people will be hindered. The framers knew that, the insight and foresight they had was incredible.

The boom the American experiment created is not even measurable, it landed us on the moon for crying out loud! We can certainly go back and look into our history and see many evils and injustices which went on for far too long (almost all of which were created by overreaching government which squashed individual liberty), but there can be no denying the overwhelming blessing God has poured out all around the world through America and it all started because the framers deeply believed human sinfulness stifles progress. We will eat ourselves unless we are restrained. And "we" includes those who govern, for the first time in human history, leaders chained and restrained themselves!

So "executive overreach" and "judicial activism" are both steps taken to loosen those chains, and both are great threats to our society. The more it goes on, the less free and less prosperous we will be. It is just that simple. When a President gets impatient with Congress, even for good reason, it is understandable that he'd want to say, "screw this, I'm a leader and damn it…I am going to LEAD!" It is understandable that judges would want to see stupid laws on the books done away with. But these impulses are dangerous because the thirst for more power is an evil instinct and is unquenchable.

The rule of law by way of divided and shared powers in government is not optional, resist any temptation to justify moving away from it, even if it's your guy doing it.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019 • Gary Fox • Socialism
Scriptures: Ezekiel 33:1-33

Socialism = Marxism = Mass Death

Christians, and more importantly Christian leaders, must speak loudly, clearly and with great urgency against the rise of socialism in America. The horrors which await not just the American people, but the rest of the (relatively) free world if America were to fall into full blown Marxism would be nothing short dystopian, if not apocalyptic. In fact, since there is little to no mention of the United States in end-time-Bible-prophecy, it might very well be the case that the USA is off the world stage at the time of the very end. I happen to believe the vacuum created by the collapse of the United States and its removal from the world stage is exactly the type of calamity needed to create the desperate conditions to cause the peoples of the world to clamor for a new world order and peace.

Given that the shocking conditions needed to facilitate end time prophecy are being unveiled in a more rapid pace and given there is little (?) to no mention of the United States in end time prophecy AND given the loathsome rise and influence of open and unashamed Marxists in our government, one would think American Christians would be a bit more alarmed. One would think evangelical pastors in America would be pointing such things out to their flocks in a more pressing way. One would think a good many things these days but given the apparent fulfillment of prophesied end time apostasy that is befalling American Christendom we shouldn't be all that surprised that so many evangelical leaders are asleep at the wheel.

We don't want to be kooky, paranoid, sensationalistic conspiracy theorists after all. We seem to think the chief end of church life is to not come off as a weirdos. If we can just show the world we are as cool and normal as they are, then…MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

At this point I freely admit we may well be generations away from the Second Coming of Christ. While the conditions needed to fulfill prophecies never before fathomable are now very much possible, available and active (take a reborn nation of ethnic Jews in Israel for example, or the ability to kill a third of mankind by warfare, or the ability to stop people from buying and selling…none of these things were possible 100 years ago). However, it doesn't seem like a good bet to assume we are yet centuries away from the end of the age. Yes, previous generations believed the end was near in their day…and they were wrong. That doesn't make us wrong for being attentive and it doesn't make us wrong for preparing.

Abraham Lincoln wisely observed that no foreign threat could topple the United States, but an internal crumbling certain could. How much truer is that today than 150 years ago? Even if Russia or China nailed us with an EMP strike, the US military is more than hardened against something like that. Though we the people would certainly be knocked into the stone age from such an attack, the surviving peoples of the attacking nation would be living in a land of smoldering glass. No nation on earth and no collaboration of nations on earth could knock the United States off the world stage…but an internal Marxist revolution could and would do nothing short of that.

Vladimir Putin couldn't orchestrate our demise, but Kamala Harris could. Xi Jinping couldn't knock us off the world stage, but Bernie Sanders certainly would. Kim Jong-un is no existential threat, Cory Booker is. ISIS can not crush America, but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez absolutely could. All of those foreign enemies doubtlessly would love to have the opportunity to bury the United States, but none of them could ever hope to do so. Only an enemy within could slay this nation, but they'd need to do it methodically. They would need to establish a system which would rot the structure and compromise the integrity of America's core and foundation. Even an idiot would have a hard time doing that on accident. It would take a concerted effort to coordinate the flattening of America right off the world stage.

Marxists gaining the controls of American government could do it. Nothing short of Marxists in power could flatten the United States.

And that's a realistic, plausible if not likely scenario now! While Clinton, Obama and probably the Bush's were all Marxists, they were at least closet Marxists. They never showed their cards in the wide open. They never just came out and said what they'd really like to do if they were able. Everything they did to advance their Marxist, globalist agenda was decorated in capitalistic terms and patriotic rhetoric. That's not the case now. Look at every single candidate running for the nomination of the Democrat Party, just look at them. Which one of them is not a full-blown socialist? Which one of them is a nationalist? Which one of them promotes liberty and personal responcibility?

Times have changed. The rise of socialism is legit. It is, by far, the greatest threat to Americans since the Civil War…it is perhaps the more dire threat Americans have been confronted with, ever. If it takes root the United States will collapse. Do you understand that? If it takes root the Gospel will be outlawed. If it takes root Gospel preachers will be imprisoned, churches razed, and dissidents killed. The United States as we knew it will be no more, the shockwave would tear through world. The vacuum such a thing would create would be monstrous, the horrible ramifications would not just be felt here, they'd be felt worldwide like a megatron-bomb.

Not only would freedom be stripped, and prosperity stolen…the bloodshed would be atrocious. Over 100 million people were killed by Communists during the last century and that would be quickly dwarfed if the United States adopted it because only the United States was able to keep the Communists from doing far more during the previous century. If the United States itself became Marxist who would be left to stand in the way of the Marxist new world order distopia? This is a moral issue, a big one, with dire consequences. Therefore, it's the responsibility of Christian churches to speak to it, to expose it and to condemn it.

Christians got active against abortion after it was too late to stop it, God forbid we're late again this time. God forbid it.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019 • Gary Fox • Socialism
Scriptures: Acts 2:44-47

It Is Nothing Like Christianity...

Socalism is FORCE

"We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. Not a handful of rich people, but all the working people must enjoy the fruits of their common labor. Machines and other improvements must serve to ease the work of all and not to enable a few to grow rich at the expense of millions and tens of millions of people. This new and better society is called socialist society. The teachings about this society are called socialism." -Vladimir Lenin, To the Rural Poor

"All who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." -Acts 2:44-47 ESV

Please tell me the difference between these two statements. Look them over again. Isn't what Vladimir Lenin called for exactly what St. Luke described in the Book of Acts?

How would Barrack Obama answer a question like that? Bernie Sanders? Elizabeth Warren? AOC? Surely, they would preface their answer and qualify it by assuring us they would NEVER condone the harsh way Lenin went about enforcing Socialism in Russia…but there can be little doubt that they would agree that what Lenin was ultimately calling for in that section of To The Rural Poor is in harmony with what the Book of Acts is describing…and they'd be totally wrong.

Neither Acts 2:44-47 nor any other passage in Scripture prescribes what Lenin or any other Socialist has called for. So, what is the difference then? Isn't it true that both statements are describing a society where materials are redistributed from those with means and given to those with needs? Yep, both do describe redistribution of wealth, no doubt about that. But the means by which the wealth is distributed and the motivation behind it could not be more diametrically opposed to one another. One way is of God, the other way is of the Devil. One way reflects grace, the other way reflects control.

Acts 2 is describing a remarkable outpouring of charity. Lenin is describing bone-crushing submission. Acts 2 is describing free markets and then voluntary alms motivated by compassion. Lenin is describing iron fisted confiscation and acquiescence motivated by fear.

Notice the Bible describes the ancient Christians "selling" their possessions and belongings. They were "selling" their stuff. Their stuff wasn't being appropriated, commandeered or seized. It wasn't being taxed. One cannot sell something under compulsion, strictly speaking you can't force someone to sell something. The act of selling can only be done voluntarily, volitionally and intentionally…or else it's theft. Strong-arming someone to "sell" something is fraud and extortion. The ancient Christians were selling their stuff and then distributing the proceeds to those in need. The context and the way in which Luke describes this certainly leaves one with the impression that both the selling and the distributing were done face-to-face. Later we do read about the Apostles coming up with a system to distribute charity to those impoverished in the church (and that was a Church, not government, program), but that was later. It is almost certain that in Acts 2 Christians were selling their stuff and then giving the proceeds in the form of alms to those in need...personally. These Christians were not forced to sell anything they didn't want to sell, and they were no forced to give the proceeds to people they didn't want to give proceeds to. The whole process was private and done by conviction, compassion, love and benevolence.

Compare that with what Lenin said about socialism! Scroll back up and read over Lenin's comments again. Look at the strong terms he used… "There MUST be" … "all WILL HAVE TO" … "all the working people MUST" … "MUST serve" … "NOT to enable" …do you get it the picture?  

Socialism is FORCE. It is THEFT. It is SLAVERY. It is TOTALITARIAN.

Socialism is utterly contrary to the way of Jesus so don't let the Democrats confuse you when they try to justify it by sprinkling in out-of-context Bible verses into their rhetoric!

Christianity is totally personal, not one bit of it can be forced upon someone against their will. It starts with the personal desire to be forgiven by God for personal sins. It quickly proceeds from there to a personal desire to worship God as a result of being personally forgiven and personally born again. Christians then have birthed within them an intense personal desire to personally do good works, especially personal good works on behalf of the needy. Christians have been doing so with tremendous, unparalleled generosity for 2,000 years. At no point has there been a need for the government to hijack their work with the poor. God never once called the government to feed the hungry, He called His people and His Church to do that.

What Lenin was describing is socialism, not Christianity. Socialism is incompatible with Christianity because Socialism is entirely based upon compulsion. Socialism is theft. Socialism is FORCE.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019 • Gary Fox • Rights

What exactly are "rights" and how are we to identify them?

In 2015, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo famously said, "Rights do not come from God". Well, where then do they come from if not from God? In fact, if not from God how can there even be such a thing as "rights" in the first place? If you think about it, taking God out of the equation really messes the whole idea up and leaves it very hollow and ultimately meaningless. That is not to say atheists can't or don't operate as if rights are real, but they're doing so for no reason beyond personal tastes and social idealism.

In our last installment we confirmed the Bible makes it clear that we do in fact have rights and those rights come from God. The question for this edition of Illume is how are we to know what is and is not a right? For example, is free healthcare a right? Is so called gay marriage a right? Is owning an AR15 tactical rifle a right? We ought to be able to answer these questions with clarity. We ought also to be able to answer this one as well: How do we know for sure? If we believe healthcare is a right, what are we basing that belief on? Who told us it is a right? And conversely, if we do not believe free healthcare is a right, how are we so certain?

How do we sort these things out?

The first place to start, of course, is the Bible. The Bible is God's Word and has everything society needs to know regarding ethics, freedom, rights and responsibilities. The Bible specifically lists out a number of rights, making our task of classifying these things much easier. Take for example:

The right to disobey unjust laws
The right to self defense
The right to own weapons
The right to think and speak freely
The right to not be murdered
The right to a just trial
The right to remain silent while investigated or on trial
The right to own personal property
The right to not be forced into slavery
The right to not be defrauded
The right to not be raped

I'm sure there are other rights detailed in the Scripture and there are other Scriptures which define the rights listed above. I want you to notice how these rights pertain to human dignity, freedom and individual autonomy. And also notice what the Bible does not mention as rights, that is perhaps as noteworthy as what it does mention. Take for example free healthcare. The Bible says nothing about people having the right to free healthcare and so that alone is good reason to question such an idea right off the bat. The only way for any of us to discover the Will of God for society is to study the Scriptures. But with that said, there are other congruent, common grace, philosophical ways of thinking and reasoning about rights as well...not in substitution for what is declared in the Bible..but in complement to it.

It is easier to think about rights in terms of what you can force others to do for your personal benefit rather than to think of them in terms of what you'd like to be able to do or have done for yourself.

I simply cannot stress how important that principle is. If you can't say you believe it a moral obligation to force someone to do or not do something, then that ought to be a major clue that you don't have the right to it. Rights are worth dying over. Rights are worth killing over. If whatever it is that you desire does not rise to either level of seriousness then it's likely not a "right". Of course, being willing to die or kill over something does not automatically make it a right, but being unwilling to do either indicates it probably isn't.

For example, let's think about the right to have sex with someone you want to have sex with. Mentioning sex always gets people's attention, so let's bring up sex. Is sex a "need"? I suppose one could argue that most people do need to have sex, God created us sexual beings, after all. So, sure, sex could be thought of as a need, or at least as a potential need (depending on the constitution and disposition of any particular individual). Do adults have the right to have sex or would the government need to license adults or to somehow make it legal for for consenting adults to have sex together? Well, since consenting adults have been given the right to control their own bodies and while they will answer to God one day for how they treat their bodies (and the bodies of others), they should only answer to God for it. In other words, no special license is needed for an adult to have sex. Nothing in the New Testament would suggest civil authority includes regulating the sexual habits of consenting adults...so no civil permission is needed for adults to have sex with each other. But what if someone wants to have sex with a particular person yet that person does not consent to having sex? Ahhh…now you see where this line of thought is going. Just because someone wants something…even desperately wants it and perhaps in some way "needs" it…does not mean they have the right to demand it (or take it!) from someone else. One's right to have sex with someone they want to have sex with ends exactly where someone's right to not have sex with someone begins. People do have the right to pursue their desires AND people have the right to say no to personal conduct they do not want to involve themselves in.

Our rights end where the rights of others begin.

Take speech as another example. I have the right to speak, my neighbor has the right to not be slandered. If I violate his right to not be slandered, then my right to speech is immediately halted and I should be punished for it.

In the same way we can look at the question regarding a right to healthcare. Certainly, we all want and need healthcare, but in order to receive it someone must provide it for us. Someone must labor for it. And someone must pay for the labor, technologies and medicines in order for us to benefit from it. Someone being forced to perform labor is a slave, period. Someone forced to pay for the goods and services of another is also now a slave. Your right to healthcare ends when someone must potentially become a slave to you in order for you to receive it. No one can morally force another into their service. There is simply no way that any ethical person can conclude that healthcare is a right when such a position could potentially require slavery and theft!

"No one can morally force another into their service."

Rights are the stuff which makes a person free. Rights define what humans are free to do and not do. Rights establish full personhood. Rights allow people the opportunity to reflect the image of God before all of creation. Man may and often will take advantage of that opportunity and use it for selfish reasons, but any act of obedience must be done freely and rights provide the framework for people to be free. Rights are not necessarily about ensuring things that make us happy or healthy or wealthy or comfortable…just free. This freedom is limited, remember that. People have the right to be their own person, to own their personal property and to protect both his person and his property (and to willingly assist others in protecting theirs). But, our rights are relinquished, and our freedoms end when we presume to take actions which violate the rights of others.

"Rights allow people the opportunity to reflect the image of God before all of creation."

Understanding that rights are what God gives every human in order for society to safeguard individual freedom (and thereby affording humanity the opportunity to display aspects of God's nature and character) will provide anyone with a functioning head and moral heart the appropriate framework to determine what is and is not a "right".

 

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Friday, June 28, 2019 • • Abortion
Scriptures: Jeremiah 1:5

And Everyone Knows It...

Abortion Is Murder

Abortion is, by far, the most heinous legalized human rights violation in American history. It is worse than the betrayals and hostilities shown the Native Indians, it is worse than the slavery of Africans, it is worse than the internment of Japanese Americans…nothing can compare to the abject wickedness and atrocity of legalized abortion on demand. What makes it different and worse than all other American atrocities is the helpless nature of the victims. Throughout history slaves have sparked uprisings and double-crossed nations have retaliated. Albeit the odds of success were not likely, African slaves could have attempted to revolt and the Native Indians could have refused to give up land by putting up even more of a fight. Unborn babies have no chance to defend themselves whatsoever. They have no way to try to reason with their attackers, they have no ability to retaliate or fight back.

Unlike any other people group we could mention, the unborn is the most defenseless. They are totally unguarded; in their agony they cannot be heard, their screams are real but silent.

Any sane person instinctively understands this. People are naturally protective of pregnant women and are concerned for their health and safety. People intuitively recognize that a pregnant woman is sacred, her body is sacrosanct because she is carrying a rapidly growing baby in her belly. It's a miracle and no stable person questions that, we all understand it and act accordingly.

And this awareness is not a new thing, people have been protective of pregnant women since the dawn of time itself. Every people group, every sect, every tribe at every point in human history has universally honored the inviolability of pregnancy. No society in history has ever treated babies with disdain, acted as if having children is a curse or thought of pregnancy like a potential disease that needs prevented…until now.

Have you ever listened to someone try to justify an abortion? I have engaged with abortion defenders many, many times. The first thing you'll notice is how badly they want to keep the topic off the baby. More than anything they need the focus to remain on the woman and her "rights". Often times they will make an impassioned case for how a woman shouldn't have to carry the baby of her rapist (which is a tremendous burden of course, and one which Christians ought to have overwhelming sympathy and support for). But even in that case, the issue is the woman…not the baby. Whenever you discuss or debate this issue you can be sure they will do whatever they can to avoid talking about the baby. The next thing you will notice is that if you continue to force the issue onto the baby the abortion advocate will almost always begin to get agitated if not hostile. They'll very frequently get mad.

They get mad because they're human too, with human instincts and a conscience which they are trying to suppress. Being dogged about the life of the baby penetrates deep and forces them to deal with what they are defending which commonly leaves them feeling ashamed and with anger as their only cover.

Abortion is an atrocity; it contradicts everything in human nature. To defend it one must mischaracterize both what it is and those who oppose it. God created people with the desire to marry, make love and have babies. No matter how hard our ever increasingly demonized society attempts to shame those impulses (especially in women) the reality is that we are created in God's image. That will not ever change because it cannot change. People instinctively know killing the unborn is sin, is brutal, and is murder. That's why those who favor legalized abortion will fight so hard to keep the discussion off the baby…don't let them do that. Always, always, always drive the talk back to the baby. The baby did nothing wrong. The baby has the right to life and make her own way. Killing her is cruel and they know that…so remind them.

Proverbs 21:15 ESV
When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019 • Gary Fox • Business
Scriptures: Exodus 20:15

Did You Know The Bible Defines Godly Economics?

Biblical Economics

Define the terms "Christian Economics" or "Biblical Economics".

I wish I could see the stumped look on most of your faces right now. When was the last time your pastor spent time on a topic like that? Or how many Adult Sunday School classes in your life have focused on the Biblical ethics of business? Have you ever attended a midweek Bible study that focused on the way in which God desires markets to operate and how capitalistic/socialistic systems line up with the Bible?

Some of you reading this might assume the reason you have heard so little about economics and business in church, Bible studies or in Christian literature is because the Bible primarily deals with more "spiritual" issues.

Many if not most of you believe that Christians can just as easily be economic capitalists, socialists, conservatives, liberals or whatever they care to be because God doesn't really care...so why would we? And if that is you, you're wrong.

God cares about economics, big time.

Leviticus 19:35-36 ESV

"You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 25:13-16 ESV

"You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house two kinds of measures, a large and a small. A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the Lord your God.

Psalm 37:21 ESV

The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives.

Proverbs 19:17 ESV

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Haggai 2:8 ESV

The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts.

Ephesians 4:28 ESV

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

These verses are just a quick sampling, there are so many more. We are going to spend a few installments expounding on these verses and many others in order to clearly lay out what Biblical economics are and how Christians are to understand them. Topics will include Christian business ethics, Christian labor ethics, Christian employer ethics and God's plan for markets in society.

This nation is as confused economically as it is, in large part, because Christians have been so ambiguous when it comes to preaching and teaching on Godly economics. And the economic and business practices of a nation matters, they really matter. Ungodly economics result in poverty. Ungodly economics result in the oppression of the poor. It results in suffering. It results in fruitless toiling. Ungodly economics is sin with terrible, immediate, unjust, real-world results. The only hope we have in seeing that change is for Christians (like our forefathers) to bring much needed clarity, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to society through preaching and teaching on economics from the Bible. We are called to be salt and light in society…economics, finance and business morality is not excluded.

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Monday, February 04, 2019 • Gary Fox • Social Issues
Scriptures: Genesis 1:26

Understanding where our rights come from will go a very long way towards identifying the difference between "rights" and "wants"...

Do people have the right to bear arms? Do people have the right to publicly speak their mind on controversial matters, to worship as they feel is appropriate and to live their lives in privacy? As Americans we have The Bill of Rights which specifically outline certain behaviors the government will not (or should not) seek to control and since it's called "The Bill of Rights", most just assume those activities are indeed rights…but on what basis are those behaviors deemed as such? Who determines what sorts of behaviors are "rights" and which are not?

Generations of Americans have lived their entire lives not needing to give much thought to questions like these. Rights are rights, everyone knows that. But I assure you, as nearly half of this country lurches hard-left these fundamental questions regarding the nature of rights are going to become hotly debated for the first time since at least the Civil War and probably since the pre-Revolutionary War period (it is worth pointing out the end result both times the nation was this divided regarding the basic nature of rights was the nightmare of war).

Do women have the right to an abortion? Is healthcare a basic human right? Is public education a right? Is a living wage a right? Do same-sex couples have the right to marry? The Democrats believe all of those are so and will be running more and more on the basis of being the champions of human rights. They are framing their entire mission around being the torchbearers of civil morality. For example, we are now told it's immoral to become a billionaire and it's immoral for a nation to allow billionaires to exist when that same nation has poor people living in it. Or how about errecting a border wall, is that immoral? According to liberals and Democrats, it absolutely is.

Remember when it was the "religious right" who was accused of jamming morality down people's throats? Yeah.

So here we are, at another significant crossroads in history were Christians need to, once again, be salt and light in society. Part of what God calls Christians to do is to bring moral clarity to culture, not by force or compulsion, but by the supernatural power of preaching and teaching from the Bible. I'll say it again and again…if the people of God will not bring clarity to society when needed the World will be glad to define terms for us. We need to be strong, clear and quick with deep simplicity.

So, how are we supposed to think about all these new "rights" people now claim? Does something become a right if I claim it as my right? Does it become a right if the government endorses it? How this question is dealt with will determine exactly how rights are treated…and that is no small matter whatsoever. This is a big deal.

There is actually a deeper question still which probably needs addressed and that is regarding if rights are a "thing" in the first place or are they just a social construct? Do people have ANY rights by austere birthright? The answers to such questions are found as you might imagine in the Bible. Here are a couple Scriptures which explicitly confirm for us that people do in fact have "rights"...

Psalm 82:3 ESV

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

There are a host of other Scriptures which detail specific rights but suffice it to say here at the outset that "rights" are "real" …and people have them. No matter if they are rich or poor, strong or weak, male or female, sinner or saint, people have rights.

And since the Bible confirms for us the reality of rights it is not a hard step to take from there to understand that those rights have come from God (because all good gifts come from Him). They are not invented, they are discovered. They are not developed, they are recognized. They are not devised, they are identified. If this way of thinking regarding the origin and nature of rights is not understood and respected chaos will ensue, it has always ensued, it will always ensue, and it did not ensue in America because it was understood and respected! Next time we will begin the hard work of determining which rights God has granted to people and which claimed rights are usurpations.

Genesis 1:26 ESV

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

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Thursday, June 20, 2019 • Gary Fox • Sexuality
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 6:18

There Are No "Homosexual" People

Nobody Is Gay

Liberals are exceptionally good at defining the terms of every debate and conservatives tend to get circles ran around them as a result. There are almost countless examples of this, but let's look at the issue of homosexuality. Why do we all but accept the premise that there is a type of person who is a "homosexual" or a type of person who is a "transgender" when there is absolutely no biological evidence for it? Of course, there are men who are sexually attracted to men, but that doesn't mean they are "homosexual" ontologically or biologically. There are men who want to be women and some who actually think they are women, but they're not. There is nothing in their biology or chemistry which would demonstrate anything other than masculinity. Sexual attraction has a host of spiritual, emotional, psychological contributing factors at work, but none of it has to do with biology. People are not born with a "homosexual" gene or a "transgendered" gene any more than I was born with a gene that makes me attracted to women with a pretty face, sweet disposition and some meat on the bone. There is simply no such thing as a "homosexual" or "transgendered" person. There are only people who are excited by or perhaps engage in homosexual sex for various spiritual and psychological reasons. They were not born that way, they became that way. Homosexuality is something that develops, it is not innate or natural.

Sexual attraction is not a "type" of person in the same way as an African, European, Asian, Hispanic or Arab is a "type" of person. We can dig up bones of a 7,000 year old human and can determine with certainty their sex, race, ethnicity and approximate age. There is absolutely no way to determine what type of sex they were into. There is absolutely no way to determine if they were cross dressers either. These are made up categories without any biological basis and yet we have allowed liberals to frame such things as legitimate categories.

When we announce to the world that homosexuality is a "sin" which must be "repented of" and that there is "freedom" from it, do you have any idea how bizarre that sounds to them? You need to understand that to them we might as well be telling Dutch people that being White is a "sin" which must be "repented of" and there is "freedom" from it or telling Egyptian people that being Arab is a "sin". How can something be a "sin" which must be "repented of" and how can there be "freedom" from it if one is BORN this way? If it is part of their inborn composition, if it is a part of who they are by nature and biology, how can one repent of it? How can a white person stop being white? How can a woman repent for being a woman when she's born that way? Likewise, how can a "gay person" repent of their "gayness" when they were born that way?

Do you see the problem? We need to stop assuming people have a proper understanding of basic human ontology and nature. Christians are not telling people they must deny nature to be saved...but most of the world doesn't know we are not saying that! They think we ARE saying that someone is damned because they were created by God a certain way. They think that is what we are saying because we are not bold enough to challenge the underlying presumption that people are by nature gay or transgender. We need to be much clearer that those with same sex attraction and/or gender confusion are being called by God to return to their natural state, not vice-versa. They are not being called to deny who they are, they are being called to embrace who they are. We are not the ones who are twisting terms, those in the world are doing that.

We must be clear about the historic, orthodox and Biblical Christian teaching regarding homosexuality. First, the behavior is a sin according to the Bible. Homosexual sex is not appropriate, regardless of how attractive it seems to someone. It's not as if those with same-sex attraction are the only ones called to abstain from sexually immoral behavior. All unmarried people are called to the same standard of chastity. Just because you want to do it doesn't mean you should do it, same goes with me and my sexual urges. It's called self-control and self-restraint and the Bible calls all men to exercise it. Can you even imagine the jungle we'd be living in right now if morality was simply determined by personal desire, preference and taste? Second, because you were not "born gay", because there is no such thing as a "homosexual person", you absolutely can have your desires changed by the power of the Gospel. Homosexuality is a type of sex, not a type of person. Someone can be labeled a "homosexual" if they engage in homosexual sex just like someone can be labeled an "adulterer" if they engage in adultery. In both cases the power of the Gospel can wash those labels away. Someone who has repented of the sin of adultery is no longer an "adulterer". In that case it should be said they once were an adulterer but now they are not. The same is true homosexual lusts…it can be repented of, forgiven and controlled. In neither the case of the "homosexual" nor the "adulterer" is the condition a natural one. God did not make anyone to be predisposed to either sin, they are both sins are the result of our fallen natures and our choices.

There is no way to speak clearly the life changing Gospel if we continue to allow liberals, humanists and atheists to frame the terms of the debate. That doesn't mean we won't catch major blow back when we finally get bold enough to say, "there are no gay people". We will probably get banned off social media platforms for saying that. Articles like these will get buried off Google search results. I get it, believe me I get it. I don't write articles for my health; I want people to read what I write just like any other author does. I understand that writing provocative things like this will hamper the scope of my potential readership. I get it. But they can't muffle us all, they can't turn the lights off in our churches, they can't rip down our signs, they can't prevent us from talking to people and they can't haul us off to jail for saying it…not yet at least. The question is this…do we care about the "gay community" or not? Do we care about their souls? Do we care about their burdens? Do we care about their salvation? If we do, then it will cost us to reach them just like it has always cost God's people to reach hostile people groups. Has there ever been a people group who has ever been glad to be told they have been misled by people they LOVED? Has there ever been a people group who were not initially hostile to being told their traditions, beliefs and practices are offensive to God? No…this is always the case, at first. Reaching the gay community with the Gospel will cost us, we need to stop being afraid and realize this is nothing new. Taking arrows for the advancement of the Gospel is par for the course.

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Monday, June 17, 2019 • Gary Fox • Elections
Scriptures: Romans 13:1-7

A Great Way To Start Civil Wars!

Presidential Elections

Let's just cut to the chase…the way in which we select our President is going to destroy this country.

The popular vote, which is a direct result of the influence of democratic thinking in American culture, will be the end of this nation as it was founded. The United States is going to end in civil war one of these days, mark those works. Inevitable civil war is exactly why the nation was not designed to select a President the way we are doing it right now and it sure as heck is the reason why they rejected any semblance of a nationwide popular vote. We too frequently act like our system "just is what it is" as if there isn't a point behind the way it is set up…and that is simply wrong. There is a reason why the founders selected the mode of presidential election that they did. They direly wanted to tamp down the volatile influence of democracy (and of course they wanted to end the monarchial system of divine right to rule as well).

Do you understand how badly they wanted to avoid democratic rule? Stop and think about the impression you commonly have been given in public schools and in the news media regarding the intention of Constitutional government. The fact of that matter is that the whole system is set up in opposition to democracy, yet do you get that impression today? Are we not told that "our democracy" is the most sacrosanct facet of the American heritage? It's just not true, this was never intended to be a democracy. The American patriots were anything but ambivalent about the democratic election of the President. They were aware of the appeal of democracy and categorically rejected it.

Their intention to avoid electing Presidents by way of popular vote really is common sense. Every time you ask people to vote you are asking them to divide themselves up and pick sides. In order to be sure you get a majority vote you need to demonize the opposition in such a way that at least 51% of the population is so appalled by the other side that they will want nothing to do with them. You need to fire people up and motivate them with the desire to win. You must make it clear to them that if the other side wins, they will lose. You must convince them that those others must be "defeated". You must convince them that the whole nation is in peril if the other side wins. Hate and fear are tremendous motivators and they win elections...they also justify the escalations leading to violence.

A nation can only pit its people against each other like that for so long, sooner or later things will overheat and then melt down. Read President Washington's Farewell Address and look at how earnestly he pleaded with the people (and future American generations) to avoid "factions" at all costs...he knew our day would come otherwise.

Perhaps as we look back with 20/20 hindsight, we can identify a few flaws in their foresight, which they expected and allowed an amendment process to exist for future generations to fix such oversights. I would argue that they should have been much clearer as to how the electoral college should work. The choice of President ought not involve a popular vote at all…ever. Not even at the State level. There should be no national campaigns because there should simply be no need for such a thing.

State legislatures ought to appoint Electors to the Electoral College and those Electors ought to caste their votes for the POTUS independently from those legislatures and independently from direct public pressure. They ought to be selected by the legislature, but not controlled by them much in the same way as judges are selected but independent and not a controlled body. They ought to only serve once with new electors being installed every four years. If the people are upset by who their state legislatures have appointed to the Electoral College, they can of course either recall those legistlators or vote them out at the next election. This would provide some accountability to the people for who is elected President…but not directly. This isn't, never was and never should be a democracy. We must get back to electing Presidents the way the Founders intended. If we don't, we will start shooting at one another someday. Civil War will be inevitable if we don't stop it, the Founders had enough sense to recognize that and set us on a different course.

The Bible does not prescribe a way to recognize national leaders, it just says that we are to be submissive to them so long as they remain His servant. However, there can be little doubt that God intends for a nation to remain unified, not hatefully divided. Anything that fans the flames sectarianism, tribalism and balkanization will inevitably lead to civil war. It is just human nature to allow things to go that way, so as Christians we ought to strongly oppose any form of government which pits American's against one another in vitriolic ways. Our current system does that, that's not even debatable. People will always oppose each other philosophically, we do not need a system which exacerbates, inflames and weaponizes those differences…and the way we elect Presidents does just that.

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Thursday, April 04, 2019 • • Government
Scriptures: Proverbs 21:15

Our criminal justice system is so terrible that we have no choice but to impose a temporary moratorium on the death penalty...

Capital Punishment MUST Be Halted...For Now.

We are going to wrap up our series on Capital Punishment, a series inspired by the interesting way California Governor Gavin Newsom explained his reason for shutting down death row facilities in his state. Instead of offering up the usual "the death penalty is immoral" argument, he said he refused to continue with the practice in his state while knowing innocent people are getting swept up into a broken system and wrongly killed. That line of reasoning changes things and any true pro-life Christian ought to slow down in criticizing him in a knee jerk reaction, it's easy to do that whenever a liberal Democrat does ANYTHING. Don't be so quick to dismiss the concerns of a liberal Democrat, especially when one is taking a pro-life stand. Remember, he's not stopping the practice because he feels killing murderers is wrong, he is stopping it because he said he believes killing innocent people is wrong…and as far as that goes, he's right! As we detailed in our previous edition, the Bible is very clear in commanding the death penalty for murders. But only in an impartial, fair, unbiased and reasoned way! Both Deuteronomy 17:6 and Numbers 35:30 instruct that two witnesses must confirm guilt before anyone can be executed. There is no such thing as circumstantial evidence described in the Bible, the threshold to clear certainty was set very high in the Bible.

Pro-life Christians should have no problem whatsoever temporarily ending the death penalty if there is reasonable evidence to show systemic injustice leading to executions. If there is good reason to believe innocent people have been and at this rate will be executed, we shouldn't even have to think twice about an impermanent moratorium on the practice.

But is that a reasonable assumption to make? Is it reasonable to assume our system is so screwed up right now that we have innocent people being (or preparing to be) executed?

It is reasonable to believe that. Actually, it's more than reasonable to conclude our criminal justice system is that messed up, and I will provide the following reasons to demonstrate that:

The process in the United States is totally and completely arbitrary, and that is a massive ethical problem. The Bible says murders should be executed by the state. Not some murders. Not murders from certain classes. Not murders without good lawyers. Not murders who are mentally sane. Just…murderers. All of them. Is that the case today in the United States? Absolutely not! According to the FBI, in 2017 there were 17,284 murders in the United States. How many executions did we have in the United States in 2017? 23. Total. We had 17,284 murders and only 23 executions! We had 17,284 murders in this country in 2017 and only 39 people were sentenced to death!

What is that? Obviously, these numbers would never be equal because everyone isn't caught, tried and executed all in same year. However, these numbers ought to be in the same ballpark if we had anything approaching equal justice! Just sit back and think about these discrepancies, good grief! What did those 39 who were sentenced to die in 2017 do that was so much more egregious than the other THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of murderers in this country who aren't sentenced to death? Nothing…and that's a problem. What on earth is the standard for capital punishment? It certainly isn't being found guilty of murder, that's for sure. This inequality and terribly random system ought to be harshly condemned by Christians. The Bible is very clear that the criminal justice system must be impartial. Numbers 35 and Deuteronomy 17 lay out detailed procedures of justice which the ancient Jews had to adhere to in order to executed. Due process and equal justice wasn't a goal to aspire to, it was a minimum requirement in order to operate! How can we have over 17,000 murders, only 39 death sentences handed out and just 23 executed in the same year and call that equal justice? The law is obviously not being applied equally and there are a HOST of reasons for it, none of which is the point. It doesn't matter why it's not being applied equally; the point is that when it comes to the death penalty, it needs halted until that is fixed. You can't have different standards when it comes to exectuting people for crying out loud!

Not only do we have a terrible application of the death penalty where only a small fraction of convicted murderers get it (in defiance of the Bible which says all of them should get it), but the number of likely innocent people awaiting the death penalty right now is horrifying! According to researchers from the University of Michigan, as of 2014 at least 4.1% of prisoners on death row are innocent! Can you imagine being handed a gun and walked into a room of 100 convicts and being told you had to kill each one of them, knowing it is likely 4 or 5 of them are innocent? That scenario is so obscene that any pro-life Christian ought to be repulsed by the thought! Again, Numbers 35 and Deuteronomy 17 make it clear that before the state can execute someone, they must be certain of the prisoner's guilt. How can anyone be certain of guilt when there is good reason to believe 4-5% of death row inmates are innocent?

Still not aghast yet? Then let this stat sink in…from 1973 to 2015 the United States executed over 1400 prisoners. During that same time span 156 prisoners were exonerated off of death row. So that means, for every 10 executions, 1 death row inmate was exonerated! Is our criminal justice system run by Keystone Cops? What is this? Are they throwing cases up against the wall and just hoping some stick?

From 1973 to 2002, a total of 36 people were convicted of murder and sentenced to death in New Orleans. Of those 36 convicts, 9 had exculpatory evidence withheld in their cases! Once this miscarriage of justice was discovered 4 of them were thankfully exonerated!

I could highlight the radical injustice, corruption and ineptitude in capital murder cases over, and over, and over, and over

The Bible is clear, murderers are to be executed by the state. All of them. But the state must be positive and certain they are not executing innocent people! That's not an option, folks. If our government cannot abide by the Biblical mandate regarding the death penalty and the threshold of certainty needed (by way of due process and equal application) then the sword should be removed from its hand until it can do so responsibly. Pro-life Christians must educate themselves regarding the terrible system which is leading to innocent people being sentenced to death and then be the loudest ones calling for a moratorium until significant corrections are made to our system of criminal justice.

This isn't a game, we either speak for the innocent and defend the helpless or we are hypocrites.

If authorized by law I'd personally pull the trigger, flip the switch or kick the stool out from under a murderer's feet myself and not lose much sleep over it. My sympathies are with the family of the victim. But the system by which the state investigates, prosecutes and executes people must be right. We can't get it wrong 4-5% of the time, are you kidding me? That is absolutely not acceptable. That cannot happen, and until we are sure that won't continue to happen we must institute a temporary moratorium on executions in this nation.

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