Monthly Archives: October 2013

Authority: Patriotism

This is part of a series of posts on the doctrine of Authority. Click here to see the entire series.

Whenever I bring up the things that have been discussed in this series I am inevitably labeled an “anarchist” or “unpatriotic”.  I have discussed the topic of anarchy earlier.  But what does it mean to be patriotic?

Among conservative Christians patriotism is equal to or greater than biblicism.  Thousands of conservative Christian pulpits have the Christian flag and the American flag side by side.  Patriotism is in many ways deemed to be the equivalent of being Christian.  At least it is considered difficult to understand how somebody could be a Christian and not be patriotic.  After all, is not the United States a Christian nation?

The answer to that question is an unequivocal, No!  I would strongly recommend that readers of this essay pick up a copy of Gary North’s “Political Polytheism” and read it.  He persuasively argues that the United States was designed to appear outwardly religious and Christian as a means of pacifying the populous, but that the Constitution is a document that purposefully removed Christianity from the public arena.

American Christians have been sold a bill of goods.  President John Kennedy’s famous dictum, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country” has been raised to the level of Scripture.  But it is the Scripture of statism.   The truth is just the opposite.  According to the Bible, the State is to serve the citizens.  Romans 13 describes the state as a “minister” of God.  The word that is used is diakonos, the Greek word for servant.  Paul instructs the Romans that they pay taxes in exchange for the service of the State.  The notion that the citizens are to serve the State is absurd and dangerous.  That concept leads directly to the deadly idea that individuals somehow owe something to the State other than taxes and submission.  It leads to the belief that citizens owe the state military service and any “civilian” service that the government may deem necessary.   Millions have died in unjust wars because of that belief.  Christians should be prepared to give their lives in service to the Church but should rarely, if ever, give their lives in service to the State.

Patriotism was originally defined as a love of country.  ‘Country’ included the land in which a person lived, his own private property, and the life and property of his neighbors.  Defined accordingly, there is no contradiction between the Bible and patriotism.  However, patriotism is now defined as love of government.  Any criticism of what the government decrees is deemed to be the activity of a traitor.  Any disagreement with the stance and policies of the government is called unpatriotic.  This is absurd.  All decrees of men, whether they be in the Church, Family or the State, are to be examined in light of the Bible.  If the decree is inconsistent with biblical truth, it needs to be criticized.  To argue that the conscience of the individual  is bound by the law of patriotism to uncritically accept everything said by the magistrate is foolish at best, sinful at worst.

Just as the State has managed to twist by 180 degrees our stance before it, so the stance of the individual before the Church has been equally twisted.  Christians look at the church and expect public service.  Many expect it to be a public service institution; feeding the hungry, housing the poor, offering free counseling services, and just generally being nice to people.  The idea that it is the duty of the believer to serve the Church is foreign.  However, that idea is the truth.

The level of service that “patriots” expect from citizens to the State is the same level of service that God expects from believers to the Church.  It is not a coincidence that these two conceptions of service have been reversed.  As statism has advanced in our culture, most Christians have lost the ability to think critically and analyze what is going on.  The State is not neutral.  It has the goal of destroying the biblical Church by changing it into an institution after the image of the State.  This has always been true throughout church history and will always be true until the end of time (read the book of Revelation and just look for church/state relations).  There is no value to being a patriot to a state that hates God.  God makes it very clear.  As things stand today, we can serve man, via the state, or we can serve Him, via the Church.

Authority: What is a Christian to do?

This is part of a series of posts on the doctrine of Authority. Click here to see the entire series.

The response of evangelicalism, fundamentalism, pietism, and all the other “isms” of Christianity in the United States today is to adopt the myth of neutrality.  The state tells us that they are spiritually/religiously neutral and that if we wish to be a part of the state we must also adopt the stance of religious neutrality.  Of course, the state is not religiously neutral.  It is incessantly advancing its own cause of secular humanism.   Christians, however, are either too ignorant or naive to realize what is going on.  They meekly lay down their arms and promise that their personal “religious” beliefs will never have any impact upon their political activities.

Christians  seem to believe that the way to reform the state is to become a part of it.  In order to do so, the first thing a Christian must do is swear a vow to uphold it!  That is a funny way to change something.   Nevertheless we are constantly bombarded with messages from the Christian community that we can’t afford to be passive, we must elect so and so to this or that office.  If only we can get Christians into all elected offices, then everything will be OK.  That belief is a utopian ideal that will never be realized.  That alone is not sufficient reason to reject it.  It needs to be rejected because it is directly opposed to the biblical doctrine of authority.

The first thing  Christians must do is cease swearing oaths to uphold statist documents that are directly in contradiction with the Bible.  Next, we must recognize that God is not honored by our abandoning biblical truths in order to obtain status in the state.  The State is inferior to the Church.  It always has been and it always will be.  That is reality.  Working to make the State superior to the Church is counter productive.  The Church is entrusted with the Word of God that describes the form and function of the State.  It is the job of the Church to inform the State of its duties.  However, this declaration of the duties of the State must be done without compromising individual consciences.  It is impossible to swear an oath to uphold the current state system and then try and “change it from the inside”.  The only hope for the change of the current state system is from the outside.

Christians have weapons of warfare that are far stronger than the vote, the ballot initiative, or the constitutional amendment referendum; the preaching of biblical truth and prayer.  Christians must withdraw from the positions in the state that require swearing an oath to an immoral document and exercise the twin pillars of biblical preaching and prayer.  The state needs to be informed of its God ordained responsibility to uphold the Law of God.  The state needs to be informed that God will not be mocked.  If the leaders of the state decide to ignore the Law of God they will find themselves under the judgment of God in very short order.  To that end, Christians need to pray that the elected leaders would submit themselves to the Law of God and enforce it in the land.  If they don’t, Christians need to pray that God will judge them and remove them from office.

The common critique of this position is that it is a “do nothing” position.  I suppose if God does not have an opinion about how the State is to be ordered, if He does not have an opinion about what law should be the law of the land, if He does not have an opinion about the contents of a sworn oath, if He does not have an opinion about how His monopoly power is exercised, if He does not respond to the prayers of His people, and if He does not care about the content of the sermons of His Church to the State, then this is truly a “do nothing” position.  But, if God is the same God that most Christians worship; whom they believe to answer the prayers of His people and who cares about the content of His message to the State, then this is far from a “do nothing” position.  In fact, it is the most powerful activity that any Christian can engage in.

Authority: Voting

This is part of a series of posts on the doctrine of Authority. Click here to see the entire series.

What is actually taking place when a citizen of a democracy exercises his right to vote?  Under democratic political theory, original authority is vested in the individual members of the state.  Those who wish to become office holders in the state have to procure a majority of the pieces of individual authority that exist in each member in order to obtain the right to swear an oath to uphold the law of the land and exercise monopoly power over the citizens.  Those individual pieces of authority are votes.  When an individual votes he is loaning his piece of original authority to another person who is running for office.  The person who gathers the most individual pieces of authority wins and is elected.  (Again, this is all consistent with the political theory of John Locke, the most dominant political theorist at the time of the American Revolution and the drafting of the Constitution.)

Citizens of the United States may not have thought this principle through, but they are fully aware of it.  The “power of the vote” is a phrase that is used repeatedly.  The ability of the citizens to “throw the rascals out” indicates an awareness of that power.  Any of the multitudes of bumper stickers that assert “I am _______, and I Vote!” prove that citizens know that the vote is an exercise of their authority.  The problem, however, is that according to the Bible they have no authority.  Christians need to cease voting.  Simply because the State says that a person has the “right to vote” does not make it right.  The State says that a woman has the “right to murder her unborn baby” and all Christians realize that alleged right does not make abortion moral.  In the same way, the State’s assertion that Christians have a right and duty to vote does not make the act of voting moral.

God has not granted original authority to the individual who then transfers it “up” via the process of voting.  Quite the contrary, the individual is commanded to submit to the authority of the representative head.  Voting is not an act of authority because authority does not flow upward.   The entire process is a sham.  Eventually everything reverts in practice to a form of oligarchy/monarchy.  Hans Hoppe has written an excellent book entitled “Democracy, The God That Failed” that I would strongly recommend all reading this essay pick up.  He conclusively proves that democracy will always eventually wind up as practical oligarchy/monarchy.  Why not give up the sham of a democracy and establish oligarchy?

Alexis de Tocqueville recognized the latent danger in democracy when he traveled all over this country in the first half of the19th century.  He especially recognized the self-destructive nature of democracy.  As he observed in his book entitled “Democracy in America”,  once the citizens realize that they hold the right to the purse strings of the state treasury by means of the vote they will eventually give in to temptation and form special interest groups, each grappling for an ever increasing piece of the pie.  Two hundred years later we can see that he has hit the nail on the head.

Authority: Democracy

This is part of a series of posts on the doctrine of Authority. Click here to see the entire series.

By now it should be apparent that the biblical doctrine of authority has dramatic implications for political philosophy.  All authority has been given to Jesus by the Father.  Jesus has delegated His authority to the magistrate.  The magistrate is not left without instructions about how to use that authority.  Individuals are ordained to the offices in the magistrate by the taking of a vow that gives them the right to exercise the monopoly power of the sword. Citizens are to submit to the authority of the superiors.   In all cases the authority of God flows from the top down.  This crucial point about the nature of authority makes it very difficult to defend the political philosophy of democracy.

Democracy begins with the presupposition that original authority is vested in the individual.  This presupposition is deemed to be self-evident.  No attempt is made to argue for it.  It is simply asserted that it must be the case that original authority exists in the life of each individual.

It is not a mere coincidence that the doctrine of the “divine right of Kings” was replaced by the doctrine of the sovereign authority of the individual at exactly the same point in history when the Church was deemed to be culturally irrelevant in light of the newly discovered reality of enlightened, rational man.  During the period of time known as the “Enlightenment” (the period of John Locke as I mentioned earlier),  kingdom after kingdom was dissolved and replaced with quasi-democracies (usually as the result of a revolutionary war) that asserted the divine right of the individual.

Under the divine right of Kings it was understood that it was the responsibility of the King to utilize his God-given authority to enforce the law (usually the Law of God) over his subjects.  Under the divine right of the individual (the Lockian social contract), the Law of God was replaced by a natural law of the enlightened, rational individual.  This reality is easily observed in the Constitution of the United States which vests original authority in “We the People” and immediately proceeds to inaugurate the Legislative branch of government in order to formulate law.

The Bible makes no provision for the belief that the individual is vested with original authority.  Nowhere is it revealed that God has delegated His authority to individuals who are then expected to figure out some way to order a civil magistrate that will enforce the Law of God or, even worse, create law based upon natural law and reason.    It is impossible to reconcile democracy and the biblical doctrine of authority.

It is interesting that most democracies are really democracies in name only.  Especially in the United States, our democracy is really much closer in practice to a Kingdom than it is a democracy.  We speak of our elected officials as “public servants” but we all laugh at the concept that they really “serve the public”.  Career politicians describe themselves as “public servants” and then carefully plan  their careers for their own personal advancement.  The rank and file citizen realizes that he has little or no impact upon what goes on in government.  For that reason, the great majority never even bother to exercise their right, as the holders of original authority, to vote.

Elected officials in the Federal government “serve” the public for exorbitant salaries.  They are  exempted from all the laws that they impose on the citizens of the country (employment law and payroll taxes being two of the best examples).  They have their own private retirement program that guarantees them lifetime financial security.  They have bodyguards who make sure that no member of the public can get close to them.  The President, in particular, never travels without the lives of the average citizen being disrupted.  When the President is in the air, all civilian air traffic is re-routed to other air space.  When the President travels the highways, they are closed to traffic by ordinary citizens.  Government officials travel the world on taxpayer dollars.  Government officials get all the best seats at civic and sporting events.  The list can go on.  Government officials, despite the facade of democracy, are really much more like royalty.

Defenders of democracy will not doubt bring up the concept of the vote.  After all, as long as we have the right to vote, we have a democracy because we can “throw the rascals out”.  Unfortunately, most Christians have never considered what they are doing when they vote.

Authority: The Example of Slavery

This is part of a series of posts on the doctrine of Authority. Click here to see the entire series.

An argument that is advanced more than any other against what has been written above is that none of the New Testament writers ever told Christians that they could not be members of the Roman state.  Soldiers were not told to resign their commissions.  Tax collectors, minor governors, and other officials were never instructed that they were in sin.  Jesus had nothing to say about holding appointed office in the Roman state.  What is more, Paul used his citizenship to his advantage by appealing his criminal case to Caesar!  How could it be wrong to be a part of the state if all of these things are true?

To answer that question it is worth taking some time to consider the example of slavery.  The New Testament mentions slavery frequently.  Two passages speak directly to the issue of slavery:

I Corinthians 7: 20-21 says, “Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called.  Were you called while a slave?  Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.”

Ephesians 6: 5-9 says:

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.  With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

It is fascinating that there are no specific statements anywhere in the Bible about the right of a person to not be owned by another person.  When Paul has the opportunity to discuss the topic of slavery he does not tell the slave that he has a God-given right to be free.  Neither does he tell the master to stop sinning and free his slaves.  No slave owner is ever rebuked for stealing the labor of another person nor is any slave owner ever rebuked for buying and selling human beings.

In fact, Paul does just the opposite.  Paul tells slaves to remain slaves.  Of course, if you can obtain your freedom it is better to do that.  But if you can’t, be content with your status as a slave.  Furthermore, Paul instructs masters to be good masters but he does not tell them to stop being masters.  Being a slave master never shows up on any of the lists of sins that need to be avoided.  In all respects, the Bible seems to wholeheartedly endorse the institution of slavery.

I suspect that, with very few exceptions, Evangelicals are united in their belief that slavery is a sin.  There might be a rare individual somewhere who would be willing to try and argue that slavery does not violate the moral law of God but I don’t think he would have much of a following.  The reaction of most modern Christians to the institution of slavery is one of abhorrence.  Evangelicals argue that slavery is the sin of theft in that it steals the labor of another human being.  They also argue that it is the sin of kidnapping in that it steals another human being.  They point out that slavery reduces other human beings to the status of mere property, this fact being in no way consistent with the reality that man is made in the image of God.  Evangelicals universally conclude that men have a God-given right to be free and cannot be owned, traded, or forced to work for any man.

Now this raises an interesting problem.  How can it be that slavery is such a heinous sin and yet it is endorsed by the New Testament?   One of two things must be true.  Either Evangelicals are mistaken and slavery is not a sin.  Or, slavery is a sin and the Church has, through time, advanced biblical theology past the point of development that existed at the time of the writing of the New Testament.  I conclude that the second option is correct.

Believing that the Church has learned how to apply the truths of the Bible to the culture in which it lives on an increasing basis through time is not the same thing as saying that God is giving new revelation.  The extant revelation of God contained in the Bible is complete, inerrant, infallible, and entirely sufficient for all matters of faith and practice.  There is no new revelation.  Understanding that slavery is a sin does not constitute a new revelation.  However, it does not follow that because the Bible is sufficient for all matters of life that Christians have figured out all of the areas of life that the Bible speaks to.  No doubt there are many areas of life that need greater illumination from the Word of God.

Recognizing that the Church has come to realize that slavery is a sin is not difficult for a modern believer to understand.  The modern believer has lived all his life in a world where that fact  is presupposed to be true.  However, for the vast majority of Christians throughout the history of the world, it would have been very difficult.  They lived in a world in which slavery was presupposed to be a legitimate institution.  The United States fought a bloody civil war, in part over the issue of whether slavery was a sin.  Southern Christians argued vehemently that slavery was not sin.  They pointed out that Paul never said that it was.  They pointed out that Paul actually endorsed the institution of slavery.  But they were wrong.

Those who first argued that slavery was sin were no doubt considered to be lunatics.  Undoubtedly they were told that their utopian worldview could never come to pass.  It won’t work, they were told.  It will change the nature of society too much, others said.  Most certainly they were told to focus their efforts on something that could have some immediate practical impact rather than talking about something that could never come to pass.  It is a very good thing that they did  not listen to their critics.

Many of the applications of the doctrine of authority to the world in which we live seem as dubious as the belief that slavery is a sin once seemed.  But those who believe that are wrong.  A doctrine is not wrong simply because it is difficult to conceive.  A doctrine is not wrong simply because it seems to “ideal”.  A doctrine is not wrong simply because it makes people feel bad, irritable, or agitated.   A doctrine is only wrong if it can be shown to be inconsistent with the Bible.  The example of slavery illustrates that it is possible for the Church to come to realize that something is true that was not specifically addressed at the time of the writing of the New Testament.

The doctrine of authority and its application to the world is that type of situation.  The desire of a Christian to not be bound by an oath to an immoral state is not a pipe dream.  Refusing to take an oath to bind the conscience and force the believer into the worldly mold of an immoral state is not an unreasonable or utopian behavior.  The job of the modern believer is to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which  is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (Romans 12:2)

Authority: Problems with Current Interpretations of the Constitution

This is part of a series of posts on the doctrine of Authority. Click here to see the entire series.

Up until this point I have been dealing strictly with the US Constitution as it is written.  As we have seen, there are many things that should cause grave problems for Christians in the official written documents.  But, we are told that the Constitution is a “living document” that is always evolving to “meet the needs of modern society”.  As a result, many of the things in the Constitution that are not currently politically popular have been abandoned or ignored.  In addition, many things that are politically popular have been “discovered” in the Constitution.  It is these constitutional discoveries that we need to consider lastly.

The Constitution as it was originally written was designed to separate political power.  The Legislative Branch was entrusted with the power to make law whereas the Judicial Branch was supposed to interpret and apply the law to everyday situations.  It was never envisioned by the original signers of the Constitution that the Supreme Court would one day come to make new law by means of their judicial decisions.  Nevertheless, that day has arrived and today we live under the scourge of Supreme Court judicial decision law that is triumphed as Constitutional law.  This creates another problem for Christians who swear an oath to uphold the Constitution.

When a Christian swears an oath to uphold the Constitution, is he swearing an oath to the Constitution as it was originally written or as it is currently interpreted?  There are vast differences between the two Constitutions.  I have already conclusively proved that it is morally impossible to swear an oath to the Constitution as it was originally written.  What about current Supreme Court versions of the Constitution?

Just a couple of examples will be sufficient to prove that the Constitution as it is currently interpreted is even worse than the Constitution as it was originally written.

1.  Abortion.  The US Supreme Court has found a Constitutional right for a woman and a doctor to conspire together to kill an unborn baby carried by the woman.  Since that right was discovered in 1973 tens of millions of unborn babies, potential US citizens if they had only been born, have been murdered.

Taking an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States as it is currently interpreted by the Supreme Court means that Christians are telling God that they are fully prepared to defend the murder of tens of millions of human beings as a right granted to them by the State.

2.  Homosexuality.  The US Supreme Court has found a Constitutional right for a homosexual couple to be considered a “family” from the perspective of the federal and state governments.  Because of this constitutional right Christian insurance agents may now be forced to sell insurance products to homosexual couples and not be permitted to exclude them because they do not consider them to be a family.  Such discrimination would be illegal and bring the full wrath of the government and the homosexual political lobby down upon any Christian who would dare to argue that homosexual couples are not families.

Taking an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States as it is currently interpreted by the Supreme Court would mean that a Christian would be telling God that homosexuals are legitimate family units and that God’s opinion that they should be executed is in error.

3.  Social Security.  Few today understand US history well enough to be aware of the Constitutional challenge that the social security program created.  Today Social Security is such a part of our lives that to even question its constitutionality is to make one look like a bit of a fringe element fanatic.  This was not always so.  When Social Security was originally framed there were many in Congress who deemed it to be unconstitutional because it was recognized as  essentially theft from the younger tax payers of one generation to buy the votes of older tax consumers  in another generation.  The challenge to Social Security fell short in the Supreme Court (thanks to FDR’s packing of the court with folks willing to vote for his program) and today Social Security is considered to be a Constitutional right.

Most Christians have never thought this issue through from a biblical perspective.  I believe it is possible to make a biblically principled argument that Social Security is immoral.  Taking a vow to uphold the Constitution as it is currently interpreted would therefore include upholding an immoral Social Security system.

Today the Constitution is ignored by all  branches of government and whatever the Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches tell us is constitutional is, by definition, constitutional.  I have to question how a Christian could ever make an oath to uphold a document that is so ephemeral.

Defining Success

Recently we had a visitor to our body, a brother who is a Pastor in Eastern Europe. It was fascinating and enjoyable to hear him speak about his experiences in Sunday School and our men’s fellowship group. It’s a different world over there in some senses: their political and cultural history is hard to believe at times. I’m sure he has experienced things that the typical American evangelical would never have survived. But, in another sense – a more important sense – his experiences are just like everyone else’s. He deals with his own sin and sin within his congregation, works to bring his sheep to maturity in Christ and struggles with the false church and false teaching that has so deeply infiltrated the church at large. The words may be different at times, but the tune is exactly the same.

Nevertheless, we were curious about his perspective on the church. At one point in our discussion, we asked him what he thought about the American church as he saw it. The first thing that came to mind was this: we don’t know how to measure success in the church. In his experience visiting churches and especially in his experiences with western missionaries back home, he noticed that all we seem to care about is numbers. In fact, he had witnessed men manipulating this system for their own personal gain. He had seen men work to fill their pews on days when missionaries or church representatives were to visit – not with faithful members, but with people who had been bribed to show up just so the dollars would keep flowing. Amazingly, these westerners didn’t even care enough to talk to the people sitting in the pews to find out how effective their leaders were in ministry and whether they ought to continue their financial support. All they cared was that the church looked full and that was enough to keep the checks coming.

There’s a huge problem with basing success on the number of “prayers” prayed or butts in the pews: it creates huge negative incentives. Whether it’s wicked men outright deceiving (as our friend had witnessed) or changing the gospel to make it more palatable, people will do whatever they can to be or seem successful. I’ve seen the same types of things with my own eyes. I wrote last week about the “4 spiritual laws” – they are not the gospel that was preached by Christ or His apostles. And yet, they sound really nice and really caring and I’m sure lots of people have “success” getting people to pray the prayer on the back of the pamphlet. It doesn’t matter if they never see that person again, it’s another tic on the chalk board to send back to corporate. To them, it doesn’t matter that it isn’t the gospel of the apostles and they don’t care that such actions will only lead to their own destruction. Unlike them, I have no interest in Paul’s words from Galatians 1. Paul, dealing with those who we’re persecuting and infiltrating the Galatian church with a false gospel says in verses 6-10:

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond- servant of Christ.

Paul says there are two types of “christian” leaders: those who serve men and those who serve Christ. If you are engaging in theatrics and deception to fill your pews to get the cash that comes with it, you are serving man (likely yourself). If you are preaching a false gospel to build a megachurch and garner acclaim, you are serving man. Whatever ways wicked leaders use to get those numbers, the result is always the same: truth is exchanged for a lie and God is dishonored. And if you are the one doing this evil you have an undesirable fate in store for you: you are accursed.

God’s Word does not create perverse incentives. Remember, this is the God who does not tempt us (James 1:13), it would be foolish to believe that his Word itself would tempt us. Just the opposite: when we are tempted we can look to God’s Word to see the way out that He has provided for us (1 Corinthians 10:13). Therefore, on these grounds alone, we must reject the idea that we succeed or fail based on the number of people we get to respond. So, I must agree with my brother from Eastern Europe – numbers aren’t the way to determine success. And I must agree with his solution: success is defined by faithfulness and obedience.

This question mirrors a question that came up to the nation of Israel: “what exactly does God want from us?” The Pharisees and their predecessors always assumed that the answer was ceremony and sacrifice. They are like the modern day leaders who assume that God wants lots and lots of people who say his name. But God doesn’t want that. He doesn’t want meaningless sacrifices and he doesn’t want empty praise. He says the same thing to Saul in one if my favorite passages from the entire Bible in 1 Samuel 15. Saul had been commanded by God to destroy the Amalekites and absolutely everything they possessed. Their men, women, children and livestock – everything. But Saul gets the bright idea to spare all the livestock for a time so they may be brought back and used as sacrifices to God. Samuel goes to confront Saul and in verses 13-23, with some of my favorite Biblical sarcasm, we see their interaction:

Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “ Blessed are you of the Lord! I have carried out the command of the Lord.” But Samuel said, “ What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.” Then Samuel said to Saul, “Wait, and let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak!”
Samuel said, “Is it not true, though you were little in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel? And the Lord anointed you king over Israel, and the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘ Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are exterminated. ’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but rushed upon the spoil and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord?”
Then Saul said to Samuel, “ I did obey the voice of the Lord, and went on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” Samuel said,
“ Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
“For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He has also rejected you from being king.”

It couldn’t be any clearer: God didn’t want sacrifices and offerings of the choicest of all the Amalekites had to offer – he wanted obedience. It doesn’t matter that a right sacrifice to God is a pleasing aroma. What matters is what he has commanded. And if you must disobey his command to achieve even a good end, all is lost. The ends do not justify the means. In the same way, it doesn’t matter that God demands that all mankind bow their knee to God. If we lie and cheat or change the gospel to get men to bend their knees and not their hearts to God, he will not be pleased with us. I am so bold as to say that God will be far more pleased with a minister of God who serves 1 sheep faithfully than all of the megachurch leaders and their millions of duped goats combined. Like Saul and the livestock of the Amalekites, no matter how good the intentions, they will be rejected.

It is not as if this sentiment is left out of the New Testament writings as well. Specifically, I want to look at some of Paul’s parting words from his last letter. I quoted extensively from 2 Timothy last week and I want to pick up near where I left off and look at chapter 4 verses 5-8 and 16-18:

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Paul, as you’ll recall, is writing from prison and near his death. He has been facing trial in the roman courts and unable to preach and serve as he had done years earlier. He is looking at his life and recounting to Timothy – in the first quoted passage – how he measures his own success. Strange, isn’t it, how he doesn’t list or number all the churches he has planted? Or all the elders he has ordained? Or all the believers he has baptized? Or all the missionaries he has trained? It’s because that’s not the stuff that matters! What’s matters is that he has kept the faith. What matters is that he has persevered. And it gets even worse! Here at the end of his life almost everyone he knows has abandoned him. Every friend and brother has left him. He has no groupies following him around picketing his trial or serving him in prison. He is alone. And yet, he still declares success and knows that The Lord remains faithful to him. If Paul, the single greatest missionary and church planter in history doesn’t care about numbers, how stupid can we be to care about them.

We have less than 25 members at TRBC. I don’t say that to brag – boasting over small numbers is just as immoral as boasting over big numbers. We are about the same size as our brother’s church back in Eastern Europe. But, like him, we measure success based on our faithfulness to do what is demanded of us. We have rejoiced in the past couple of years as two new families have joined our body. And we will continue to preach the Word of God in the hopes that we might find more of God’s stray sheep and can bring them into the fold. But even if that doesn’t happen for another decade, we will continue to preach the truth and let God handle the consequences. Let Him bring whom He desires.

Authority: Problems in the Bill of Rights and Constitutional Amendments

This is part of a series of posts on the doctrine of Authority. Click here to see the entire series.

1.  The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”  This is a landmark decision for the progress of secularism.  Although it is virtually impossible for a modern day citizen in the United States to understand, most of human history has been filled with the State recognizing its responsibility to “establish religion”.

The original Westminster Confession of Faith (written in the 17th century and drawing heavily upon the “Institutes of the Christian Religion” by John Calvin) had this to say about the role of the civil magistrate with respect to the Church:  “God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates to be under Him and over the people for His own glory and the public good….The civil magistrate has authority, and it is his duty, to take order that unity and peace be preserved in the that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed…”  In essence, the WCF asserted that it was the duty of the civil magistrate to enforce the first table of the law of God as well as the second table.

This position was by no means unusual or extraordinary for that time or for most of human history for that matter.  However, when the WCF’s position on civil government ran into US Constitutionalism, something had to give.  It is not hard to guess who lost.

In light of the writings of the US Constitution it was determined by the reformed churches in the United States that an amendment needed to be made to the WCF.  All assertions about the magistrate being responsible to enforce the first table of the law were removed.  No theological reasons were given for the removal.  All references to the “old” WCF were couched in terms like “antiquated”, “outdated”, and “misinformed”.  It was a great propaganda smear campaign and it was easy to win over the minds of Americans who were already sedated by the twin pillars of democracy and constitutionalism.  Today, few reformed theologians are even aware that the confession they swear an oath to uphold has been modified to bring it into line with the US Constitution.

The “Establishment” clause of the First Amendment specifically repudiates the duty of the civil magistrate to establish the Law of God as the law of the land.  If no particular religion may be established (and in this case we all understand that the writers of the Bill or Rights  were referring to the various denominations of Christianity) then it follows that the law of the land must be based upon some other authority.   In essence, this clause asserts the argument that it is the duty of the state to be secular.  Any attempt to establish a religion would be sectarian.  Therefore, this clause is a confession that the Constitution of the United States establishes a secular government in which “the people” are sovereign. There is a name for this political/philosophical position:  secular humanism.

The problem with this amendment to the Constitution is that it does not recognize that all of life is essentially religious.  By asserting that the state may not establish a religion, it ends up establishing a religion.  Secular humanism does not have the liturgical trappings of other religions but it is a religion nonetheless.  Under secular humanism, god is the majority will of the people.  The means of revelation is rationalism.  The source of revelation is natural law.  The priesthood consists of the members of the governmental bureaucracy.  It has taken some time for the fruits of this amendment to be worked out in the life of the nation.  However, there can be no doubt that secular humanism is the official religion of the United States today.

2.  The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says this, “No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…”  This is the infamous “I plead the fifth” amendment that we are all so familiar with.  It allows a person to be legally non-cooperative with the magistrate in investigations in which he is guilty.

Nothing could be further from the biblical practice.  In seeking to ascertain the veracity of an accusation, all witnesses and possible suspects under the biblical system are expected to be fully honest and forthcoming in their testimonies.  There is absolutely no provision for refusing to answer a direct question if there is a possibility that answering it will land you in jail.  In fact, the civil authorities under a biblical system require the taking of an oath of truthfulness precisely so that the suspect will be intimidated into telling the truth, lest he face the vengeance of God Himself.

Biblical criminal investigations and prosecutions are designed to discover truth.  All parties to the investigation and prosecution are expected to cooperate.  The Constitutional system is designed to stymie the process of the discovery of the truth and to instigate an adversarial environment between the magistrate and the subject.  This inevitably results in less information and the tendency to “plea bargain” away the investigation and the prosecution of a case.  Justice is rarely served under that system.

3.  The Eighth Amendment is the prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment”.  As it is currently interpreted by the court system in the US it generally means that the death penalty may not be applied.

Biblical law recognizes many crimes/sins for which the death penalty may be applied.  Included in them are:  blasphemy, incorrigible juvenile delinquency, adultery, homosexuality, witchcraft, and murder.  The law today does not even address the issue of the death penalty for those crimes in the Bible that require the death penalty.  It is simply assumed that, under the US Constitution, the death penalty would be cruel and unusual.  Indeed, many of the crimes in the above list are not even considered to be crimes and, in fact, some of them are “constitutionally protected behaviors”!

4.  The Fourteenth Amendment says, “All persons born in the United States…are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Becoming a citizen of a sovereign nation is an action that should require the swearing of a citizenship oath.  Prior to 1868 in this country that truth was recognized as a fact.  However, since the 14th Amendment was ratified all persons born in the US are automatically deemed to be citizens of the US, whether they desire that citizenship or not.

I know it is difficult for people who have been raised in an environment of statist propaganda to even conceive of the possibility that somebody might not want to be a citizen of the US.  Nevertheless, it is possible to hold a principled, biblical position that a person would rather not be a citizen of the US.  In most cases the individual would prefer to maintain a resident alien status with respect to federal citizenship.

As we have seen, an oath is a serious thing that one should not take unless one is fully convinced of the truthfulness of what is being vowed.  Furthermore, one should not swear an oath to uphold a document unless one is fully persuaded of the rightness of the behaviors required by that document.  The 14th amendment pulls an end run around all of this.

Without the taking of an oath, without the intellectual awareness of adulthood, without the opportunity to object to the contents of the oath, the US Constitution now flatly states that all people born on US soil have taken an implied oath of citizenship and are, in fact, fully citizens of the US.

The Bible clearly teaches that a person should never be forced to take an oath (oral, written, or implied) that binds his conscience to something that he is not fully persuaded is true.  The 14th amendment covenantally links anyone born in this country to the Constitution of the United States, whether they want to be covenantally linked or not.  It grants them all sorts of power and authorities, whether they want, or believe they have them, or not.  It grants them all sorts of dubious federal government privileges (access to federal government transfer payment programs) whether they want them or consider them to be legalized stealing or not.  In short, it imposes an unspoken oath of obedience to a document that binds the conscience of every Christian in contradiction to the Word of God.  The 14th amendment provides no means of escape from the legal status of “citizen of the US” that would allow a person with a principled, biblical stance against the Constitution of the United States to remain a subject of the US, but not a citizen of the US.

To understand the content of the oath that is imputed to all people born on US soil it would be worth looking at the oath sworn by those who become citizens as adults.  Here is what it says:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God. In acknowledgement whereof I have hereunto affixed my signature.”

This oath dramatically illustrates that citizenship is more than just swearing to uphold the Constitution. In addition a citizen is expected to obey the law of the US and submit to military conscription and fight in any war that the federal government declares.  Not only may a citizen be required to fight (or serve in a non-fighting capacity) in a war which he might deem to be immoral, but he also must be willing to be a part of any “work of national importance”.  What if the federal government determines that marching in a gay rights parade is a “work of national importance”?  What is the poor Christian citizen to do?

I suspect that if all US subjects were required to take the oath of citizenship at the age of 20 years old we would find many Christians who object, especially if they had taken the time to read the Constitution.  Why do we object any less when this oath is unilaterally applied to us by fiat simply because we came into this world within the geopolitical boundary of the United States?

The implications of my argument here are far reaching.  If I am correct, it means that no Christian could ever serve in any position in which the taking of an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the US is required.  It means that the myriads of Christians who are now serving in positions where they have taken that oath have no choice but to sin:  either they sin by obeying the Constitution and disobeying God, or they sin by refusing to honor the contents of their oath.  In all cases, I would suggest immediate resignation of the position.

Christians have recently held the view that the best way to affect biblical change in the US political system is to become a part of it.  With good men on the inside, so we are told, we can make changes that are pleasing to God.  I would suggest just the opposite.  You do not change a system by making your first official act to be the swearing of an oath to uphold that system.  You change a system by leaving it and using the weapons of warfare that God has given to His Church; namely the preaching of the Gospel and the praying of imprecatory prayers against His enemies.

Authority: Problems for Men Holding Office in the State Part 2

This is part of a series of posts on the doctrine of Authority. Click here to see the entire series.

When a Christian makes the decision to engage in an activity or a profession that requires the swearing of an oath to the biblically legitimate civil authority, the question must be asked if the contents of that sworn oath are “good and just”.  In other words, is the oath that you are swearing consistent with biblical truth or does it put you in the position of swearing an oath to uphold particular items or an entire system that is contrary to the Bible?  In light of the gravity of the situation it would make sense to consider the teachings of the Constitution of the United States in light of the Word of God, continuing from last week.

3.  Article 1, Section 7 says, “All Bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives…”

God says, “For because of this you also pay taxes, for rules are servants of God…” (Romans 13:6)

God says, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and render unto God that which is Gods” (Matthew 22:21)

God says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse…. (Malachi 3:10)

God says, “And he will take a tenth of your seed…he will take a tenth of your flocks…. (the “he” is a reference to the king.) (I Samuel 8: 15-17)

The Word of God is sufficient for all matters of practice.  The Bible contains all that we need to know to order the State.  The Bible clearly says that the State is entitled to ten percent of the income of the subjects of the State.  The Constitution ignores the direct teachings of the Bible and grants the power to tax to the House of Representatives.  Since granting this power to the House they have not failed to use it to extract considerably more than 10% of the income of the subjects of the State.  Furthermore, they have not failed to devise hundreds of ways by which to extract that income.  All statist efforts to raise revenue that go beyond the simple 10% income tax are immoral and contrary to the Bible.

In a strangely ironic twist, many Christians get all bent out of shape about the 16th Amendment to the Constitution in which the income tax was made legal.  They try to argue that the passing of the 16th Amendment was illegal and, therefore, we should not be subject to an income tax.  Whether the ratification of the 16th Amendment was legal or not is not of my concern.  What is of my concern is that the income tax is precisely what the Bible mandates as the means for the State to raise revenue.

4.  Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution says this:  “The Congress shall have power to regulate commerce among the several states…”

God says, “NOTHING”.  The Bible does not speak to this because it does not recognize the State as having the right to get involved in the voluntary/contractual business transactions of its subjects.  There is absolutely no biblical basis for the state being involved in the regulation of commerce.  The biblical role of the state with respect to business is to enforce the performance of the terms of voluntary contracts and provide courts to adjudicate disputes and disagreements.  In claiming the right to regulate commerce the federal government is claiming more power than God allows it to have.  This is only the beginning of the claim to deity that the federal government made, and continues to make right up until the present time.

5.  Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution says:  “The Congress shall have power to establish uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.”

The Old Testament law contains a complete set of bankruptcy laws.  They are full and complete.  They cover and apply to every situation that can come up, even in our day.  There is no need for additional law on the topic of bankruptcy.

As almost everyone knows, modern bankruptcy law allows people to get away with theft.  The law is designed to reward the profligate and punish businesses.  Simply wiping away legitimate debt by a declaration of the State is nothing more than legalized stealing.  The Constitution is the document that establishes the principle that allows the State to engage in legal theft.

6.  Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution says:  “The Congress shall have power to coin money, regulate the value thereof,…and fix the standard of weights and measures.”

God says, “You shall have just balances, just weights…” (Leviticus 19:36)

With respect to the coining of money God says, “NOTHING”.  This is another one of those areas where the Constitution empowers the federal government to go much further than biblical law would allow.  Money is created in the free market by the subjects of the State.  The state should have nothing to do with money except to enforce just weights and balances.  The state should certainly not be in the business of creating money.

However, since the constitutional creation of the Federal Reserve Board the federal government has done nothing but devalue the existing currency.  Perpetual devaluation of currency by means of the engine of monetary inflation is nothing more than legalized thievery.  If an individual citizen engaged in the same activities as the Federal Reserve, he would be arrested for counterfeiting (not maintaining a just weight).  But when the federal government, with the complete authority of the Constitution, decides to devalue the money supply, it is considered to be a positive activity!

Once again Christians get it dead wrong on this issue.  Many Christians rightly rail away at the activities of the Federal Reserve Board.  And they should.  But the problem is not with the Fed itself, the problem is with the Constitution that permits the creation of the Fed and that arrogates the power of money coinage to the State.  By going far beyond what God permits in His Word, this becomes another claim to deity by the State.

7.  Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution says, “The Congress shall have power to establish Post Offices and Post Roads.”

God says, “NOTHING”

Here is yet another example of the State claiming authority that it does not biblically have.  Who gave the Congress the authority to have a monopoly power over mail delivery?  The Constitution does!  What is the biblical basis for that authority?  It does not exist!  The delivery of mail is a voluntary/contractual activity that is in no way related to the representative/covenantal authority of the State.

8.  Article 3, Section 1 says, “The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts and the Congress shall from time to time establish….The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution…”

It is important to understand what is being asserted by the Constitution at this point.  Besides ignoring the fact that God claims to be the supreme judicial power of the land and the fact that God requires that His law be used in adjudicating disputes, there is something equally destructive taking place.  By claiming that the “judicial power shall extend to all cases” the Constitution is making the claim that all transgressions of the law are violations primarily against the State, with the victim taking a secondary position.  As a result, all criminal activities are described as “So and So vs. the State”.  The State is always seen as the victim of the criminal activity and the real victim, if he is still alive, is at the whim of the state with respect to prosecution and justice.

God claims that all criminal activity (sins) are ultimately against Him and He designates the victim as the person who is responsible to decide whether or not to prosecute.  God’s Word has no sense of the District Attorney being responsible to decided whether to prosecute a case or not.  The responsibility for prosecution always falls into the lap of the victim.  In claiming that the State is the victim and in arrogating the right of prosecution to itself, the State once again makes a claim to deity.  The Constitutional system will have no tolerance for a competing religious system like the Word of God.

9.  Article 3, Section 2 says, “The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury…”

There is no biblical basis for even the concept of trail by jury.  All disputes under biblical law are conducted by the disputing parties in the presence of a judge who is well versed in biblical law.  This is an inevitable corruption given the fundamental presupposition that all power and authority are vested in the People.  I trust that I do not need to give a litany of examples that illustrate the miserable failure of the trial by jury system!  No Christian should ever serve on a jury.  The individual believer does not have the representative authority required to render a judicial decision.  Judicial decisions are the duty of God’s ordained representatives as they are the people that God has delegated His authority to.

10.  Article 6 of the Constitution of the US says, “This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof…shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby…shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution…but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or any public trust under the United States.”

This is the last statement in the Constitution before the statement with respect to ratification of the document.  It is fascinating that the final statement is that no “religious test” shall be required for a person to be a part of the Constitutional system.  This is a clear example of Rushdoony’s “intolerance”.

In the colonial period of US history almost all local governments required a religious test to hold office.  Almost all local governments recognized biblical law as the law of their region.  This practice continued into most of the state government documents as well.  If those who wanted to establish a federal government had continued the pattern of their predecessors they would have also followed biblical law and required a religious test for all participants.  The US Constitution was a self-conscious repudiation of what had gone before.  Effective with the ratification of this document the clear message was being sent that tolerance for the Christian religion would no longer be a part of the federal government. History since the ratification of the US Constitution has been resplendent with examples of this principle working itself out and the federal government coming to dominate modern life in the United States.

Most importantly, note that these closing statements require the swearing of an oath to uphold the document.  I have only pointed out ten items where there appear to be major contradictions between the teachings of the Constitution and the teachings of the Bible.  Many more examples are found in the Bill of Rights and the other Amendments.   What is important to a Christian is this:  How can I swear an oath to uphold the US Constitution in light of the multiple examples of its being in direct contradiction to the Word and will of God?

Who Hates Jesus?

This may seem like an odd question to ask, but the answer may surprise you. It surprised me, partially because I did not intend to ask the question. I am currently trying to acquire a language for the purposes of ministry, and I am taking a topical discussion class with a handful other evangelicals who are seeking to acquire the language for the same reason. The topic for our most recent class was “Who is Jesus?” We had to answer the question in the target language. Here is the English translation of what I said.

Who is Jesus? This is an important question, very important. The Bible tells us that no one can come to God without Jesus. It tells us that if we know Jesus, then we know God and that if we don’t know Jesus, then we don’t know God. So, we have to know who Jesus is, right? So, who is Jesus?

The writer of Hebrews says in 1:3 that Jesus is the image of God, that he “is the radiance of God’s glory and the image of his nature or essence.” If this is correct, if Jesus and God have the same essence, then we will see agreement between what the Old Testament says about God and what Jesus says and does in the New Testament.

So, let us see something from the Old Testament that summarizes God’s character in Deuteronomy 32:39 and 43, “See now that I, I am He,
 and there is no god besides Me;
 It is I who put to death and give life.
 I have wounded and it is I who heal,
 and there is no one who can deliver from My hand. Rejoice, O nations, with His people;
 for He will avenge the blood of His servants,
 and will render vengeance on His adversaries,
 and will atone for His land and His people.” In these two verses, we see the nature of God. We see that God judges his enemies and that he loves his own people.

So now, if Jesus is the image of God, then he will also judge his enemies and love his people. Let us see what Jesus says in Matthew 23. Eight times Jesus says, “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.” In verse 33, he says, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” But, what does Jesus say in John 6? He says that everyone who is given to Jesus by the Father will come and that Jesus will not cast him out. Here, we see both the judgment of Jesus and the love of Jesus.

In the Old Testament, God’s hates his enemies and loves his people. In the New Testament, Jesus hates his enemies and loves his people. Jesus really is the exact representation of God’s nature. This is why you have to love Jesus in order to love God. If you love Jesus, then you love God. If you don’t love Jesus, then you don’t love God.

I thought my message was fairly straightforward. I expected all the professing believers around me to be in agreement that Jesus and God have the same nature and that God, through Jesus, judges his enemies and redeems his people. However, the people around me were shocked. I was told, “Jesus loves everyone and does not hate anyone.” To this, I responded, “If God hates people in the Old Testament (Ps 5:5), and if Jesus is the exact representation of God, then Jesus must hate people.” I was then told that “God judged people in the Old Testament because Jesus had not yet come. Now that he is here, we live in a time of grace.” To this, I responded, “Was there no grace in the Old Testament? Is there no judgment today?” I was then told that “there was some grace in the Old Testament, but there is no judgment today.” To this, I responded, “But God does not change. There are both judgment and grace all around us.” At this point, the discussion deteriorated into meaningless nonsense as the people around me expressed their general disapproval of the way I had portrayed Jesus.

The only logical conclusion I can reach is that these people hate Jesus. To be more precise, they hate the Jesus who I portrayed to them in class. This also happens to be the same Jesus who is revealed in the Bible. This is bad news for them because it means that they hate God. To be more precise, it means that they hate the God who is revealed in the Bible. This has left me wondering . . . who else hates Jesus? Who else is there, of those who profess to know and worship and love God through Jesus, who actually hates the true nature of God? If you have put your faith in a god who does not judge his enemies, then you worship a figment of your imagination. If, however, you have placed your faith in God who judges his enemies and redeems his people, then you should listen to Moses and rejoice, for God will avenge the blood of his servants and render vengeance on his adversaries and atone for his land and his people (Deut 32:43).