Samuel Rutherford had to deal with the pagan doctrine of law which came to be known as the “divine right of the king”. Later, even in the midst of a profitable Parliament this “divine right” was sought to be transformed into the “divine right of Parliament” – even Blackstone reiterates some of this evil and pagan philosophy. At the hearing in Montgomery, Alabama yesterday the evolution of this pagan foundation has now morphed into the self-proclaimed “divine right of the judiciary” – more specifically for our society, SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States).
On every side the argument was advanced that once the SCOTUS has spoken, that was the law – the sovereign has spoken. This is the same old heresy wrapped up in a different cloth and transitioned to a different locale. The lead attorney for the JIC, one John Carroll, rehearsed the fact that he had been practicing for 42 years and under a number of different Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justices. He named, if I recall correctly, six of them starting with Howell Heflin (infamous regarding his monetary decisions). He made a startling declaration about his view of EVERY ONE of these Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justices, saying that all of them were men of strong faith and would have, in his view, been personally appalled regarding the decision of the Supreme Court regarding sodomy, but NOT ONE of them would have taken a stand against such a proclamation of evil by the Supreme Court of the United States. I do not believe he had any idea of the theology he was espousing. In his view, and it was evident in the hearing that this was the overwhelming view of the courtroom participants, the Divine Right of the Judiciary is enshrined with settled certainty as the new “god” of these United States. It was EVIL to the core and is as much an abomination as the claims Rutherford had to battle.
I think it may well be true that on the specific battle that Judge Moore is involved in, he may prevail on the technicalities – there was wisdom in his approach. However, it was clear, at least in my view, that the heretical and pagan doctrine of the divine right of the supreme court reigns supreme in law, culture, and religion (including professing Christians). THIS is the great issue before us and must be challenged, refuted, overcome, and buried on the ash heap of history with one, and only one, answer:
“For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; He will save us.” -Isaiah 33:22
There are NO other options. We follow the Law-giver, or we choose autonomy. No amount of obfuscation or writing 1,500 page tomes on why this is not the situation will wash out the reality that was on full display at the Alabama Supreme Court chambers yesterday. It was a watershed moment: “Choose you this day” is still the echoing cry of history.
Originally posted here.
Who contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations… Romans 4:18
The “founding father” of our faith, Abraham, was used so mightily for God’s family because even when circumstances were unanimously pointed against all hope—in hope he still believed. This is a hallmark trait so many have been being trained in of late, not just an outward perseverance but an internal stretching of the perseverance of their hope and faith. Before God expands our capacity on the outside (territory), He expands our capacity on the inside. Like an athlete preparing to compete at high altitude, our lung capacity has needed to be upgraded to run our race at a new and higher place.
Abraham was trained in the nature of the Father through an internal perseverance of trust that graduated him into the place of fathering the family of God. Many have been trained for such a worldwide family restoration getting ready to take place now. God is calling a new breed of founding fathers whose trust has been proven, giving the Father a direct flow through our lives to give life to people and grassroots movements all over the earth. Many have been lost, and by the Father, through you, they will soon know their place in the “family” and be found.
New Founding Fathers
We often look back to the “founding fathers” of our nation or our faith to look for guidance or revival in the hope and principles we too often stray from. If America looks back at her beginnings, she finds a time when leaders of great internal character rose up against challenging times to demonstrate that they were not here to conform, but to transform. They became founding fathers of the nation not merely because of the principles they set in motion, but because of the internal character and integrity of faith that birthed those principles. (Photo via Wikipedia)
Today, on the surface, it would seem America and many other nations, are in the midst of challenging division, discord, and are fighting off an attack on hope. Many ask what our founding fathers would say or do, or share quotes about what they warned of—all great encouragements. But I would say there was something deeper than their principles that we now need—a revolutionary spirit that rose up with courage from within them to act, govern, speak, live and love like true fathers are supposed to.
We are in times where we need new founding fathers to rise up and not wait for those who will politically govern, but those who will genuinely father new movements of liberty springing up everywhere. A bill going through congress can be vetoed, but those who rule in their sphere of influence with the passion of a father cannot be stopped.
A Family Structure
Also, the Lord tells you that He will make you a house. 2 Samuel 7:11
Like David in this story, we often want to build God a house. And I believe God’s response to us is often very similar to what He told David, “I will make YOU a house.” This doesn’t just mean God will build a house for us, but that He will make our life into a house, a family line of descendants. We often want to father through a physical structure kind of house, but God often waits for us to father through “a family structure” of multiplication.
These new founding fathers will birth new movements that bring us together into the kind of unity Jesus prayed for in John 17:20-26—a unity that will cause the world to believe. This isn’t your typical unity that is based on similarity, proximity or conformity; it is the kind of unity a father helps birth by empowering identity within their family.
As new founding fathers rise up, so too will the family of God begin to be restored into the kind of family structure that looks beyond principles, the kind of family that lives and loves from belonging, sets captives free from the inside out, and causes the world to believe.
A true father knows how to empower their family. They know how to “find” the gold in everyone they meet. They know how to be united not in spite of, but because of differences within the family. A father opens blind eyes for others to see the possibilities that have been present within them the entire time. A father knows that true liberty comes from knowing your place in the family, and a father blesses those “different” parts of the family to come forth and reveal the family name and likeness in their own special purpose and ways.
A father who comes in the name of The Father knows how to carry peace into discord, and how to make someone who feels like an outcast feel loved and known. Founding fathers know how to find those who haven’t been found before, or who need to be found again. They know how to lead and govern through grace, but without compromising truth. They know when to speak, when to listen, and when to simply offer a hug or share tears. These fathers know how to bring healing to the brokenhearted, they know how to love the world like family, and they do not need a ministry or organization in order to do so, they just need to see the world as God does—like family!
He who has seen Me has seen the Father. John 14:9
The kind of founding fathers we need right now are not fathers based just on gender (as this includes both fathers and mothers), but who carry the Spirit of The Father. They are ones who, like Jesus, learn to say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” Our nation here in America, as well as many other nations across the world, need our founding fathers of NOW to rise up and father the future.
We are about to see a new revolution by founding fathers in every sphere of influence. It will be done through the context of widespread Kingdom family and under the leadership of the Father’s heart. It’s a message to be lived more than told and is a grassroots movement of the Father rising up through you to take ground for the Kingdom, to give life to His family, and show the world who He really is in all His abounding nature! (Photo via Pixabay)
Small Beginnings, Big Families
Your “fatherly,” persevering faith, hope and love that has been expanding during this past season has prepared you. And as with any family, “fathering” doesn’t always happen in big or formal family moments, but in the little things. Do not despise the little moments as they add up and even multiply big. Our kids are shaped by those little moments seeing and knowing them, of caring for their hurts, feeding them, listening, speaking life and hope, and simply, unconditionally being present with them.
To “father” a person or movement doesn’t require any kind of formal recognition by the recipient(s), it is simply an act of giving life out of the well God has expanded and filled within you. Fathers are so connected to The Father that they know how, where and when to plant a seed of life that is ready to expand into more.
Wherever you go, not by title or position, but by presence, faith, hope and love may each person who encounters you say, “Because I have seen you I have seen The Father.”
Originally found on Elijah List.
If California Democrats have their way, Christian colleges and universities will no longer be allowed to require students attend chapel services or require them to profess a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Senate Bill 1146 would close a loophole that lawmakers say allows Christian universities to discriminate against students based on their gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.
“All students deserve to feel safe in institutions of higher education, regardless of whether they are public or private,” said Senator Ricardo Lara, the author of the legislation. “California has established strong protections for the LGBTQ community and private universities should not be able to use faith as an excuse to discriminate and avoid complying with state laws.”
The legislation has already passed the Senate and is expected to clear hurdles in the Assembly. Thus far, Lara has refused to compromise with the state’s Christian colleges and universities.
“No university should have a license to discriminate,” he said in a statement.
If the loophole is closed, it would only exempt schools that prepare students for pastoral ministry.
“It discriminates against religious colleges, said John Jackson, the president of William Jessup University. “If we don’t play ball with state — the state will attempt to drive us out of existence.”
The president of the Sacramento-based university called the proposed legislation chilling.
“The passage of this bill would destroy the foundation upon which this university was founded,” said Jackson. “Systematically discriminating against religious institutions and preventing student access and choice to Christian higher education is bad policy and will have a negative effect on the state of California.”
Lee Wilhite, vice president of university communications at Biola University, said they, too, have serious concerns with the bill.
“It functionally eliminates the religious liberty of all California faith-based universities,” he told me. “It really does infringe on how we carry out our mission.”
Like most Christian universities, Biola integrates the Bible through all of their courses — something they’ve been doing for more than 100 years.
If the loophole is closed, it could have a devastating impact on faith-based institutions.
“We would no longer be able to require a profession of faith for students,” Wichita said. “That’s something Biola requires of all incoming students.”
Schools would no longer be allowed to integrate faith throughout their teaching curriculum, he added.
Leaders at three universities I spoke to say that they would not be allowed to require mandatory chapel attendance or mandatory core units of Bible courses.
“The danger for Biola University is that it prevents us from carrying out our mission the way we have for 108 years,” Wilhite said. “It would eliminate our ability to continue our mission. That’s why it has our attention.”
The legislation would also give students a right to sue if — for example — they were offended by a prayer in a class.
Biola and William Jessup refute the notion that LGBT students are discriminated against on their campuses.
“We don’t tolerate harassment or bullying of any of our students,” Wilhite told me.
Many of the schools are working with the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities to urge Lara to amend his bill to include a religious exemption.
“If passed without amendments, the new law would also very likely disqualify students attending California Christian colleges and universities from eligibility for Cal Grants, a key state-level student aid program,” wrote Kurt Krueger, president of Concordia University Irvine.
Azusa Pacific University president Jon Wallace, penned a passionate op-ed for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
“Sen. Lara wants to safeguard LGBT students. We want the same protection for all students, including members of the LGBT community. The bill calls for more transparency from schools about their beliefs and recourse for unfair treatment. We share his concerns about student safety, transparency and recourse. With every prospective student, we share who we are, we provide the framework for how we build community and do life together and we ask those who enroll to uphold our student standards of conduct. Right now the proposed bill would invite challenges to required chapel attendance and public and communal observation of Christian sacraments such as the Eucharist and baptisms, among other activities central to our identity.”
Several of the universities I contacted said they are going to respectfully stand their ground — even if it means taking their case to the Supreme Court of the United States.
“We are not willing to change our policies,” Jackson said. “There is a very intentional attempt to marginalize those who don’t accept the notions of sexual orientation and gender identity as the government has framed them.”
And Jackson warned that what’s happening in California could happen in other parts of the country.
“Religious freedoms are in play in California,” Jackson told me. “Ultimately, I’m concerned that what begins in California rolls across the nation.”
Originally posted on Fox News.
In 2007, Iowa enacted a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The law applies to what are known as “public accommodations.”
Now federal law typically considers “public accommodations” to be facilities like restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, retail establishments, and parks.
But recently, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission added something atypical to that list: church services.
In its “Provider’s Guide,” the Commission offered an answer to the question, “Does this law apply to churches?” with a resounding “Sometimes.” What follows is troubling: “Iowa law provides that these protections do not apply to religious institutions with respect to any religion-based qualifications when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose.”
I say troubling because implied in that statement is that the state gets to determine what is and what is not a bona fide religious purpose.
And what follows that goes from troubling to outrageous: “Where qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose, churches are still subject to the law’s provisions: For example, a child care facility operated at a church or a church service open to the public.” Which, as the Alliance Defending Freedom rightly pointed out, “encompasses most events that churches hold.”
If the Commission interpretation stands, then churches—at any service open to the public—would be prohibited from doing or saying anything that would “ ‘directly or indirectly’ make ‘persons of any particular . . . gender identity’ feel ‘unwelcome’ in conjunction with church services, events, and other religious activities.”
Given the almost limitless capacity for people to take offense or feel “unwelcome,” this would effectively ban sermons or other religious instruction about traditional Christian sexual ethics. This is what the Supreme Court famously dubbed a “chilling effect” on the freedom of religion and of speech.
Now if you’re wondering “how is this even legal?” you’re not alone. Paul Gowder, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Iowa, told the Des Moines Register that any attempt to regulate the content of sermons is “blatantly unconstitutional” and “absurd on its face.”
That’s why the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), representing two Iowa churches, has filed what is known as a “pre-enforcement challenge,” which challenges the constitutionality of the measure before it even takes effect.
Let’s hope and pray that the ADF prevails. But even if they do, it’s a sobering reminder of three things.
First, this didn’t happen at the Supreme Court or in left-leaning Washington State: it happened in the heartland, in Iowa. Religious freedom is in a precarious condition.
Second, it shows how wrong those who insisted, “‘Oh, they’ll never make pastors do this,” or “They’ll never make churches do that” really were. The state of Iowa is pretending to arbitrate what counts as a bona fide religious purpose. Everything a church does should have a religious purpose, especially outreach. That’s why every church service is open to the public.
Finally, it brings to mind Martin Niemöller’s famous line about failing to stand for others until there was no one left to stand up for him. Too many pastors failed to stand up for the freedoms of people in the pew because, well, they weren’t bakers or photographers or florists. And the pastors assumed they were safe. Clearly they aren’t.
The unprecedented attempt to regulate religious speech in Iowa shows the lengths to which enemies of religious freedom are prepared to go, proving it was never about cakes or photos in the first place.
St. Augustine once said you could judge a nation by what it “supremely loves.” For America, that thing is freedom. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Occupy Wall Street folks all clamor for it.
But a debate rages over what freedom is. Indeed, America is at a crossroads, as political factions war over the form of American freedom and ways to best guard it. What many fail to realize is that the worst enemy of American freedom is not the jihadists, not technology, not even politicians or the ‘other party.’ Unbridled freedom is freedom’s own worst enemy.
As Os Guinness explains in his book, A Free People’s Suicide, “Freedom requires order and therefore restraint, yet the only restraint that does not contradict freedom is self-restraint, which is the very thing that freedom undermines when it flourishes.”
Few authors can summarize and communicate complex ideas and history as clearly as Os Guinness, an acclaimed speaker and the author of many Christian non-fiction books. Guinness’ most recent book, titled A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future, published by InterVarsity Press, presents a succinct, digestible, yet unsettling truth: Freedom in America is self-destructing.
The short volume briefly spans the spectrum and development of Western political thought leading to the American model freedom, based on religious liberty, points out the looming hangman’s noose, and appeals to American citizens to reverse course to the Founder’s understanding of “sustainable freedom.” After reading this book, you will know what and why liberty is the central and pivotal issue of our time and is, in fact, the single most critical component for the continued success of American status as a free society.
According to Guinness, freedom must be won, then ordered, then sustained. The Founders won, or reclaimed, liberty with the American Revolution. They ordered it by the excellently crafted safeguards of the Constitution. The third step, sustaining freedom, is the hardest. America’s Founding Fathers understood that “The greatest enemy of freedom is freedom,” and their solution, which worked for a couple centuries, modern Americans seem to want to ignore. For years, freedom was sustained by self-government. But now, self-government is becoming a rare democratic virtue.
While the Constitution is aptly called the ‘Fortress of Liberty,” we cannot trust in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or our laws to protect liberty. Sustainable freedom must be achieved through a relationship that the Founders all understood and commended. Freedom is protected or lost by the virtue of its people. Guinness writes that, “In a democratic republic, the rules and the subjects are one and the same, so freedom depends constantly not only on the character of the nation’s leaders but also on the character of its citizens.”
Guinness’ new, simple concoction for a virtuous, self-governing democratic people is the “Golden Triangle,” by which he means “the cultivation and transmission of the conviction that freedom requires virtue, which requires faith, which requires freedom, which in turn requires virtue, which requires faith, which requires freedom and so on, like the recycling triangle, ad infinitum.”
For people to be trusted to not trample on the freedom of others, they must restrain themselves by their own virtue. For virtue, free citizens must show “obedience to the unenforceable,” which of course means true virtue, which must be based on one’s own volition, one’s own faith.
To close the recycling loop, then, freedom is required for faith because faith would be no faith at all if it was really forced lip-service. Hence, Guinness calls religious liberty the crowning achievement of the American Experiment. Sustainable freedom, then, is based on true virtue, which must be built on habits of true faith. The only way to have true faith is by the people forming true, heartfelt convictions which can only be done with freedom. With the three legs in harmony, the people largely self-govern themselves and freedom and civil society are sustained.
To reengage the Golden Triangle, this generation and posterity must rediscover the “unum” (one) in e pluribus unum – that is, the supreme, uniting values of America that make it one nation – through civil education, thus “going back to go forward” by returning to the proven first principles of the Founders.
Guinness closes his new book with some provocative questions and a prayer:
Is freedom to become America’s Achilles’ heel or to remain her glory still? Will America go forward strongly by going back wisely? My hope and prayer is simple: that Americans will do what Rome failed to do and remain a republic not only in name but in reality, a free republic that will remain free across the long marches of time, just as your wisest and most daring once fervently believed that it might.
Book Review: A Free People’s Suicide by Os Guinness