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Posts Tagged ‘Roman Church-State’

Title page of the Quebec Act of 1774

[W]here the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

            – 2 Corinthians 3:17

Writing as I am on this day, July 3, 2022, it’s hard for my thoughts not to turn to Independence Day as Americans celebrate the 246th anniversary of the founding of the American nation. 

I don’t remember a time when Independence Day was not one of my favorite days on the calendar.  Growing up in the 1970s, I recall the focus on the Bicentennial celebrations in 1976.  I was ten years old at the time.  Not old enough to understand or appreciate the full significance of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, and the Constitution, but old enough to realize that the acts and the words of the founding fathers had created a new nation committed to the protection of individual liberty to an extent never before accomplished.

One lesson about the formation of the United States that I did not learn until years later was just how much it depended upon the Protestant Reformation kicked off by Martin Luther over 250 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 

This idea – the notion that the United States and the history of limited government and economic liberty historically, if not presently, enjoyed by its citizens is a by-product of the Reformation – would likely come as a surprise to many Americans today, even those who attend churches that claim to be Reformed. 

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Martin Luther as Hercules Germanicus by Hans Holbein, 1523. “In the picture, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham, Duns Scotus and Nicholas of Lyra already lay bludgeoned to death at his feet and the German inquisitor, Jacob van Hoogstraaten was about to receive his fatal stroke. Suspended from a ring in Luther’s nose was the figure of Pope Leo X,” The Reformation Room.

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

  • 2 Corinthians 3:17

“Then the children of Israel…forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.  And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies” (Judges 2:11,13-14).

It’s often been noted that Israel under the judges went through a number of cycles of faith in the Word of God prosperity, followed by unbelief, leading to bondage to foreign powers, followed by repentance, and finally deliverance from oppression.

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this cycle is the close connection between belief and liberty, on one hand, and unbelief and oppression on the other.  The passage just quoted from Judges is a good illustration of this principle. 

Put another way, spiritual liberty, faith in the Lord, leads to political and economic liberty.  Rejecting the Word of God produces slavery both political and economic. 

Put still another way, spiritual liberty leads to political and economic liberty, spiritual bondage to political and economic bondage. 

Not only did this pattern hold true in ancient Israel, it also holds true today.  It was the widespread preaching of and belief in the Gospel of Justification by Faith Alone that spiritually freed the people of the nations to which the Reformation came from the bondage of sin and guilt.  And those same nations were the very ones to become the freest states on earth politically as well as the most prosperous.  

In his booklet Christ & Civilization, John Robbins noted this patter, writing,

Martin Luther’s courageous rejection of – in the name of written revelation, logic, and freedom – of this faith-works religion laid the necessary theological foundation for the emergence of a free, humane, and civilized society from the ancient and medieval paganism of Christendom. The result was religious freedom and her daughters: political, civil, and economic freedom (38).

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  First spiritually, then in other ways politically and economically. 

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Take heed that you not be deceived.

  • Luke 21:8

There are in Scripture numbers commands directed to Christians not to be deceived.  Take, for example, Christ’s warning to his disciples at the beginning of his discourse about the end times.  “Take heed that you not be deceived,” he told them. 

My Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines “deceive” thus: the imposing of a false idea or belief that causes bewilderment or helplessness or furthers the agent’s purpose.”  On that definition, there are certainly a lot of Americans who have failed to heed Jesus’s injunction. 

Our being deceived is no light matter.  Speaking of Eve, the Apostle Paul noted that she was “deceived” by the serpent in the garden and that by her deception she “fell into transgression.” 

In Deuteronomy, we read, “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and you turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the LORD’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.”  In this case, one’s being deceived would result in death and dispossession. 

In 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” Here we have a list of sins common, no doubt, in Paul’s day as well as in ours.  It would be easy enough to excuse them as they were common practice.  It might have even seemed strange to people in the first century if one did not practice such things.  Perhaps the Corinthian Christians were tempted to pass over such behavior as customary and not worth mentioning.  Maybe they were afraid of challenging those who were involved in them out of misplaced fear of men.  Yet Paul says no one who practices such things “will inherit the kingdom of God.”   

Many other examples of deception and the Scriptures telling us to avoid it can be found.

I bring up the matter of deception because we live in a world that is working to deceive us 24/7 and doing so with tools that are more sophisticated than at any time in history.   

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RLL 57: War in the Middle East and John Kerry in Rome
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Trump acquitted, denounced in historic impeachment trial” by Lisa Mascaro, Eric Tucker and Mary Clare Jalonick

“‘Catholics and United Methodists Together’ is a Collaborative Publication Resulting from Decades of Dialogue

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A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished.

  • Proverbs 27:12

Here we stand at the end of the Year of Our Lord 2020 and at the precipice of 2021.  My, how time flies.

When I was pondering what to write this week, it took some time, but it finally dawned on me that this would be my last Sunday post of 2020.  “Of course,” I thought to myself, “it’s time for my year-in-review post. Problem solved!”

Before launching into a review of 2020 and casting an eye toward the future in coming year, I would like to take this occasion to thank my Lord and Savior Christ Jesus for all the blessings he has brought into my life over the past year.  For the grace he has shown me in forgiving all my sins and patiently teaching me, for a job to pay my bills, for health to do that which I needed to and wanted to accomplish, for the love of family and friends.

It would be remiss of me not to mention how thankful I am for the Lord’s gracious provision in my life to write this blog.  I began blogging in March of 2009, so it won’t be long before I celebrate 12 years of posting online.  Most blogs make it only a few months.  That I have had the strength to sustain this work for so long is a testament, not to my skill or smarts or energy or anything in me, but to the calling and faithfulness of the Lord.  During my first five years of blogging, I posted occasionally.  Here a little, there a little.  It was in November 2014 that I prayed God would help me to reach the goal of posting at least once a week, and he heard me.  From that time until now, I have not gone a week without writing and posting at least one article.       

I thank God also for the opportunity to resume work on my podcast, Radio Lux Lucet.  I mentioned in last year’s end of year podcast that I wanted to start podcast again more regularly.  As it turned out, although I didn’t start out the year all that well, I have managed to string together about eight weeks in a row of podcasts, so that’s progress!

Finally, I would like to thank my readers for their support during 2020.  It is my prayer with each post that the name of God would be glorified and that my words would edify his people.  With every post, it is my goal to bring you perspective on the events of the day that you won’t be able to find just anywhere.  As John Robbins was wont to point out, the Bible has a systematic monopoly on truth.  This includes truth in the areas that I like to write about, namely, economics and politics.  The psalmist wrote, “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.”  Writing to Timothy, the Apostle Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” While I don’t claim to have greater understanding than all my teachers, I can testify to the fact that there is nothing that can prepare the Christian to take on the received “wisdom” of this world more than a solid grounding in the Scriptures.  All the truths of philosophy, politics, and economics are hidden in Christ Jesus.  And there is no other source to which Christion must repair to fight the good fight of faith against the lies of this world – and how many lies there are and how great! – than to the 66 books of the Bible.  It is from the Word of God that Christians must rebuke senators, judges, governors, presidents, prime ministers and popes for their sinful and foolish words and actions.  And this, the Apostle tells us, is a good work for which the Scriptures thoroughly equip the Christian man.  It is this good work I aim to do with each post.

Thanks is also due to those who have graciously donated to support the work of this blog.  I greatly appreciate your kindness.

Special thanks is also owed to John Bradshaw, brother in Christ, friend and keen eyed and patient editor of my posts.  This blog is much better for your work.  Thank you.     

So, with all that said, what about 2020?

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Is feudalism in our future? Medieval illustration, circa 1310.

I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

  • John 15.5

There’s not much good news these days.  And not only is the news not good, it’s downright appalling. 

Just to give one example, consider the situation with the presidential election.  Here we are, about six weeks after the election with the nation deeply divided about the winner.  The establishment media have all proclaimed Joe Biden president-elect, yet there is substantial evidence that the election was stolen.  But in spite of what is, in my own opinion, clear evidence of election fraud, the Trump legal team has gone from defeat to defeat.  The latest loss, the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear the complaint by the Texas Attorney General against several other states for their failure to follow the constitution in their election procedures, suggests that there is little hope for Trump and his supporters to find redress for their grievances in the courts.  The bottom line: at this point it appears that, come January, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. 

As if this weren’t bad enough, there are several other pressing problems facing this nation, any one of which threatens serious destruction on its own.  Taken together, the threats seem overwhelming. 

For starters, we have the abject failure of many mayors, governors, district attorneys and police chiefs to do government’s most basic job:  punish those who practice evil.  For months we have witnessed destructive riots in some of our largest cities.  Not only have those who have deliberately destroyed and stolen property and caused bodily harm to peaceful citizens not been punished, but those who have sought to defend themselves and their property from the aggressors have found themselves in legal trouble.  In 2020 America, good is evil, and evil good. 

The state of our nation’s finances continues to deteriorate.  But the economic pain is not equally shared.  In fact, while many ordinary Americans are struggling financially as a result of losing their jobs and business from government imposed Covid lockdowns, the wealth of billionaires has soared

Wall Street is hitting records highs while Main Street struggles to pay the grocery bill.  This is not the result of capitalism, as many socialists like to point out, but the result of the oceans of printed money by the Fed.  Some observers have noted that about 23 percent of all US dollars were created just this year, 2020!

If all this weren’t bad enough, the federal budget deficit for 2020 hit a record $3.1 trillion.  This means that the federal government overspent its tax revenues by over $3 trillion. 

I doubt our culture has ever been more vulgar.  Sexual deviants are celebrated and those who oppose them are silenced.  Vulgar language and fornication are openly celebrated.  Internet pornography runs rampant. Oh, and did I mention that transgenderism has attained sacred status and that even the mildest criticism of homosexuality is taken for blasphemy? If you don’t think men who claim they are women are awesome, and women who claim they are men must be believed and have praise heaped upon them, then you, my friend, are the one who has the problem. On the other hand, the man in the dress screaming at you for making the mistake of “misgendering” him? He is above criticism. 

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