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BIBLICAL LAW IN PRACTICE

 

What follows are a tiny sample of the hundreds of verses in the Bible that speak to Law, the nature of man, freedom and the role of legitimate government.  There is an abundance of material to establish these truths.  They are there for the asking if any man would know them and seek them out.  They are based on the very nature of God and in the scriptures God has promised that those who seek Him will find Him.[i]  Here are just a few:

 

The very premise of a tripartite government comes from the Bible.  In speaking of God Isaiah says, “For the Lord is our judge, The Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king;”[ii] Here we have the model, in God’s innate being for the judiciary, the legislative, and the executive branches of our government.

 

In his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln spoke of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  What is not generally known is that these words were written by John Wycliffe, an early translator of the Bible who wrote in the General Prologue of his 1384 translation of the Bible that “The Bible is for the government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

 

The concept of the Bible as a basis for law and governance was not new to Lincoln, or to the Founders.  Wycliffe’s thinking was that the Bible should be available to all men to read so as to enable them to arrange their own lives as they saw fit.  The rationale for him was the same as it was for the Founding Fathers.  Responsible men were capable of governing themselves if they lived according to the Bible’s moral order.

 

THE BIBLICAL LIMITS OF FREEDOM

 

The limits of freedom are also established scripturally in many places.  The Bible tells us “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”[iii]  We are also told, “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil...”[iv]

 

The notion that God’s commands are not capricious but rather point men to a life structured around the nature of man as God created him is found throughout scripture.  The Psalmist says in the Old Testament, “And I will walk at liberty, for I seek your precepts.”[v]

 

The end result of living according to Godly principles is found in these prophetic words in Isaiah.  Note the enumeration of benefits to be derived as a result of the prophet’s (and later, Jesus’) obedience: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;”[vi]

 

We are told how to treat one another: “So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.”[vii]  What is the Law of Liberty?  It is the requirement that men act according to moral principles as per the Ten Commandments but without the onerous regulations of daily life that were found in The Law of Moses.  Jesus himself distilled the Ten Commandments down to two:  Love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.[viii]



[i] Mathew 7:7; Luke 11:9;

[ii] Isaiah 33:22

[iii] Galatians 5:13

[iv] 1Peter 2:16

[v] Psalm 119:45

[vi] Isaiah 61:1

[vii] James 2:12

[viii] Matthew 22:37-39

 

Part 12 (conclusion) tomorrow

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Tags: Christian, Individual, Judeo, Sovereignty, action, core, culture, government, liberty, limited, More…personal, political, principles, responsibility, tradition, values

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Comment by Paul Phaneuf on April 13, 2011 at 12:18pm

Charles, your characterization of Mr. Reynolds' observations as revealing a" lazy reading" I believe are appropriate, no offense intended to Mr. Reynolds.  There's enough fraud and deceit perpetrated upon the American people by our own government, I try hard not to wander into paranoia.  However with the left's disclosure that it intends to discredit conservative blogs, commentators and media and to infiltrate and disrupt, I become suspicious of obscure observations that appear to be rooted in pure ideology and not in reason and conviction.

Your observation concerning the abdication of leadership from mainstream churches is in my experience sadly true.  Thank you for your comment.

Comment by Charles P. Smith MD on April 12, 2011 at 11:16am
Oh my, Mr. Reynolds reveals much in his lazy reading of Paul Phaneuf. Well, most people including Christians can't get it right generally and have no idea what the Constitution actually came from or what the Bible actually contains. We are so inept about both. It's no wonder that Church leaders are not in the forefront of the battle against Obama and the Progressive assault. Some may be blinded by liberalism as they practice monastisism in their seminary. Others never paid attention to their lessons and fall in with the likes of Jimmy Swaggart and Jimmy Bakker and others on Television Church.
Comment by Paul Phaneuf on April 10, 2011 at 9:20pm

No, I am not saying that the Bible sort of agrees with the Constitution.  I am saying the exact opposite: the Constitution reflects the Judeo Christian values found in the Bible.  The Founders' own writings and correspondence prove this conclusively and indisputably.  Am I saying that your could pour them into a mold and what came out was some sort of cookie cutter Christian clones?  In case it needs to be said, the answer is no.  Also, not all the Founders were Christians (though most were), but even Deists like Franklin and Jefferson held a deep reverence and respect for the Bible.

However, I am saying that the only way someone can deny that Biblical values and principles permeate our system of government (as the Founders intended it, not as it is), even if they themselves do not accept Christian theological doctrine, is if they have rejected the Bible in the first place and choose not to see what is obvious to anyone who has actually studied the Bible.  I relate to that mind set.  I held it myself as I admit in an earlier post in this series.  I was wrong.

Nor am I saying that the Founders' were not also influenced by Locke or Montesquieu and others.  They conscientiously studied history, philosophy, political theory, etc. to learn what was effective or what was at the root of the destruction of prior civilizations.

As has been observed by others, people see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear.  I do not exempt myself from that predilection and while I do not know you personally, neither do I exempt you. 

I appreciate your comments and suspect that you may have read only this post and not the earlier ones that lend context to what I write in this installment.

When people play poker, the best players learn to recognize a "tell".  Your conclusion that it would be "impressively wrong" to conclude that the Founders were profoundly influenced by their Judeo Christian worldview is a "tell".  Who are you?  What do you believe?  Why do you believe it?  I have suspicions of how you lean, but I'll refrain from speculating because it's just a gut feeling.

Nevertheless, thank you for your comment and I'm glad you visited.

Comment by Malcolm Reynolds on April 10, 2011 at 7:54pm
I don't understand; You are saying that because, in some places, The Bible sort of agrees with the basic tenants of the US Constitution, the US Constitution was based on Judeo-Christian values? Because that would be impressively wrong.

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