Cultural sins we overlook: all things entertainment

Often we are given the opportunity to look back in history and see the development of the church of Jesus Christ. When we do this, we are often struck about how blind they seemed on points! How could there be times in history where the church thought that torture was acceptable? Or, as in the case of the witch trials in New England, how could the Puritans be swallowed up in superstition and unbiblical ways of adjudicating the matters set before them? We may even point to things like slavery in the 1700 and 1800’s and just stand amazed at what the church missed in terms of its duty and in terms of its violation of that duty.

Then again, we recognize that we are men and women of our cultures. It is quite difficult to see beyond that, though indeed it is possible if we humbly look to Scripture for all matters of doctrine and practice and the Holy Spirit illumines our understanding to receive His Word. Nevertheless, we seem to imply that we have no such blotches that are glaring as that of the past church. Oh, we are not torturing people or holding people unjustly in slavery (although there is a such thing as biblical slavery), but,  I say, we have glaring inconsistencies in the church of Christ. But what are they?

Before I embark on this subject, I will add that I am not referring to the general apostate church in America. We see that, in terms of the apostate church, we have accepted as normal all sorts of abominations, from sodomy, to women preachers, to mass adultery and divorce, to peddling the Gospel, etc. etc. But I am not referring to these since these things are normally accepted in churches that hold no semblance of the Gospel any longer are synagogues of Satan.

But in the faithful church of Christ, the proverbial white elephant that is standing in the room that no one wants to acknowledge is the obsession with all things entertainment. We see bumper stickers that say “If it’s not fun, why do it?” and the Hollywood industry which is solely that of entertainment, is one of the most successful businesses in America. As Americans, we’re about fun and this has carried over into the church. We choose our churches based on fun programs and get together dinners. Our “fellowships” are around sports activities, recreational programs and tea parties. We seem to think that in any setting where we want to give people the Gospel, we need to have some sort of “goodie” that will entice them to listen. Our churches start looking more like circuses and our pastors more like clowns and we give people free doughnuts instead of the Bread of Life and Living Water.

Ask yourself these questions and see if this applies to you: how much time do you spend in matters of entertainment per day. Most families have a tradition of watching a movie every night. Most movies last about 100 minutes, a little more than an hour and a half. Multiply that by 7 and divide by 60 and you have about 12 hours a week on the one specific entertainment of movies (doubtless there are more). Now, ask yourself how much of that time in the week do you take up in Christian duties, prayer, praise, God-centered work, reading God’s Word and Christian fellowship? Is there even a comparison? This is not to make categorically all leisure activities as sinful. My point is that we have made an idol of it.

Life is more than just fun. In fact, Christianity as such isn’t about “fun” at all. It is about Christ and His reign in heaven above and, no, He isn’t exalted and subduing all His enemies under his feet so that you can have fun. He gives you a cross (Mt 16:24) and a commission (Mt. 28:19-20). 1. To live a life of self-sacrifice and self-denial, and 2. a commission to evangelize the nations for His Glory and Kingdom’s sake. What He does promise is contentment, joy unspeakable and full of glory, tribulations and the faith to endure them, encouragement by His Word and His Church, the body of Christ, and to be conformed more and more to the image of His dear son, Jesus Christ. Is this fun? No; the two are incomparable. The point in all this is not to show that Christianity is about some austere life that we need to live. The point is that we have traded fun and games with the unspeakable and matchless glory of Jesus Christ. We have, like Esau, traded our birthright for a mess of pottage.

If future generations are going to evaluate us like we do the church in the past, undoubtedly the criticism they will raise against us will be that, while our culture was at its lowest and the Gospel of Christ comprehensive rule over all things for the church was preached the least, we were playing games, watching movies and joining the circus. That when we should have been the light of the world, the salt and preservative agent of society and culture, we were too busy with all things entertainment.

I am speaking mostly of those of my generation, though doubtless it applies to those of older generations as well: are you just living life in “cruise mode”, as it were? Is your life about the new fun thing,  great band, epic movie, new celebrity, or weekly sports? Now, I don’t mean to condemn all movies or music, but that is not my point. Do you delight in the Word of God? Do you, like David, hunger and thirst after God? Does your life reflect the fact that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God? We are decayed, my brothers and sisters. It is no doubt that we are like the valley of dry bones; lifeless and unable to rise unless God grant us a great measure of His grace and mercy.

Mediocrity is unacceptable. The thicker the darkness in our culture, the more brilliant our light should shine. But it has been the exact opposite. It seems as if the darkness has swallowed us up and we can’t even conceptualize what light should look like anymore; our fellowship becomes shallow, our life’s example to a lost and dying world lamentable, and our senses to discern good and evil almost gone entirely.  We start looking like the darkness we profess to hate. Why? Because we absorb it through all the media and entertainment we occupy ourselves in, and we become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. The sad thing is that we don’t even realize it. We are men and women of our cultures.

What then? What we need is to cry out to God to have mercy upon us.  Christ is our strength, and this is a testimony of our lack of strength. We cannot perform what is our duty to perform. We cannot love what we should love or hate what we should hate. If God should withhold His hand of grace, immediately we turn to dust and are undone. We need to learn to pray the prayer of St. Augustine, “Lord, give what Thou commandest and command what Thou wilt”. We need to live in conscious dependence upon Christ and repent of our sloth and complacency. Why would we trade a life of glorious service to the Lamb of God, our High Priest and King of Kings, Jesus Christ, for a life of vanity that serves no purpose beyond temporal and shallow pleasure?


The nature of law and Law-giver

It is a common objection against Calvinism that we make God the author of evil. There are several problems with this objection, the main of which is the ambiguity of the words. What would it mean for God to be the author of evil? The second problem is that those who assert the evils of Calvinism do so on the basis that they think God is actually obligated to the same set of standards we are obligated to, namely, God’s law. But, as I shall prove, the law is meant to govern man, not God.

1. “Thou shalt not steal” (Ex. 20:15)

Application: how does God steal? Can God steal? How could He since He owns everything? (Ps 50:10-12, Eze 18:4)

2. “Thou shalt not murder” (Ex. 20:13)

Application: Murdering is taking life on our terms. Since God gives life, He is the only one who decides the extent and bounds of man’s life. But how could God murder?(Job 14:5, Ex. 22:24)

3. “Thou shalt not have any other gods before me”. (Ex. 20:3)

Application: All men are accountable to give God supreme reverence and worship in accord to God’s dictates (2nd commandment). How could God break the first command when it asserts that God is to have the preeminence in all things?

4. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” (Ex. 20:7 )

Application: How could God take his name in vain? What would that entail?

5. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Ex. 20:16)

Application: God cannot lie; it is part of His nature. (Tit 1:2)

6. “Thou shalt not covet” (Ex 20:17)

Application: How would God covet? Again, God not only has legitimate ownership of everything, and He is the be the supreme object of our desires. How could God covet?

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Ex. 20:14)

Application: God does not have a body and does not have the passions of men. He does not have emotions. How could God commit adultery? (Ac 14:15)

To break these commands is for us to sin, that is, to commit evil. Evil, then, is not abiding by God’s law. But God cannot do evil, as I have above demonstrated. It is not a matter of God not willing to do evil (although that could be in view as well), but that God, by the very nature of law and Law-giver, cannot sin; He cannot do evil. If there was a law that said, “God cannot cause men or spirits to lie”, then yes, that would be evil for God to do that. But this would be setting God’s law above God Himself, the Law-giver and thus even this is an impossibility.

Law, then, is not for God, but for man. It tells man how he is to live before God. It does not say what God is obligated to obey. It can’t. God cannot sin for the sole reason that law is given to show how man is to abide himself by, not what God abides Himself by. To know what it is that God does, or how He governs among the nations, this would need to be entirely different study altogether. Nevertheless, what is demonstrated here is that God is above the law. He is accountable to no one and nothing other than Himself.

Biblical Slavery: What It Is And What It Isn’t

This may be a rather lengthy post, but I want to start addressing some atheistic misrepresentations of biblical law. The matter that I wish to specifically address is that of biblical slavery. At the outset let me hasten to say that whatever the Bible teaches on slavery I hold to be finally authoritative, equitable and righteous. Thus, I will not be apologizing for the biblical position of slavery. But it seems to me that the biblical doctrine has suffered from caricature from those of the atheistic crowd. I think they do this, not because of genuine misunderstanding, but out of dull-headed malice. The article I will be referencing to is from (I know, right?)

Some preliminary concepts should be discussed before delving into the author of Biblical law is based on restitution.  Thus, slavery has some element of restitution in it. In fact, this is not at all that difficult to point out. Suppose individual X steals my chickens and he is not apprehended for his actions for several weeks. Biblical law requires the man to restore what was lost by fourfold (2 Samuel 12:6, Luke 19:8, Exodus 22:1).

Now suppose an individual which we’ll call Mr. X doesn’t have anything to give. He is to work off his debt with labor, that is, he becomes  my slave. The word “slave” itself  carries with it

all sorts of emotional assumptions and this is unfortunate. Unfortunate because those who are usually so vehemently opposed to

Basically, there isn't much good one can do in a cell. No restitution.

slavery (like the writer of, or from now on referred to as “our Fellow”) are for slavery in other areas, or at least indifferent. For example,  America is for slavery. That’s right, we have legal slavery in America and it’s called the prison system. But, unlike the biblical case of slavery, it is not based on restitution, yet I haven’t seen very many emotional outbursts against this institution coming from our Fellow. Let’s reapply the example of  Mr. X in our American system and see which is equitable.  Suppose Mr. X commits grand larceny against me (suppose he takes and destroys my means of livelihood: tools and property) and for weeks he is not apprehended. Ah, but news comes to me that Mr. X has been caught. Joy fills my heart! At last, I shall be recompensed! But do you know what happens? The government fines him; I don’t see a penny unless I hire a lawyer and sue him and this is something added other than the fine that the government gives (which means Mr. X is paying more than he should be). This of course could be dragged on and on for a year or more with court hearings. But this doesn’t help my current situation. Oh, but it gets better. The individual who wronged me, instead of helping me with his labor (which would be beneficial at this point given my situation), gets sent to prison to either sit there idly or works for the government doing “community service” for free. If you were in such a situation, would you rather sit idly in a cell block or help pay off your debt? Oh, and by the way, Mr. X is put up all at my (and you, the taxpayer) expense, that is, I am the one providing the man free room and board. Here’s a question: does the victim get compensated? Forced labor without compensation for the labor is ipso facto slavery. You see, most everyone is for slavery, but the question is this which sort of slavery are you for?

Our Fellow starts out his article against biblical slavery with this comment:

“Except for murder, slavery has got to be one of the most immoral things a person can do.  Yet slavery is rampant throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments.  The Bible clearly approves of slavery in many passages, and it goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves.”

This is a rather queer statement. For one thing, he is borrowing our terminology to try to make his point. The word “murder” is a specifically religious concept since it is distinguished from mere killing by the fact that the life is taken outside of the perimeters God has set for man to live. In an atheistic universe where the highest form of appeal is to the self there is no distinction between “murder” and “killing”. Also, one could take issue with the author being able to call anything “immoral”, but I digress. The author is correct when he says that the Bible approves slavery. This should at least let evangelicals to pause and at least lend an ear to this individuals criticism instead of pretending slavery is nowhere in the Bible.

 “Many Jews and Christians will try to ignore the moral problems of slavery by saying that these slaves were actually servants or indentured servants.  Many translations of the Bible use the word “servant”, “bondservant”, or “manservant” instead of “slave” to make the Bible seem less immoral than it really is.  While many slaves may have worked as household servants, that doesn’t mean that they were not slaves who were bought, sold, and treated worse than livestock.”

The author engages in what is called “a distinction without a difference”. It is a logical fallacy. No one is even attempting to avoid anything by calling slaves indentured servants; they’re the same thing. Yes, some were bought, some were gotten by conquest and some were slaves because of a debt they incurred. But were they treated worse than livestock? We’ll see later how he goes about to substantiate this.

The following passage shows that slaves are clearly property to be bought and sold like livestock.   However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.  (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

I have no contention with the fact that slaves were bought and sold. Given the considerations of what biblical slavery is about, this is their prerogative.

The following passage describes how the Hebrew slaves are to be treated. If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years.  Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom.  If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year.  But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him.  If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master.  But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children.  I would rather not go free.’  If he does this, his master must present him before God.  Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl.  After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.  (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT) Notice how they can get a male Hebrew slave to become a permanent slave by keeping his wife and children hostage until he says he wants to become a permanent slave.  What kind of family values are these?[2]

Notwithstanding our Fellow’s comments, this passage is actually about the limitations on slavery. He often makes this mistake in his writing. Add to that that he goes beyond the words of most passages he cites,  most of what he says can be disregarded. But I’m not going to do that. For instance, our Fellow tries to stretch the text to say that the master is holding hostage the family of the slave who is going free when the text, yet the text plainly states that the master is actually the one who gave the slave a wife. How heartless of the master! Also, at this point, the slave could refuse a wife given what his circumstances might be on the year of Jubilee. The fact is that the slavery in the Bible is not some harsh enterprise that devastated individuals. Notice the slave says, “I love my master, my wife, and my children. Being a slave meant working free of charge, but with the benefits of housing, food and protection under the law. And if you were a God fearing Jew, you would “love your neighbor as yourself”. But this protection under the law is something that our Fellow twists into something quite interesting! Look what he has to say:

 What does the Bible say about beating slaves?  It says you can beat both male and female slaves with a rod so hard that as long as they don’t die right away you are cleared of any wrong doing. When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.  (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

This is a most absurd interpretation of the matter.   This passage actually deals with the sanctions of killing one’s slave. If a master beats a slave and they die, he is punished. It most certainly does not commend beating a slave. If the slave is hurt, but recovers fully, he or she remains a slave. But, if the manservant or maidservant is beaten so that there is a loss of eye or a loss of tooth, they are to go free for the damage done to them (Ex. 21:26-27). Thus, these passages are actually dealing with how a master is to be punished if he mistreats his slaves, not about how masters can beat their slaves harshly! Like I said, these misrepresentations are motivated by a dull-malice. You have to be trying to make the passage say something like our fellow alleges that it says. This passage deals with, like I said above,  the slave’s protection under the law.

Dull malice without the malice

You would think that Jesus and the New Testament would have a different view of slavery, but slavery is still approved of in the New Testament, as the following passages show. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear.  Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.  (Ephesians 6:5 NLT) Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed.  If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful.  You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts.  Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.  (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

Our Fellow is right in that Jesus does not have a different view of slavery than that of the Old Testament.  But his report is, as I would have expected, only partial. Paul writes in Colossians 4:1 “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” Paul exhorts slaves too about their masters in 1 Timothy 6:2-3: And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. The most explicit is Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 6:9
“And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” One may argue a fortiori that if one is to forbear threatening, one is to forbear beating them. But even so, one could argue that any beating of a slave in Scripture is about sanctions for wrongdoing, as our Fellow even quotes of Christ:

In the following parable, Jesus clearly approves of beating slaves even if they didn’t know they were doing anything wrong.  The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it.  “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly.  Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.”  (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

The key word is that they were doing something wrong. It could be that the master has prerogative to chastise his servant if he does a moral evil like becoming drunk, stealing, etc. Really, such application is only for the sake of argument since Christ’s parables are not necessarily teaching normatively on this, but rather, he is teaching by way of analogy. Perhaps with more study this matter could be better clarified, but I don’t think it necessary at this point.


[1] Also, biblical slavery should be distinguished from kidnapping. The Bible actually pronounces the death penalty against kidnapping in Exodus 21:16.
[2] In our fellow’s commentary on Exodus 21:7-11, our Fellow asserts that the Bible teaches the permissibility of sex slavery. The passage, however, nowhere describes sex slavery. I fear that our Fellow may have drunk a few too many at this point.

– Jesse Murch

An Infallible Defense for the Resurrection of Christ

The resurrection of Christ is a most pivotal part of the Christian religion. On the doctrine of the resurrection our entire faith stands or falls. If Christ is not raised from the dead we have faith only in a dead Messiah and failed prophecies. Faith in failure is the quintessential expression  of vanity.

The Apostle Paul makes this inference in his first letter to the Corinthians, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14)

A defense of the resurrection is critical to the faith. For our faith to be sure we must have a sure argument for the resurrection. To the degree our evidence is weak, so is our faith.

Faith is not a blind hope in the improbable (e.g., I have faith the Red Sox will win the World Series this year). Faith is trusting assent to a proposition. If the proposition is found to be false you have no reason to have faith. You may have faith in your bank that they will keep your money safe (a foolish faith, but now is not the time to ramble about fractional reserve banking). You have faith in the proposition, “The money I have earned is safer in the bank than in my possession.”  But if the bank is robbed, your faith in that proposition is weak at best. This is to demonstrate you have reasons for your faith. If those reasons are fallacious or unreliable, so is your faith.

What we need then for a defense of the resurrection is an infallible defense. Therefore, when we argue for the resurrection we should not be content to spout off arguments to no profit. Far too often have we heard the arguments from silence (e.g., no body was produced) and appeals to empirical eyewitness accounts in an attempt to defend the resurrection. How definite are these arguments? Are they worth putting your faith in? Remember, faith does not bridge the gap where empirical evidence is insufficient. If your faith is based on empirical eyewitness accounts, your faith is only as strong as the human senses are reliable.

Are the senses infallible? There are optical illusions, mirages, hallucinations, waking dreams, varying sensation of color, taste, and touch. How many accidents have been the result of someone’s false perception of the situation? At best what can be said of the human sensory organs is that they are “generally” reliable. Which is only to say they are “probably” reliable. Which is only to say Jesus Christ was probably raised from the dead, so our faith is probably not in vain, and we are probably not false witnesses of God, and we are probably not still in our sins. When we preach, the most convicting thing we can say is, “You should probably repent and believe in Christ.”

This type of uncertainty is not necessary. It may be objected that Paul appeals to empirical eye witness accounts earlier in 1 Corinthians 15 where he says:

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” (3-8)

At first glance it may appear as though Paul is saying that the eye witness accounts are the reason for believing the resurrection. But let’s look closely at the text. Paul is delivering to the Corinthians that which was delivered to him — the Gospel message. Within this Gospel message are the eye witness accounts. Paul says, “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” The Gospel is not confirmed by eyewitness accounts, but the eye witness accounts are part of the Gospel message, the message Paul received, and also preached. Paul does not place his confidence in the sense organs of the disciples.

It may even be argued that Paul is not speaking of a literal seeing, as in images of color perceived through the retina. Paul adds his vision of Christ to the list of those that saw Christ, but Paul never actually saw Him with the physical eye. The accounts of Paul’s encounter with Christ in Acts 9 and 22 tell us that Paul never saw Christ’s resurrected body. Paul expressed this when he said, “I could not see for the glory of that light.” When Paul says that Christ was “seen of him” in 1 Corinthians, he is not speaking of an eye witness account of Christ. Because Paul says, “he was seen of me also” all of the “seeing” must be figurative, as the word “also“ identifies the “seeing” as the same.  If it was a figurative seeing for Paul (and it seems from the two Acts accounts that it is) it must also be for all the other witnesses. “Seeing” seems to be referring to conversion, not to eyewitness testimony.

This becomes more evident in examining the two appearances of Christ in Luke 24; the appearing of Christ to Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus (13-32) and the appearing of Christ to the Eleven and those that were with them in Jerusalem (33-49).

The road to Emmaus

When Christ approached the two on their way to Emmaus the Scripture says, “their eyes were holden that they should not know him.” No doubt, they physically saw the resurrected Christ who was speaking to them but they did not see Him for who He was. At His inquiry they told Christ of all the events that took place. It is obvious from their words they did not believe as of  yet the resurrection. They did not believe because of an empty tomb or even the testimony of the women who saw the vision of angels.

Christ rebukes them, not for disbelieving the women or doubting the implications of the empty tomb, but for disbelieving the prophets recorded in Scripture, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” Then, “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” It was after Christ expounded Scripture and after He blessed the bread that “their eyes were opened, and they knew him.”

The appearing of Christ to the disciples in Jerusalem is even more clear. Christ appears to them and they don’t recognize Him as the risen Christ; they think he must be a spirit. Like the two on the way to Emmaus their eyes did not behold Him for who He was. Christ shows them that He is not a spirit and allows them to touch him. Yet even after this they did not believe: “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered….” They didn’t believe until He supped with them, “and he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”

What is the infallible evidence for the resurrection? The same evidence Christ delivered unto the disciples, the same evidence that Paul received and preach –the Scripture. Because the Bible is the infallible Word of God, its testimony of the resurrection is an infallible testimony. “But that’s not convincing to most people,” one may object. To which I answer: It wasn’t convincing to those staring the resurrected  Christ in the face until he opened their eyes to see. Without God enabling a sinner to believe His Word he cannot believe even if Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity incarnate, put to death and resurrected the third day, was the one delivering the message.

But God by His grace does enable some to believe and what He enables them to believe is not a probability, but the sure Word of the Scriptures. May the same Scripture that Christ opened and explained to those He walked with be our source for every argument and our foundation for faith.

-Ben Murch

What Is the Separation of Church and State?

Separation of Church and State usually means the State is way up here and the Church. . .

Today, whenever anyone talks about applying God’s law to civil affairs, folks oppose saying there should be “separation of Church and State.” It is true that there should be a separation of Church authority and State authority, which I will address later, however this is not usually what is intended when people say this. Usually what they actually mean is there should be a separation betwixt God and the State. This is utterly false. Not only should God be acknowledged in State affairs, but it is His law which ought to govern the very structure, means for representation, and legislation that the State enforces.

He gave us His model for civil government in the Hebrew Republic, which is contained mostly in Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. His word states, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” There is no light in those who do not speak according to the law God gave to the Hebrews. Thus, when we hear civil magistrates speaking things like, “spread the wealth (by taxing the productive to death),” “you can’t legislate morality,” or even “the Constitution is the final authority,” it is an evidence there’s no light in them. How? Because the law of God has something to say, and as a matter of fact, gives us specific rules about taxes, how to administer sanctions, and what system of government we ought to have, but they  ignore it altogether and instead settle for autonomy.

What does God say about taxes? In I Samuel 8:15-17 when Samuel describes the tyranny the Hebrews were going to bring upon themselves by putting a king over them he says,

“And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.” (emphasis added)

This passage, showing how tyrannical Saul was going to be, says he will tax the people 10%, which is the amount God requires from His people. So, if God only requires 10%, what makes the State think they have the right to take more than He?

The Bible gives very clear direction as to how the State should administer sanctions in Exodus 21-23. For example, what ought to be done to thieves? Are they to pay the government for a crime they committed against an individual? Or if

the thief ends up in jail, should the victim be the one paying to keep him fed and jailed? What do the scriptures say?

“If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep… for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.  If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double. ” (Ex. 22:1, 3, 4).

God’s law says how the State should govern. There should be no separation between God and the State. The Civil magistrate is to be learned in the law of God:

“And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:  And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: ” (Deut. 17:18-19)

. . . is way down here.

This does not teach a separation between God’s law and the civil magistrate. There should, however, be a separation of Church and State spheres of authority. The Church is not to take upon itself the administration of criminal sanctions; that is the State’s job. The State is not to take upon itself the education of the populace; that is the Church and the Family’s job, nor excommunication, for, that also is the job of the Church. They have their respective spheres of authority, and thus, are “separate” but they are to work together to maintain an equitable society.

-Evan Murch

Some thoughts on Education

I don’t have much time to write, but I thought I would share some of the results of some trowing I have done on education. Most of it was prompted by a debate of sorts on facebook.

Who should educate the children is a bit of a controversial topic. More often than not, one takes the somewhat easy course of action in enrolling their children in the public-school system. After all, parents are usually too busy to take the task themselves, and feel inadequate in doing it, plus, the public education is free. Or, at least, it is already paid for by their tax dollars. So when the talk about homeschooling is brought up, it is usually met with indifference if not a reaction of “It’s not your business where I send my children to be educated!” Again, this is understandable; one would think parents should  have the right to send their children where they deem the best.

Unfortunately, however, teaching one’s own children is a responsibility. As a responsibility, it is not the right of parents to relinquish that responsibility. In Deuteronomy 6, God tells us, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (6)And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (7)And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (8)And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. (9)And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deut. 6:5-9. Please read the whole chapter)

Much more could be said about sending one’s children to the public schools, because the sin committed is not just a shirking of responsibility; it is also sending them to be given counsel by a system that is built on a completely antithetical foundation than that of Christianity. The three things that come to mind would be, 1., Being taught that they came from some chaotic force some billions of years ago and that they have no more value than the beasts of the earth. 2., that all things are relative. And 3., that as animals that are living in a relative world, the only thing that matters is personal gratification of one’s desires and impulses. This on top of sex education and you have a facility that teaches your children how to be fornicators.

In short, the public-school system teaches your children how to behave like animals. The age old adage that should spark at least some opining on our part is “Ideas have consequences”. Why are we surprised that crime and violence has engulfed our nation when the very centers of education teach either implicitly or explicitly that such behavior is normal and fine?

Proud We Stand And Proud We Fall!

This life it billows on

Past all the cares and fears

E’en forth ’til all’s forgotten

The woe, the grief, the tears.

Ah! Vain life of pleasure!

Drunk with dainties and wares:

Letting go of what is dear,

Embraced a conscience seared

Darkened minds and darkened hearts

Proud we stand and proud we fall!

Art thou past all feeling?

Canst thou know what’s in thee?

Bitter cold, thou art keeping

‘Til iced thy heart will be.

Hardened now and brutish,

Silly now and sottish

Knowing not thy left from right

Or the blindness in thy sight.

Darkened minds and darkened hearts

Proud we stand and proud we fall!

What bids these men to speak

Of fortitude in man,

Of natural grace giv’n to see

Though born iniquity?

How boastful we’ve become

As if all were like to God!

Like Caesars before in Rome

Mocking death until they rot.

Darkened minds, darkened hearts

Proud we stand and proud we fall!

‘Tis Conscience stabbing through

Pleading to turn thy ways.

Rememb’ring the call of sin

Thou dost not repent or sway.

Ah mem’ries curs’d  treasure!

What keeps thee in the mind?

Beating hard upon this shore

Bidding peace, “Farewell, goodbye”?

Exalted now we are, but thrown to hell shall be.

The lot of those who stand in pride; the damned eternally.