Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Cor 3:17
John Wingate Thornton (1818-1878), in his classic “The Pulpit of the Revolution,” contrasted the biblical literacy of American in 1776 with those in 1860. He showed that biblical and political literacy and, thus political discernment, were intertwined. Are American today by Scripture and fact? Or by emotions?
Rev. William Gordon says that the “ministers of New England, being mostly Congregationalists are more attached and habituated to the principles of liberty than If they had spiritual superiors to lord it over them. They oppose arbitrary rule in civil concerns from the love of freedom, as well as from a desire of guarding against its intrusion into religious matters. Election sermons on political subjects are deemed very proper… The Election Sermon is printed… and the passages circulated far and wide by means of newspapers, and read with avidity and a degree of veneration … The ministers have forwarded and strengthened, and that not a little, the opposition to the exercise of that parliamentary claim of “right to bind the colonies in all cases whatever.”
The ministers were to instruct the people, to reason before them and with them, to appeal to them; and so, by their very position and relation, the people were constituted the judges. They were called upon to decide; they also reasoned; in this way New Englanders, had, from the very beginning, been educated in the consideration of its elementary principles… Edmund Burke, said “Another circumstance in our colonies, which contributes to the growth and effect of this intractable spirit, is their education… I have been told by an eminent bookseller, that, after tracts of popular devotion, the books most exported to the plantations were books about law. The colonists now reprint them for their own use [and] they have sold nearly as many of Blackstone’s Commentaries in America as in England… This study renders men agile, inquisitive, dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in defense, full of resources. In other countries, the people, more simple, and of a less irrepressible cast, judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance,”— in the colonies— “they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle. They augur misgovernment at a distance, and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.” Mr. Webster says our fathers “went to war against a preamble; they fought seven years against a declaration;” that “we are not to wait till great public mischiefs come, till the government is overthrown, or liberty itself put in extreme jeopardy. We should not be worthy sons of our fathers were we so to regard great questions affecting the general freedom. Those fathers accomplished the Revolution on a strict question of principle. The Parliament of Great Britain asserted a right to tax the colonies in all cases whatsoever; and it was precisely on this question that they made the Revolution turn. The amount of taxation was trifling, but the claim itself was inconsistent with liberty; and that was, in their eyes, enough. It was against the recital of an act of Parliament, rather than against any suffering under its enactments, that they took up arms They poured out their treasures and their blood like water, in a contest in opposition to an assertion, which those less sagacious, and not so well schooled in the principles of civil liberty, would have regarded as barren phraseology, or mere parade of words.
“They saw in the claim of the British Parliament a seminal principle of mischief, the germ of unjust power; they detected it, dragged it forth from underneath its plausible disguises, struck at it; nor did it elude either their steady eye or their well-directed blow till they had extirpated and destroyed it to the smallest fibre. On this question of principle… while actual suffering was yet afar off, they raised their flag against a power to which, for purposes of foreign conquest and subjugation… It is in this habitual study of political ethics, of “the liberty of the gospel,”— perhaps the principal feature in New England history, — that we discern the source of that earnestness which consciousness of right begets, and of those appeals to principle which distinguished the colonies, and which they were ever ready to vindicate with life and fortune…
The highest glory of the American Revolution, said John Quincy Adams, was this: “It connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” (John Winthrop Thornton, The Pulpit of the American Revolution, 1860; edited for space).
2016 Elections – Here is an outline of upcoming causes and primaries:
Monday, February 1 – Republicans and Democrats hold their caucuses in Iowa, the first primary event in the 2016 race.
Tuesday, February 9 – Both parties in New Hampshire hold their primary election.
Saturday, February 20- South Carolina Republicans will have their primary and Nevada Democrats will have their caucuses.
Tuesday, February 23 – Nevada Republicans will caucus.
Saturday, February 27 – South Carolina Democrats hold their primary.
Tuesday, March 1 – “Super Tuesday!” Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia hold primary elections or caucuses.
Jesus called his followers to be salt and light in the world. Paul called us to pray for those in authority and in Romans 13, he defines the parameters of government as God calls them to be. In a constitutional republic like ours, Christians have a biblical and civic religious duty to vote and to choose the candidates best qualified to lead our nation, states and counties. This is the privilege, right and duty that our Forefathers, sons, brothers and now wives and daughters have spilled their blood to win and preserve for us.
We can be grateful that God has given us specific guidance with which to qualify prospective civil leaders: “select from all the people 1) able men, 2) such as fear God, 3) men of truth, 4) hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Ex 18:21 NKJV). That guidance became the foundation for the electoral system in ancient Israel. We must not, especially in a primary, be swayed by popularity, forcefulness, brilliance, good looks or the “hipness” of a candidate; rather, we must search our own hearts, examine our own motives, and then seek God for discernment – which candidate best fits God’s requirements for those who would lead nations?
God warned the people of Israel that if they insisted upon a king who failed His requirements (Deuteronomy 17:14-20), he would crush them with taxes and take their sons and daughters as his servants. Their insistence led to the reign of Saul, a spiritual and political failure.
Our nation likely cannot endure eight years of what we’ve endured the past eight years. America’s move away from a constitutional republic will be intensified. Our country will become something unknown in the American experience – and not for the good. Barack Obama’s effort to fundamentally transform America will have succeeded. The way has been paved for the U.S. to be a secular, statist, government-dominated nation, run by men and not principle.
We face an emergency. Christians are already being persecuted in America. We must advance candidates with a track record of godly leadership and respect for the rule of law. Christians must not hesitate to evaluate candidates by both the morality of their policy views as well as their personal lifestyles. We need leaders who demonstrate true reverence for God, Himself, and the firm belief that our rights come from God, not government – and that it is government’s responsibility to protect those rights. This includes the right to life of all people, including the unborn and the elderly. We need God-fearing men and women in office, men and women who will govern according to the Constitution, not their personal aims or interests.
Each of us bears a sacred duty to analyze, test and make scripturally-based decisions about the character of the candidates – from a biblical perspective. We must disqualify those who do not measure up. We must choose men and women who meet God’s requirements and reject those who don’t. If we fail, we will suffer, just as did the Israelites suffered when they chose a king whose superficial appeal surmounted their obedience to God and His standards. And this must become our habit if America is to be preserved for our children.
- God, help us to examine our hearts as we examine the candidates you have set before us. Grant us not to be deceived. Grant us discernment. May we not be pressured by our peers, but to listen to those whose judgment we can trust. In the end may we hear from You and support those who best meet Your standards. Grant repentance and forgiveness to your children who have been slack to take their responsibility as Christian citizens seriously. Help your children to rally around the candidates, from those for President to those at the local level, whom You will bless, who will be a blessing to America. May our pastors lead in this critical hour. Revive our churches and awaken America. Draw us Yourself, Lord, Who alone is our King and Who alone can lead us in paths of righteousness. Grant mercy, Lord, and give us not the leaders we deserve, but leaders who bow the knee to our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and the Supreme Judge of the world – leaders who will honor You (Ex 18:21; Neh 4:14; Jn 7:24; Acts 3:19, 23:1, 24:16; Eph 6:18; 1 Tim 3:8-10; 2 Tim 4:1-4).
Finally, the US Supreme Court rejected Arkansas’ and North Dakota’s laws that limited the window during which an abortion could be performed. But the Court will soon take up the Texas law that requires abortion clinics to meet the standards other medical clinics must meet.
Additionally, a Texas Grand Jury issued a criminal indictment against David Daleiden, charging him with “trafficking” baby organs. Daleiden famously exposed Planned Parenthoods grisly practice of selling aborted baby organs for a profit. But the jury did not charge Planned Parenthood with any wrongdoing. The House vote to overturn the President’s veto against the reconciliation bill (approved by House and Senate) has been postponed until next week due to official Washington being shut down due to the Blizzard of 2016.
And remember: Whatever befalls, we serve One Who will never be thwarted by the machinations of fallen men. “God reigns over the nations,” we’re reminded in Psalm 47:8, “God sits on His holy throne.” Amen, and amen.
Thank you for praying!