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And how shall they hear without a preacher?
            – Romans 10:14

Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad.” That was the explosive headline from last Wednesday in the New York Post announcing a Wikileaks-like disclosure of sensitive emails from a computer belonging to Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son. 

The Post published two more stories related to the first.  You can read them here and here.

If true, and it is the opinion of this author that the emails are genuine, the revelations in these stories ought to be enough to force Joe Biden’s resignation as Democratic presidential candidate.  Not that this will happen.  It almost certainly will not.  But in any nation where a Christian view of right and wrong holds, using one’s official position to enrich oneself at the expense of the nation one is supposedly serving is not only a sin, but a crime. 

Public officials on the take is one of the chief characteristics of corrupt nations.  Speaking of the degeneracy of Judah in his day, the prophet Isaiah wrote of the nation’s political leadership, “Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards” (Isa. 1:23).  In times past, Isaiah tells us, Jerusalem, “was full of justice.”  But now it was corrupt.  It had become a sort of banana republic. 

Much more could be said on the topic of corruption, both of Joe and Hunter Biden and of government In the United States more generally, but that is not the main focus of this post, so I will leave it at that. 

Getting a bit closer to our main topic, receiving almost as much attention last week as the Hunter Biden stories themselves was the blatant censorship of them by the major social media companies.  For example, the main Twitter account of the New York Post (NYP), the newspaper that broke the stories, was locked, as was the account of President Trump’s press secretary and that of the Trump campaign itself, all because they shared links to the first of the stories released on Wednesday, October 14. 

Facebook likewise made it difficult to share the link on its platform.  Andy Stone, a former Democratic political operative and current Facebook employee, tweeted, “While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want to be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners.  In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.” 

So, we have a former Democratic operative working to reduce the distribution of a story unfavorable to Joe Biden on Facebook. No election interference to see here!       

Of course, Twitter’s and Facebook’s quick actions to suppress and discredit the Hunter Biden story should surprise exactly no one, given the blatant attacks on free speech from the social media companies in recent years.

Although censorship in various forms had been going on for some time previously, it was in August 2018 that the social media giants really raised their game.  Most notably with the banning of Alex Jones from all the major social media platforms in the course of one or two days early that month. 

Since that time, the purges have not ceased.  Just last week there was another wave of purges from YouTube, with several established and large channels being removed as if they never had existed. 

As with the recent revelations about Hunter Biden and how he leveraged his connection to his highly placed father to enrich himself, much more can be said about the censorship problem on the social media platforms.  But as this also is not the main focus of this post, I likewise will pass over commenting further on this matter for now.

As the title of this post suggests, the main focus of this post, and likely the next few posts, will be on making the Christian, Biblical case for free speech. 

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore.

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

“To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumelious to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, and of all equity and justice.”

To modern ears could a more offensive sentence be found in all of literature?  Not having read all of literature, this author does not pretend to be able to answer that question definitively.  Yet with that said, it is hard to imagine an idea more repugnant to 21st century readers than this quote from John Knox’s essay “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women” (hereafter, TMR).

We have, all of us living in the West in the early 21st century, been steeped in feminist theory from our youth up to the point where, for most of us, Knox’s words are little more than noise from a bygone era with no relevance for us today, except perhaps as a cautionary tale to warn us about how bad the bad old days really were.

Liberal Democrats, were they to read Knox, would quickly be triggered, alternating between outrage, ridicule and calls to have his ideas removed from social media.  Conservative Republicans, on the other hand, would attempt explain away what Knox wrote by saying that he was a product of his age, that what he was really writing against was 16th century liberal women and that if he were alive today he would gladly support a female presidential candidate so long as she was pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and promised to fight against the Green New Deal. 

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore.

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

“I wouldn’t vote for her.”  That was Ayn Rand’s curt response to a question from a woman in the audience of the Phil Donohue show.  She had asked Rand, “Do you believe that there is going to be a day when there is going to be a female in the White House as President and how do you feel about that?”

From the questioner’s reaction and from that of the audience, Rand’s answer was not expected, neither was it appreciated.  You can see the 1979 clip for yourself here:

Worth noting is how shocking and controversial Rand’s statement was as far back as 41 years ago.  Now this was the Phil Donohue Show, and Donohue himself was a feminist, and his audience, most likely, tended to skew liberal.  But that said, it is not clear that the audience reaction from a conservative Republican audience would have been much different.  Certainly in 2020, any Republican expressing anything remotely approaching Rand’s statement would quickly find himself making an apology tour. 

Donald Trump has expressed his support for a female president on more than one occasion.  In late August, Business Insider ran the headline “Donald Trump plugs Ivanka as the first female president claiming Kamala Harris is ‘not competent’ enough for the top job.” Note, Trump’s objection to Kamala Harris was not that she was a woman, but that she was not the right woman.  Further, he promoted his daughter as the right person to be the first female president.

There have been rumors for some time that Trump has wanted to see his daughter in the Oval Office, and the prominent role she had at last month’s Republican Convention and the statement reported in Business Insider certainly support those rumors.  It would not shock this author to see Ivanka declare herself as a presidential candidate in 2024 with the full blessing of her father.  Of course, she will have other female rivals to the throne, quite possibly including former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. 

In fact, it would not surprise this author at all if the 2024 election doesn’t bring us the choice between a Republican woman and a Democratic woman presidential candidate.  It’ll be pick your poison. Of course, the conservatives and liberals will tear one another apart with each side passionately denouncing the choice of the other party, while both parties miss the fundamental error they are committing.  That is to say, both sides will be equally ignorant that, in the words of John Knox, “To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumelious to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, and of all equity and justice….”   

Yes, way back in 1558 John Knox dropped the mic, so to speak, on the matter of government by women in his devastating treatise “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.”  In it, Knox did not argue, as so many feminized men are prone to argue today, that this or that woman was unfit to hold public office because of her position on this or that issue.  No, Knox’s argument was more fundamental and more Biblical than that.  Knox argued that the Bible prohibited women from severing in civil government altogether. 

Knox was right.

After reading it, I want to stand, applaud and praise the Lord for the insight and courage that he gave the Scotsman.

So impressive is “The Monstrous Regiment” that had Knox done nothing else in his life except to write that treatise, it would be enough to qualify him for Christian hero status.  Without a doubt, “The Monstrous Regiment” is one of the greatest political treatises ever written by a Christian and a serves as a model for how Christian scholars ought to use the Scriptures when dealing with political questions. 

Let’s take a closer look at Knox’s work to see if we can identify what makes it so devastating. 

For our walk through, I’ll be using the Trinity Foundation’s edition of “The Monstrous Regiment” titled “The Place of Women.”

Worth noting is that “The Place of Women” was first published by the Trinity Foundation in August 1984, most likely as a response to Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale’s choice of Geraldine Ferraro as his vice-presidential running mate in that year’s election.

Since that time, other women have followed in her footsteps, most notably Sarah Palin, who served as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, Hillary Clinton who headed the Democratic ticket in 2016, and now Kamala Harris who’s Democrat Joe Biden’s pick for vice-president.    

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The Death of Athaliah, 1870, by Gustave Dore

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

  • 2 Kings 11:1

As of this writing in early September 2020, Americans find themselves faced with another presidential election in just two short months.  As is the American custom, much ink has been spilled over the past year concerning the November election.  In reality, the spilling of ink began much earlier.  With so much election commentary out there, surely, it would seem, there’s nothing more this author could add to the mix that hasn’t already been discussed thousands of times and by people much better qualified.

But this would be a mistake.

There is one topic, and a significant one to be sure, that, on the one hand, is a prominent feature of the 2020 presidential election but, on the other hand, has received hardly any commentary at all.  

Joe Biden’s March 15th promise, and the fulfillment of that promise, to choose a woman running mate. 

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Pastor John MacArthur speaks at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, July 26, 2020. Video screengrab via Vimeo/Grace Community Church

We ought to obey God rather than men.

  • Acts 5:29

Back in April, this space featured a post titled “Church, Sate and Coronavirus: Does the Civil Magistrate Have the Authority to Ban Church Gatherings?” It was a complaint principally inspired by a threat made by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to punish Christians for gathering for worship on Easter Sunday.   According to an article published on the Gateway Pundit website, “The state of Kentucky is cracking down on Easter weekend worshippers by recording the license plates of people who attend services and forcing them to ‘self-quarantine’ for two weeks afterwards.”

Go to church on Sunday as the Good Book commands; Governor Beshear sics his hall monitors on you and rewards you with two weeks house arrest.  What a guy.

The intervening four months since the above article appeared have seen a continuation of the coronavirus Caligulas’ crackdown on American Christians’ liberty to worship.  As such, it seemed good to revisit this issue. 

Of course, the coronavirus Caligulas don’t limit themselves to cracking down on Christians.  There are plenty of examples of governors and mayors decreeing this or that thing verboten that no one until just a few months ever so much as thought would be banned for any reason.

All this in the name of fighting the dreaded “second wave.”

But for now, these other outrages I elect to pass over.  Not because I think them unworthy of discussion, but because time and space would fail me were I to go through them all. 

If you’re inclined to learn more about the ways in which big government, big pharma and various and sundry globalists are joining forces to use Covid to strip you of your God-given, Constitutionally guaranteed, liberties, there is no better source than the Ron Paul Liberty Report.  There you will find dozens of videos on the Covid crisis made over the past five months.

One recent video that is especially relevant to our discussion today aired Thursday, August 13 and is titled “Defiance! 6,000 Attend ‘Illegal’ California Church Service.”        

This video concerns the decision by Grace Community Church (John MacArthur’s church) to hold services in defiance of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s July 13 ban on indoor church services on the state’s COIVID-19 monitoring list.  This affects about 80 percent of California’s population.  The California Governor’s decision to ban indoor services altogether followed a ban earlier in the month on singing in church

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Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate as overthrown by strangers. Isaiah 1:7

“…because of Western civilization’s love of material comforts, there is an unwillingness to face unpleasant realities.”

  • Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things, p.53

“‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked.  ‘Two ways,’ Mike said.  ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’“ So wrote Ernest Hemmingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises

Although Hemmingway’s book was a work fiction, what he said about bankruptcy is a phenomenon many of us have seen in real life.  Individuals and organizations that appear to be in robust financial health experience sudden financial collapse. 

Perhaps the poster child for sudden financial ruin is Lehman Brothers, a famous 150-year-old Wall Street investment bank.  Having earned record profits during the height of the real estate bubble from 2005-2007, early in the morning on Monday, September 15,2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.   

The collapse of Lehman Brothers to this day is still the largest bankruptcy in American history. 

Gradually, then suddenly.  That same pattern can be seen in the Scriptures as well.  In Deuteronomy 32:35 we read, “Their foot shall slide in due time.”   Some will recognize this as the text on which Jonathan Edwards based his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Wrote Edwards,

It [the saying “their foot shall slide in due time”] implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction.  As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in ‘Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction:  How are they brought into desolation as in a moment? (Psalm 73:18-19).

Sodom and Gomorrah met with destruction in a single day. 

After centuries of rebellion against God, Jerusalem was sacked in a single day. 

In Daniel’s time, the mighty city of Babylon was overthrown in a single day. 

In Revelation, the voice from heaven prophesies that the destruction of Babylon the Great will come in a single day.  The kings of the earth are said to lament her destruction, crying out, “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!  For in one hour your judgment has come” (Revelation 18:10).  

In all of these cases, the sudden final destruction was really the end result of a process that had been going on for many years.   

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Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate as overthrown by strangers, Isaiah 1:7

“…because of Western civilization’s love of material comforts, there is an unwillingness to face unpleasant realities.”

  • Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things, p.53

Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy” was the way Business Insider reported the findings of a 2014 Princeton University peer-reviewed study of American politics.  In it, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page concluded,  “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

Since this is a Scripturalist blog dedicated to the proposition that the Bible alone furnishes us with knowledge, readers may question why this author would cite a secular, empirical study to make a point about the state of American politics in the early 21st century.  One reason for doing so is that, while this study reflects the opinion of its authors, he believes that their opinion is an accurate reflection, politically speaking, of the state of affairs in this nation.  Opinion, while not knowledge – knowledge is always true – nevertheless can be both true and useful.    

If this study is right, and the author is persuaded that it is, the United States, founded as a republic, has devolved into a vulgar oligarchy, which is defined as, “a government in which a small group exercise control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.”  Why has this happened? John Adams, one of America’s Founding Fathers put it this way, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Adams was, of course, right.  Paper restraints are wholly inadequate to hold back sinful man’s desire – and this desire is found both among those who would govern and those who are governed – for big government.  If the American people do not believe in constitutional capitalism, the political and economic expression of Christianity, then there is nothing to stop the nation from devolving into some form of authoritarianism.    

Now it may be worth pausing for a moment to explain that the common understanding of the term “religious” in Adams time meant “Protestant.”  The population of the American colonies at the time of the revolution was 98% Protestant, and it was this sort of religion that the framers had in mind.  Today, it is common for people to understand by “religion” or “religious” that the framers of the Constitution were referring to all religions – e.g. Romanism, Judaism, Islam.  But these three medieval religions are incapable of creating or sustaining a free society.  It is Christianity as expressed in the 66 books of the Bible and systematized during the 16th century Protestant Reformation, that alone provides the necessary ideas needed to constrain government to its proper, limited role of punishing evil doers and rewarding the good. 

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Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate as overthrown by strangers, Isaiah 1:7

“…because of Western civilization’s love of material comforts, there is an unwillingness to face unpleasant realities.”

  • Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things, p.53

Just yesterday, we celebrated the 244th anniversary of America’s independence from Great Britain, while, ironically enough, a substantial portion of the country found itself under house arrest due to dictates from various government officials.  It’s almost as if we’ve come full circle.

Actually, it seems as if we’ve come more than full circle.  Government was much smaller, and the tax and regulatory burdens were much less, under British colonial rule than they are now under own home-grown government.  This is not to suggest that it was wrong to have fought the Revolutionary War, but it does say something about how far America has drifted from its limited government roots.   

What has been the cause of this political sea change?

In his Forward to Gordon Clark’s A Cristian View of Men and Things, John Robbins explained it this way, “A Christian View of Men and Things presents the argument that the West is disappearing because Christianity, on which Western civilization was built, has already virtually disappeared in the West.” 

It needs to be pointed out there that when Clark and Robbins speak of “Christianity,” they are talking about the plain statements and logical implications of the 66 Books of the Bible, the centerpiece of which is the doctrine of Justification by Faith (Belief) Alone.  That is to say, they are talking about the Biblical Christianity of the Protestant Reformation. 

There are other systems of thought that claim to be Christianity, Roman Catholicism for example, but which are not Christian, because they teach that sinful man in some sense is able to put God in his debt, as if salvation were the rightful wages of the sinner’s good works.  These other systems are, in fact, not Christian at all, and their growing presence in the United States and elsewhere in the West are the collapse of the West. 

Western Civilization is rapidly disappearing from the face of the Earth, yet almost no one, even among those who lament its disappearance, understand, as did Gordon Clark and John Robbins, the connection between the disappearance of Christianity and that of Western Civilization. 

Writing about the Northern Kingdom in his day, the prophet Hosea commented, “Aliens have devoured his [Ephraim’s] strength, but he does not know it; yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it.  The kings and rulers of the Northern Kingdom, for which Ephraim was another name, lacked the discernment to realize the precarious position of the nation and to see that its collapse was nigh.  Some scholars believe Hosea wrote from about 750 BC until just a few years before the dissolution of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC, when the Assyrians conquered the capital city of Samaria and took the inhabitants of the nation into captivity. 

So why did the Northern Kingdom fall to Assyria?  That is a very simple question to answer, one requiring no speculation: “[T]hey left all the commandments of the LORD their God” (2 Kings 17:16).  It was because of this that “the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight” (2 Kings 17:18).

It is this author’s contention that we in the West, the heirs of the Reformation, are in a position not entirely different from that of ancient Israel.  We have forsaken the Lord our God, his law and his gospel, and have followed after strange gods, which are not gods at all, but the work of the vain imaginations of men’s sinful hearts.  John Robbins put it like this, “the collapse of the West can be viewed as the collapse of the of the attempted Thomistic (Roman Catholic) synthesis of human philosophy and Christ, and the West’s fatal choosing of non-Christian philosophy, not Christ” (A Christian View of Men and Things, 12).   

It’s one thing to read about the collapse of the Hebrew Republic as documented in the pages of the Old Testament, or even about the collapse of the Roman Empire as recounted by Edward Gibbon.  It’s altogether another thing when the civilization in collapse is your own and you have the opportunity to watch it live streamed in high definition.

In the opinion of this author, it is high time that American Christians, and Christians in other nations of the West, face the reality of the situation we are in, as unpleasant as it is, and prepare themselves for the likely further collapse of the West. 

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An Auto Zone burns in Minneapolis early Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Nick Woltman / Pioneer Press)

Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire.

  • Isaiah 1:7

Writing late in the history of Judah, the prophet Isaiah’s work has long struck this author as having special application to our own time.  In his long career, Isaiah witnessed much, including the final destruction of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria in 721 B.C. and a remarkable restoration of the Southern Kingdom under King Hezekiah. 

In the opening chapter of the book named for him, Isaiah painted a stark and unflattering picture of the current state of Judah and Jerusalem in his day.  Although they had a Godly heritage, the people of the Southern Kingdom had not only abandoned that heritage but were acting in ways that were the exact opposite of what had been laid down for them in the Law of Moses.  Speaking through Isaiah, the Lord called them “children who are corruptors.”  Not only were they themselves corrupt, but they corrupted others.  Further, the Lord said of them that, “They have turned away backward.’  The inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah not only were off course but were going 180 degrees away from the direction God had called them to go. 

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