Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

Free The Church


By What Right Do Governments Exist?

The title sounds a little rebellious, but it is not. It is a fundamental question that should be answered and known by all people. Since governments exist in all people groups, it is assumed that they are the natural and normal functions of a society. They are, but if the reason and support for the very creation of their existence is ignored and forgotten, then they will always corrupt into tyranny of some form or another.

In the latter half of the 19th century (1850), Frederick Bastiat, a French writer offered an answer for this question. He addressed the question because Karl Marx, who had been hired by the Rothschilds, wrote his Communist Manifesto in England (1848), which makes the government the final determinant of law. Bastiat’s was a first generation child of the French Revolution whose bloodbath deposed the king of France (1789-1799) and formed a nascent government. So he answered the question in his treatise called, “The Law.”

The work was timely for the godless trend continued rapidly after him. Charles Darwin wrote his evolutionary thesis in his “Origins of Species,” (1859) which gave a natural explanation for man’s existence apart from God. In this same period of time, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1885) declared God dead, Sigmund Freud gave the world the new “religion” of psychology (1899). And American humanist, John Dewey (inventor of the Dewey Decimal System in libraries), had signed the Humanist Manifesto (1933), which declared that men did not need God and were self sufficient.

In his book, “The Law,” Bastiat uses an elegant simplicity, he outlines the basic principles of the right of governments. He begins with the individuals and concludes with the society.

  1. Everyone has the right to live, for life is granted to us by God.
  2. Since we have the right to live, we also have the right to labor for those things necessary for life: food, clothing, and shelter.
  3. Since the individual right to live comes from God, no other individual has the right to take our lives.
  4. Nor do other individuals have the right to deprive an individual the right of the personal property labored for survival.
  5. Therefore the right of self defense is a God given right of self preservation.
  6. Of course, if they do not have the right to take an individual’s life and property, neither do we as individuals have the right to take the life and property of another.
  7. If this right exists individually, then it is a logical extension that individuals have the right to band together collectively to form governments that protect the right to life collectively.
  8. However, just as an individual does not have the right to deprive life and property of another, neither do governments have the right to deprive the right of life and property from the individual or another collective government.

With these basic principles laid out the rest of Bastiat’s book argues against socialism and communism which he calls, “legal plunder,” in their transfer of wealth. The justification for the government’s creation, then, according to Bastiat, is for the common defense of the people governed, not for wealth transference. Bastiat does not say that governments exist because God creates government. Rather God gave the right to life to people, and people have the right to create governments to preserve that life.

As Christians we naively assume that governments are created by God. This is only partly correct as I will show the reader. Let’s start at the beginning of the scriptural support of governments. The first government ordained by God is the family, which began with Adam and Eve. Families are the nucleus of all societies. The patriarchal society was governed by the elders of the families who had joined together to create a community.

After the Flood, Noah sacrificed animals in gratitude to God for preserving him and his family (and mankind in general). God speaks to Noah regarding life on the new world. Permission is first given to eat animals (Gen. 9:3), which is a necessity since all vegetation was destroyed in the Flood and would need time to regrow. But a prohibition is given against the eating of their blood (v. 4). On the point of shedding blood by murder, God says to Noah:

5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.
6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. (Gen 9:5-6 KJV)

Two commandments are made by God: first, any animal that kills a human is to die, and any human that murders another human is to die. Those deaths are to be administered “at the hand of man” (v. 5). This verse is the biblical basis for capital punishment. This command precedes the Mosaic law, so applies to all people everywhere. Note however, that it does not say that a government agent shall cause this capital punishment. Just by the hand of a man.

When God established his covenant with Israel through the Mosaic Covenant, he set up what has been called a theocratic government. But Paul tells us in the book of Romans that the law was given to show sin (Rom. 7:7). He further explains that the law is holy (v. 12), but by the law sin lives (v. 8). In other words, when God gave Moses the Law, it was to show the perfection necessary to live if one was be righteous and justified by self works. A perfection no one can do since we are all flawed by sin. In this “perfect” government, according to the Mosaic law, it was not the responsibility of a government agency to execute criminals, but by the bereaved family member.

In this “theocracy” (for Israel has never truly been a theocracy, see below), God established cities of refuge for man slayers to flee for safety. These cities of refuge protected those who committed accidental man slaughter. But they were to be examined by the elders of the city who determined if it were accidental or intentional. If accidental, then that person had to live the rest of his or her life in one of those cities. If he left, or the elders determined that it was intentional murder, then the avenger of blood was given authority to execute that person (Deut. 19:11-12). So, the government of elders determined if it was accidental or intentional, but the execution was by the relative of the victim, not by the government.

But God knew such a “theocracy” would fail. Therefore government agents were also given the right to execute capital punishment, as Paul said:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (Rom 13:4 KJV)

But as the reader can see, this is not God’s original intent, but permitted the creation of governments due to the “hardness” of our hearts (Matt. 19:8). Governments are ordained by God, but God gives the responsibility of forming governments to man. In other words, God does not form the governments. And because all men are sinners we naturally corrupt what we do. Therefore, it is natural for men in governments to abuse their authority. Abuses by government are not sanctioned by God.

America’s founding fathers understood these principals when they drafted the Constitution for the United States government after it was clear that the Articles of Confederation were inadequate. Bastiat’s argument that the right to life, and its preservation, comes from God was stated by the founding fathers in their Declaration of Independence:


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just
Powers from the consent of the governed, ? That whenever any Form of Government becomes
destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new
Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to
them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

It is worthy of note that in an earlier draft the line, “pursuit of Happiness,” was pursuit of property. It, at that time, was understood that “happiness” meant property. As Christians in the United States, we like to believe that the US Constitution was based upon the Bible. This is only partly true. There are many other sources that the founding fathers drew upon, along with the Bible, for the basis of their document. The works of Aristotle’s “Politics;” Marsiglio of Padua’s, “Defensor Pacis;” and the kingdoms of the Po Valley in northern Italy, were some other sources besides the Bible drawn upon for drafting the US Constitution. However, the Bible and another two elements were strongly influential in the final draft of the US Constitution: Natural Law and Common Law.

Natural Law is understanding that there are universal truths that are held by all people everywhere in some form or another. An example of Natural Law is theft. No one wants their things stolen in any society anywhere. Neither does anyone want to be murdered. No woman wants to be raped. These Natural Laws have variations in understanding, but ultimately they are some variation of the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17, Deut. 5:6-21), and the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12, Luke 6:31). The Natural Law is the universal recognition of the laws of God inscribed in our hearts and conscience (Rom. 2:15). These are the laws that are punishable according to the Noahic and Mosaic Covenants. Common Law is a part of our English Heritage as US citizens. Common Laws are a body of laws that were understood by the Parliament and the Crown. These rights were imported and understood as part of the US government judicial system. In law today, these crimes are known as felonies and constitute criminal activity.

However, there is another body of law which has its roots in a God given source, but are strictly speaking human conventions. That is Equity law. Equity law refers to the breach of agreements in contracts. The God given root is in how we are created has humans in God’s image. In other words, God is sovereign and we are individually made sovereign, too. We tend to think of governments as being sovereign, but that is impossible. Sovereignty is only given to humans, not fictitious entities such as governments and corporations. The problem with the Christian understanding of sovereignty is because of the confusion of the term applied to God Himself.

God is Sovereign. But what that means is that God is accountable to no one, and all things in creation belong to Him. He has the right to do with His creation as He wants. But few ever ask the question, “What does God want?” Christians confuse His sovereignty with His Lordship. His sovereignty is the right to do what He wants, but his Lordship is His execution of those rights. We humans are made in His image. That means, we, too, are sovereigns (but, unlike God, we are accountable to Him). He gave us free will. We have the right to do what we want. If we wish to reject His salvation through Jesus Christ, God respects our sovereignty, and lets us choose eternal damnation. When He gave dominion of the Earth to Adam (Gen. 1:26), He granted mankind Lordship over the Earth. The Earth still belongs to God, but in His Sovereign right, He shared His Lordship with mankind. So the dominion of Adam over the Earth is Adam’s Lordship over the Earth. Adam as a sovereign, could also do what he wanted with that which was given him. Which is why Satan was able to become the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), and is why God did not immediately take the Earth back from Satan in the Garden of Eden. He could not violate His own word, so it had to be bought back from Satan at the cross.

The individual sovereignty of man is the basis of Equity Law. As individual sovereigns we have the right to enter into contractual relations with other sovereign men. Beyond that origin of sovereignty, Equity Law does not derive its authority from God. It is the right of mutual agreement between men. Therefore, equity courts do not have the right of punishment, only the right of arbitration, and the assessment of a financial penalty.

Statutory Law is based in the same root of sovereignty. If a people decide to create a government, as a people they also have the right, through mutual agreement, in the enactment of statutes to regulate their society. Just statutes will have their basis in the laws of God. Unjust statutes will serve the government and a select few. But, because these statutes are not laws that come from God, known and understood by both the Bible and Natural Law, they are not felonies which are criminal offenses punishable by the government, but misdemeanors, which are only penalized by fines.

What most Americans do not realize is that we stopped being a Constitutional Republic after the Civil War and became a fascist government in the 20th century. The Constitution was violated by the Civil War and greatly compromised by the post Civil War amendments. Fascism is when a government controls the economy and business by force. The violence of the IRS and the abundant regulation of business by the government in the United States makes it subtlety fascist, just as socialism is subtlety communist. The American judicial system is now a blend of law and equity where statutes and regulations are now punishable by imprisonment.

Criminal law and equity law are now merged together in the U.S.A. Consider a simple example. Today not wearing a seat belt is considered a criminal offense punishable by both fines and imprisonment. To be a crime, it has to be a violation of God’s law, not a statutory law. Has anyone killed another person because not wearing a seat belt was the cause? Of course not. Wearing a seat belt protects the life of the driver and passengers in the event of an accident. It is wise to wear seat belts, but can a government make it criminal law? No. It can be a statutory law where the people agree in its wisdom, but not criminal.

So, where does the right of government exist? From God? No, not from God, although God oversees all the nations since the Earth belongs to the Lord twice fold. First by right of creation, and second by right of redemption. As such He does take down governments and exalts righteous governments. But He gave the right of government to men. We create governments. Either we are responsible with the government we have created and see that it remains a righteous government that God will exalt (Prov. 14:34), or we let our governments become corrupt and allow destruction to ensue (Prov. 10:29).

Finally, Christians need to remember that there has never been a theocracy on the Earth. Israel, as I said earlier, was not a theocracy. God did not rule Israel directly, but through men: Moses, Joshua the Judges, then later the kings. Islam is not a theocracy, neither is Christianity a theocracy. Electing people into office simply because they say they are Christians, or say they stand for a popular cause, is no reason to elect those people. Both Jimmy Carter and George Bush, Jr. claim to be born again Christians. Yet both have increased government intrusion into domestic and foreign affairs. Being a Christian has no influence on anyone unless one is a genuine disciple of Christ. There will only be a theocracy when Jesus returns and rules the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 2:27). In the meantime we need to remember that we are not citizens of the United States first, but citizens of the Kingdom of God first and stewards of the nation God has put us in second. The Kingdom of God rule on Earth is yet to come. God is still governing his Earth through men. As ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20) we are here on God’s stead. We are to influence the governments to righteousness, but not use the governments to create a theocracy. Our control of the Earth’s governments will be when Christ returns.

Our influence upon our nation is only as much as Christ is an influence through us. God does call people in to politics and every sphere of life. If God is calling you into the political arena, then you have the ability to influence the political world through Jesus Christ. But if God is not directing you there, then your influence will be of your own strength and will accomplish very little. The Lord is still using people to manage His Earth. Wherever God leads you, that is where you will do the most good.

History if replete with examples of men of God who changed the tone of a nation because they moved according to the prompting of the Spirit. Daniel influenced Babylon because of his commitment to Yahweh. Esther changed Persia because she was willing to lay her life down. The Roman Empire was transformed because of the blood of the martyrs. The Roman bloodbaths of the gladiator games were stopped by a single man. Horrified by what he saw, he jumped into the arena while lion was maiming a Christian. The lion turned on this man and he was torn to pieces. The shock of a spectator jumping into the arena who tried to stop the death as entertainment, only to die, too, struck deep into the hearts of the spectators. After that the games ceased and have never been revived. It may not be martyrdom for you, but the only hope for a nation is for the people to follow and obey their personal leading of the Holy Spirit.

The command of God through Jesus Christ still stands: Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). Christ governing the individual lives of the nation is the only hope for a righteous government before His return. Christ will direct the right people to bring righteousness to the nation if they obey His lead. But we must understand that we are responsible for the creation of governments, not God, and just because the government makes a “law,” that does not mean they are either genuine laws, or statutes that reflect the sovereign wills of the people.

Comments from Common Root Social Network

Editor’s Note: I copied this article and posted it on the the social network named above. I decided I did not want to continue in that network, which is a Ning network. When one closes their account, all that one wrote gets deleted. To save the dialog I have copied the comments and transferred them to the end of this article.

Nathanael Snow on 12/26/08

Hooray for Bastiat! I can’ t imagine what made you write this post on Christmas day (a new laptop?) but I’m glad you did.

My copy of The Law includes the Preface by Walter Williams, who was my professor last semester.

By the way the book is also available in audio. I have read this several times, and also tried my hand at a paraphrase.

The crucial element which I take away from Bastiat is the distinction between Law and Government, especially the idea that law exists prior to and independent of government.

The Equity Law you describe is mere incorporation, and could operate the same way within a firm as within a government. I really enjoyed your exposition of this equity law, by the way.
You may have guessed from my handle that I believe strongly in the Natural Law (= juris naturalist).

I don’t suppose you have read The Mainspring of Human Progress or the works of Richard Maybury (aka Uncle Eric) by any chance? How about Bruce Benson’s “The Enterprise of Law

Good stuff!

Nathan

Alex Reply on 12/26/08

Nathanael,

I so greatly appreciate your comments because I know how much knowledge you have on these topics. I actually wrote that article some time ago. Someone else encouraged me to join this network. It has taken me some time to understand who this network is. I am not an Anabaptist. Not that I disagree with the Anabaptists, but that is not my background. Neither am I a supporter of the Emergent Church. I am a sinner saved by grace who came from an atheist family and am exploring the Christian world.

In my exploration of the Church, I had to scratch my head and wonder why the Church has so little influence on the world. I have had to research both world history and church history to figure it out. Our current woes of America (and world wide) are directly derived from the appalling ignorance of the Church of politics and economics. And I was just as guilty in my ignorance, for the government schools feed propaganda and brain washing to the populace. And, sadly, I realized that the government churches support the same system of lies and deception. So, I have left the organizations of professional clergy and for the last three years have been exploring the world of saints in the diaspora. That has been a world wind of another brand of confusion, as well. As for this site, even though I am not of Anabaptist background, I have discovered that I am of that heritage. I am a descendant of Jan Huss on my father’s mother’s side. So it is in my spiritual blood and genes.

I have not read the books you have listed apart from Bastiat’s work. Thanks for the list. I will add them to my list of books to read. My hope is to communicate to believers the truth of what is really going on in the world so we can be separate from those influences. I agree with you, “Hooray for Bastiat!”. His book clearly shows the truth.

Nathanael Snow 12/27/08

1. We have agreed that purely voluntary governments may have a right to exist. But this really challenges our definition of government. If it is merely an association for collective action, yet remains voluntary, there is no reason to quibble. What introduces compromise is when government claims a monopoly on the use of force. It is the power-over element which is idolatrous to the core. I have yet to hear of a government which does not make this claim to force.

So I rather use the term “association” for voluntary collectives not compromised by force.

2. “The governments are voluntary, the problem is they become abusive…”

Anthony de Jasay in the epigraph to “Against Politics” quotes Edmond Burke, “In vain you tell me that artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing, the Thing itself is the Abuse!” It is safe to assume that government everywhere we find it exists for the purpose of abuse. This might extend even to the framers of the US Constitution. There were several groups, each with a measure of power and multiple interests, vying for control of the monopoly of force, which is the state. Their contentions produced the most inefficient government ever devised, and as such, the best. The Articles of Confederation might have been better.

3. We agree that “equity laws” while seemingly harmless, and actually beneficial, may fall short ethically in that they may hold some accountable to them who were not party to the original agreement which formed them. Especially pernicious are those laws in which one group, say, our grandparents, agree collectively to have another group, say, us, pay for their retirements through social security, etc. Equity laws, to me, sound like the fellow who is faced with a UNICEF box held by a little kid and replies, “sorry, but I gave at the office.” They enable us to believe that we are off the hook in caring for the least of these because we already gave at the tax office. Not so. ” I pays my taxes I ‘jes doesn’t spect thems to do no good.”

Along these lines, we can safely say that government doesn’t create taxes to pay for new programs. Rather government creates new programs as an excuse to collect new taxes.

4. Participation in earthly governments is obviously permissible from the testimony of scripture. How we are to participate in government is peculiar. I am not sure it is permissible for a Christian to knowingly enter military service. Some very few may receive a special calling to do this, but for most it would require a compromise. I don’t believe sabotaging the military is the kingdom way to confront empire, either.

Administrative positions are fungible. That is, if believers don’t occupy them someone else will. I find these among the most abusive of positions, and at the same time among the most seemingly unimportant. But they consume vast quantities of wealth. If each Christian bureaucrat worked to do the unthinkable among government agencies – that is – to reduce the size of their budgets! they would do well. We must not be fooled into thinking, “Oh, well the agency I am a part of is one of the better ones, they are actually doing some good.” No. The good they are doing is at the expense of someone else. It is tainted by the use of force in acquisition of resources. There is no virtue in it. To be sure, if resources are going to be spent, try to direct them to the best possible uses – this is what Daniel and Joseph did in their positions on influence – but in general we must work to make the space occupied by government smaller.

5. Again, again, and again: we must take up the responsibility for those things which government is doing that belong to the church. Doing this requires that we not be distracted by the cares of the world. It requires that we be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and not drunk on consumption. Our true acts of subversion are those positive mandates which have been given us by Christ – those peculiar commandments accepted by His disciples – being the church is the true act of subversion. It tells the whole world, “You are not the church. You attempts at charity are filth. Your laws of equity result in privilege and abuse. Your wars of peace are never-ending. You are not what you are.”

6. Finally, I maintain my contention that it is not the market which corrupts. The market is that which exists outside the control of governments and associations. A market of sorts always emerges. Even in the most regulatory of climates a market will arise where people will make voluntary exchanges in order to reallocate resources to more highly valued uses. This will not be avoided, no matter how the society is arbitrarily constructed. What we often call the market is a horrendous hybrid between the voluntary and the power-over. It is a monstrosity, as Jane Jacobs calls it in “Systems of Survival.” The current crises is evidence of that monstrosity where banks have extended credit beyond what a normal situation would allow on a mere voluntary basis, because they expected the bailout which is now occurring. Not only has this monstrosity brought instability in the economy, but beforehand it was allocating resources inefficiently to housing and financial markets which might have better been used in other sectors of the economy. This is because prices were no longer communicating the right information about relative scarcities of goods. (But I digress.)

Markets are not constructed entities. They emerge in whatever climate exists. They reflect natural subjective valuations of individuals. This is all that markets are. They are that which occurs outside every influence of force and manipulation. They cannot be evil, they are purely voluntary. The moment an element of force is introduced it becomes a monstrosity. It ceases to be natural. It becomes an idol.

I cannot recommend strongly enough “The Mainspring of Human Progress” by Henry Grady Weaver. It is a relatively short book, and a simple enough read for the inner-city sixth graders I used to teach. My favorite version has an introduction by John Hood, one of the directors of the E.A. Morris Fellowship program I am a part of this year. Please, here’s the link to a free pdf Mainspring

Nathan

Alex Reply on 12/27/08

Well, my friend, it seems you are preaching to the choir. But, I am glad for what you have written, for it is very well said and I hope others will read your comments, too.

1, When we consider the issue of force, it is significant that in the Old Testament vengeance is given to the wronged parties to accomplish. In the Wild West, government influence was limited since they could not reach the West, so that Americans experienced a more biblical form of justice. Of course justice was miscarried at times, but look at the travesty of miscarriage in justice today by the government! The government has created a virtual holocaust of mis-justice! But true justice does need to be maintained in this fallen world, for crimes occur.

2. As much as I appreciate the US Constitution (which has not been the basis of our government for 100 years) I know that the framers were crafting a stronger central government to the detriment of the states. When we listen to Christian talk radio as they try to show us what the founding fathers really wanted in the constitution, they always refer to the Federalist Papers. They never mention the Anti-Federalist Papers which argued against the central government, nor the fact that many of the founding fathers who signed the Constitution were also some of the writers of the Anti-Federalist Papers, too.

3. I fully agree that one generation does not have the right to create equity laws that the next generation is compelled to go along with. Even Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence:

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government”

He is acknowledging that each generation has the right to change the governments created by the previous generation. Although, I am not arguing for rebellion, because I agree that pursuing the Kingdom of God is the most subversive action a believer can take, too.

4. Daniel, Joseph, Esther were divinely placed where they were to accomplish those ends. The American spirit is less government, and the Christian spirit is government by God directly. So the problems that so many congregations have struggled with fall into this same camp. The emergent, house church are going the way of the Anabaptist in this regard, I think.

5. Amen. The Church has given its salt to the world, and the world tramples on it.

6. I am in agreement about the market. I have already downloaded Weaver’s book. Thank you for the link. These are all excellent points.

Nathanael Snow on 12/27/08

I am weak on church history. What does “going the way of the Anabaptist” mean? Irrelevance? Poor doctrine? Or, right doctrine, and influential?

N

Alex Reply on 12/27/08

What I understand (and I made this comment since this is an Anabaptist site, I believe) is that the Anabaptists were persecuted because of their refusal to accept infant baptism as valid for salvation. But as for my comment, I believe they did not want church government, either. I could be wrong, however, and may have used their name incorrectly. Some of the offshoots were the Plymouth Brethren who also did not believe in church government, but in seeking the headship of Christ. If I am wrong, that is what I meant about the Emergents and house church believers.

Andrew Cornelius 1/14/09

Concerning Darwin, he did believe in God. Accepting homo sapiens’ evolutionary origins does not necessitate atheism.

Alex Reply 1/14/09

That may be true. Isn’t it interesting that the beliefs of the founders of faiths are often different from their adherents generations later?

Andrew Cornelius on 1/14/09

or I should say he initially believed in God and his subsequent agnosticism was not derived solely from scientific insights but from his religious experience and from reflecting upon ignorant/stubborn Christian responses to his research

Alex Reply on 1/14/09

I see this in the Church today where many believers who have left organized religion are also making their faith decisions based upon the reactions of people from those organizations that they left and choosing their new faith based upon what other people believed in the Early Church. The name “Early Church” seems synonymous with purity and truth, which is was not at all. Every generation is the same according to Ecclesiastes. For us believers in Christ, our faith must be based upon what the Bible actually says and the agreement of the Spirit within us. I told a friend recently that the rules of hermeneutics should add a variation on the famous statement, “Scripture interprets Scriptures.” I say, the Spirit should interpret Scriptures and the Scriptures should interpret the Spirit.

Andew Cornelius on 1/14/09

Okay. I guess you are essentially arguing for the infallibility and inerrancy of the scriptures (and, presumably the historic Protestant canon). Well, I realize what your initial post is about so I won’t go any farther with this discussion since we’d be off topic. I definitely approach the scriptures– and the quest for truth– in a different fashion however, one that I regard as more Christocentric than bibliolatrous.

Andrew Cornelius on 1/14/09

Isn’t it interesting that the beliefs of the founders of faiths are often different from their adherents generations later?

it is, yes, although many times those early beliefs are difficult to uncover (i.e., the quest for the “historical Jesus”).

Alex Reply on 1/14/09

Well, I realize what your initial post is about so I won’t go any farther with this discussion since we’d be off topic. I definitely approach the scriptures– and the quest for truth– in a different fashion however, one that I regard as more Christocentric than bibliolatrous.

You are right that this is not the point of the blog. And I appreciate your grace in your response. I am not advocating Bibliocentricity over Christocentricity. I am advocating maintaining both in parallel. I have seen too many believers who have abandoned the Bible to such an extent that they follow a god of their own imagination since they have no way to test the spirits. I believe in being followers of the Spirit in our personal lives, but the Holy Spirit does not contradict what has been written in the Bible.

But as regard the blog, it is the same logical fallacy of appeal to faulty authority in what other people say that is blinding us to understanding why governments exist at all. For Americans we accept what we are told is law by people or questionable authorities instead of actually looking at what are the written laws of the land and what is actually declared in the Constitution. Neither do we understand by what authority laws can be written in the first place. And I outlined that in the blog: laws that enforce the laws of God, and laws that agree with God’s laws (equity laws). And those second set of laws have their basis in the sovereignty of men granted to men by God.

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