Category: Religion

A friend recently ‘liked’ a post on Facebook dealing with a critique against those who promote anti-vaccination, that is those who are opposed to the general use of vaccinations for various diseases, often claiming that they cause other diseases such as autism. This got me thinking about my own views not only dealing with vaccinations, but also proscription drugs and overall general medical care. I believe this is relevant as there are some segments of Christianity that believe any medical care by doctors/hospitals should be avoided because it shows a lack of faith in God to heal. On the other hand, I have a strong distrust anytime government or anyone in society believes that something should be forced on everyone. So, knowing that I know people on both sides of the issues, here we go.

First let me talk about vaccinations, as this is what got this topic started. There is no, I repeat NO, reputable scientific study that has ever indicated that any vaccines have caused disorders/diseases like Autism. Given how there are a new scientific studies released every year that claim, then refute and then claim again that things like coffee is good/bad for you, it is notable that no peer reviewed medical study has ever substantiated these claims regarding the negative results from vaccinations. Now some say that the scientific community is conspiratorially keeping such studies from seeing the light of day. Now such an argument might hold water, but it does not in light of other topics. I believe there is an attempt to silence global warming skeptics in the scientific community, but such studies DO exist. I believe there is an attempt to silence creationist and Intelligent Design supporters within the scientific community, but such studies DO exist. There are NO such studies supporting anti-vaccinationists claims. So that means either the conspiracy to prevent them are abnormally effective, or they just don’t exist to begin with.

When we look at vaccinations we have to recognize the immeasurable good that they have done. Polio has all but been eliminated in western society and the end of it in the world as a whole will likely happen within my lifetime. Vaccines for Mumps and Measles have also been effective in western society. The reduction of these diseases due to the vaccines is noticeable and significant, that is simply undeniable.

My concerns with vaccinations has less to do with them “causing” other disorders, but rather the over medication of society. Let me try to explain. Every year doctors recommend that most people, especially the young, old and those with weak immune systems get the flu vaccine. However, this vaccine is different every year. That is because what we call the “flu virus” is actually new and different every year. Every year new strains of this virus are detected. The vaccine is usually based off of previous strains, and while generally effective, sometimes it is not simply because the new strain(s) are just too different for those vaccines to be effective. While other virus’ such as the Mumps, Measles, Polio, ect do on occasion mutate into new strains, they do so at only a fraction of the instances that the “flu” does. Now with the flu, thankfully, it is not a big deal, but in the area of bacteria and antibiotics, it is a very very VERY big deal.

So called “super bugs” are becoming resistant to any and all anti-bacterial medications available. Doctors, scientists, and pharmaceutical companies are having a hard time catching up. Many scientists believe that the reason that these “super bugs” are rising is because many doctors are proscribing anti-bacterial medicines for any situation regardless of whether they are truly needed or not. Indeed, may of these “Super Bug” outbreaks are actually happening in hospitals, not out in the general population. These bacteria are adapting over time to these drugs and I wonder if with virus such as the “flu” if this is not also a strong possibility.

Thus my issue with vaccinations (along with anti-bacterial medicines) is if the over proscription of them in an effort to stamp out the diseases are, at times, only mutating them into something even more deadly. I also am distrustful of anytime a government, or anyone in general, tries to “force” medical treatment on anyone. I believe vaccines are far more beneficial than not, but I do not believe that anyone should be forced to take those vaccinations. And I especially DON’T like the idea of parents being targeted by Family Services for not giving their children vaccinations. Choosing not to give your child a vaccination is NOT the same as violent physical abuse. And I will react strongly against anyone who claims that it is, or should be.

This leads me into an issue I have with the medical field in general, and that is the over prescription and excessive use of diagnostics above and beyond what is needed. One of the reasons that medical costs are so high in terms of cost to the individual, is that doctors are pressured into proscribing medication and ordering tests not necessarily for concern for their patient (indeed they do care), but more so to protect against malpractice suits. It is better to order “every” test just incase, rather than not order a test, be wrong, and get sued. By and large, as a whole, doctors are not incompetent mistake makers. Yes, mistakes do happen, and in some of those cases they patient is owed some type of reimbursement for the mistake. But doctors should not be issueing tests and proscribing drugs out of an over abundance of caution. If the doctor thinks that the diagnosis is X, they should only order tests and treatments for X, and ONLY start looking at A, B, C, ect IF the diagnosis for X was wrong.

With the Flu, people with “weaker” immune systems, should by all means get the vaccination to help protect themselves. But, I do have to question why a completely healthy person should have to jump and get a vaccination. I question whether that is wise, or if over vaccination can actually do more harm than good.

This now leads me into Christian use of medical care in general. For that I’d like to tell a old story from the Great Flood of 1993. There was a man who lived in a home in a flood plain protected by a strong levee. He had lived there all his life, his grandparents built the home, and had seen floods come and go. So when the Mississippi was rising, he was unconcerned. Well as you all well know the flood of 1993 was no ordinary flood, and emergency officials saw evidence that the levee protecting this mans home was in danger of imminent failure. An emergency official drove by in a truck and saw the man sitting on his porch. “Sir, the levee is going to fail at any time! You need to come with me, this is a mandatory evacuation!” But the man shook his head and said, “I am staying right here, the Lord will protect me, I trust in the Lord!” The official tried repeatedly to get the man to come with him, but finally had to give up and move on check if there were any others staying behind. Well not long after that the levee did fail and water poured into the valley quickly reaching the man’s house and slowly rising up the side of the house. Another emergency official now arrived in the boat only to see the man sitting on his roof as the water began to flood his home. Again they pleaded, “Sir you need to come with us!” But the man’s response was the same, “I am staying here, the Lord will protect me, I will trust in the Lord!” Well the current became to strong for the small boat and they had to get back to safety. Well the waters continued to rise, and not long after a helicopter hearing from the boat about this man made its way to the house. There they saw that the waters had risen covering the roof and the man was holding on to the top of the chimney with the waves lapping at his back. They threw down a ladder and over the loud speaker pleaded, “SIR GRAB ON!” The man just shook his head and started to say, “I am staying here, the Lord will protect me, I will…..” And just then the waters finally overtook him and he was washed away and died. Well as a believer, he did join the Lord in heaven. It was more beautiful and miraculous than he could ever comprehend. The Lord welcomed him with open arms but noticed the man was a little troubled. “My child what is wrong?” The man responded, “My Lord, I am greatful to be here, but I am confused. I believed you would protect me from the flood waters and yet I died, I don’t understand.” The Lord responded, “Well my child, I sent a truck, a boat, and a helicopter. What more did you want?”

Now of course this is a bit of humor, but I do think it tells a important lesson. There are some people who profess the name of Christ Jesus as their savior, who believe that going to the hospital, or the doctor, or taking any time of medication/vaccination shows a lack of trust in God to protect them. Do not misunderstand me, I do fully believe that God can miraculously keep people healthy, to cure diseases, and so forth. But I also believe fully that He also protects people, and gets/keeps them healthy through earthly medical professionals, regardless of such a person is a believer or not. If God can use a donkey to accomplish His will, surely He can use a non-believer who is a doctor to keep a believer healthy.

Rejecting medicines, vaccines, or medical help because you “trust in God” is a very problematic and dangerous position. Yes, in certain situations, God may call a person to avoid certain treatments/medications/ect, but I would put forward that this would be an exception, not the rule. And I most certainly don’t believe this should be a foundational block of a ministry or teaching. I still remember and am sickened by the “ministry” of the demonic Todd Bentley. This is a man who kicked (not lightly) a man in the stomach who was suffering from stage 4 cancer (of the stomach), claiming that THAT was how God was going to heal this man. There is still video of that incident online. That man died only a few months later. I truly hope that man did not die believing in the satanic teachings/actions of Todd Bentley, and rather trusted in the Lord as His savior, knowing that though his body may fail, his eternal spirit will go on to be with the Lord if he just believes.

So where does this leave us? Ultimately, whether it is vaccinations, medication, or general whether or not to use them fall upon the person themselves, whether for them or their family. No one, ever, should be FORCED to have medical procedures pressed upon them, even if such medical procedures are in reality beneficial to them. Vaccinations do not cause other disorders, but if a person does not want to have a vaccination for themselves or their children, THEY SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO DO SO. Similarly if a person themselves requests every test in the book, that is fine, but that should be their choice and doctors should (normally) only test and medicate for what the person actually has, and not for everything in the book. Ultimately this comes down to a personal decision regarding their health (and parents of their children).


Consider this story out of Iraq.

Iraqi Bill Would Allow 9-years Old Girls to Marry

It does not matter if this is a cultural or religious practice, this is demonic, this is evil.

However I will say, considering the history of the patriarch of Islam, Mohammad himself, this does not surprise me.  Historical records show that Mohammad married and consummated the marriage (aka raped) with a girl who was only 6 years old.  Pedophila has been apart of Islam for as long as it existed.  I am not talking about the morally ambiguous history of teens as young as 14-15 marrying which has happened even here in this Country (especially when life expectancy was barely into the 50’s for men and women).  I am talking about pre-teen sexual relations.  The only “main stream” religion that has regularly supported and practiced this is Islam.

It is good that some within Islam are recognizing that this is wrong, but there needs to be so much more resistance to this evil.  More so than resistance against islamic terrorists, more so than even “basic” rights for “adult” women.  These little girls need to be protected, and frankly, anyone who has sex with kids this young needs to have a bullet placed through their head.  No trial, no appeals, no hope for a future life.  Bullet thorough the head.

Margaret Sanger would be proud of this story.

72 Percent of Aborted Mississippi Babies Aborted are Black

This follows a story out about New York.

De Blasi Pushes More Abortion Clinics as More Black Babies Are Aborted than Born in NYC

It is an undeniable, indisputable FACT that Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger.  It is also an undeniable, indisputable FACT that Margaret Sanger was a proponent of eugenics.  She believed, that in order for society to survive and thrive, it had to limit and restrict the “unwanted” castes of people from having children that would put a strain on society.  In her eyes, it was the “compassionate” thing to do.  Who were these “unwanted?”  Blacks, and the poor. There has been an attempt to whitewash Sanger’s history, and pretend she was not a racist.  All one has to do is actually read some of what she wrote.  I challenge you, who doubt what I say, to actually read what she wrote.  Go read The Pivot of Civilization, or Women and the New Race. Go read her writing I DARE YOU!  Margaret Sanger is just the same as Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and every other mass murdering monster in history.

The difference between Sanger, and the others, is Sanger’s evil is active in this world today.  Just look at the numbers from these stories.  Black children overwhelmingly bear the burden of abortion in America today.  This is sick, this is revolting.  THIS HAS TO STOP.

Somebody’s Daughter

For those who have known me for a while, you have heard of my struggles with pornography.  It is something I have fought with since I was about 12 years old, encompassing now the majority of my life.

It may surprise people to hear that my faith in Christ Jesus is not what gives me the most pause in my struggles with pornography.  I know I am saved by Christ Jesus, and no matter how much I look at pornography and lust in my heart that will never change.  All my sins, past, present, and future are forgiven.  Yes I am adding sins to that cross, but nothing can take me out of the arms of Christ Jesus.  Indeed, this situation, my continued state of struggle in my saved state is one reason why I react so negatively against antinomianism, and why one of my greater theological interests is in the theology of sanctification.

But when it comes down to that, when I am depressed against my continued sin as it relates to my struggles with pornography, what helps me the most to turn away from that evil in my life is to remember that there is a person there behind that image.   Some say that pornography is a victimless vice.  Unlike drugs or alcohol, a person sitting at home looking at a magazine or a computer screen is not bothering anyone. Lets set aside the effect that person’s action has on the people around them, especially if they are married, have kids, are in a relationship, or frankly anyone in their live.  Rather let’s look at the person on the other side of the screen.

Statistics have regularly shown that significant portions of those involved in pornography (in particular the women involved), have some kind of traumatic experience in their past.  Emotional abuse yes, but more so physical abuse at the hands of someone, whether a family member or a stranger.  This trauma sends them into a self-deprecating spiral and into a “career” which only enforces those feelings of guilt they have for something that was never their fault to begin with.

Other women get involved, at least initially, to “pay the bills”, such as struggling actresses or models trying to make ends meet.  Once in, the very structure of the industry makes it almost impossible to leave voluntarily.  They become consumable objects based on the demand of those looking at the images in magazines or online.

It is a feel good lie that those who look at pornography sometimes tell themselves, that everything is always consensual.  There even are statements by the sites and magazines that tell us this is true.  Yet how do we know?  We don’t!  Indeed there are prostitutes in this country that are all but slaves to their “pimps”, who work the streets at the command of someone else, who have no say in the matter.  In many cases all pornography is, is the filming of these prostitute encounters.

But lets say that we can guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt that a particular website or magazine only has 100% consensual acts, that no women are coerced in anyway, and all are checked out by a psychiatrist to make sure they are not driven to this because of abuse in their past; that we can prove that that woman is doing this because they genuinely like doing pornography.  What then?

For me this comes down to one undeniable fact.  That woman is someone’s daughter; she is someone’s sister, someone’s mother, someone’s cousin, someone’s wife, and someone’s best friend.  I think how I would feel if 30 or so years in the future, after I have a family and the kids leave the house if I were to be looking at porn online and suddenly find myself looking at my own daughter!  The disgust at myself would be unbearable!  Even now, there have been times where women that I have seen on these websites have looked very much like girls I know.  Schoolmates, friends, even family.  And it bothers me!  It sickens me!  And I get worried, wondering if it really is them!  If everything is all right, or if there is some pain in their past that is driving them too this.

And then I think, does it really make a difference if I know the person or don’t?  I mean, why should my reaction be any different if I see someone I think I know (assuming it is just someone who looks like them), when those women actually have fathers, brothers, sons, cousins, friends, ect of their own!  Is it ok to look at images of other peoples daughters but not my own?  Indeed, I would not want people lusting after images of my daughter, sister, cousin, friend, even if I am not!  So why do I do it to the woman in other peoples lives?

They say that pornography is a victimless vice, but that could not be further from the truth.

Faith and Baseball

A recent interview was posted on The Gospel Coalition’s website.

Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny on Baseball, Manhood, and Faith

I admit, part of the reason I want to mention this interview is to try to goad some of my Cardinal hating friends to say or think (cause they never would actually say it) something nice about the Cardinals.  😀   However, this interview does make me think about a certain topic regarding “celebrities”, Christianity, and how we should deal with them as believers.

It is a common practice among many Christians (especially conservative Christians), to “look” for celebrities who are also Christian (and conservative).  We get some kind of giddy glee when we find one, wanting to watch their movies, listen to their music, or support their sports team.  And then that celebrity fails and falls into public sin.  Now what do we do!?  We place these people on such pedestals that when they fall, they not only hurt themselves terribly, but the shockwave of their impact destroys everything around them, including many of their “fans”.   So what should we do?

There is nothing wrong with liking and supporting celebrities who profess Christ Jesus as their savior.  What we must avoid is idol worshiping those people.  We also have to remember this when we “follow” pastors, whether they are our own or are “popular”.  The fact is we all fail at some point or another.  Some fail in big ways, some in small ways, but we all fail. And when you are on a pedestal, all your failure are “big” as they are there for everyone to see.  Hearing Coach Mike Matheny’s testimony is wonderful, but whether you are a Cardinals fan or not, we must be avoid idol worship of someone who in the end, is a flawed, sinful human just like everyone else.

What we as Christians should do, is prayerfully support “celebrity” Christians, just as we pray and support believers in our own families, churches, and communities.  Many of us don’t know what it is like to live under a microscope.  For good or bad, these celebrities are under constant observation.  Believers do this in their idol worship.  Unbelievers do this to try and find something to tarnish the testimony of these men and women.  When that something is found, believers then jump ship out of fear of what those unbelievers would say about supporters of that “fallen” celebrity.

It is great that Coach Matheny is a believer and trying to live his live for Christ.  But as believers we cannot fall into the trap of making this man something more than he is.  He, just like us, is a flawed, sinful human being.  Our praise should not be on him, but rather God.  We should be thankful that the Lord has placed a believer in that position, and pray that the Lord will use that person to glorify His Holy name.  That is prayer we should be saying about all those who accept Christ Jesus as their savior.  Soli Deo Gloria!  To God alone be the glory!

God knows I have not always been good at this in the past.  If you were to poll those who knew me about my attributes, I would wager most would have some form of “hot blooded” near the top.  One of my favorite quotes is from Braveheart where Wallace says, “I’m going to go pick a fight!”  Yea, you get the picture.  That, is the (occasionally not so) old me.  I endeavor to get better.  Not getting rid of the passions that I have, but rather I strive to demonstrate civility, even with tough issues, in a manner similar to Christ.  As should we all.
For indeed it is hard to accomplish.  There are many issues of various natures that are very important.  Some of which others would judge us as hate filled for simply believing, beyond any of our actions.  I personally believe that homosexuality is a sin.  I a complementarian, and believe that women should not serve as pastor/elder in a church.  I believe what is known as the Word of Faith movement is directly inspired by and lead by Satan.  I also believe state sponsored socialism (aka Communism) is demonic as well.  There are many more that I could list.  And in most of these, when I say that I believe in them, those listening quickly label me as someone who hates.

Indeed a post-modernism breeds this response.  If everyone is right in their own way, than it is wrong to judge other’s for their beliefs and actions.  Never mind that the whole construction of that argument is hypocritical, it is a reality that we deal with today anytime we open our mouths.  Someone usually will not like what we say, regardless of the issue.

Jesus and the New Testament warn us that this will be the case.  That no matter how nice we are, people will hate us for presenting Christ Jesus as savior.  That is a reality we cannot avoid.  It is a reality that transfers in to other areas and issues that we may express our opinion on.  However, and here is the key, we should not throw out civility just because there are some who will always reject us.

I believe that we can express certain opinions, some of which may be exclude other views (like the belief homosexuality is a sin), yet be civil about it.  Again, we know that some views may not be received with civility, but that should not change the way we act.  For everything we do and say should be flowing out of Christ’s love in us.  Christ Jesus ate with the sinners; He regularly interacted with those who were completely and spectacularly wrong about everything.  The same goes for Paul going and interacting with pagans and unbelieving Jews.  We should strive to demonstrate the same love, care, and compassion in our actions, in our speech, that Christ Jesus our savior did.  Of course we will never reach that level of responsibility for our words/actions, so long as we are tied to this sinful flesh, but that still should be our goal.

Now you might say, “What about Jesus’s words calling Pharisees vipers! Or Paul’s use of garbage/refuge!”  Indeed, I do not deny that even Jesus and Paul used strong aggressive language against others.  But here are some things to consider.  First, we are not Jesus and Paul.  They had (have) authority that we never will.  Jesus walked on water, but we never will.  Second, looking at all of the words of Jesus and Paul, their “aggressive” statements against others are infrequent.  Indeed, there are appropriate times when such statements are necessary against those who oppose us and our views.  But those times are few and far between.  They should be reserved for the most dire of situations, in places where they would have the most effect.  If not, than they become nothing more than a intellectual version of Chicken Little.  If we are always being aggressively confrontational with others, we risk alienating the larger pool of listeners, so when something of clear and great importance arises, no body will still be listening.  Aggressive confrontations are sometimes necessary but should be kept rare.

But again, that does not mean we stop with what we are saying in the first place.  That does not mean we stop calling sin for what it is, sin!  It comes back to how we handle ourselves, our actions, and our speech.  One can call out a sinner in a civil matter.  One does not need to be aggressive with everything.

Once again, I know, more than maybe anyone else under God, that I have not always achieved what I speak of here.  I usually am good at the “Do as I say, not as I do!”  But I do strive to be better, to conduct myself better, to do it in a manner worthy of Christ Jesus who is the Lord of my life.  I will not always succeed, indeed not one of us will, but that does not excuse our lack of trying.

God’s Creation

Yesterday, there was a “Debate” between Ken Ham (CEO of Answers in Genesis) and Bill Nye (the Science Guy).  I really don’t want to hash out the debate itself, but rather make some statements on what Christians should/should not think in regards to Creation/evolution.

First, how God created the universe is NOT a first tier issue.  That is, a particular belief is not required for salvation, as compared to say correct doctrine on the Trinity.  It is not even a second tier issue in my opinion.  That is, a belief that is required for like fellowship, as compared to say baptism or church polity.  It is a third tier issue, one that is fun to debate, but not serious enough to divide over.

Now that said, the second thing we need to remember is that God created the universe.  Period, end of statement.  There is no room for any Christian to believe in a non-theistic cause of the development of the universe.  Whether God started everything then stepped back and let billions of years of development take place free from His hand, OR God was intricately involved over billions of years guiding everything Himself, OR God created everything in 6 solar days; whatever way you believe, God did it.  If you say that God was NEVER involved in making the universe, then you don’t believe in God, not in any way, shape, or form.  This is why I am dumbfounded by “Christians” who oppose the concept of Intelligent Design.  People, who profess to be people of faith, argue against the idea that everything we see, all of creation, has a designer behind it.  Unfortunately, part of that may be due to flat out LIES told about Intelligent Design, arguing that ID is “just” Young Earth Creationism in different clothes.  That is a flat out lie.

Third, regardless of how you believe they got there, I do believe that belief in a literal Adam and Eve is a primary tier issue.  Maybe not as it relates to actually salvation, but definitely as it relates to “right” theology and avoidance of heresy.  Look at Romans 5.  Paul clearly believes that Adam was a literal person.  Further, Paul demonstrates the functional effectual nature of Christ’s work on the Cross.  This illustration becomes meaningless if Adam was not a literal person.  Even further, Luke shows Jesus’ lineage back to Adam.  That is hard to do if there as not a real Adam.  If there was not a real Adam, than Luke is wrong.  If Luke is wrong, then the concepts of inerrancy and infallibility are out the window.  And then, there is no solid foundation to base any religion off of.  Some things in scripture leave room for interpretation between two groups that both believe in inerrancy.  Some things do not leave such room.  A literal Adam is one of the latter.

Most liberals tying themselves to the issue of abortion rely in using the argument that it is a “woman’s choice”.  The false reasoning behind that stance aside, there is a greater, in my opinion even greater evil surrounding abortion.  If having abortion because you simply don’t want a child is bad, how evil is it to abort a child because there is something “wrong” with it?

Statistics vary, but by some estimates nearly 90% of children in the womb who are diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome are aborted.  That is just the tip of the iceberg.  Other disorders, able to be diagnosed while the child is in utero, are also used to justify abortions.  And it does not stop there, as some people who want a child, actually abort because their child is not the gender that they want.  There have also been cases where parents who are having twins abort just one of the children because they only want one child.

While I believe abortion itself is an evil that invites the wrath of God, I honestly don’t think I can find words in the English language that are severe enough for my detest for these types of abortion.  No argument is able to justify taking these actions.  Those arguments that are used, in my opinion, only highlight the completely evil nature of these abortions.

People would say that such children (those with disorders), would only have a poor life, and be a burden upon their families and society.  But just who makes the decision on what defines the quality of ones life?  Quality of life is relative.  The arrogance of someone believing that they have a right to determine that a person’s life will be horrible, enough to the point that they should be aborted, before it even happens, is beyond me.  This is to say nothing of abortion child because of its gender, or taking only one of a pair of twins.

I recommend that everyone should study the history of the eugenics movement, in the world and in America, and its relation to the rise of the Abortion movement.  Margret Sanger’s goal in founding Planned Parenthood was to provide low cost abortions (and forced sterilizations) to the “undesirables” of society, namely blacks and the poor.  The eugenics movement as a whole in America disappeared with the revelation of what the Nazi’s did, and yet Planned Parenthood remained.  It is a sad testament to a time of great evil in this country.  An evil that continues to exist and perpetrate itself to the numbers of nearly 1.5 million abortions a year.

“Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.  For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.  Do you want to have no fear of authority?  Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.  But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.  Wherefore it is necessary to e in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.  For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.  Render to al what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” – Romans 13:1-7

“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.” – Titus 3:1-2

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution whether to a king a one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.  For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” – 1st Peter 3:13-15

These two texts are the core of what the bible speaks to in terms of submission to human governments.  Yet I fear many times they are misused and misunderstood used to excuse tyranny, and avoid responsibility for personal action.

Consider these words from the United States Declaration of Independence:

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.  But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evidences a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their Future Security.”

Is there a point where, as the founders of the United States believed, that we have the duty and responsibility to rebel against authorities?  Were the founders wrong and in error?

First, consider that in Paul’s letter to the Romans and Peter’s letter, both talk about the government’s job is to punish evil and protect the good.  And yet in many places throughout history and even to this very day, Christians are being persecuted for simply being Christians.  This hardly can be considered good.  Is there a point when a government gets so evil, so repulsive that Christians have a duty and obligation to openly oppose such a government?  The founders of this country believed there was a point in which that should happen.  I am inclined to believe as such.

Please note, that none of these texts say anything like, “Unless these governments violate the word of God”.  Because of this we must ask the question, what happens when governments state that you cant worship the Christian God.  Indeed may places did and are saying that.  Most Christians I know would say, you must submit to God first, then the government.  If the two conflict with one another, of course you must submit to God and face the consequences from the government.  And yet that is not stated in any of these texts.  We must read into these texts that position.  Why cant we do the same with rebellion against unrighteous, wholly evil governments?

However, for most Americans, that is the past.  Consider now something about the present and future.  At the time of its founding, the United States was unique.  Some called it the “Great American Experiment.”  It was called as such because at the time, no other nation had truly tried a representative democracy free of a monarchy.  Citizens of the United States were given the unique (then, and to a degree still to this day) ability to participate in the functioning of our government.  It truly is, as Lincoln stated, “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

If we are to take seriously the words of Paul and Timothy, if we are to truly submit to the government, then it stands to reason that we must then participate in a government when we are able to do so.  I submit, that Christians in America, if they are to follow Paul and Peter’s words, need to be active in our governments.  Simply put, they must vote.  Not just in “big” elections like ones for the Presidency, but for primaries, state, and local elections as well.  Far too many Christians avoid participation in our government.  To them, there are “other” things that are more important.  Most use sharing the gospel, and that indeed is a worthy endeavor.  But again, if we are to submit to the government, and in the United States, we are the government, does that not mean we should be active?

Consider that maybe, God gave us the opportunity to be involved in this government for a reason.  Indeed, Paul stated that governments are established by God.  Perhaps, the United States, and the freedoms we enjoy are for a reason.

“But what of oppressive governments?  Are they not instituted by God?” You might ask?  I point you back then to my first point.  Paul tells us that governments are instituted by God to punish evil and protect good.  Without getting involved in a debate over degrees of determinism, perhaps, evil governments are merely allowed (and occasionally used) by God but that Christians have no obligation to submit and follow after such governments.   Further I point to the fact that there are many governments in the world.  Are we to submit to just our own or to all?  What would happen when world governments oppose each other, how should the Christian respond?

I propose that Christians today have the duty to support good governments, and oppose oppressive evil governments.  When possible, we are to do so peacefully; and when necessary (and after all serious considerations to the consequences), to do so with force.  Such force should not be used neglectfully unless such a government risks becoming that which it opposes.

If Christians were to be active in government, either through service or through their votes, imagine what could happen!  The problem today, is that participation in elections is pathetically minor, especially in non-presidential elections.  That is what I believe must change.  I truly fear that if Christians do not start participating in this government, one day it will become something that is completely oppressive and resistant to the Christian faith.  This is something that has happened in other nations and countries in the past.  To believe that it cannot happen here is short sighted.  To believe that Christians should not do anything to prevent that from happening is dangerous.

It is perhaps one of my great regrets that I did not take any (Christian) Education classes while at Seminary.  To be fair, for sure, I was not sure on where God was leading me while I was there, so I simply earned a “basic” M.Div, and did not venture into any of the more specialized concentrations.  I defiantly now believe that is a mistake.  I have been afforded the great opportunity to lead two Sunday School classes while at my current church.  During this time I have gained a stronger and stronger passion for proper biblical education in our churches.

To be sure, the first and primary means of biblical education is, and should always be, the sermons.  Expository exegesis from the Word of God is the best and foremost means to educate the people about biblical principles.  Who can forget 2nd Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”

However, I also believe that Churches are doing a disservice at leaving things at that, and treating Sunday School as some kind anathema.  Not all churches do this to be sure, many utilize this time Sunday mornings for true biblical education and nourishment.  But far too many churches do not.

Some churches use Sunday School as a social club.  Classes that have been together for 20, 30, 40+ years continue to stay together for no other reason but that.  “Leaders” with little discernment are allowed to bring in heretical and unbiblical “celebrities” to discuss in class (in particular I am thinking of people using people such as Rob Bell, in a positive way, in these classes).  Many churches have Sunday School participation rate that are statistically insignificant compared to attendance during the Worship Service.  Some classes contain no serious examination of biblical principles, and have superficial observations that contain no depth, no substance.  All of this (and more) is a really sad indicator of the state of Sunday School’s in our churches.

I wish I could go back and take a few classes in Christian Education, enabling me to know more about the state of affairs, and be better equipped to take a more active role in, one day God willing, leading a church down a more biblical path in its biblical education, and Sunday Schools.