The Christian Approach to Government

GV4A

This is segment number seven of the Christian Service and Human Government series. 2 Timothy Chapter 3:1-7 says, "But mark this. There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves; lovers of money; boastful; proud; abusive; disobedient to their parents; ungrateful; unholy; without love; unforgiving; slanderous; without self-control; brutal; not lovers of the good; treacherous; rash; conceited; lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying his power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women; who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, Always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth."

Then dropping down to 2 Timothy 3:12-15: "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of because you know those from whom you learned it; and, how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Then continuing in 2 Timothy 4:1-5: "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing in His kingdom, I give you this charge. Preach the word. Be prepared in season and out of season. Correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching years want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you keep your head in all situations; endure hardship; do the work of an evangelist; and, discharge all the duties of your ministry."

Americans today are largely operating from the viewpoint of impersonal matter or energy evolving by chance. That's the kind of a world that they envision. However, the Bible reveals that this is a totally false view of reality. This false view of the world inevitably causes law and government to become inhuman because there is no absolute standard of what is right or what is wrong. When a government refuses to be subject to God's law, its divine authority is terminated. Government has then become a tyrant seeking to replace God. You have a classic example of that taking place this very night in the country of Poland. Government then has no basis for treating man with dignity because it is ignorant of man's value as one who has been created in the image of God. If all of life is simply evolving, matter or energy evolving by chance, then there are no standards. While that seems a rather odd way to look at the world, it is exactly the way Americans by and large view the world today.

Welfare and Humanitarian Needs

So Christians must not only fight against the inhumanity of non-biblical governments, but they must also provide for human needs in a biblical way. These issues of inhumanity include: abortion; infanticide--killing a baby after it's born if it doesn't measure up to certain standards; and, the concept of euthanasia, getting rid of old people by mercifully putting them to death. All of these concepts which are growing in our government have to be met with Christian alternatives. We must keep that in mind in the things that we have been saying. Christians and churches must be willing to invest the extreme cost in money, time, and energy in order to help people to meet the needs that these factors indicate. Human aid must be given in a way, however, that people cannot become dependent upon it. That is the snake, that is the stinger, in human welfare.

It is very difficult, I have discovered, to assist people in their genuine needs in a way that they do not become dependent upon you for that assistance. One thing we should learn as Christians from what we have seen in our government is that any welfare assistance that we give as Christians has to be given with a terminal point. People have to understand that there is a limited assistance and there is no tomorrow, and that therefore what we are doing is tiding them over until they can get their lives reorganized and pick up the responsibilities. Those who can be carried on a long-range basis are only those who are genuinely helpless, who genuinely cannot provide for themselves. And those people are not those who have put themselves in positions by their own carelessness, and therefore they want an easy way out by passing their responsibilities onto somebody else. It is ungodly for you to help somebody out of the pinch of their own consequences simply because you want to make it a little easier on them to handle their botched up lives. We have these needs that Christians must address themselves to, but in a way that is compatible with the principles of the Word of God.

Furthermore, we are to do this with considerable patience. I have learned by personal experience that there are a lot of con artists out there who are looking for help. I can't tell you how many times the con artists have taken me. But when I was a teenager, my pastor explained to me one time about a particular man who had come to him who needed help. He said, "Now I'm not really sure whether this man is going to return the money he borrowed, whether he's going to keep his word, or whether he is actually at a point where he's in a pinch and he needs temporary help. But I did help him," he said. "But I had to help him on the basis that I was prepared to lose the money. I was prepared for him not to keep his word."

Fortunately, I've always operated on that same principle. However, I have any number of examples of the con artists who said, "I want this. I want this amount of money. I need it for so long. I'm going to return it." But I never see it again. I know that the con artists are out there. My natural inclination, the next time somebody comes up to me and says, "Hey, I need some help," is to reject them, and to refuse, and to say, "I'm sick and tired of being taken." That's the problem that we face as Christians. There are needs that need to be met, but we've got to structure and organize it in such a way that the con artists cannot outmaneuver us, and yet those who are in need can be taken care.

There is a certain point at which a person does not deserve to be helped, and he must take the responsibility for standing on his own feet. That's the problem--to decide at what point a person no longer deserves to be helped, but he is to stand on his own responsibility; and, if he chooses not to stand, we must permit him to starve. That is exactly what 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 say. The Apostle Paul found these kinds of freeloaders in the Church of Thessalonica. Paul said, "There is no reason why those people should not be supplying their own food. Whatever their reasons are, it is wrong. Let them starve. If they will not take the responsibility for providing for their own needs, then they should not eat."

There was a recent welfare report in one part of the country that told the recipients of that particular office that they were henceforth not going to receive welfare assistance unless they also took part in certain job programs that had been lined up which they were capable of doing. The next month came along, with that notice having gone out, the welfare office sat there waiting for the usual crowd to come in to pick up their checks. But, lo and behold, only 20 percent of the people that they had been helping showed up. The other 80 percent, when they found that they could not get the check without producing a certain number of hours of work, told them to hang it on their nose. This suggested exactly how much they really needed that welfare. It was welfare that they were taking advantage of because it was welfare done in an unbiblical way. It was violating Paul's principle of those who could have carried their load refusing to do so.

Now, this argument that people should be helped for humanitarian reasons, even though their condition is their own doing, is pure human viewpoint. That is not biblical. You hear that from our humanistic government all the time. The latest declaration of our government is that we are going to put screws upon the communist slave masters of Poland. But there was this qualification. We're not going to cut off food for humanitarian reasons. Well, in Heaven's name, how do you think you can bestir people to rise up and break the chains of their slave masters better than when they see their children starving and crying and in agony? The most humanitarian thing you could do is to refuse to give them food so that they face up and they say, "Our economic system is what has put us in this position and we will have no more of it." It is pure human viewpoint to say, "We will not force them to suffer the consequences of their actions."

Reformation Christianity

So, we look at the status of the Christians today. The Reformation brought to light the gospel of salvation by grace and a Biblical view of government and society--a government which was not above the law of God. Government was designed with a form that had checks and balances so that it preserved freedom. At the same time, while preserving maximum freedom, because the Word of God was the basis of our government, we created a government that did not create chaos. It had maximum freedom for people without self-destructing itself. That was a marvelous achievement in the history of the human race--when the Reformation principles were applied to the United States to create a government which had maximum freedom with minimum chaos within society. That was because the freedoms that we had were governed by Christian consensus--by the principles of Scripture. People acted in their freedom according to the Word of God. The moral principles of the Word of God restrained that freedom from becoming abusive.

During the 19th century, many groups of people immigrated to the United States who did not have the spiritual enlightenment of the Reformation. These people enjoyed the freedom that they found in the United States even though their own religious systems would never have produced such freedom. Their natural inclinations were toward positions which would destroy the freedoms that they found. They had a world view which was contrary to such freedoms, and that's what happened. They came from a religious background that could never have produced the freedoms that they found in this country. Their natural inclination was to do the very things and to promote the very things that would destroy those freedoms. Now, the current world view of material energy chance evolution is completely contrary to the world view which has produced this balance that we enjoy between freedom and government regulation. There is no basis for a personal god under the current view of energy material chance evolution. The change to humanism as a world view has come about in our country during the last 40 years. The material energy chance world view controls the government and law today, and it's wrong.

The biblical world view, which produced the United States, is not allowed today to influence our government or our schools. The original biblical world view that made liberty and justice possible for all in this country is the very thing that is now being restrained and attacked. This liberty extended to those who included a world view which was directly opposite to the view that had created those freedoms. Now the humanist view is using its inherited freedom to increasingly restrict in the courts and the schools the biblical view which originally produced those freedoms. The humanist view has no basis for law except what the authorities think is good for society. That results, as we've seen, in arbitrary law and legal decisions which are divorced from biblical principles. That results in chaos and society. This created chaos then becomes the excuse for imposing more dictatorial rule.

So you and I as Christians have to take an uncompromising stand against the material energy chance world view of humanism. We have to take a determined stand and say, "It's wrong, and we are opposed to it." We have to make clear that the Bible is absolute truth, and it's the only source of information about reality. We have to show that the humanist world view is naturally producing results which are opposite to the great freedoms that the United States has enjoyed. Christians have to break the hammerlock hold of the material energy chance viewpoint which it now has on our government and on our laws. The result of returning the nation to a biblical world view would be freedom for all religions under the secured blessings of Christianity.

The Christian World View

So Reformation Christianity must no longer be censored out of our law and out of our government. That is what we're saying. We must be permitted to give a clear and divinely authoritative message of salvation by grace. We have to provide a consistent base for the balance between government and freedom. We Christians have to show that our world view is unique by our life and our actions. So, how should we go about it? Here's a plan of action:

The Christian Plan of Action

  1. Reduce Federal Bureaucracy

    The first step that we have to do as Americans today is to reduce the power of the federal government to its constitutional limit. That is biblical. Return the power of the federal bureaucracy to the state and local governments. Our president is on the right track in his new federalism. He's on the right track when he wants to bring the control of the lives of the people down to the local level. He wants to bring these things like welfare down to the people who can look eyeball to eyeball to the person you're handing that money to and say, "This is a freeloader," or "This person is genuinely in need," where some distance bureaucrat could never decide that. We have to curtail the vast agencies that have developed, like the Internal Revenue Service, and curtail the area of jurisdiction of our courts which have gotten way out of line. Congress can curtail funds and hold down any bureaucrat. Congress has the right to designate the area of jurisdiction of all courts. Most people don't know that. The time has come for the Congress to rise up and say, "The Supreme Court cannot adjudicate any more in certain areas that have made inroads upon our personal freedom as they have imposed upon us their humanistic world view, such as resulted in the abortion case and in the removal of the right of Americans to pray if they're standing on school property."

    The people and the local government units, furthermore, have to refuse the assistance of the federal government with all the controls that that accompanies. This is why the concept of new federalism is raising such howls from certain mayors. They say, "Are you telling us that you expect us to pay for everything we do? Do you expect us, here in this city, to pay for everything that our people want?" You know that New York City is not about to pay for all that the people want by taxing the people of New York City. They have to get that money from the federal government if they're to keep up that lush style of provisions that they make. That's why they hate the new federalism idea. But until it gets back down to local governments and the people, there is no hope of controlling the monster.

    One of the bad things of depending upon the government is not only that you get addicted to their money, but people lose their skills for being able to solve their problems, to survive, and to meet their needs. They become incompetent. It's like taking an animal that basically is a wild animal, and you raise him in a domesticated surrounding. Then suddenly you turn him loose out into the wild. He doesn't have the foggiest notion on how to go about surviving out there under those conditions because he has learned to be dependent upon man to make his provision for him. That's exactly what happens. Once the crutch is removed, however, people do learn to survive. They learn to survive with freedom and dignity. There is nothing like the growl of hunger pains in the stomach to motivate one to higher aspirations. So, point number one is to take apart the federal government's dominant position and return it to its constitutional base.

  2. Pursue Legal Action

    The Christian community may be forced to pursue legal action. Humanist groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that we referred to in the previous segment have been aggressively pushing their version of social changes onto society with great success. Christians have to learn to be just as aggressive in court actions. The creation science case is an example. The Christians are learning to get off the defensive. In Arkansas, the state passed a law that you had to teach creation science in the classroom. Immediately, the American Civil Liberties Union brought suit against the school system of the state of Arkansas, and the state of Arkansas found itself on the defensive. The people who bring suit in the court of law have all the advantages. They're out of the chute first and they have all the advantages. They brought that thing down very handily. Now because men like John Whitehead are involved in the suit in Louisiana, they reversed it. They didn't pass the law for creation science. Instead, they've come out of the chute with their guns blazing, and they have brought suit against the American Civil Liberties Union for interfering with their right to teach creation science. Now they've got the ACLU against the wall trying to fight back. It's a whole different ball game. It's going to be very interesting to see what happens when this court action takes place. Christians have to get off of being the little ninnies who are always on the defensive.
  3. Public Education

    The public education structure up through the university level has to be really instilled with Judeo-Christian theism if we're going to turn this around. The schools are where the nation's minds are oriented. Today the public school sector is producing wave after wave of graduates with no knowledge of Christianity, and in fact a spirit of anti-Christian bias. The schools have been secularized by removing the influences and the values of Christianity from the school curriculum. The humanist people know this. They are delighted by the fact that the schools are doing such a good job at it.

    Let me just read a quote for you from one of the outstanding humanists Paul Blanshard. In his article entitled "Three Cheers for our Secular State" he said, "I think that the most important factor moving us toward a secular society has been the educational factor. Our schools may not teach Johnny to read properly, but the fact that Johnny is in school until he is 16 tends to lead toward the elimination of religious superstition. The average American child now acquires a high school education, and this militates against Adam and Eve and all other myths of alleged history. When I was one of the editors of the nation in the twenties, I wrote an editorial explaining that golf and intelligence were the two primary reasons that men did not attend church. Perhaps I would now say golf and a high school diploma."

    So, the humanists know exactly what the schools are doing, and they're cheering them on. If we're going to resist this, we're going to have to do something about the schools. Obviously, Christians have to be forming more schools of their own to bypass the decaying public education system. Christian schools must teach their students how to influence our society with God's point of view.

  4. Education and Welfare

    The massive federal government is, in large measure, the result of the failure of churches to provide for the education and welfare needs of people. Christianity calls for being merciful to the needy. The churches should become the center of health, education, and welfare. By externalizing its faith, Christianity could neutralize the secular influence of the human viewpoint bureaucracy. This indeed is going to take some doing. It's not an easy thing to do, and to do it in such a way that it is serving the cause of God, and not a human viewpoint substitution for the principles of the Word of God.

The Second American Revolution, by John Whitehead

I'd like to tie up by sharing with you some passages from John Whitehead's book entitled The Second American Revolution. He has put this in such excellent perspective that I think you'll enjoy hearing what this outstanding Christian lawyer has said. He is in the forefront of doing something about the corrosive effect of secular humanism on our society, and doing it in a way that is making a mark such that the humanists have been put on the run.

Philosophy

He says in part, on page 162 of his book, "Philosophy is important. A person's philosophy dictates how he will act. If Christians continue to take the position that they are impotent in the face of the crises we face, then we will continue to have little effect on the culture. Once after I spoke on the obvious peril in the coming years, a lady told me that, although the church may be persecuted, Christians can go to the lions singing. Indeed. But we have a responsibility to try and stop the downward spiral before we get to the lions. Often people come up and tell me they will be praying for me. I appreciate the power of prayer. I have seen its effectiveness in my own life. However such a mentality can be a cop out. It is easy to say, 'I'll pray for you,' and then go home and sink into an easy chair and watch television.

"If people who assume this position really mean it, they will act on their prayers. The Apostle James tells us that faith is dead without works. The church is holding the truth in unrighteousness when the church remains silent on the issues and fails to act as the Bible requires. Christians literally stagnate in churches that have no external political, legal, or moral impact upon the world. Truth cannot be bottled up and be effective. The church must learn to externalize the principles of its faith as practiced by Christians during the Reformation and in early America. The truths of the Bible must flow from the mind into the world. A false Pietism, a false spirituality, and all the exclusively internal activities that so often make up the contemporary church neither bring revival nor reformation. The light must be taken from beneath the basket and placed on the hill."

The Salt of the Culture

Then he has a section on remembering the cultural mandate. On page 163 he says, "The church has a mandate from the creator to be a dominant influence on the whole culture, as I have mentioned before. In Matthew 5, Christ mandates or requires the church to be salt to the culture. 'You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt has become tasteless how will it be made salty again.' Salt not only preserves meats, salt makes one thirsty. If the church is fulfilling its proper role, the culture should be thirsty for the knowledge of biblical truth. Salt, if placed on metal and dampened with water will slowly eat through steel. The church which holds truth should be able to penetrate and defeat the argument and actions of paganism. Any Christian who believes he cannot effectively answer the secularist's argument either doesn't really know his Bible, or he has not taken the time to study how to apply what he believes. There is a strong emphasis in some sections of the church today on personal evangelism. That is admirable, but it is only one part of being salt to the world. It cannot be the only emphasis. The church has to touch and influence the entire community. Christians are not simply witnessing machines. We are a whole people and we live in a whole world. To give a large section of the world over to paganism without a fight is to cheat God.

"As theologian J. Gresham Machen pointed out in 1912, 'We may preach with all the fervor of a reformer and yet succeed only in winning a straggler here and there. If we permit the whole collective thought of the nation to be controlled by ideas which, by the resistless force of logic, prevent Christianity from being regarded as anything more than a harmless delusion.' Clearly, if Christ's mandate to be the salt is denied by the church, and it is a voluntary refusal to follow Christ's orders, then Christ sees the church as good for nothing but to be trampled under the feet of men. The consequence is persecution. It is a form of judgment, but it is also a way of forcing the Church to respond to the cultural mandate. But when the church refuses to act as salt, it also brings judgment upon the culture surrounding it. Not only must the church suffer, but also the non-Christian culture. And when the final judgment comes, the blood of those who have never heard the consistent Christian message and died without Christ is on the hands of the church, and it is a terrible burden to bear."

That is such a significant point--the failure of Christians to be the salt element in our society. In the past, it is the Christian, and indeed to considerable degree to this very day, it is the Christians that have kept the United States from going down to destruction, but not forever. It is because we have had a certain number of divine viewpoint believers that have held the nation back from its self-destructive course. There's a certain point where the salt no longer can do its work.

Guidelines for Action

Here's another section on some guidelines on what we can do. "Once you have developed the knowledge of the issues, keep informed on current legislation. If you are involved in Christian broadcasting or publishing, begin a radio spot or a column that will feature issues that affect our religious liberty. If you are a lay person, suggest such a program to your Christian network or a favorite magazine. The most important contribution the individual can make is to become actively involved in local community affairs, politics, and legal battles. If America is to be revitalized, or reformed in the Christian sense, it will be done at the local level. America was meant to be primarily a system of local governments. The giant federal machine we have today in Washington D.C. was never intended by the framers and must eventually be dismantled piece by piece.

"You may have become aware that the socialist left in the United States has assumed a new attack. They are no longer zeroing in so much on the federal government. The word has gone out that the new approach is to get involved in local areas. They put in socialistic-oriented minds in the cities, in the races for city councils, and the county races, down at the statehouse level. The conclusion is very wise, that if they can capture the local level, they have the nation. The radical left has finally awakened to that fact. This is a very important point that we as Christians have to fight back on the local level or it's all lost.

Lawyers

"Now there is an interesting observation to the law student. It is, after all, the law and the legal system that have caused so much of our problems. So, those of you who are studying to be lawyers, listen to what a lawyer has to say to you. Those planning to attend law school and those presently involved in law school can have a great impact on the systems of law and civil government. Much of what is taught in law school today is directly opposed to the teachings of the Bible. It is a humanistic system in need of a Christian orientation. In my third and final year of law school, one of my law professors began his class by making this statement: 'Always remember that you are never in the courtroom to get justice, but to win.' This is the legal mentality that is passed on to thousands of law students yearly. It is a survival of the fittest mentality. When it is applied to the criminal justice system and legislation, we can see why we are facing a trauma in law today.

"The apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1:5-8 spoke about those who teach the law without biblical content: 'Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and a faith unfeigned from which some being swerved have turned aside in a vain jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good if a man use it lawfully.'

"A number of those in legal education today teach a legality without the content of true law. The Christian student cannot sit in the class and allow this to happen. A vocal Christian law student can be an effective witness of the truth. Christian students must challenge professors who use an immoral pagan base to law. Law professors need to be reminded that much of law is still based on the Bible. Christian law students should propose a course on William Blackstone or the common law if their school does not have one. This can be done through the various student faculty committees. Most contemporary law schools attempt to cover all the historical bases of law in one three-hour course called Jurisprudence, and it's not sufficient. If the school refuses to alter the curriculum to study the Christian foundation of the law, then Christian law students and those concerned should start their own extracurricular study group. Make it an honor society with prestige. More could be learned in one of these groups than in many courses taken in the current education system.

"Many Christians believe and accept the fact that they are second class citizens. Too often it is true that they are. However this should not be the case. The Christian law students should be an example to the rest of the students. He or she should excel if possible. If you are a serious law student, you can do well. Be the best. Eventually, I believe more Christian law schools will come into existence. There are several in operation at this time. As this occurs, more Christians will go to these schools. Until that happens however, the Christian must be prepared to enter the humanistic schools of law and thrust Christian ideas into the system. Moreover, as Christian law schools open, they must, if they are to serve any viable purpose beyond adding to the present piety stick jargon, teach law in a way that will lead to Christian activism by their graduates on all the frontiers of the justice system. The lawyers who graduate from these schools should have a firm knowledge of Christian philosophy and of the true legal roots of American society. They should have studied the works of those writers cited in this book thoroughly, and should leave with a sense that their practice of law is not as much a livelihood as a vocation to take society by the horns and turn it around."

Christian Lawyers

And then he has a word to the lawyer: "We who are Christian lawyers have reason to be ashamed. We who supposedly have a working knowledge of God have often lagged behind in dedication to the truth. Christian attorneys have simply failed to use their profession effectively. In Matthew 13, Christ says, 'Therefore every scribe or lawyer which is instructed unto the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man that is a householder that brings forth out of his treasures things new and old.' The lawyer who is learned in biblical law and applies it in the external world will produce much good fruit. The role of the lawyer in modern society cannot be exaggerated. The entire American system is structured upon law. If the lawyer who professes Christ so desires, he or she can have a major influence in the direction of the culture. However, many attorneys believe their professions are somehow separate from their Christian calling. They compartmentalize their faith and practice.

"The person who becomes a lawyer must see that he has taken on a high calling, and as such must be a steward of what God has given him. One cannot be a lawyer from the hours of 9:00 to 5:00 during the working week, and thereafter act as a Christian. His Christian faith in this legal practice must be integrated. The lawyer who is a Christian must see the practice of his profession as a vocation, not a business. This may and often does mean that not all he does will be profitable financially. However, Christians have not been placed on this planet solely to make money, but to communicate the consistent Christian message to the whole culture, and change history. At one time in the profession, attorneys were routinely called counselors at law. This is an important term which indicated that lawyers were advisers, not only in legal and technical matters, but counselors, and counselors in the biblical sense. Proverbs 11 instructs, 'Where no counsel is, the people fall, but in a multitude of counselors there is safety.'

"We need fewer legal technicians and more attorneys who can counsel their clients on matters of divorce, abortion, child abuse, and other areas of moral concern. The Christian attorney's first prerogative should be to help people solve their problems. Christian attorneys need to become aggressively and actively involved in local community affairs and politics. Most people will listen when an attorney speaks. The problem has always been in getting the Christian attorney to become involved in something other than church activities. The world needs the counsel of godly lawyers. Christian lawyers need to organize in local attorney groups not only to fellowship but to strategize on how they can influence their community. Imagine a strong local Christian lawyers' group threatening legal action against abortion clinics, or upholding the right of a Christian teacher to talk about Christ in a public school classroom. And involvement in local statewide and national bar associations' functions is important. Most of these groups have degenerated into social outlets. With proper guidance they could become vocal on the issues and an excellent educational tool for both lawyers and society at large.

"Attorneys however must realize that their first loyalty is not to a bar association or to keeping peace with their colleagues, but to Christ himself. In that spirit these lawyers should be willing to shoulder the burden of creating controversy locally and nationally in the cause of Christian absolutes. We are all aware of the downward plight of the legal profession. That in and of itself should be the motivation for change. However change in the Christian sense will not come unless those attorneys who profess Christ become visible in their profession. The legal system should be flooded with Christian lawyers dedicated to bringing change and fighting the evil that now pervades the courts and the whole enterprise of law. In this way there is hope for a troubled profession. The challenge to the Christian attorney is to become a vocal dynamic spokesman for the true legal profession, the one with Christ at its center, and to stop at nothing less than reclaiming the whole system."

The Church

Then there is a final statement to the church, to we who are members of the body of Christ. John Whitehead says, "Most of the books of the New Testaments, as well as Christ's references in The Book of Revelation, are letters written to local churches. I believe this is because God first desires action to be taken there. Failing this, God works through organizations and individuals outside the local church. Those pastors who have voiced their dismay at the numerous evangelical groups who have organized outside the local church have only themselves to blame. Those groups are in essence a judgment on local churches and on the institutional church as a whole--a church that has not fulfilled the requirements God has set forth for it.

"These words are not written merely to be critical, but in the hope that they will be heard. Tragically, the church has been apathetic to much of what has been going on outside its four walls. Sermons, seminars, lectures, and books are all geared by the church for the individual Christian within the congregation. The same ideas are always being presented to the same people. Christ broke with the Pharisees on a similar issue. Jesus ate with sinners because He came to give a Christian message to them. Christ thus taught that the Christian message is an external thing. It has to flow out into the world, not to be entombed within the church building. The grave problems in the courts, in the law, and in civil government are the consequence of a century of church teaching that involvement in church activities is more important than involvement in the affairs and institutions of the world.

Christian pastors must define church activities in such a way to capture the biblical emphasis that involvement in all areas of the culture is a necessary part of true spirituality. In this way the church will thrive instead of having to fight for its very existence as it is today. The true church, by its very nature, is a political institution--political from the standpoint that as Christ's exclusive preserve, the state has no legitimate authority over it. The true church says, "Hands off," to Caesar. This is a political statement, delineation of the authority of the church. When this principle is aggressively upheld by the church, a balance is maintained between church and state.

"An excellent program for churches to sponsor would be a free legal aid clinic to the poor and the helpless which is now sadly lacking. As James states, 'Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.' Local churches as missions could sponsor young people who want to go to law school. Churches should encourage their young people to study law, and encourage Christian lawyers to re-examine ways to apply their faith to their profession. The Church, if it took its task seriously, could flood the law schools with Christian law students who would eventually influence the legal and governmental systems. If any institution needs missionaries, it is the law schools. It is a mission field ripe for harvest.

"Most importantly, the local church, as the pillar and the ground of the truth, should instruct all its people in the laws and mandates of God. Instead of the numerous conferences on how to feel good spiritually, seminars on biblical law and the political system would be profitable. The people could be educated and given the tools to exercise the cultural mandate. The local church should be a teaching institution, not just a fellowship group. Through the teaching church, a generation of Christians who know the issues and dared to speak out will be born. It was with 12 men like this that Jesus changed the world."

It's an excellent book: The Second American Revolution by John W. Whitehead. You might like to get it and read it all. But that sums up, I think in a concise way, the issues that we have been pursuing in this series. We will conclude on that note.

Dr. John E. Danish, 1982

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