Law, Grace, and Citizenship Lesson 7
Christian Cultural Influence (Part 2)
Labor Day Conference at North Stonington Bible Church
03 September 2012
© Charles A. Clough 2012
That hymn as it ended in “Holy, Holy, Holy” is one of the great hymns that has theological depth to it. It goes into the heart of the nature of God Himself – God in three Persons, the Trinity. So let’s turn to Him to look for Him to help us with this last session and to culminate in applying some of these truths
Well, this is session 7. We’re here to get onto the Christian cultural influence. One point that I’m going to make in this session but I left it on the last session; so if you’ll look at the second page of the 6th session, the italics section which I regret I didn’t do before we concluded. That is that the gospel is the primary way that Christians influence society. Of course the other ideas there that I showed you (verbal communication, labor, economic choices, marriage and family) were catalysts for conversations about the gospels. But the gospel is the key agent here.
I wanted to comment about the gospel. I think missionaries are intuitively aware of this. So Wes and Penny are aware of this in their work professionally as missionaries. We forget sometimes that preaching the gospel in a clear fashion- that itself changes culture. So the italics section there where you see gospel number 1 priority; but in order to communicate the gospel - the first line is the gospel itself has no reference to socio-political actions. That’s John 20:31.
NKJ John 20:31 “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
There is no politics in John 20:31. There is no politics in the gospel. The gospels are politically and socially independent. But it has an effect; and that’s what I wanted to communicate here. The gospel has no reference – probably should have said no direct reference to socio-political action. But in order to communicate the gospel, we necessarily have to challenge pagan notions of reality, truth and ethics. That is the diagram that you see here.
These are the four levels. The first level, the metaphysical level, is the nature of reality. Epistemology is the nature of truth and then ethics. What are the rules of conduct? So that’s what I mean there. When we communicate the gospel, we are necessarily eroding those pagan notions. Therefore (where I have it in italics) we unavoidably influence culture just by the act of sharing the gospel if done clearly. Moreover if our gospel is clear it affects the invisible world because it immunizes the resulting actions from forensic challenges and results in the rejoicing among the elect angels. Luke 15 tells us that. The angels rejoice.
See there is a give and take going on with what I call the 5th dimension here. Satan wants to take the Word of God out of the hearts of people. We know that – Scripture. So he comes from the invisible domain for an evil purpose. But then when sinners are won to Christ, the angels rejoice. So there is this flow back and forth. Again I warn you we are not going mystical here; we’re not being spooky. We are just being situationally aware that there is another dimension out there. We don’t know what we’re doing in that other dimension other than following what the Father has taught us in the Word of God. So, it’s an added incentive to be careful to follow God’s Word.
Now in this 7th session we’re going to deal with 2 things. We’re going to deal with the strategy and the tactics of the Church Age. I think that’s important because there are believers today of different persuasions.
Some of whom are arguing that, “Well, the church ought to be passive. It ought to just sit around. Evangelize? Okay, but let’s not get culturally involved.”
Then there are those who want the church to get so culturally involved that it almost eclipses the gospel priority. We are in the middle of that. That’s why we concluded last time with this diagram showing that we are neither in the Tribulation nor in the Millennium. So we have this zone where we can work.
Some one asked me, “Are the lines here representative of the Church Age.”
No, those are just random to show the variation in the cultural influence. It doesn’t correspond to anything real. It’s just there for an illustration.
But I would like to since I have talked about law and grace, the gospel being grace; we need to turn to Romans 3:26. This is a classic reference in Pauline theology of the balance between the law and grace.
This is in the case where God through the Holy Spirit is trying to depict the work of the crucifixion. It concludes there in 26.
NKJ Romans 3:26 “to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
The reason that sentence is structured the way it is, is because the Old Testament saints had a problem. We don’t have time to go back in there, but if you go in - I think it’s Psalm 143. You’ll see where the Old Testament saints are troubled because they don’t understand how Jehovah God is holy. They knew they were sinners. So they had a problem.
In fact there is a plea in the Psalm.
“Don’t enter into judgment with me Lord. Don’t enter into judgment with me because I’m a sinner.”
So although they had the lamb, the sheep and the sacrifices; it wasn’t really clear how God could be just and the justifier.
All other religions face the same thing. Think about it. If a Muslim says that Allah forgives sin (which they do), on what basis can you do that without compromising his holiness? No basis. But if a god forgives sin and there is no basis for forgiving the sin then he is an arbitrary standard of justice, is he not? This is why the logic of the gospel is so necessary. It is the only way you can preserve the holiness of God and the law and at the same time admit fellowship between a sinner and God.
So Romans 3:26 unites law and grace. It doesn’t compromise the law. The righteousness, the social justice standards, still hold. They aren’t met with our merit; but with the merit of Jesus Christ.
Now the important session here now is I want to turn to the strategy of the church, the grand strategy of the church. We’re going to use the ideas that we’ve talked about in the past. Here’s the question – what is God doing for 2,000 years with the church? Yes, people are coming, getting saved. But how does this fit in the grand scheme of the universe? That’s what we’re talking about in strategy.
The grand scheme must include the unseen world as well as our seen world because together God is working. In the unseen world there is the doxological issue because nobody is getting saved in the unseen world. People are getting saved in this world - in the world of sight (physical world); but God doesn’t work independently. God works so that both in the unseen realm there is a doxological verification of His character at the same that down here He is working redemptively.
So we want to look at strategy. We’re going to go to this quote. This is B. H. Liddell Hart who was one - for years he was the military editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He wrote a book called Strategy. When you go into certain military courses, this is one of the reading materials that you are assigned. B. H. Liddell Hart after studying 2,500 years of military conflict came to this conclusion. I cite this because this is interesting because it corresponds to how God is working.
Effective results in war have rarely been attained unless the approach has had such indirectness as to ensure the opponents unreadiness to meet it. The indirectness has usually been physical and always psychological. In strategy the longest way around is often the shortest way home. The aim is to weaken resistance before attempting to overcome it. The effect is best attained by drawing the other party out of his defenses.
In a gross way, think of it this way. Think of the Civil War, WWI where you have thousands of men in a line charging guns. It looks stupid – frontal attack kind of thing - whereas war of maneuvers such as what the Israelis did in 1948 flanking maneuvers. That’s using more of an indirect strategy. Indirect strategy does not provoke a reaction immediately.
Those of you – I know several of you have come up and copied down the name of this book, Conversational Evangelism. The Giesler’s point this out. In our conversations with unbelievers we want to have the atmosphere so they don’t put their guard up because once you come on hot and heavy their defenses go up. So you have to indirectly maneuver. That’s why I recommend to you this book because it gives you some practical ways to do that. That’s the indirect strategy.
Now what we want to look is how the Father, how God works this way. In your notes you’ll see there are cases, case studies. The model case is the Lord Jesus Christ. We mentioned this somewhat the other night; I think last night - Philippians 2:5-8 the canonic mental attitude of submission to the Father. So if you’ll look at the note there where it says model case.
Jesus followed this mob. Satan misinterpreted. He initiated an attack to exploit what he thought was a weakness - Judas to have Jesus executed and out of his way but ended in the unraveling of his claim on mankind. So Satan obviously wouldn’t have initiated the attack through Judas if he hadn’t thought he could win.
Apparently Jesus was weak because Satan observed that when he tempted Him, He could not use or chose not to use His divine attributes. So it appears that Satan misinterpreted. If that’s the case, then we have an application of indirect strategy in that Satan was deceived into thinking the case was weaker than it appeared. He was fooled into executing an operation that ended in his defeat.
But I want you to turn now to Revelation 5:9 because here we have the church case. Just as God followed indirect strategy with Jesus, so He follows an indirect strategy with the church.
Chapter 5:9-10, in the context you’ll notice that this is when the scroll comes out. John the Apostle used - just before the return of Christ there is a thing that’s going on in the invisible world. We’re privileged here in the text to have the curtain pulled aside so we can peer into that invisible world and what goes on there.
It says in verse 1 to get the context.
NKJ Revelation 5:1 “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
2 “Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?’ ”
Now we know what happens when the seals are loosed. That’s the judgments of the Tribulation. That triggers Christ as the avenging Judge. But the problem is and commentators have speculated at this - what is the scroll?
We were talking in between sessions about - how did Satan get legal ground over the human race? Somehow he has it because he offered it to Jesus.
Jesus didn’t say, “It isn’t yours to offer.”
So clearly Satan had some sort of legal thing. This is why secularism can’t solve political problems. This is why the secular use, the progressive use, of the millennial hope without the context of the Bible; it never works
It always results in screwing up the economy. It always results in tyranny. It always results in bad things because evil is not confined to just this world. It’s also bigger than that. We are dealing with a much more complicated problem than the skeptics even conceive of. So the solution is much more complicated that they ever thought. Whatever the scroll is, commentators have suggested that the scroll is the title to the earth. What’s going on here is who is ready to take title now and lose the seal?
So John sees this happen and wept much.
3 “And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
4 “So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.
5 “But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals."
6 “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
7 “Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.”
Now here’s the culmination.
8 “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
See this is the prayers down through history.
“Lord, when are You going to execute judgment? When are we going to get relief?”
The idea of the incense is used in the Old Testament for a physical analogue to what prayer does for God. Now what does incense do? Why do people use incense? Pleasant smell. Smell is one of our senses; and it’s pleasing so people use incense. That sensation of smell that we experience with incense is analogous to what God senses when we pray. It’s kind of a neat illustration of the fact that “I like the smell.” That emotion that we experience is the nearest thing we can come to how God is thinking and responding to us in our prayers.
Then it says:
NKJ Revelation 5:9 “And they sang a new song, saying:”
Notice this, music occurs in the invisible world. In fact, music first started in the invisible world. You wonder what angelic choirs sound like. Amazing things! But anyway we want to pay attention to the lyrics of the music. We don’t have the music. The music is lost. We don’t have it. But we do have the lyrics of it.
Now pay attention to the claim of why Christ is now able to break the seals.
"You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
NKJ Revelation 5:10 “And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
Look back at the phrase where it says:
“You were slain”
Clearly that is crucifixion.
“And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,”
I don’t know about you, but I have heard very few missionary conferences where this verse was ever even raised. To me this is one of the most powerful verses for missions that I could possible think about because what this appears to be saying here is that Jesus Christ Himself becomes worthy not only with the crucifixion but the work of the crucifixion applied to every people group. In other words the body of Christ, the strategy, the grand strategy of the Church Age, is to complete the body. Christ can’t work if He doesn’t have a full body. See the imagery? The imagery starts to fit together here.
The body isn’t ready to do the job yet. But one day it will be ready, and it will be ready when something happens. The body must have representatives from every peoples group so that this body, the body of Christ, is truly representing the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve – all of them. It doesn’t mean that everybody is redeemed. What it means is that representatives of each of these people groups. To me this is a great verse that legitimizes and gives impetus to missions because until this happens we are going to keep on going down in history.
The church case here, Revelation 5 in your notes, Revelation 5:9-10 - and then I have a note - again it’s the indirect strategy. The church looks weak.
In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul says:
27 “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;”
That’s the indirect strategy! We are looked upon as stupid people, idiots, and targets. We are walking around as far as the invisible world - with targets on our backs. So we look like we’re victims. But the point is that we’re really not. What God is doing is He’s luring people to pay attention to us. We are in essence an irritant in the Noahic fallen civilization. God started a counterculture - remember back with Abraham. .
So we’re always in tension with the culture. The ensuing tension leads to the fact that we are put into contact. Evil comes into contact with us.
Think for example in the armor of Ephesians 6. Is that offensive or defensive? Most of the armor is defensive, isn’t it? What does that connote? It connotes that we are going to be attacked, and we have to defend ourselves. Why will we be attacked? Because we represent Christ. When people we are sarcastic to you because of your faith, we have to learn not to take it personally. We have to learn the fact we are getting attacked not because of our personality - hopefully not because of our personality or some stupid thing we’ve done. We are getting attacked all the time because of whom we represent. The unbeliever intuitively knows something is going on here.
“I can’t really put my finger on it. But, I don’t like these people.”
We know what’s going on. You don’t like us because like Cain didn’t like Abel we remind you of something that you are trying to avoid. That’s why we are irritating to you. We don’t even have to open our mouths; just standing here we’re irritating to you because you know that this is doing a tugging at your heart. Remember, remember, remember... So we appear to be weak; but God is using that. God uses that. We’re not like Mohammed on our horse with our saber conquering the world. In one way we are, but not that way.
After 9-11 it was interesting. I was totally amazed that the people in Time Magazine had the theological incite to do what they did. In the middle of that issue right after 9-11 on the left side they showed Jesus. They had some pending of Jesus and quoting, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Then they had a picture of Mohammed (Moses) conquering Mecca with armies. It was dramatic that here is Jesus who had far greater influence than Mohammed on hospitals, on welfare, on marriage. Then you have Mohammed using force, the direct approach. Jesus is using indirect strategy. Which one is winning? Ultimately it’s going to be Jesus. So that’s the church case.
Now we want to point out and we won’t have time to run through church history. I am reminding you that the same thing church history. The church has never advanced in doctrine unless it was attacked first. The church had to get heretics hammering at it before it was forced back into the Scriptures. In the Framework course we go through this.
The diagram here goes from top down through church history. The canon, the New Testament canon, the books of the New Testament, had to be written first. Then you have the trinity and the person of Christ. But in order to get that, there had to be the right side (the black) the continuity of being idealistic logic. These things had to be dealt with. Aristotelian logic had to be dealt with when you developed the trinity. Then you have the cross, satisfaction of divine justice. That had to be clarified. That was the argument all through the ages. We talked about Abelard.
Then we have justification, the Protestant Reformation – sole fide. What was that about? Human merit – human merit doesn’t cut it. It’s fide, sole fide, only faith in only Christ. Why? Because human merit won’t sustain itself. It isn’t good enough. It doesn’t meet God’s standards. Ecclesiology and eschatology are being decided this hour. In the last 200 years this is the area. The significant thing is this is the last area of theology to be argued and debated. So this goes on. The take away lesson here is how the Holy Spirit is working indirectly. He allows heresies to attack us; then after that we respond – so indirect strategy.
So in your notes, 2 blanks.
God is completing the body quantitatively and qualitatively. So we want to go through what that is all about. Well, first quantitatively – issue involves missionary activity by different parts of the church to acquire representation of all people groups. There’s you quantity.
Perhaps just before the rapture - it is kind of funny to imagine this, but you or some missionary somewhere will probably be the person that leads the last person to Christ. That completes the body. You wonder, gee when the last person to complete the body is won to Christ, there’s the rapture. Is that what’s going to happen? Apparently something like this. The body has to be complete – but not just in numbers.
It also has to be complete in the quality. The various verses that I list there refer to the struggles. Paul prays in Ephesians 1 that we gain truth that we understand these things. I’ve listed some of the things that are the characteristics of the mature believers. Victory over antichrist teachers within local churches - John wants us to overcome those he says. So this is the struggle of Christians at various points in history to overcome false teachers from within. Faithfulness to death in Revelation 2:10 - Jesus says to those people at that location:
NKJ Revelation 2:10 “... Be faithful until death ... .”
So martyrdom is often a quality. Now everybody isn’t a martyr. Everybody isn’t overcoming a false teacher. So what are we doing? We are saying just as the body has representatives from every people group, from every tongue group; the body will also have representative saints who have struggled with this issue, who have struggle with that issue. We will be able in eternity to sit down and talk to believers who were martyred.
We’re going to feel like, “Gee, we weren’t martyred.”
These people will tell you, “Yeah, I was burned to death for my faith.”
“I was crucified.”
“I was disemboweled for my faith.”
Think of what’s it’s going to be to sit next to people who went through that. And, they were faithful for Christ. It lets the air out of the tires.
So then we have accumulated victories by particular believers in particular circumstances at particular times.
Then of course we have the Bema Seat where the Lord Himself will purge away the wood, hay and stubble so we’ll be left with that which was genuine. So the indirect strategy to summarize it is to complete the body of Christ. Then Christ is worthy to open the scrolls and we move forward in history. That’s how evangelism and missionary work and faithfulness in the middle of trials moves history forward. Don’t discount the little trials and tribulations. That’s all part of the grand scheme to be successful, to overcome and move the body to quality improvement.
Then we go to the tactics, the tactics of the Church Age. The first priority we’ve already mentioned is the gospel. The gospel has to be there and it has to be clear. So we want to be careful as we witness that we have a clear gospel. We want to be skilled. It doesn’t mean that everybody has to be an evangelist. But we all want to do the work of an evangelist when we’re in that situation.
We’ve talked a little bit about the second priority, which is working through the design of society. Knowing this design, knowing the fact that we have heart allegiance, integrity of communication – these are all spheres. Think of these as parts of your life. These are where we can radiate Christ in each of these areas – by truthfulness in our language, by integrity there, by diligent workmanship, by a work ethic, by our marriages and families being strong and functional so we don’t crank out poor examples of life and dump them into society. That’s the sobering role of parents.
And, bringing forth life ... Thankfully Christian couples are having more babies than non-Christians couples right now. The demographics are on the Christian side if this trend keeps up.
This is one reason people why the modern environmentalist movement is trying to stop productive families. The latest thing by UCLA, taxpayer funded research, says we must reduce the number of babies because of their carbon footprints. So here is how climate change is being used to justify the withholding of children. But it turns out that the Christians aren’t listening; and they’re having babies. Watch, this is going to come up. This will come up.
You know the Duggars or whatever that Christian family is that has so many kids that’s on television. They’re being attacked. There are articles written to attack that.
“This is carelessness. This has no concern for the planet. These people are polluting the environment by having babies.”
Think about the basics. Remember when we went back to the ten basic ideas that started this? Where does nature and man come? Is man above nature or is man below nature? Man is above nature - so babies come first. Sorry bugs! So as we radiate Christ in these areas, that’s a way we have of cultural influence.
Now the third priority we want to get to and that’s the one we’re working on to conclude here is that’s the direct political influence. We have citizenship responsibilities.
I want to show you a quote from 1936. I am picking that date because this was the time when we look back on it and some evangelicals do this in colleges. They kind of apologize for the fundamentalists.
“Well, the liberals were out in social gospel. The liberals did social work and the fundies stayed home and didn’t do anything.”
That’s been refuted. There is a whole book written that shows by newspaper articles and everything else.
Do you know who it was in the United States in the 1930s that knew first that Hitler was going to kill the Jews? Dispensational pre-millenialists – some of whom came from Moody Bible Institute. They were the ones who in the newsletters for these missions, they spotted the potential for anti-Semitism in the Nazis. Nobody else in America got clued into this until ’42. It was these men. Not only did the fundamentalists get concerned about this; it was the fundamentalist dispensationalists who were sending money to Europe to help them and to evangelize the Jews at that moment of history.
So there is a caricature – and you will get it from Christians that we didn’t do a job in the 1930s. Well, maybe not enough; but it was done. The people who were talking about it were the fundamentalists.
Here is an example. Here is Dr. James Convey. He is writing Moody Institute Monthly. He gave an address at Moody to the student body in 1936. In the middle of that address to the student body, here is what he said.
There is not a single passage in the Bible which would lead the most devote believer in the inspiration and authority of the Scripture to refrain from performing all the duties required of a good citizen. The Christian patriot is interested in vitality always everywhere in human welfare. He will not permit the godless, the theological liberal or the crafty politician to manifest more concern for his neighbor’s welfare than he will manifest.
That’s the spirit of the lowly fundamentalist (our precursors) and what they were saying in the 1930s.
Now on your outline I have two categories. I have defense tactics and offense tactics. We want to deal with specific things that we as Christian citizens can do. At this point I am going to ask Brittany to come up because we are dealing with defensive tactics. She is going to tell us about some of the organizations we have to watch for and the ones that can help us. Brittany ...
I am just going to mention a few, as Charlie said, a few groups to look out for as well as some of the things we can take hope in and find relief that people are working toward good Christian values. So, first the groups on the other side that we need to be aware of - in the United States the most important one would be the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union. These are the ones - they fight on the opposite side of almost every single issue that Christians are on. Their goal along with abortion on demand, elimination of gender roles, and worship of the creation is to create worldwide socialism.
I have a quote here from an author on our side. His name is John Goldberg. He tells us about socialism’s goals.
The goal is to monopolize completely the young from their tenderest years up to manhood and womanhood for the exclusive vantage of a party which resolves itself into a true real pagan worship of the state.
That kind of shows how scary it can get. That’s from our side.
But from the other side ACLU founding member Norman Thomas said:
The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism; but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.
So that’s coming from the ACLU itself. I was actually telling Sam during the break about how even Christians at my law school are involved in our ACLU group.
I’m thinking, “Okay. We need to be aware of what these groups are doing. You are thinking it sounds good. Civil liberties, that’s probably a good thing.”
But we need to be aware of what we’re supporting and what they’re doing.
If you would like further reading about the ACLU, I read an excellent book ACLU v. America. It’s by Allen Spears. He is the President and CEO of the Alliance Defense fund.
Now internationally there are a lot of groups as well that we need to be aware of. These groups include Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, the UN World Population Fund and especially CEDAW which is the Center for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. These groups seem like they promote international aid. They talk about giving money to other countries and helping them out but really they have agendas. You could get deep into what they are trying to tell us. It can actually reveal quite a lot.
They claim that abortion is an international law which means that no one has the right to outlaw it. They withhold funding to certain nations like Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Chili, and many other African nations. They withhold support from them unless they vote to repeal any anti abortion laws and provide full access to abortion. So they are not going to give them money unless they sign on to their agendas. In many cases these countries are very Catholic or they are Christian countries and this violates the heart of everything they believe in. They feel like they have to choose.
“Do we want to help and get money to support for our people or, do we want to stick with our Christian values?”
Some of them are holding out, and it’s wonderful; but some of them are caving in – like Kenya.
Also just an interesting fact, Amnesty International called laws that make abortion illegal - they called it tantamount to torture so that if you refuse a woman an abortion that is torture. Of course under international law they are trying to claim that torture is totally illegal. So if not allowing abortion is torture, then that would also be illegal –not allowing abortion.
Then of course on the great side we have Alliance Defense Fund. Actually they changed their name to Alliance Defending Freedom so if you look it up on the Internet you might find it as Alliance Defending Freedom. It was launched 1994 by Christians who knew and realized that we were in a culture war. At the risk of losing their freedom to live and share their faith encouraged them to create an alliance of Christian lawyers and similar minded organizations where they could partner up and defend their right to live as a Christian.
Some of its leaders include the late Dr. Bill Bright from Campus Crusade for Christ as well Dr. James Dobson from Focus on the Family.
What ADF does is it brings cases in that can establish precedence; legal precedence to take back the ground that we’ve given up over the years. Many years ago and on Saturday I talked about some of the cases where we lost ground. Christians didn’t show up at any of those battles. There was no one there to fight for our side. It was easy for the other side to take ground and they ran with it. They weren’t just small steps. Christians were preferring to stay in their homes, in their churches and not bring their faith into the public square where it belongs.
So most of the groups that the Alliance Defense Fund goes up against would be groups like the ACLU who are extremely well funded. They have a lot of money. So what Alliance Defense Fund is doing is gathering up money and is taking certain cases that they can go toe-to-toe with the ACLU and fight them on these issues. ADF strategizes and coordinates with Christians all over the United States as well as around the entire world. They are taking cases that they can gain certain ground. They are taking strategic cases. So this is one of the defense strategies, trying to pick and choose so that we can gain back some ground.
ADF has also backed 38 wins at the United States Supreme Court. They were very successful. They train not to just be strong in faith but also to be very prepared and intellectual and know what they’re doing and what they’re going after.
ADF also trains attorneys through the legal academy and also their Blackstone internship for law students. That’s where I was this past summer. First we trained in Arizona. We took 3 weeks to learn a Christian worldview in a legal realm. We were trained to learn tactics, to argue against abortion, same-sex marriage and a lose reading of our Constitution. Every day began at 7 and often ended at 8 as we trained and learned to prepare for the legal challenges that are ahead of us.
The second stage sends the law students out into other places in the US or for me they sent me internationally so we could practice some of what we learned. I had the benefit of getting to go to Ontario (London, Ontario), which is Canada. I got to work at Christian Legal Fellowship, which is a non-profit group that’s fighting for Christian liberty in Canada.
In fact as a side note, I read an article about a student in Canada who had just gotten arrested for bringing a pro-life demonstration on her campus. The college said no. She went ahead anyway and they arrested her.
So things are a little bit further along in Canada. I don’t think we’re that far off. I know it hasn’t come to that yet; but it seems like that’s where we are going. But, ADF is certainly stepping in.
Also one of the projects that I worked on there was abortion research which had a lot to do about the international issues that I just talked about such as withholding funds from those poor countries with abortion laws.
After the Blackstone internship then the interns can become fellows or partners with Alliance Defense Fund. Then when cases come up around the country; they ask for help and they are trying to support Christian funding for the right-to-life, traditional marriage, and Christian liberty.
So while in the first session I said it was okay if you were a little bit uncomfortable; now I am trying to give you hope that there are others that are fighting this battle. And it is a battle; it’s a war. But we do fight a beaten foe. Just know that we’re not alone in this fight. Thank you.
Thank you Brittany. I wanted her to expose us to the fact that there is a battle, a very serious legal battle. These battles take hours and hours and hours of legal research. There are attorneys that Brittany is talking about who have been trained and it’s all pro bono. These guys are Christian men that are taking time out of their legal practices to defend people in these various cases. So it is wise for us to be aware of these. You, anybody in this gathering today within a couple of years; you may need a Christian lawyer to defend yourself either for home schooling or for whatever you are doing that is an irritant to the increasingly bigoted government officials.
Defense tactics - you’ll see in the notes I give you several references. In the interest of time we’ll go through those pretty fast. Acts 5:29, let’s look there. These are models. I picked out deliberately incidents by two men. I picked the two guys because Peter and Paul are the authors respectfully of as we point out in the notes. See where it says after Philemon it says Peter and Paul wrote the two key New Testament passages on obeying civil authority. Romans 13 everybody knows and then 1 Peter 2 everybody should know. That is that here are the men who wrote to us saying as Christians we are to respect and obey the authorities. But that respect and obedience does not mean that we always submit to them. So I am showing you 4 cases.
The first one is Acts 5:29. In Acts 5:29 Peter and the other apostles answered the officials and said:
NKJ Acts 5:29 “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men.
30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.
31 “Him God has exalted to His right hand.”
In other words, what Peter is doing is he is demanding free speech. The society and culture around him don’t want him to exercise free speech. Free speech for the gospel is absolute.
I can tell you a little point about collegiate history. Many of you heard about the 1964 free speech movement at Berkley where they went out and used 4 letter words for the first time in public. What people don’t tell you is that Bill Bright started Campus Crusade years before 1964 and the Christians were the ones that had free speech on Berkley and fought that issue so that the clowns could show up after all the work the Christians did for free speech; and that’s how the Berkley free speech started in 1964. It was the result of Campus Crusade fighting the thing a few years before. So it was the Christians not the kooks that got free speech on the college campus.
I was President of the Christian Fellowship at MIT in my senior year. I can tell you I got called into the Dean’s office every 3 weeks over one issue or another. That’s when I first learned that I’m not going to be intimidated by somebody just because they speak with authority. We’re not being snotty. We’re not trying to be nasty to these people. But we are going to be firm. We would shake hands. I would walk out of the Dean of Students office and we would go and keep on evangelizing. Then we would be called in three weeks later for some other case of witnessing - to a Jewish fraternity, for example. The rabbi hit the ceiling. That’s all right. This is the same reaction you get in the Bible.
“I am not going to stop witnessing. Sorry. Nice going. We’ll see you tomorrow.”
Acts 5:29 is the case where Peter who wrote “submit to the authorities” did not submit to the authorities in this case – free speech.
Now in Acts 16 if you’ll turn there a moment. This is right after the passage about the Philippian jailer. In this passage we are all familiar with “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” There is an interesting thing that happened. We won’t go through the whole passage. Let’s go down to verse 34 in Acts 16.
The jailer after the escape with the angel, the jailer confronts them. They lead the jailer to Christ.
NKJ Acts 16:34 “Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.”
There was a supernatural jail breaker angel that came in and opened the jail locks and so forth. How and angel does that - I don’t know; but it happened. The jailer was upset and so on. He was led to Christ.
But now watch what happens in verse 35. Here we have an interesting situation. You have to get a little background here. Philippi was different from the other cities in Asia Minor. Philippi was a retirement colony for Roman army officers. So the local magistrates in Philippi were under the boot of Caesar because Caesar takes care of his own. The colony of Philippi was very closely aligned with Rome, more than the other cities so they are very much under the watchmenship of the authorities in Rome to see if they follow Roman law. So here’s what happens.
NKJ Acts 16:35 “And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, ‘Let those men go.’ ”
It’s a 24-hour incarceration.
They said, “It’s over so get rid of these guys.”
Now watch what Paul does.
NKJ Acts 16:36 “So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, ‘The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.’ ”
After they beat them up and put them in jail – just go in peace now. Now watch what Paul does.
NKJ Acts 16:37 “But Paul said to them, ‘They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.’ ”
This is the first sit-in. Paul knows the Roman law.
“You can’t do this.”
This is a defiance of the local authorities.
“Okay, we’ll leave; but you’re going to come down here and you’re going to let us out. Then we are going to go tell everybody what you did. Put it on YouTube.”
Now when the officers show up to let the apostles out - of course they were probably surprised that a prisoner did not want to leave jail and was asking them to personally come down.
NKJ Acts 16:38 “And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.”
“Oh gee! We have a legal problem here.”
Do you know why? Because Paul knew the law.
One of the things I learned working for the government for 30 years – when somebody quotes a reg at you, don’t buy it. I was in several situations as a supervisor in civil service in the United States Army. We had situations happen. Somebody quoted a regulation.
I learned from an old sergeant. You know, sergeants in the military are great people. They are the ones that make everything go. They’re like the technicians in a company – not the engineers that do anything. It’s the technicians that do it. They are the ones who carry out the job. In the military, it’s the sergeant. You ask a sergeant to get something and they get it for you and you don’t ask them how they get it. They just get it. Another saying in the military is that more business is transacted in the NCO club after 5 p. m. than the whole day on base. That’s because there is networking going on.
“You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours and we’ll get this matter taken care of.”
Here we you have a situation where Paul knew the law.
One of the things that sergeant taught me was if you have problem with a regulation, do you know what you do? You go down to the base library, get that regulation out, master that regulation and then stuff it up you know where.
The problem is people quote law, quote regulations and haven’t got a clue what they mean because they’re too lazy to read it. You as a Christians are used to reading your Bible and understanding the text. Now I guaranteed you, your Bible study will make you qualified to exegete a regulation. You will be able to read that regulation. Most people don’t want to even read them; they just quote them. So, here Paul knew the law. Either he read it – somehow he knew about it.
He says, “Ah ha, I got you!”
You can see the reaction.
... they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.
NKJ Acts 16:39 “Then they came and pleaded with them ...”
Look at the verb! Look now who’s pleading? He’s got the magistrate begging him to leave the jail. So who turned the tables and how did he turn the tables? Because he knew the law.
See! That’s why we need people like Brittany, people who know the law.
And here’s an example. Now let’s in Acts 22-25 – there are 3 or 4 chapters there. We don’t have time to go through that. But you all know, those of you who have studied the books of Acts – you know what happened. You know that the mob tried to kill Paul. The centurion or the commander of the Roman garrison there at the Temple came down with a rescue squad. He was tipped off by a relative of Paul. You can tell he took the threat seriously because Luke reports the fact that he dispatched hundreds of soldiers to escort one man from Jerusalem down to Caesarea.
Now why do you suppose the commander would take a hundred people out of his garrison to escort Paul down there? Because he was afraid of the mobs. Luke shows how Paul as a Roman citizen over and over - when he went to Felix, when he went to Festus. Both of those guys were local government officials commissioned by Rome.
Paul therefore said, “I am a Roman citizen.”
Paul at point after point after point knew Roman law and his citizenship responsibilities and he stood up for them. This is the man that wrote Romans 13 to submit to the authorities. He didn’t start revolutions. He didn’t start armed insurrections. That wasn’t the point.
It is that, “When I am a Roman citizen, I am going to claim my citizenship rights. That’s part of me.”
Do you see how he stood up? I am showing you the profile of Peter and Paul. These guys aren’t doormats. They stood up and they did not see any conflict about standing up for their citizenship rights and being Christians. They did not see that as a conflict. So whenever you read Romans 13 and you read 1 Peter 2, read it with these incidents in mind.
Now there is one further little thing, Philemon. We studied that tiny New Testament epistle and maybe we miss a big, big point. Who was Onesimus? A runaway slave, a fugitive slave. How long do you think Paul knew Onesimus? Two hours, one day, a week, or maybe a month? Obviously the way he speaks of Onesimus in Philemon he was with Onesimus quite some time.
Now this is an interesting thing. Paul is a Roman citizen and he is harboring a fugitive slave. That has legal implications. It was spotted here by a man who made a commentary on Paul’s letter to Philemon.
Why do all the men with Paul (Timothy, Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke), protect the fugitive slave? It’s not just Paul doing this. It’s all the guys with Paul. They are all guilty of harboring a fugitive slave.
Why do they protect him? By doing so they have become complicit in his crime. Under Roman law the first century after Christ, any one who harbored fugitive slave was not only liable for reimbursement to the slave owner for income lost because of the slave flight (what we would call civil damages) but was also subject to severe criminal penalties. Here is the guy who wrote Romans 13. Now why did he do this? Because in the law (the Torah), the standards of social justice - when a slave escapes you don’t return him to the owner.
Paul knew social justice and social justice as God defined it trumped Roman law. So here is a very sobering situation. You know, this was executed during Civil War with the Underground Railroad. What do you think people did with escaped slaves from the South? They had underground railroads. It was all illegal.
Now let me give you a modern case. There is a pastor in Vermont in jail today because he helped an ex-lesbian. There was a lesbian couple. This woman had a child. Her lesbian partner when they broke up - most homosexual relationships break up by the way. Her partner demanded custody of this child. This woman apparently lost the local case. The judge favored her lesbian partner to take that child. It was not the lesbian woman’s child. It was the other woman’s child. So a Vermont pastor helped her sneak out of Vermont and go to I think New Zealand somewhere. So now they are going after the pastor for defying the court order to turn the child back to the lesbian according to the law.
The pastor said, “I’m not going to do that. It’s wrong. God’s law trumps Vermont law. Sorry! Be in jail? Okay I’ll be in jail because that’s the way it’s going to be because I don’t intend to bend the knee.”
This is the kind of stuff that’s going to happen.
I’ll give you another practical case from modern law, a case involved in Indiana. A 17-year-old girl became a Christian from a Muslim family. Her dad threatened honor killing, which is what the Moslems do when their children convert. This child had become a Christian. This girl was a Christian. So a pastor heard about that; he got hold of another pastor and they passed her down from Indiana, down to Kentucky, down to Florida. It was an underground railroad.
This is going to happen people. These things are going to happen and you as a Christian citizen need to think before it happens what you would do in the situation. You may go to jail for it, but what’s right? God’s standard of social justice or the state? This isn’t just theory. This isn’t just Sunday school. This is practical stuff.
Now one other thing before we conclude. We’re done with defensive tactics. By the way I throw in Luke 22:36 for those of you who love the Second Amendment.
That passage where Jesus said, “Go ahead and buy a sword.”
What He is talking about is they were carrying money around. The disciples had conceal and carry basically, because they had money - no walking around the ancient world without a sword. Everybody had to protect themselves. Jesus isn’t against this stuff.
What happens is like what Brittany said. The ACLU comes along and they sort of intimidate you saying, “That’s a bad thing.” By what standard? That’s the question you always want to ask – by what standard – three simple words. Ask them, by what standard. That exposes the issue, right? By what standard are we judging this situation?
On the offensive tactics, God tells us to be salt and light. How as Christian citizens can we influence public policy? Hopefully we don’t have to defy public policy; but what inputs can we have? Daniel 1 is the model. Daniel 1 is the case where Daniel was in a pagan environment. He was challenged in his dietary rules about his diet.
Daniel said,” Look, let’s try a test here. I’ll eat my Jewish diet; you guys eat your pagan diet. We’ll see which one works.”
That’s a pragmatic appeal. Remember if people act according to God’s design, the results are better. People just have to see that. I’ve shown this before but you can get it on the Internet. I think it’s Institute for American Values.
This is a document I push on all pastors and all elders and deacons and teachers. The reason why I push this particular document is it’s the result of two or three years study by this institute. I’m not sure if they are believers or not but they do some very good work. What they did here is they raised the question - what is the cost of divorce and unwed child bearing on the U. S. economy. It took some time to do this. They went through every state. Connecticut is in there. You can look it up. Here’s what they found.
Conservative estimates show that we are losing $112 billion a year in the US economy just due to divorce and unwed childbirth.
So there is cause and effect. My argument is the Daniel 1 approach we need to use as Christian citizens. We need to do our research. We need to use documents like this when we urge public policy because it’s cheaper people. This is in the middle of a recession. We ought to be thinking about dollars and cents.
So this is precisely an opportune moment to say, “This policy or what ever it is in our policy choices is cheaper. It works better.”
So that’s our offensive tactic. It’s not overthrowing the government. It’s injecting wisdom where possible.
So let’s conclude with the conclusion here. I see I have some blanks; and I can’t get out the door without being reminded. So we’ll conclude there under Roman 4.
Law, grace, and citizenship - reason needs concepts in order to work. You’ve got to feed the brain with ideas; and the ideas come from one of two sources. It’s going to come from the Word of God or it’s going to come from the word of man. Logic is not the problem. It’s the ideas that are going into the logic machine that’s the problem. Limited experience needs God’s infinite perspective in order to make decisions. All of us have limited experience. We don’t have enough experience to control what we’re talking about. Therefore we need God’s infinite perspective. After Babel, the Noahic civilization inevitably deteriorates unless there is salt and light and the law gives the content of social justice. So it’s not an abstract buzzword.
We don’t go, “It’s fair.”
What do you mean by fair? Justify that claim. Law gives the content of social justice applied to the theocracy of Israel. It contains universal moral principles that have to carefully extracted from it. It takes work yes, but you get the general idea.
Grace is the only way to fulfill all of justice including the invisible forensic argument. Citizenship in this age is the responsibility of all believers to be salt and light realizing that there are upper and lower limits to our capacity to influence society.
I want to conclude with this quote that I showed the other night because I think this captures the essence of the argument.
The state has become a pseudo family educating children according to its standards and presuppositions, funding healthcare, paying for men’s retirement and so forth. To do this the state must decapitalize the family through taxation. The state unlike a biblically defined family does not create wealth; it consumes wealth as it redistributes it from one group to another. Voters do not recognize the cause-effect relationship between the state’s of support for the aged (a specific example) they do not recognize the implicit legal claim which the state is making reducing the ability of economically successful men or women to pass on wealth to their heirs. As voters transfer more and more responsibility to the state for the care of the aged the state steadily becomes the substitute heir.
As my son qualitatively made a graph here. Self-government is in white. Family government is in purple. Civil government is in blue. What he is trying to show is it is s zero sum gain. If you decrease self-government and you decrease family government, civil government increases. You’ve made a vacuum; and it’s going to be filled by the government. It’s that simple.
In conclusion in our Christian families we are fighting to increase the self-government and family government by assuming personal responsibility for our lives. The game is are we going to be responsible or are we going to farm it out to somebody else. When you farm your responsibility out to someone else, don’t whine when they make demands on you.