Law, Grace, and Citizenship Lesson 1
Our Situation Today: The Big Picture
Labor Day Conference at North Stonington Bible Church
01 September 2012
© Charles A. Clough 2012
We are privileged and happy to have Charlie with us. Charlie has been coming for over 40 years. It is a real blessing and we appreciate his faithfulness to us as a church in coming. I know I emailed you Charlie. I think when the ladies retreat in October if Charlie can make it, he is going to be back again on that weekend. So Charlie and Carol have been very faithful to us in ministering to us even long distance through prayer often. They get the prayer requests and they are in prayer and the call and they ask. So they really are a part of this church family. I have that feeling and I know they do as well.
A little bit of background on Charlie, he was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up on Long Island. After high school he received a full scholarship to MIT where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics. After 4 years in the Air Force as a meteorologist, he entered Dallas Theological Seminary. There he earned his ThM in Old Testament Hebrew. In 1968 upon his graduation from Dallas, he began a ministry as pastor at Lubbock Bible Church where some folks with us right here Dennis and Jill Merleno were there with him way back then during their college years. Charlie was the pastor there for 12 years. While he was pastoring there he developed a unique approach to training believers called the Basic Bible Framework. By the way, there is a pamphlet on the back table out in the vestibule that describes this approach. Pick it up. It is well worth your reading. Also you can get on his email and you can receive the newsletter.
It is a very edifying opportunity that we have here. A major part of his work even today is still developing and working on the Framework and putting it into different applications also. So Charlie will probably talk a bit about that.
Then in the 1980s Charlie earned his Master’s Degree in Atmospheric Science from Texas Tech. From ’82 until 2006 he was a staff meteorologist at the Department of Army at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
Charlie and Carol live in Bellair, Maryland. They have 4 grown sons and grandchildren. So it’s my privilege, my pleasure to introduce to you Charles Clough. Charlie, take it away. You have until 12-ish which means you can go over if you need to.
Thank you, Larry. Carol and I both always consider this our home church. She is unable to be here this time; but she regrets not being here and looks forward to her time in October.
You can tell by the title what we are doing this time. What we are trying to do this conference hopefully will be a time when we can reflect as Christians on our culture. It doesn’t require too much attention to think about what a mess this country is in and the culture of it. Obviously it’s due in large part to an abandonment of the Christian faith by a segment – even a minority segment. There never was a majority of biblically centered citizens in our nation, but in the past there was enough of that remnant that they had a cultural influence. They weren’t passive. So one of the things that I hope comes out of this conference is to encourage you to root yourself very self-consciously in the Word of God as it applies across the culture and not to be a doormat, a passive doormat. But to be active.
You say, “Well, how do I be active?”
Well, in your marriage and in your families. I mean the family is the general culture generator in every society. So it’s important that we think about what we’re doing.
I want to start by showing a slide or two that I’ve shown here – I think 2 years ago when we spoke on labor. I am showing you these because these are statements by professors of law in peer-reviewed law journals. The importance of this is that the jurists, the judges who are going to decide cases read these law journals. That’s where they get their ideas.
You talk to an average judge and their docket is pretty full. They don’t have time to do a lot of research frankly. So they get their ideas from law journals and from discussions
I want to point out something about this particular case. This is Katherine Ross. She is a Professor of Law at William & Mary. Notice what she is saying.
I thought for years that – I couldn’t understand this. How long is it going to take for the anti-Christian bigots to understand where Christians are coming from particularly in the home school movement because if there is a cultural revolution in this country right now; it’s centered in the home school movement because in affect what the parents have done is said no to the state.
“You are not the surrogate parent of our children. We are the parents of our children, and we will determine what they are taught.”
This has been going on under the radar, but no longer. Notice this statement.
This essay explores the choice many traditionalist Christians parents both fundamentalists and evangelicals make to leave public schools in order to teach their children at home thus in most instances escaping meaningful oversight.
Like mom and dad don’t know what they’re doing and they need meaningful oversight from the state.
In some cases frankly in home schooling parents have not done a good job, but that is a minority. Who is to say that everything goes well in the public schools?
Now watch this. This is the conclusion. Watch her logic carefully. This is not a random quote. This encapsulates a way of thinking by the intellectual elite.
Society need not and should not tolerate the inculcation of absolutist views that undermine toleration of difference.
That’s another buzzword now. We tolerate differences. Of course the difference they are talking about is the Christian difference. Everything else is fine. But watch the vocabulary. These are keywords that are being used.
If a parent subscribes (look at this sentence) to an absolutist belief system premised on the notion that it was handed down by a Creator that it like the Ten Commandments is etched in stone and that all other systems are wrong the essential lessons of a civic education often deeply challenging and suspect.
Here is her conclusion.
Such have no place in the public area including public schools.
Did you catch that last sentence? What is that doing to the Christian community? Marginalizing it. In other words you are free to believe – you and I both are free to believe anything you want to in private; just don’t bring it out in the public. Don’t act in public on the basis of what you believe. Everybody else can, but not you Christians because you believe in this absolutist view of truth.
Of course what it is, is that we believe in Truth. If something is true, logically it can’t be false. Something is not meeting that truth standard. It’s got to be false and this is offensive. The point that you want to see here is this little statement “private truths have no place in the public arena”. That’s the progressive marginalization of evangelical Christians.
One more slide here. This is another – I could show ... actually had four slides but for the sake of time I just want you to see these. This is another Kimberly Urocko who is writing in the California Law Review.
There must legal and constitutional limits on the ability of home schooling parents to teach their children idiosyncratic and illiberal beliefs and values.
Notice the adjectives that are being used. It is illiberal, idiosyncratic.
Then it says:
Government control must be exercised against parents who want to teach against the enlightenment.
Now those of you who have studied history, particularly if you have studied any philosophy that word there “teaching against the enlightenment” should be capitalized because what she is talking about is the entire philosophic tradition of the West starting with Descartes, Emanuel Kant, continental rationalism. This is a whole movement where man autonomously rejects revelational authority and man working out from his finite fallen mind is going to create and generate absolute and universal truths. That is what she is talking about.
She is not using these words casually. This lady is very well educated. She is declaring very clearly the battle lines.
Think about this now in light of Deuteronomy 6. What does Deuteronomy 6 say after verse 4 where it talks about ...
NKJ Deuteronomy 6:4 " Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
...which is the core of Jewish faith.
The next question is – how does the Word of God get in the heart? If we are going to love the Lord with all our hearts and with all our minds the obvious next question is how does the Word of God get into our minds? Deuteronomy 6 tells us it is the parents. You will teach these things day in and day out.
So watch this.
Parental control of the children basic education flows from the state rather than vice versa. The state delegates power over children’s education to parents.
Now can you get more opposite to what the Word of God says? There is no compromise here, folks. It’s one or the other. The battle lines are drawn very clearly here.
Now I am going to ask one of our younger people in the millennial generation – we are going to ask Brittany Maleno to come and I want her to share with you her work as a law student. She’s a second-year law student. She has had the advantage that some law students, most law students never get of actually working with a Christian group. She will explain more of this on Monday - a Christian group of lawyers who are the main bulwark against this kind of thinking in our country who are litigating case after case after case in the courts over this kind of thinking.
So Brittany if you will come here.
As Charlie put the danger to home-schooling rights is real and it’s here. And it is scary! There are other issues as well. There are other threats to the Christian way of life that we all need to be aware of. In fact here are some issue that I’ve brought that have already been ruled upon in the courtrooms of our country.
First, one of the threats to our way of life is in our right to life. Many of you are familiar with the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. It created a fundamental right to privacy, which was found implicit in the 14th amendment due process clause, which is actually not there. It doesn’t say that. It includes a woman’s right to an abortion. This was judicially created law; not by legislators but by the judges - by the Supreme Court. It’s reasoning was based upon the unwanted stress and financial burdens of an unwanted child. That was the reason. This means that the state legislatures cannot decide for themselves whether the fetus in the womb is a person. So that decision has been taken out of our hands.
Another case in the right to life area is Doe v. Bolton. In it there was a Georgia statute that required that each hospital could have a committee of doctors decide if a woman could have an abortion. Therefore it wouldn’t be one doctor deciding – yes, this woman is fit for an abortion. So it was a committee. The Supreme Court struck that down and said it was unconstitutional because it restricted a woman’s access or right to have that abortion. So that wasn’t allowed.
Another aspect to that case which was really important is that it expanded upon the health exception that was described in Roe v. Wade. The health exception is that past that first trimester any woman can have an abortion if she fits in this health exception. And this health exception is not just to save the life of the mother; it also includes factors such as physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age. So basically it allows abortion on demand at any time. That is what we have here. Some people aren’t quite aware of that. That is an important thing to know.
Lest anyone think that these cases were cited so long ago – I mean it was the ’70s right? Things were crazy back then. You know, we would be able to overturn it now. We have swung a little bit over to the right.
Actually in 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey was a case that affirmed the core holding in Roe v. Wade. So there is still a liberty interest to have an abortion. It’s protected.
Also that case talked about how any restrictions placed upon abortion must not unduly burden a woman’s right to an abortion. Other kinds of restrictions like notice requirements or having to wait a certain period of time before you to get an abortion; those all have to make sure that they don’t burden this woman’s right. That actually includes access to an abortion. Sometimes you even have to provide woman access to the clinic if she can’t afford it. It’s kind of tricky.
One of the cases Belotty v. Baird provided a way so that a minor or someone below 18 or 16 having a child can bypass her parents so she can get an abortion without her parents’ permission. Basically the process is that she would go to a judge outside her parents’ presence and this judge, this one person would determine if the woman is mature enough to be able to have the abortion. In fact if he decides that she is not mature enough he can still make the decision to allow the abortion so long as he decides it is important enough.
Another issue in the right to life is assisted suicide. Assisted suicide is legal in Oregon. In Oregon there is a case. There were these two patients. One woman had recurrent lung cancer and one man had prostrate cancer. Because of the cost the state denied both of their treatment. But it told them it would pay for their assisted suicide.
The man was quoted to have said, “How could they not pay for medication that would help my life and yet offer to pay to end my life?”
This hit the media and they were outraged. But don’t worry. They did end up getting other avenues for treatment. So it’s not a terrible ending to the story. But it shows you how real and scary it is.
Another threat to the Christian way of life is to our families, in traditional marriage. I call the issue redefining marriage rather than same sex marriage because when you allow two men or women to marry that redefines marriage for everyone – not just them.
One of the important cases is Goodrich v. Department of Public Health. In it the Massachusetts Supreme Court imposed same sex marriage on Massachusetts. Its reason was that it defined marriage as an exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other. That’s it – just commitment. It didn’t define it as a union between a man and a woman who are rearing up children in the best environment possible for them. It didn’t define it that way; it was just a commitment.
You might wonder how this issue became so pervasive in our states. Even in Connecticut we have same sex marriage here in Connecticut. How did this come about to define marriage as just a commitment? I mean you know, many of us are committed to our pets, our cats; but we aren’t going to marry them although that is not very far off actually.
One of the cases Loren v. Texas is pretty important here. It was one of the Supreme Court first erosion of marriage. It struck down laws that made homosexual relations illegal. In that cast Justice Scalia – I know many of you know who he is (my hero.) He wrote a brilliant descent. He explained that this would be the end of all moral legislation. Moral legislation if this makes sense is that it is creating, the state would be creating laws against something because it is immoral. So homosexual relations, that law was based on the fact that it was immoral conduct. The court struck that down and said you can’t make a law based on your morality.
Justice Scalia said that this would open the door for so many things.
“We are not going to be able to regulate things such as incest, bestiality, pedophilia, pornography and rape.”
Those are all moral legislation. Most importantly Justice Scalia made the point that this would also mean that we can’t define marriage between one man and one women because that is moral legislation.
Of course the majority court said, “Absolutely not, we are not opening the door for having same sex marriage.”
But look where we are now.
In some of the other marriage cases like the California case Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Many of you have heard of that. They based their decision to allow homosexual marriage on the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment to our Constitution. This clause requires that groups who are similarly situated should be treated the same. So like for rape, whites and blacks should be treated exactly the same. That makes sense. But in redefining marriage cases, men and women are being treated the same. Men can’t marry those of the same sex and women can’t marry those of the same sex. They are being treated the same. But the courts are changing the groups around. They are saying that gay couples and straight couples need to be treated the same so that if one group gets to marry so should the other one. They should have that right too. These arguments eliminate differences in sex. Their whole goal is to eliminate gender altogether.
An interesting story that I was just telling Charlie before hand, in my juvenile law class the teacher has students in the Connecticut public school system. One of her classmates is a transgender student. So he associates as a female. He can wear dresses and skirts to school. He is entitled to do that. So he uses the girl’s bathroom. It’s happening. It’s in our school system. It may seem like it’s small increments, but it is actually moving pretty quickly through. He is entitled to that right. It is blurring the gender differences. It is blurring those distinctions.
This moves us right into another threat in bioethics. There are 30,000 to 60,000 children who are conceived through donations each year and they aren’t tracked. No one really knows who his or her father is.
There was a New York Times article that one man because of all his donations had 150 children in California. I don’t know how they tracked that but apparently he had that many. The mothers began to worry, I think a bit late, that not only do their children not know who their father is; but also some of their daughters had crushes on their half brothers in school. It was getting sort of creepy. It was a little bit strange. So those are some of the things going on right now.
Another threat to our Christian way of life is in the environmentalist movement. It is a wonderful thing to care for God’s creation. Absolutely! But we need to be careful with the environmentalist movement because it supports the pro-abortion movement. They want to reduce our population because want to care for the earth. So let’s get rid of the people who are ruining our earth.
Another aspect is the animal rights movement as part of that. It’s not about treating animals humanely though. It is an ideology that denies human exceptionalism. PETA, one of their main groups, engaged in a holocaust-on-your-plate campaign regarding chickens and pigs. They compared this to the Jews in the Holocaust. That is just wrong.
Another thing that PETA did, they brought a lawsuit comparing orca whales at Sea World, comparing them to slaves. They used the 13th amendment to say that orca whales were persons under the 13th amendment. So, they were being enslaved in Sea World. Luckily the judge did not allow that. But he didn’t say that it was frivolous. He let the case go forth. So that can show you where the judge’s heads are.
Another of the environmentalist goals is to protect plant life, which is getting some support in Europe as well. They’ve tried to argue that the pea plant is a “who”, a person. Never of course would they say that about a fetus. But they say that it’s a person because it can communicate chemically. The reference in my sheet here from the article is that if peas can talk, should we eat them?
Most importantly our Christian liberty to actually argue against these issues is eroding. I could give so many examples. I will give one that stuck out to me this summer as I was interning with the Alliance Defense Fund. It regards hate speech laws that are against discrimination against homosexuals. The case is called Elaine Photography v. Willis. In it a woman and her husband have a photography business and they were asked to photograph a lesbian wedding. Elaine said no. She is Christian and she doesn’t believe in same sex marriage. So a great job for standing up. But, the lesbian couple sued her. They took her to court. At the trial level as well as the appeals level, they found Elaine Photography was liable because she discriminated against homosexuals and she was fined $6,500 for not doing their wedding. That was a pretty huge thing. It’s now pending in the New Mexico Supreme Court. Alliance Defense Fund has been taking this case all the way up. They will keep going after that if they rule against her.
If you are a little bit uncomfortable, that’s good. These issues are here and they are real and they’re not going away. Talk to your neighbors and your friends. Educate yourselves on these issues. The liberal media hides these agenda from the public. People must be aware of what they are agreeing to. Go out and vote and know what your politicians plan to do in these areas. We do not want our children to grow up in a world where the state takes them away to educate them to understand that they are no more important than an animal or a pea plant and that they were one of the lucky ones not to have been aborted because we don’t want any more children any way. Our lives are precious in the sight of God and we need to step out into the discourse and have the courage to tell the government that this is enough. Thank you.
I hope that was a great introduction to the threat level that we’re facing. Brittany, thank you very much for going through that. For those of you who would like documentation of these cases, Brittany has a handout. Is that available somewhere? After we finish this hour those of you who want documentation of these cases, go see Brittany. She has her work there for you. You need to be aware of these cases. These are real cases. She didn’t make these up for one of her classes. This is what is really happening out there.
So what I want to do the rest of the hour I want to go through 8 major ideas that stand as the bulwark against this kind of thinking. These are 8 major ideas that are found in Scripture. We are going to be throughout the conference referencing pretty much out of the Old Testament. So you want to get your Bibles if you don’t have them and be ready to get into the Old Testament.
I have shown this particular slide many times here. I want to start here because this is the division that has existed ever since Adam and Eve. There are two ways of thinking, not 15 different ways of thinking. There are two ways of thinking. One is by honoring the authority God’s speech, that our Creator is not mute. The Creator of the universe speaks and He has spoken in history and His words are absolutely authoritative. Because He is omniscient, His words have universal authority. No finite (non-infinite) mind can be equal to that authority. So we have the tradition of the pagans who basically do not worship the God who speaks, the God who has created, the God who saves and the God who judges. This starts with the unregenerate mind and it also afflicts still believers. All of us to a degree are still influenced by this kind of culture. But there are certain major ideas and I won’t belabor this slide because you have seen it before.
We’ve got to understand that there are basic big ideas. You don’t have to be an expert in 23½ cults or deal with 15 different theologies. The trick here and I point out with this little pamphlet on the back table where you can open this out. It basically summarizes 224 hours on a piece of paper. The guy who did this was a computer programmer that does work in the commodities exchanges. He wanted something very concise. I thought he did a pretty good job. The whole point of the framework is to master a few basic ideas and know in Scripture where these ideas are so that when you encounter something new that you have never seen before it doesn’t require four years of research to figure out what’s going on. These are 8 basic ideas that are always at the front of the battle. I wanted to show on this slide several of these exchanges, several of the differences that exist here.
One of them of course on the left side is the creator-creature distinction. That is fundamental. What verse gives you that distinction? The first verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1, the creator-creature distinction. Wherever that creator-creature distinction is blurred so that as in the ancient world had their gods and goddesses (the moon god, the sun god and whatever else god.) This is what we call the continuity of being. In other words, there aren’t two levels of existence. There is only one level of existence to the unbelieving mentality. The gods and goddesses are part of the grand universe. So the gods are contained within the universe whereas the Bible says that God is external to the universe. He created it. The universe always wasn’t there, but God always was there. So that’s fundamental.
But more important is the secret agenda that’s going on. We don’t have to be a depth psychiatrist to know that in the bottom of our hearts there’s an agenda. The unregenerate mind wants independency. The unregenerate mind does not want to submit to the authority of God because it’s guilty. We all have a conscience.
And deep down as Paul says in Romans 1, we all at bottom really do know that we are guilty before the God who created us. Therefore we have to constantly deal with this.
Paul says in Romans 1:18f we deal with it by suppressing it. The agenda behind that is to turn myself into a victim.
“It’s not my fault. It’s somebody else’s fault. I never assume personal responsibility”
The key here is responsibility. On the left side of the diagram I am ultimately responsible and you are. All men and women are. We are ultimately responsible to God. We as in our lifetime which is finite whether it’s 7 years and we die early or whether it’s 70 and we die late - the point is that we have in our lifetimes we are setting up for our eternal existence.
It is a sobering thing. We are making decisions right now in space-time-history that affect us for all eternity. That’s scary. So this is why there is a motive to suppress.
So these are the two great views.
Now I want to move on. If you’ll turn in the Bible to Colossians 2 in the New Testament, Paul is dealing in Colossian particularly with a big idea of who Jesus Christ is. It’s cosmic Christ. It’s God incarnate. He makes a statement here that’s important.
In Colossians 2:3 he says:
NKJ Colossians 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Look at that 3-letter word that begins with “a” that’s in that sentence. It says “in whom are hidden all the treasuries of knowledge.”
Now let’s misread that so we catch it. It doesn’t say, “in whom are hidden religious treasuries of wisdom and knowledge.” In other words this is not a compartmentalization. What he is saying is that the incarnation is God the creator who assumes human form and has revealed Himself. That incarnation is revelation. Therefore in Christ are hidden all treasuries of knowledge.
Do you know what that means? That means that any subject that you study whether it’s auto mechanics to theoretical mathematics you must relate it to Jesus Christ.
You say, “How do we do that?”
Do you know why we are saying how we do that? Because, we have such poor public education. All of us probably apart from those who have been in home schools – all of us have been raised in a secular education system that has systematically taught us how to think outside of Christ. We have studied chemistry without Christ. We have studied calculus without Christ. We have studied biology without Christ. Then we wonder, gee where does Christ fit? Oh He is in a little compartment, a religious compartment. See the point is that apart from Christ as we’re going to see very shortly we have no basis for chemistry, biology, mathematics or anything else. The unbelievers are stealing from Scripture and building a house on our foundation. This is something that we need to understand.
So I am going to show a few more slides here. By the way Larry has made some of these slides available. It’s out on the desk isn’t it Larry – out where the pamphlets are/
Some of you have asked over the years, “Can I have a copy of these slides?” Quite a bit of information is on these slides and when I show them quickly I can’t go through all the thought pattern that went into them.
But I want to deal with major concept #1. The first major concept is this. Everyone has a personal ultimate authority. As Christians we unabashedly and unashamedly say that the Word of God is our ultimate authority.
Do you know it means when it says ultimate authority? Ultimate authority cannot be proven by another authority. If you need another outside platform to prove that this authority is the true authority then that’s the ultimate authority. An ultimate authority cannot be validated. An ultimate authority validates itself. The Word of God is ultimately self-vindicating. There is no proof outside the Word of God, no platform on which to stand to prove or disprove the Word of God.
People say, “That’s circular reasoning.”
Well in a large sense it is because the finite mind can’t do anything to regression. It has to be circular. But that means that the unbeliever also has an ultimate authority.
So I want to go through some of the ultimate authorities that are put in place of Scripture. The first one is reason – the Age of Reason, Rene Descartes, Emmanuel Kant. They argued that by sheer logic we can generate universal truths.
So all we have to do and you’ve heard this before, “Well I can’t believe the gospel until you prove it to me.”
What is the basis of your proof? Why does your proof methodology, what is the validation of your proof methodology? So you have an ultimate authority. What we need to clarify here is when people accuse you as a Christian of unreasonable faith they are using the word “reasonable” in a very unreasonable way. In other words they mean more than what they should really mean.
Here in this diagram is a simple calculator. Now the calculator has rules of logic built internal into the calculator. It’s a logic machine. Now the calculator can’t generate universal truths. All the calculator is, is a set of logical rules. They operate on whatever you feed in. You’ve heard the expression - garbage in, garbage out. Reasoning doesn’t generate truth. Reasoning analyzes truth to see if it’s consistent with other things. But the key is, there has to be within it you have to feed it categories. Your brain needs categories. So the question is where do you get your categories that you are thinking with. You have to be sure that you are pulling these categories from either the Word of God or human speculation. You don’t have 3 choices here. There are only two. Look in this passage in Colossians 2 and look in verse 8. Paul is dealing here with the thought of the ancient world. Paul is a very well educated person who as a non-Christian unbelieving Jew Paul very well trained in the rabbinical schools of his time. He was very fluent in Greek thought.
Here’s what he says in verse 8.
NKJ Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit,
Notice what he says:
This qualifies the use of the word philosophy.
to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ
Let’s just stop there. In other words he is arguing that this is the basis, traditions of men. The problem here is that men have limited minds. So therefore the foundation of empty deceit is the speculations of a finite, limited mind. Not only is the mind finite and limited; it’s fallen. It has an agenda.
“I don’t want responsibility so I’m literally going to deliberately suppress God consciousness and therefore my concepts, my categories, are going to be deliberately perverted to justify my guilt before the God whom I know. And, it’s affecting me intellectually.”
The fall didn’t happen from the neck down. The fall includes the head. The intellect is affected.
A graphic illustration of this -if you were a cinematographer, how would you dramatize the fall? Here you have Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit. They are defying God. What is the very next act that they do? Hiding in the bushes.
Now that’s interesting. Doesn’t that suggest that their theology changed? Isn’t God omnipresent? How do you go in the bushes and hide from an omnipresent deity? The reason they hide is because they’ve just convinced themselves that maybe God isn’t omnipresent. Therefore I can hide in the bushes. So clearly moments after the fall the human intellect was affected by sin. Don’t think that sin doesn’t affect laws of thinking. It does.
So that’s reason. Reason is simply the logical rules that God has given to us to analyze His revelation.
Let’s go to a second source in this concept of ultimate authority. That’s a diagram again I’ve shown many times here, the limitations of empirical knowledge. What is empirical knowledge? It is knowledge acquired through the 5 senses. Knowledge acquired by the five senses is to the domain that the senses work. The eye can only seen so far. It can be amplified with instrumentation. That’s the yellow stuff. But, ultimately that blue box there is the limitations of your knowledge and mine. None of us can go outside the box. We can go upward in size through telescopes and through instrumentation. We can go to the left with high-speed photography and look at things our eyes can’t see. And we can look down with microscopes. Notice that there is no yellow line out to the right. That’s because there is no time machine. You can’t go into the unobserved past; and you can’t go into the unexperienced future. All knowledge is cut off on the right side. This is true of all knowledge – all empirical knowledge. This has important implications about the past, going back into an unobserved past.
What did God say to Job in Job 38?
“Were you there when I created the world? You have eyewitness evidence? You measured scientifically what was going on? You had a video camera of the physical processes that I used when I created? No, you don’t. You know what Job? There is only one testimony and one source of information about the act of creation? You know what it is? Me!”
So you see this is the authority of the Word of God. There is no way you can absolutely forecast the future. I’ve been in atmospheric science for 30 years. Tell me about forecasting the future. If I could forecast the stock markets as well as I forecast the weather, I’d be a billionaire. There is some skill there.
The most powerful computers in the world literally are being used to model mathematically the process of the atmosphere; and we still can’t predict it. So the point here is we have to be humble, people. Just as God gave us a reasoning tool not to be used to try to generate universal categories rather to digest universal categories and think through them – but not generate them.
So empirical data has its limits. What that means is that when we go into the future and forecast destinies in heaven and hell or prophecy and history we have to rely on a mind that knows the future and there is no human mind that knows the future. So here is the death of empiricism - the idea that all knowledge is conveyed by the senses. No, it isn’t. If all knowledge is conveyed only through the senses then we are so limited and everything is contingent on the next hour. What are we going to discover in the next hour? All knowledge is thus contingent and therefore lacks a claim to be universal.
Now all this boils down to another chart that I’ve shown here. I belabor this point because it’s so important. We are going to go through the other major concepts more rapidly; but I am belaboring this first major concept because Christians, particularly Christian students, get intimidated because the teacher or the professor takes advantage of you because you are sitting there and they have the bully pulpit. It was like Brittany was saying about her law professor. Their biases come out. The fallacy and the hypocrisy is professing they are neutral. They’re not neutral. You’re not neutral; and I’m not neutral. Everybody has a bias. So the honest thing to do if we want to be ethical and honest is admit our ultimate authority. That’s all. If an unbeliever wants to teach atheism in the public schools, fine. But I want him to admit that’s what he is doing so I as a student understand.
“Okay, I see what’s going on. You have given me – you have put your cards on the table like an adult. Now I understand the name of the game. That’s fine. I can play that game. I just want to know what the game is that I’m playing. Stop hiding. Stop pretending to be neutral when you are not.”
What we are saying here is that the two true tests that God uses – one of them in Deuteronomy 13 and one in 18. In Deuteronomy 13 God uses the consistency test, the logical consistency. I cite Deuteronomy 13 and 18 because they deal with capital cases of law. Obviously these are instructions to juries of the day on how do you adjudicate a case. In Deuteronomy 13 it was logical consistency of the teaching. Does it agree or does it disagree with Moses? That’s a religious application of the law of logic.
In Deuteronomy 18 it was the case of whether a person prophesizes and does the prophecy come to pass. That’s an empirical justification. So the question we have to answer and this is neat to do.
I had some college students one time at Texas Tech that used to drive the profs nuts. They would sit there and never fly their flag as a Christian. They would sit in the classroom and the prof couldn’t really read them. A lot of profs what they want to do the first week of the semester is figure out where the Christians are so they can shoot at you the rest of the semester. The point is these guys were briefed on that. So they played low, played dumb. But what they would do during the course of the lecture is keep raising these questions.
I remember the guys laughing one day after a lecture. They said, “You know those two girls sitting next to me (It was a night class.) ...
Afterwards the girls came up to the guy and said, “You know I don’t think that professor has thought through these issues.”
And he hadn’t.
I have a girl right not in our church. She goes to Townsend State University down there in Maryland. The teacher was going on and made the silly statement in the classroom that there is no such thing as absolute truth. She picked it right up. She goes up after the class – Christian, nice, not being snotty about it, being gracious.
And she said, “Well prof, isn’t that statement absolute?”
Listen to this. This is a guy that has got a PhD.
“You know what, you’re right. I never thought about that before.”
These are the people are pretending to bully Christians and they haven’t thought through their own positions.
Let’s look at it here. We are talking about God here at the apex. He creates man and He creates nature. Now because God created man and nature, that is the basis of our epistemology. Epistemology is the justification of truth. How do we know that we have consistency throughout our experience and through nature? It’s because God thought this into existence, and His mind is consistent. So unlike an atheist, I have a basis for reason. Reality is logical because God thinks logically. This is not hard to grasp. This is basic.
But the tragedy is that the average unbeliever has no clue. They think logic is great as so forth until you ask them the embarrassing question – why do you believe in logic? How do you know for sure that reality is logical? There are millions of people that don’t. They are called Buddhists, Hindus. They don’t believe in logic in the Western sense. They never have. This is just a disease of the West – they think.
Then we have the other two, which is even more crucial. That is how do we know that our thoughts correspond with factual reality? Now you say that’s so theoretical. What a minute! If you and I are the products of a meaningless evolutionary development, our neurons (the biochemistry of going on of synapses and all the rest) are results of an accident, accidental collocation. How can you be sure that what you are thinking fits external reality? How do you know you’re not dreaming? And there are people like that too that have held to the position that we don’t know reality and what we think is reality is a big dream.
You say, “How silly.”
That’s because you are used to thinking in the same way because you are secretly borrowing from the Scriptures. But if you didn’t have the Scriptures this is where you are left. What we need to do as Christians is keep raising these questions again and again and again. Where are you getting the rules of logic? You can’t smell them. You can’t taste them. They aren’t coming out of the empirical, material realm. Where are you getting your rules of logic?
“Well, I am inducing them from the past.”
But your induction is the use of logical rules. You haven’t answered the question, just postponed it. Where are you getting your rules of logic? We could belabor this issue and I won’t. This is a major issue.
Proverbs 1:7 says:
NKJ Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
What that is, is respect. It’s the word of authority. That God when He speaks; He means what He says and says what He means. So we might possibly go along with that. That’s the first major concept. That is a fundamental collision. If you affirm this/ the whole unbelieving culture is in denial of this truth.
Let me go to major concept #2. This has to do with the idea in Genesis 1:26 if you will turn there just a moment. This is another great truth that is coming unglued today in the culture and is being undermined in the public schools with the National Science Foundation New Curriculum on the Environment in which they are arguing that the great polluter of the environment is man. The idea of Genesis 1:26-7 that man was created to have dominion over the earth is a horrible verse. In fact the antagonism to Genesis 1:27-8 led to the Green Movement under Nazism.
I haven’t got time to do this; but I am leaving this book in your church library. It’s called Nazi Oaks. It is a thorough study showing how the romantics of the 1800’s Ralph Waldo Emerson over at Walden Pond and some others and Europeans got together and they had this romantic view of nature. Man is the enemy of nature. Later on it became the rise of anti-Semitism was over this verse, Genesis 1:26.
They said, “It’s the Jewish mentality that industrialized Europe and wrecked the environment. It’s the Christians. It’s the Jews. It’s their silly little Bible book that is causing all these environmental problems.
So as I said, I’ll leave this with you so you can get the documentation for this.
This comes over Thomas Malthus. He believed that food and resources arithmetically increase but human population geometrically increased; therefore we need to limit population growth. The problem with that idea is he is looking at men and women as consumers not as producers. But you know we all have a mouth. We all eat. We all have different resources. But you know, we all have something between our ears. It’s called a brain. Do you know what brains do when they are used? They invent things. So man is not just a consumer. Every mouth comes outfitted with a brain. The brain is able to subdue the earth. It doesn’t mean rape the earth. It means to develop it. You want a picture of what development of the earth means here? In context, it’s Genesis 2.
What did God do for Adam and Eve after He created everything and it was just sitting there? What does Genesis 2 say? He did what? He planted a garden. That’s what God meant by subduing the earth. The earth was a wilderness when He created it. Man was to create it.
God said, “Okay, here’s a garden. That’s what I want you to do with it. I want you to bring nature’s potential into production.”
Not destroy it, but to groom it! Nature by itself is incomplete. So that is concept #2.
Concept #3 - in Genesis 2 we have a big long narrative about how woman was created. The significant thing about Genesis 2 is it’s not like Genesis 1 where He created animals or He created plants and they all have reproduction and they all have a sexual quality about them.
Why is it in Genesis 2 that the human female was not created like the animal females? Something is different in Genesis 2. What it’s saying is that man’s sexual nature is not just a reproductive, biological thing. But it is deeper than that. It is a psychological thing. Men and women think differently as anyone who has been married more than three days knows. And it’s a good thing that men and women think differently because that’s our strength. This is why in this day and age now we have people in the Freudian tradition who came down and mixed it with Marxism. One of the great authors read by every hippie in the 1970’s was Eric Fromm.
Eric Fromm was the guy who said, “Let’s destroy all human institutions.”
In fact he had a word for it. It was polymorphist perversity. He was calling for gender confusion in the 1970’s. The idea has just born fruit now. Now 7 and 8 year olds in school are taught that now you have to find out what your real gender is.
What a stupid word by the way. You know “gender” was used by English literature teachers to define a verb – a noun rather. You have feminine nouns and you have masculine nouns. That was called gender.
Now what we do because everything is words—it doesn’t matter what reality is anymore. It’s just the words you use so now we talk about gender like you can change gender. Like what Brittany said - now we have a transgender student using the female restroom. You go on the campus in Maryland and now you’ve got unisex bathrooms. That’s great. Guys love it.
What a stupid thing this is that we can’t figure out what gender we are. It’s like- when you see a building, the form is there for a function. We don’t know our bodies? They have been designed to do things. They are different. We don’t know our gender. This is how foolish we’ve become. It is the result of denying the Scriptures. We want our own authority. That’s the culture. That’s paganism. Paganism has always had this problem. We talk about homosexuality. Look people, homosexuality has been around for millennia. It’s always been characteristic of a pagan culture. The only place that heterosexuality was honored was in Judeo-Christian tradition. Gee, I wonder why. Doesn’t that say something? I mean homosexuals have been using intimidation and violence to get their way since Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s all there in Genesis 18. That was 4,000 years ago people. So things haven’t changed. It’s the same old story.
That’s major concept number 3. Man’s sexuality is profoundly different by design. Wisdom in the Scriptures is always pictured as a woman. Very interesting! Now men can get very arrogant at times. But we men cannot function without women around. What happens when your wife leaves? Duh .... We need each other. That’s the way we’re built. God help children in the next generation who are raised by homosexual couples with no exposure to how a woman thinks and how a man thinks.
I had an interesting thing. I was connecting a Christian camp last year in Denver.
The Christian pastor that ran this said, “You know, we’re going to do something different in the dining hall, a little experiment”
He said, “Hey guys, listen up. The girls are going to go in that dining hall. They are going sit down to eat first. I don’t want to see one of you men in the dining hall until after all the women are seated.
I said, “Gee, I want to watch this.”
So I was sitting there watching the expressions on the girls’ faces. You could tell the girls that had been raised in a Christian home. They accepted this. This is not unusual. They may not have done this in their homes but they understood the principle. There were girls there that sat down there and looked shocked. They had never been treated in a different behavioral sense than guys. Now all of a sudden they realized you talk about gender difference. Here’s a gender difference right here. It’s call behavior. You behave differently among men and differently with women. That’s part of the built-in gender. That’s never taught today because we don’t know who we are yet.
Let’s go now to the major concept #4. That’s in Genesis 3 and 4, the fall. One of the slides that I’ve shown here again over and over again is this one. There are only two ways of viewing evil. You are stuck if you are thinking about good and evil outside the Scriptures because you have no equipment to deal with the resolution of good and evil. On a pagan basis good and evil exist forever. They are an undeniable characteristic of reality. They never go away. Good and evil are always with us. It is only in the Bible that we learn that it is possible for the entire cosmos to exist without evil. When it left the hand of God there was no evil. All was good. Eventually good and evil will be quarantined away from each other for eternity and there will never be a fall again. What a relief!
In this sense and I say this very carefully and I’m not trying to be sarcastic; hell is good news. The reason hell is good news is because it means eventually evil will be permanently dealt with. The sad side is that people don’t have to go there – that Jesus Christ has provided atonement sufficient for every person’s salvation. If people are there, they are there by their choice. The point is that reality is going to be different. This view is only found in the Bible.
Concept #5 - that is that natural evil in Genesis 3 God curses the environment. You have the rise of not just human evil, not just social evil; but you have the rise of natural evil: storms, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. This is called natural evil. That was caused. It wasn’t always there. This is the radical nature of the Bible people. The Bible presents a radically different picture. You have got to appreciate this. When you see storms, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, you are looking at something we caused. Because of our fall, God cursed the environment.
“Where was God when the tsunami came?”
He was there. He is the one who probably caused it.
“You nonsense! You sinners! You wanted to live in chaos so I’m giving it to you. How do you like it?”
So the rise of natural evil is the result of man’s sin. That’s concept #5. It’s always man causing the problem.
Let me show you one verse here. Turn to the book of Jeremiah, chapter 2. I want to show you where the ecologists, the radical ecologists, who sadly are coming into the evangelical world. We have evangelicals now arguing that man is the cause of the problem in the sense of—we dump coke bottles by the highway and we pollute the earth and so forth. Here is one of the verses that they use. I am just warning you if you read something in a Christian magazine or something and come across this, here is a typical verse that is used.
NKJ Jeremiah 2:7 I brought you into a bountiful country, To eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination.
They stop reading there. They don’t read the context.
They say, “You see, they trashed the environment. Should have had OSHA around. Where was the EPA?”
Read the next verse. When you read the Scripture, you always read the context. The next verse says:
NKJ Jeremiah 2:8 The priests did not say, 'Where is the LORD?' And those who handle the law did not know Me; The rulers also transgressed against Me; The prophets prophesied by Baal, And walked after things that do not profit.
He is talking about spiritual defiling the land.
“I gave you the land and you are idol worshippers.”
That’s what the defilement means in context. It’s not talking about polluting the environment. It’s not saying that we shouldn’t pollute the environment; but these aren’t the verses you use for that.
Major concept #6 - this has to do with a passage like Job 1 & 2 that I am sure you are all familiar with. That is the origin of evil establishes two needs in the cosmos and not one. Let me explain. We hear the gospel, rightfully so. Jesus Christ and His righteousness alone allow me to approach God. That is redemption. So redemption is the major theme in the Scriptures – undeniably the theme in Scriptures.
But there is another theme parallel to that in Scriptures that few people appreciate and that is the doxological need. In Job 1 and 2 when Satan argues with God (You’ve all read Job.), Satan comes to Job with an accusation.
“The only reason why Job worships you God is because you’ve given him handouts. Take away the handouts God, and he will curse you to your face.”
He is making a forensic argument about the character of God. Now Brittany is going to law school and she is learning about forensics and argumentation. Now what is interesting is that forensics and argumentation legally started with the fall of Satan because Satan ever since is pressing a legal claim against God. Here is where the practical side comes for us Christians.
When Larry and your teachers here teach you about the Gospel that you cannot be saved until you believed that the Lord Jesus Christ bore your sin and has given you righteousness and through Him and Him alone. They aren’t trying to be narrow-minded. They’re teaching you how to be saved because any other basis Satan can forensically undo before God. We maybe don’t think about this; but there is a constant argument in the unseen realm that we don’t know about. We don’t hear it. We don’t see it; but it’s happening where Satan is accusing. That’s what Satan means, accuser. He is arguing a case, a legal case.
“Why are you allowing that sinner into your presence, God? You can’t do that. Those people down there that are sinners don’t have enough righteousness to stand in Your presence and You know it.”
So that’s why the gospel has to be clear. Any fuzzy gospel can easily be undone by a forensic challenge by Satan. That’s why in fellowship, 1 John 1:9—if we confess our sins He is faithful and just us our sins. Why? Because of the atonement of Christ. That’s the only basis of our fellowship. Any other basis on human merit can be refuted. Satan is the cosmic lawyer. He is the lawyer in the cosmos, and he is constantly pressing his case over and over and over for thousands of years. He knows how to argue and he can pinpoint things like this.
Think about the fact that close to the crucifixion Jesus turns to Peter. And what does Jesus say to Peter? Satan desires to test you. Isn’t that amazing that Jesus knew what conversation was going on in heaven and the message was intercepted. Ah, Satan asked Peter by name.
“I want to get him.”
And we know subsequently what was on Satan’s mind. We can kind of infer his legal argument. His argument was that if you let Peter and his mouth lose, he’s going to blow it. The fact that he is going to blow it will disqualify him.
That is why Jesus said as the intercessor, “I prayed that what?” His faith not fail.
So we haven’t got a clue. We’re down here in the space-time-history; and we’re working through our daily frustration and problems, totally ignorant of what is going on in the unseen realm. So there is a doxological theme to history and it will be accomplished. That’s why the gospel is narrow, why it’s defined carefully to withstand court attacks by Satan. We have to adhere to the protocols which gets me now to major concept 7. We will get through 8, but it will be 12-ish Larry!
By the way the doxological redemptive purpose - this is why dispensational theology in contrast to reformed theology emphasizes the doxological as well as the redemptive side. Israel is very strongly related to the redemptive side. The body of Christ is involved in a lot of unseen stuff that’s going on here. God is putting us in the fish bowl here. We are doing things in our Christian life that are being looked at very carefully. This is why Ephesians says the angels are watching. They know what’s going on. The point that we can make here is ...I am sorry I forgot a slide here.
This is a friend of mine that graduated from seminary. He stated it so well I can’t help but quote him.
As mortals, we remain in various kinds of trouble and salvation strikes us all as a consuming universal concern yet the angels of heaven have never been saved, the demons cannot be saved, and the redeemed in heaven having nothing from which to be saved.
Here’s the last sentence.
If life in the resurrected state has a purpose, goals must exist beyond salvation.
Very interesting line of thought, the doxological - God will be honored and He will be glorified.
Major concept #7 is in Genesis 3:24. If you’ll look there for a moment we will get through this in a timely fashion.
In Genesis 3:24 after the fall, God says:
NKJ Genesis 3:24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
There is a major concept #7 and it’s very critical because we are going to deal with social justice and other truths here that are in our society today so I’m giving you a lead in so you want to kind of get a feel for what is going on here. Major concept 7 is that the presence of God creates a sacred space and requires legal enforced protocols. You don’t waltz into God’s presence. God is omnipresent, yes, but He has His special spaces where He meets man. One of those spaces was the Garden of Eden. I don’t know how many acres it was, four - ten. I don’t know the acreage of the Garden. It was the place people had to go. They didn’t worship in the wilderness somewhere. They were commanded to come to Eden and worship. That’s the meeting place.
The Old Testament theologian from Dallas Seminary Eugene Merrill has written about sacred spaces. In a nutshell here in vs. 24 is something you want to grasp about the idea of a sacred space. You don’t enter the sacred space apart from protocols that God lays down. Here Adam and Eve were ejected from the space because they are sinners. They have the angel, the cherubim (plural there), and they have the sword. That’s the first example of civil power that’s lethal. It later will be delegated to man. But the first capital punishment and lethal weaponry in human history was the angels guarding the security guard outside Eden. They had a sword for a reason – to kill anybody that came there. That’s kind of scary. But that’s what He did. So we have concept #7, the sacred space.
For those of you who know the Old Testament; you know about Mount Sinai. Remember Mt. Sinai? Was anybody allowed up on Mount Sinai? Only who? Moses. And by the way when he came to the sacred space what did God tell him to do?
“Take off you sandals.”
Whatever is going on there we don’t know, but we know this. Moses would have been in deep dodo had he not done what God told him to do. There is a security. There is something about God’s sacred space. The reason this is so important idea is because in the Church Age guess where the sacred place is? Do you know where it is? 1 Corinthians 3, the local church You don’t get into the local church by God’s definition until you meet the approach protocols which is the gospel. You cannot be saved by any dream world or any kind of human concept. The only way you can approach the indwelling Holy Spirit in a group of Christians is through trusting the gospel. So the protocols are still here. It’s not fiery and physical. But it’s still here.
OOkay, let’s move on to the last one, major concept #8. That is in Genesis 8 and 9 we have the institution of civil government. Now several things to remember about God’s covenant here and that is that we had government before; but it was self-government. That was true from Adam and Eve, from creation. What other kinds of government did we have before civil government? We have family governments. We have probably tribal governments. So you had communities that had leaders. But they lacked something. They usurped this probably. From Lamech we know that they probably used violence, but they were not authorized violence until this passage.
Now there is something in Genesis 9, very interesting here. Here is the authorization for a lethal force. It is important that we see this because this is one of the problems that we have today. In Genesis 9 it says talking about animals:/p>
NKJ Genesis 9:5 "Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man.
NKJ Genesis 9:6 "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed;
Now here’s the purpose clause. Everybody freaks out with this thing. We have Christians that are apologetic because the Bible does approach capital punishment.
I was teaching somewhere in another Christian group and a lawyer there came out and said, “Well I don’t think the New Testament authorizes capital punishment.”
What do you do with the sword in Romans 13?
“Well that’s just symbolic.”
Really? I am so glad to know that because it also talks about taxes there.
So that’s the inconsistency. The sword is always there. It’s not like God loves to kill people. There is a reason He has done this. Society today has it totally backwards. Every time you hear an argument against capital punishment - and some of the arguments are valid – the idea that poor people can’t get good lawyers and rich people do. That’s a valid objection. The idea that people can be convicted by questionable circumstantial evidence; that’s a legitimate argument. But in principle, here’s why. The verse begins at the end of verse 6, the clause that starts with “for”. That’s the purpose.
For in the image of God He made man.
Now you say, “Wait a minute. You are taking life aren’t you, in a capital case.”
Yes. Why? Because, this was murder. A life has been taken.
This person therefore ...what God is saying here is, “I value human life so much that when someone takes human life I demand justice. The reason I do that is to emphasize the fact that when someone is shot, raped and murdered, hung or however else that is in My image there. And, it has been desecrated.”
Murder is serious in Scripture. This is not social vengeance. People think capital punishment is social vengeance. It is not authorized for social vengeance purposes. It is not society getting vengeance. It’s properly done as we will see in the book of Deuteronomy. Properly done it’s a ceremony to commemorate the life that was lost in a graphic way the people will understand the significance of murder. It is not some casual act and we are so sorry that the corpse along with other garbage was be disposed of. That’s not the way it is. Murder takes life and life is important.
That’s why when Brittany was doing her thing here earlier she kept talking about the right to life. God takes life seriously because it is life in His image. We aren’t talking about animals here. We aren’t talking about pea plants. We are talking about human beings that are made in God’s image. They are valuable. God says they are valuable. That’s His authoritative word, period.
Those are the 8 concepts. We’ll have to end there. Tonight we’ll go on from here. All these basic 8 ideas and we’ll add a few more tonight to the scheme. But right now I hope we’ve gotten some of the fundamentals truths out there; and we’ll build a platform now on those concepts.