Archive for the ‘Spiritual and Philosophical Questions’ Category

The Devil and Antonin Scalia

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

A recent New York Magazine interview of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia created a minor stir when he mentioned that he believed the Devil was a real personal being. This elicited an outbreak of the vapors on the left like this one from the Huffington Post, e.g.  “I think there should be a test to make sure any Supreme Court Justice is living in the century the rest of us are living in,” and “He’s like a relic from the 1870′s.”  The HP even included Scalia’s belief in a real Devil as one of the “nine weirdest things” about the interview.

As in my last post about the book of Esther, this highlights what may be the most fundamental issue we face as human beings, is the universe ultimately personal or impersonal?

The modern “scientific” view is that all of reality consists of inanimate particles being acted upon by impersonal forces.  Evil is seen as just actions of which we disapprove, and the Devil is seen as just the personification of such conduct.  Even clear statements in the Bible about the Devil as a personal being are interpreted as symbolic personifications of an abstract quality.

But where does this line of thinking take us?  Does it mean that God is also just a personification of things we like?  And what about ourselves?  If the universe is ultimately impersonal, and we are just part of the universe, does that mean our defining personal qualities of thought and feeling are also just so many electro-chemical reactions, not differing in essence from white noise? Is a man really the same thing in essence as the chair he sits in?

And if this is so, does that not mean that all of the brilliant scientific and philosophical thought that lead us to this conclusion is not itself white noise, signifying nothing?  The assumption of an impersonal universe is self-refuting.

But people like those sophisticates scoffing at Scalia never take their assumptions to their logical conclusion.  They only use them provisionally to escape, in their minds, from the Law-word of God, and to make themselves little “gods.”  In doing so, ironically, they follow in the very footsteps of the Devil whose fall was precipitated by his own desire to ascend and be like the Most High.

It is true that the scientific method must assume a mechanical, impersonal universe in order to formulate laws and make predictions.  But where do such laws come from and who upholds them?  The idea of law is taken from the sphere of human action and implies a personal lawgiver. Furthermore, the mechanical paradigm breaks down into a philosophically incompatible stochastic paradigm at the quantum level anyway.  Our scientific way of thinking is a practical tool for taking dominion under God.  It can never provide God-like ultimate understanding or reality.  The scientific method works well for mechanical things, less well for living things, and not well at all for human affairs.

Speaking of the Devil, do not fail to check out David Horowitz’s article on “The Threat We Face.”


 

Conservatism and Libertarianism

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

In announcing his switch from opposing to supporting same-sex “marriage” Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman offered what has become a common rationale.  He argued that legalizing same sex marriage was a conservative position since it maximized individual liberty and minimized the role of government. 

Besides being wrong as to its effect, Portman was wrong to call this argument conservative.  This is a libertarian argument, which is to say an ideological argument.  Ideology is the elevation of an abstract principle to the status of a super-idea from which all other positions are deduced. 

The libertarian idea of maximizing the individual and minimizing the collective society is the opposite of that held by other ideologies like communism and socialism that maximize the collective at the expense of the individual.  In both cases the ideologue is in love with a beautiful idea and clings to it even when experience indicates it is not working.  Neither is interested in the wisdom of the past.

Conservatism rejects abstract ideas as our guide in favor of tradition and authority.  It looks to an ultimately divine authority mediated to us by the tradition of our fathers.  It looks to the wisdom of the past.  Liberalism is the flip side of conservatism and is characterized by rejection of tradition and authority, and is scornful of fathers and their wisdom.

So while there can be a libertarian argument for the oxymoron of same sex marriage there cannot be a conservative one.  All of our culture’s tradition and religious authority stands opposed to it.

The Republican Party is a coalition of conservatives and libertarians owing to the large overlap of their positions on economic matters.  These groups have less agreement on the social issues, so it is an obvious place for the Democrats to drive a wedge and a difficult one for Republicans to smooth over. 

While the Democrats are a coalition of bought-and-paid-for interest groups, the Republicans must strive for an overarching coherent philosophy. After all, no one can out-pander the Democrats.   Is there such a philosophy that can be articulated and still appeal to 51% of the voters? 

Yes there is.  It is the philosophy of Conservatism.  It is the philosophy that defends the wisdom of our traditions which are based on experience and the biblical world view of our religious heritage and not on any abstract ideology.  The case to be made for this wisdom is strong.  It has shown itself superior to every fad that has come down the pike.  Let the Democrats defend the bloody nightmare history of ideology.  Let us be the faithful heirs of our fathers.

Women in Combat

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

On January 23rd the Military opened all combat assignments to women.  This has been a long time coming.  When I resigned from the Navy in 1978 I gave as part of my reason “the admission of women to the US Naval Academy.”  Not many people joined me.  My thinking at the time was that either the nation was not serious about the combat mission of the service academies or was serious about putting women in combat.  In either case I wanted nothing to do with it.

As I reflect on this sustained course of madness, I realize the fact is that we are simply following the inexorable logic of our decision to walk away from God.

God created mankind as man and woman for a reason.  That reason was to reflect God’s own nature in creation.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  Genesis 1:27

God is triune.  The three persons of the Trinity are so united in love that they are just as much one as they are three, and we can truly say there is only one God.  This is imaged in marriage where man and woman become “one flesh” producing yet more life.

In his rebellion against God each man (and each woman) seeks to be his own self-sufficient god.  The fact that men and women are complimentary parts of a whole and need each other is a problem for their self-centeredness.  One way of dealing with this has been for men to oppress women and regard them as lower than human, maybe somewhere between men and animals.  This is common in paganism.  Another more modern way is feminism, which ironically agrees with paganism that true womanhood is inferior and focuses on making women just like men.  The “women in combat” gambit is just the latest example of this need for symbolic sameness.  Perhaps the ultimate way is homosexuality where even the most obvious and irreducible complimentary biological functions of men and women is denied.

In addition to the married state being the image of the Godhead, it is also an image of the relationship between Christ and His Church.  This is described in Ephesians 5:22-33.  We note in particular Ephesians 5:25,

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”

It is Christ who gives his life for the Church, not the other way around.  All Christian societies have always assumed that men have the duty to protect their women and if necessary give their lives for them.  The men on the Titanic, and before them the men on the Birkenhead, became famous for the saying “women and children first,” willingly giving their lives to save even unrelated women, and reflecting this noble and godly ethic.

When a society turns its back on God it progressively becomes more debased, contemptible, and worthless, as God gives it up to dishonorable conduct and final destruction.  Is a nation where the men think nothing of sending their women to do their fighting worth fighting for?

There is a storm of judgment coming.  Yet even now there exists in America a sizeable number who morn for the ruin of our moral and spiritual state.  It is not yet a time for despair and resignation.  It remains a time for courage and steadfastness.  Here is my verse for today:

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.”  Proverbs 10:25


 

Practical Atheism

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

In my book Empire I cite the fact that polls consistently show only about 4% of people claiming to be atheists.  But today I would like to suggest that perhaps 96% of us are atheists for practical purposes.  We are “practical atheists.”

Consider when you are looking for a job.  Say you apply to ten places and get ten rejections.  What do you think?  First you will dwell on those other people who didn’t hire you.  They were unfair.  They didn’t like your race or religion or age or something.  They are too stupid to realize your value.  They must have felt threatened by you.  Then you will shift focus to yourself.  What’s wrong with me?  I’m too stupid.  I’ll never get a job.  Other people can get jobs but I can’t.

In other words it is all about men, yourself or others.  You seldom think about God in such practical situations.  If you do it’s just “why is God doing this to me?”  You do not approach the job search in terms of “What does God want for me and my life?”  You do not approach it as if God was in control of your circumstances including other people.  You do not view life as the writer of Hebrews did in 4:13, saying that God is “He with whom we have to do.”  In other words, even when you are dealing with a prospective employer, customer, boss, husband or wife, friend or enemy, it is ultimately God with whom you are dealing.  Other people are not under your control.  They are part of your circumstances, and your circumstances are totally under God’s control.  What is under your control is how you act and respond to God.

Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by his own brothers.  We are told that in these circumstances “the word of the Lord tried him.” (Psalm 105:19)  Then in one day God took him from prison to being the second highest ruler in the land, and used him to save his family from famine.  With his understanding that it was God with whom he was dealing, he was able to say to his brothers “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  (Genesis 50:20)  Joseph had learned to look at life as a practical believer, not as a practical atheist.

How many of us look at things this way when it comes to politics or even war?  After 9/11, how many of us considered Proverbs 16:7, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.”  When we rage and complain about what the President and his allies are doing to the Church and the country, how many of us take time to ask God why he has allowed these things to come upon us, and what He wants of us?

It is not enough for us to say we believe in God, or even to actually believe in Him.  We also must begin looking at all of our circumstances with the realization that God is the One with whom we are actually dealing.

The Destructiveness of the Liberal Mind

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

A video was circulating on the web this weekend concerning the Fort Hood Shooting by Army Major and Muslim fanatic Hassan. It contains passionate accounts from soldiers wounded in the attack. They are pretty upset at the government’s declaration of the atrocity as a case of “workplace violence” rather than as an act of war by an enemy combatant. This prevents the dead and wounded from getting Purple Hearts and their survivors from getting certain benefits. But what really seems to gall them is the refusal of the government to recognize a terrorist attack when they are being sent around the world to fight the “War on Terror.”

This got me thinking. The way in which our government is dealing with Hassan is a textbook case of the liberal mind in action. The liberal mind in action always results in a moral inversion, making right wrong and wrong right, showing endless compassion for the wrong-doer and complete disregard for their victims. The Army’s top General Casey showed some of this thinking when he expressed his big concern as being not the people killed and wounded but the chance that it might cause the Army to back off on diversity and ultra-political correctness.  Now the big issue in Hassan’s trial, three years after his murders, is whether he has to shave or can keep his beard. This should be about his head, not his beard.

It is easy to cite examples of this strange moral inversion that characterizes the liberal mind:
1. Where convicted murderers are concerned, they will spend years, decades really, worrying about every procedural detail, and the possibility that execution might be uncomfortable for the murderer, while having the most callous disregard for the suffering of victim’s families who are dragged through endless court proceedings seeking justice.
2. Gangs can terrorize neighborhoods forever without one tear shed by any liberal anywhere. But let a policeman stop a gang member for questioning and legions of liberal lawyers descend to protect him from having his feelings hurt.
3. Heaven help the American soldier who, after three days of house to house fighting, protecting our rights, shoots an enemy combatant under circumstances at all questionable. The liberals will have him prosecuted for murder.
4. One man works sixty hours a week and earns a decent living. Another sits on the couch and ends up poor. The liberal heart bleeds for the deadbeat and demands the working man share his “excess” earnings with the slacker.
5. and here is another case of liberal mental illness

Where does this strange way of thinking come from? The liberal mind is not motivated by actual sympathy for criminals, communists, or jihadists. That would be an improvement. At least he would believe in something. The liberal mind is motivated by guilt over sin. The liberal seeks to prove to himself his own moral superiority by showing that he, unlike his moral inferiors, can not only have compassion for good people, everyone can do that, but also for the bad people that no one else cares about. After all, isn’t that what Jesus taught when he said to love your enemies? The liberal, rejecting the salvation that lies in confession, repentance, and faith in Christ, seeks to be justified by works with these preening displays of uber-compassion.

His self-justification exercise requires him to denigrate the motives of conservatives to support his sense of moral superiority. Conservatives, you see, don’t just think welfare does more harm than good.  They hate the poor, they are racists, homophobes, misogynists, people who want our children to drink dirty water and breath dirty air just so they can make more profits, etc., etc. ad nauseum. It cannot be a case of people of good will who simply disagree. Oh no, no! Conservatives must be really evil to emphasize how good I am! After all, this is not a problem solving session. This is a guilt expiation exercise.

Liberalism is thus an irrational state of mind entered into by the unregenerate seeking to get rid of their guilt over sin (while continuing in sin) in order to prove their righteousness to themselves. At a societal level, it disarms civilization against its enemies and is suicidal.

The whole sorry situation around the murder of our Ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi shows how dangerous the liberal mind is to the overall society. First we learn that requests from the Ambassador for more security were turned down by a faceless State Department liberal because she thought it would not look peaceful to the Lybians. Now we hear that our military was watching the whole thing with a drone, and that military support was available  but not used. Nearby airbases had jet fighters and even Specter gunships that could have been there in an hour and cleaned the streets of terrorists for a mile around the embassy, but again the liberal mind, which as we have seen has infected our military’s top brass, said no. It wouldn’t look right for big bad old America to come in with guns blazing to save our people. Better to ask the dysfunctional Lybian government to send a policeman with an apology or something.

In the battle we are facing to save our country we must understand the danger posed by the liberal mind and what lies behind it. Attempts to reason liberals out of their positions will not work as long as those positions are based on spiritual and psychological personal issues. The spiritual truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be separated from what we think are just political issues.

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Forty Years

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

I am finding myself having some difficulty getting into this election.  I do think electing Romney and defeating Obama and the Democrats is important, and I am putting my money where my mouth is.  You can do the same.  But the fact that at nearly 50% of my fellow citizens are sold on the Democrat’s national suicide agenda is pretty depressing. Even if we eke out a 51% win, will it be enough to change our trajectory?  Add to that the contrast between the Democrats’ full throated screaming support for industrial scale child killing and the destruction of the institution of marriage, and the Republicans’ tepid “let’s talk about the economy instead” defense of life and marriage, and I’m left feeling a little like Jeremiah.

And speaking of the economy, I also can’t help thinking we are headed for an economic catastrophe beyond our imagining.  Putting the two together makes it hard to avoid the conclusion that we are already consigned to judgment.

First, the looming economic disaster:  Last Friday rating agency Eagan-Jones downgraded US Treasury bonds from AA to AA-, two notches down from our historic AAA.  Moody’s and S&P put Treasuries on credit watch.  Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said he would print money until the cows come home.  The European Central Bank said it would start Euro printing to cover government debt too.  Family income and the percentage of men in the workforce are dropping more during our so-called recovery than they did during the recession.  So the world and national economies are, let us say, weak.

Now consider the “fiscal cliff.”  Unable to reach a deal last year for raising the debt ceiling, Congress passed a law creating large automatic cuts in both military and social spending to take effect in January 2013.  Congress and the administration are also unable to reach an agreement on extending the Bush tax cuts, so they will expire in January.  That this simultaneous tax increase and spending cut in January will plunge the economy into deep recession is widely agreed.  No one seems likely to blink, and the election in November will not change this.  Question:  What will Bernanke do in response to a sharp recession?  Answer:  It’s not like he has two tricks.  He will print even more money.

Now consider this hammer blow, this economic shock hitting the fragile world economy I have described.  What could possibly go wrong?  The thing I worry about is the world “going off the dollar” as the basis of international trade because of fears that it will be inflated away.  What will that do?  Two things:  First, our price for all imports (think oil) will go up since we have to convert our Bernie Bucks to something else first.  Second, everyone else will have to decide what to use instead of dollars.  Euros aren’t much better, so I see all international transactions being slowed as traders try to figure out what to use for money.  The volume of international trade would fall sharply, impacting all of the already hurting domestic economies.  A world-wide depression of 1930s magnitude seems entirely plausible.

Such large depressions are the breeding ground for political upheaval and war.  The point is this could happen suddenly and it could start in January no matter who wins in November.

That gets me to the subject of “forty years.”  The number forty is associated with testing or judgment, most notably the forty years of Israel wandering in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness fasting and being tempted.  Jesus was crucified in 30 AD.  Jesus predicted judgment on Jerusalem for “not knowing the day of their visitation.”  He said no stone of the Temple would be left on another, and that all of these things would come on this generation.  A biblical generation is usually taken to be forty years.  Forty years following the crucifixion, in 70 AD, Jerusalem fell to Titus of Rome in a terrible siege.  The Temple was burned, and Roman soldiers pried all the stones apart to get at the melted gold. 

On January 22, 2013 it will be forty years since the U.S. Supreme Court “legalized” abortion in its infamous Roe vs. Wade decision.  While there have been praiseworthy attempts to reverse this atrocity by a small number of people, most Americans of all ranks have accepted it and ignored the warnings of our own Jeremiahs.  We will not be able to ignore our own equivalent of Titus and the Roman army.

What is to be done?

I am just sharing my thoughts here, and not claiming it as a prophecy.  But it has struck me as a burden to share this with you.  I would also like to share my thoughts on what the God-fearing can do:

  1. Pray.  Pray on your own, with your family, and with your Church.  Cry out to God for His hand of mercy.
  2. Vote and give money to support righteousness in this election.
  3. There is a special opportunity to support what I consider to be the most effective pro-life organization and have your contribution matched.  I am on their board and can vouch for both their integrity and effectiveness.
  4. Prepare.  Pay down debt, save money, secure your job by being the best employee you can be.  Repair and maintain relationships in your life because we will need each other.  Beyond that, personally, I’m looking at food storage options.

Smoking, Drinking, and Epistemological Self-Consciousness

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Two articles in today’s news got my attention.  First, the Navy and Marines, fresh from celebrating the introduction of open homosexual relationships in their barracks and on their ships moves to crack down on the true moral failings of our times, namely smoking, drinking and thinking.  You will notice that these initiatives tend to go together.  Whenever a jurisdiction, whether San Francisco, Laguna Beach, or the Navy,   decides to take sexual behavior that was previously considered immoral and elevate it to the status of super-sacred right, they also suddenly become hyper puritanical about minor vices like smoking, drinking and putting salt on your food.  This goes along with the whole “diversity” push which requires diversity on the outside (race, gender) but absolute uniformity and conformity on the inside (thoughts, beliefs, expression of opinion).

At first this may seem paradoxical.  If this is all about increasing freedom for everyone, why liberalize in one area while cracking down on others?  This is the libertarian myth that increasing freedom beyond the limits of God’s Law for one group increases freedom for all.  Sort of a rising tide lifts all boats theory.  But in practice we see that the opposite is true.  Increasing freedom for the sexually libertine diminishes freedom for the well behaved who now are required by law to pretend that they also approve of the new “right.”  To keep these dissenters in line, a sort of tyrannical thought control accompanied by the speech police must be instituted.  Thus individual lawlessness (anarchy) always brings with it collective lawlessness (tyranny).  To put it another way, if you thought showing tolerance to sexual deviancy would be reciprocated by a similar tolerance of your own choices, think again.

The second was Howard Fineman’s article in the Huffington Post in which he identifies the Republican Party as the nation’s first religious party.   He notes, I think correctly, the increasing influence of Christians and other socially conservative groups in the Republican Primaries.  Of course, he completely ignores the similar dominance of the militant anti-Christian secularists in Democratic Party, whose assault on the passive, formerly apolitical pew sitters is the cause of their increased activism in the Republican Party.

Nonetheless, his observation butresses my own over the past few decades.  In the past, say pre-1960 and going back to the founding, both major parties and their members perceived themselves to be Christian, (and for that matter, mostly Protestant.)  Even while killing each other in the bloody Civil War, both sides strongly held to this.  But starting in the 60’s and up to the present time the Parties have been slowly sorting themselves into Christian and Humanist camps with increasing consistency and clarity. The idea that the two major parties would become openly Christian and anti-Christian rather than say, Christian-capitalist and Christian-socialist is pretty startling and does not bode well for a peaceful domestic future.  When the country is split 50/50 into parties that do not speak the same language, perceive the same reality, and most importantly, love the same things, then there is no longer really a “country.”

All of this calls to mind an obscure doctrine taught by a theologian named Rousas John Rushdoony.  (Rushdoony is considered a father of a school of thought called Christian Reconstruction, Theonomism, and/or Dominionism which has never claimed more than a few followers in the Church.  But maybe his time has come.)  One of his teachings was that of “epistemological self-consciousness.”  Rushdoony taught that as history moved toward its climax, the godly would become more consistently godly and the ungodly more consistently ungodly.  Sort of like the parable of the wheat and the tares.  The mixture of believers and unbelievers in visible entities like churches and parties would sort themselves out into more consistent visible entities.  So whereas in the 1930’s for example you might not be able to label either the Democratic or Republican Parties as “Christian” or “non-Christian,” in the future you would have to because it would be too glaring.  We are not there yet, but it looks like it’s heading in that direction.

Thoughts for the New Year

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

First, here is an interesting link to the story of how Santa Claus saved Christmas, actually an account of the real St. Nicholas at the Council of Nicaea.  The links on that page are also interesting.

The big issue immediately ahead of us is who will win the Republican nomination and run against President Obama.  I think the common view of it being Romney versus the many anti-Romney candidates is pretty accurate.  The majority of Republican voters want a strong, consistent conservative who will fight Obama and the Democrats hard and effectively, and they don’t think that’s Romney.   The whole field of Gingrich, Bachmann, Santorum, Perry, Cain and others seems flawed, and none have been able to emerge as the conservative champion.  Romney stays at 25% and is running a disciplined, well financed campaign.  I supported Romney against McCain in 2008, but now I am deeply troubled by him.  The reason for this is his support for the homosexual political agenda.

At a time when the threat of legalized gay marriage looms as the next great step on destroying our country’s moral foundations, Romney’s history and shifting positions on this give us little reason to hope he will actively oppose it.  He has also said on a number of occasions that he supports the idea of gay rights.  What this means is unclear, but it certainly means he won’t spend any political capital opposing the homosexual political agenda.

The extreme danger posed to our society by the homosexual political agenda is not understood by many people.  A group that does seem to get it is the Rabbinical Alliance of America which has issued an excellent statement opposing the homosexual agenda and another calling for the Mormon Church to sanction Romney for promoting this agenda.  (It’s a sad day when the fate of Christianity in America depends on Orthodox Jews and Mormons fighting for decency.)   Here is a link to my previous postings on this subject.

The smart money is betting Romney will win the nomination.  Others think no one will have enough delegates and the nominee will be chosen in the Convention.  We need to support whoever seems to have the best chance of getting enough delegates to prevent Romney from having it locked up before then.  If Romney is the nominee careful consideration may even have to be given to supporting Obama in order to prevent the Republican Party from joining the Democratic Party as a mindless tool of the enemies of God’s moral law.

On the Worship of the Church and the Government of the World

Friday, November 25th, 2011

My last post argued that Christ’s authority extends not just over believers but over secular government and all men today.  His status as ‘Ruler of the kings of the earth’ is a present reality and not just a future promise.  However, Jesus expects His Church to cooperate with Him in the government of the world.  He moves in response to the prayers and especially the corporate worship of His Church.  The following excerpt from EMPIRE expands on this concept.

“The Church on earth is called the Church Militant and the Church in heaven is called the Church Triumphant.  The book of Revelation shows us how the worship of the whole Church governs the world.  The prayers of the earth bound saints assembled in corporate worship go up like incense to the throne room of God in heaven, where the saints in heaven and all the heavenly hosts are likewise gathered in worship.  In response to these prayers, lightning and thunders and a great earthquake are poured out on earth.  In other words, when the Church Militant, assembled in its official capacity, joins with the Church Triumphant in worshiping God, and bringing prayers and supplications to His throne, God moves in power on the earth and changes the course of history.

“In contrast, worship in churches today looks nothing like this at all.  The idea that the Church worships to wage war, change history, and advance the kingdom against its foes is almost completely absent everywhere.  If worship is not dead liturgy it is vapid Christian entertainment.  At best, it is a ‘bless me and pray for you’ service.  The idea that the Church gathers together to wage war in worship is alien.  This is why the Church lacks power, and why, despite her numbers, wealth and programs, she is losing the cultural battle to her much weaker foes.  When reformation in worship along the lines of ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’ begins, that will be reformation that matters.”

If you buy one or more copies of EMPIRE through December 14 you can get 25% off by using the following code at checkout – BUYMYBOOK305.

Here are a few other interesting clippings from the web.  Have a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Fisherman’s fish stolen by feds

Gibson guitars attacked by feds

The great restructuring


 

Just what belongs to Caesar and not to God?

Friday, November 18th, 2011

The following is an excerpt from EMPIRE on the true meaning of Christ’s statement in Mark 12:17 “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  

            “Probably no verse in the whole Bible has been more misunderstood than this one.  (See also Matthew 22:21 and Luke 20:25)  This saying of Jesus is commonly used to support the proposition that there are two separate spheres of government, each with a legitimate claim on our obedience.  God has some sort of limited claim on our spiritual life, while the civil government has an independent claim on everything else.

            “Nothing could be further from the truth.  The prior verses 13 through 16 show that Jesus knew He was answering a trick question.  The tax paid to Caesar was a tribute, a tax that acknowledged his claim to total sovereignty.  If Jesus said to pay the tax, He would be agreeing with Caesar’s claim and undercutting His whole ministry.  If He said not to pay the tax they could have Him arrested.  So He asked them whose image was on the coin used to pay the tax.  Of course, it was Caesar’s image.  His indirect answer was to give what is Caesar’s to Caesar and God what was God’s.  The obvious point is that while the coin bore Caesar’s image, Caesar and every other man bore God’s image.  Thus, without giving them an answer they could use to have Him arrested, He affirmed that everyone and everything is subject to God, denying Caesar’s claim to sovereignty.”

            It is important to understand that the civil government is not another god with a sphere of action independent from the true God in heaven.  That way of thinking amounts to denying the total Lordship of Jesus Christ and in fact borders on polytheism.  When Christians say “I am personally opposed to abortion but would never impose my morality on others because not everyone is Christian” they are affirming the Lordship of Jesus over their personal life and denying His Lordship over civil government.  Revelation 1:8 calls Jesus “the Ruler of the kings of the earth.”  Do we proclaim that total Lordship,  or a more modest and limited one?  Is our confession of who Jesus is adequate or inadequate?

            Let me submit that this limited view of the Lordship of Jesus Christ is a doctrinal error that has corrupted our faith and witness.  It is necessary for us to confess this error, repent, and take up a full throated defense of our Lord before men.  Let us be like John the Baptist who said to Herod concerning his brother’s wife “It is not lawful for you to have her.”  Better we should lose our heads for a faithful confession before men than risk Jesus being unwilling to confess us before the Father.