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The GOSPEL TRUTH
WHO WILL RISE UP?
by JED SMOCK
Copyright by Jed Smock 1985
Used by Permission
Confrontational Evangelism on Campus
MORE ISSUES AND ANSWERS
Martin Luther said that if a man preaches without addressing the issue of the day, he has not preached the Gospel. Why? Because God has a standard for every realm of life. There is a Christian economics, a Christian government, a Christian education and a Christian family. God is not just ruler over Sunday church services. Students constantly confront us with the controversies of the day and we are ready to give them the Biblical position. Separation of church and state, capitalism versus socialism and capital punishment are three issues we are commonly confronted with.
Separation of Church and State
"You've got no right to be on this campus. Haven't you heard the constitution says, `separation of church and state'?" a student shouts from the crowd.
"The expression, separation of church and state is not found in the United States Constitution," I reply. "The first amendment states, `Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . . .' There is no other mention of religion or any reference to the church in the Constitution. Notice the amendment says freedom of religion, not freedom from religion."
Separation of the church and state was a concern of our Founding Fathers but in a much different sense than it has been advocated since the 1950s by the Supreme Court. The founders never intended government to be divorced from God and His rule over the affairs of men. The primary concern in the establishment clause was to protect the church from the encroachment of the federal government. Most of founders' ancestors had come over from England where to this day there is an established tax-supported state church. They feared a national denominational church, a "Church of America," such as the Anglican Church of England.
The signers of the Declaration of Independence appealed to "the laws of nature and of nature's God, the Supreme Judge of the world" to justify the United Colonies in proclaiming separation from Great Britain.
Note the cherished words: "We hold these truth to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable right. . . ."
These noble men recognized that it was God who determined human rights and these liberties cannot be taken away or transferred to another.
In this generation we hear little talk by our governing officials about unalienable rights. Rather, the outcry has been for civil rights. Civil rights are "rights" created and granted by human government but unalienable rights are in the nature of things and cannot be endowed by man. Government is not God with authority to grant rights. It is God's minister and man's servant to protect the rights God has given man. Freedom of worship, speech and assembly are rights, not privileges to be granted or revoked by government institutions.
As long as a nation recognizes that it is God who bestows human rights, he will protect the liberties of all. If human government endows rights, then we are threatened with the tyranny of the majority, an oligarchy or dictatorship. When God is forsaken, might makes right--whether it be political or military--and the result is the same. No one has the right to be a homosexual, thief or murderer because God's law forbids such practices. We do have the right to worship, freedom to speak (but not blasphemy), to own property and enjoy the fruits of our labor. There is a higher law than the Constitution. Failure to recognize this fact is the road to despotism.
Capitalism Versus Socialism
"Shut up, you capitalist pig," growled a hairy rebel wearing a red beret. He was walking around the crowd selling communist newspapers.
"Young man, I'm glad to see you engaged in a capitalistic enterprise. That's how I got my start, as a paperboy. Keep up the work. You may be a corporate executive someday. Many of our nation's wealthiest men started up the ladder of success as a lowly paper boy," I mocked.
The crowd laughed and he cursed me as he unsuccessfully tried to sell his propaganda.
While students will ignore someone this blatant, they have accepted the more subtle brainwashings of their professors against the free enterprise system.
As an undergraduate, I majored in social studies and after graduation taught in the public schools. Social studies in actuality is a guise to deceive students with socialism. They do not call it socialism because tax payers would object if they knew their money was being spent to tear down the free enterprise system that made America economically great. Capitalism has provided people with the highest standard of living and with the most freedom any country in the history of the world has known. Not only have Americans benefitted but this country is the breadbasket of the world.
Radical students of the sixties merely attempted to put into social practice ideas they had learned in the classroom. As a hippie in Morocco, I was amazed that the young men there, without exception, wanted to come to America. I had come to regard Americans as "the imperialists" who were exploiting "the third world." Hearing the eagerness of the Moroccans to leave family and friends for the land of opportunity influenced me to reconsider my attitude about my native land and to return to it.
Many college students are convinced that Jesus was a socialist revolutionary. The liberation theology promoted by the World Council of Churches is nothing but socialism in religious terminology. It is significant that when Jesus began His public life in Israel the nation was under the martial law of Rome. The "human rights" of the Jews were being usurped by the Romans. Yet, Jesus did not advocate a social or political revolution. He advocated a moral regeneration in the hearts of men. He said: "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). Or, a person must turn from a self-centered life. His emphasis was on human responsibilities rather than human rights.
There are two methods of social change: regeneration and revolution. The reasonable man chooses regeneration by publishing the Gospel and peacefully attempting to implement the laws of God into his society.
In the parable of the talents (a talent is a sum of money) the Lord did not equally distribute the wealth to his servants (as the socialists advocate) but "gave to every man according to his several ability," not his need. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to the third he presented only one. The first two servants put their money with the investors and doubled it. But the third servant buried his talent. Later the Lord returned for an accounting and commended the first two for doubling their money. But the third servant He rebuked as being wicked and slothful for not at least putting the money in the bank and gaining interest. The Lord commanded that the unprofitable servant's talent should be taken and given to the one with the ten talents. He said: "For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." In other words take from the have nots (or will nots) and give more to the haves. Finally, He commands the unprofitable servant be cast into HELL (Matthew 25:14-30).
The foundation of capitalism is private property. God puts His seal of approval on private ownership in the eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal" and in the tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet (unlawfully desire) thy neighbor's property." Socialists are covetous thieves who want to spend other people's money and rob workers of the fruits of their labor.
Liberation theologians (socialists) like to argue that the early church practiced communism. But the state did not take the Christians' land and houses. They voluntarily sold their possessions and gave the money to the apostles to give to others in need. The difference being the CHURCH, and not the STATE, received and distributed the wealth. This was done voluntarily and not through force or taxation.
Peter reaffirmed the unalienable right of private property to Ananias when Peter said that Ananias was lying to the Holy Spirit about holding back part of the price of his land. Peter asked: "While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold was it not in thine own power? (Acts 5:4).
However, this "communism" in the early church is not to be considered the norm for Christians today. First of all there was a particular crisis situation which existed in Jerusalem. Thousands of Jews had been suddenly converted. Many of those from all over the Roman Empire were visiting Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost and instead of returning to their home countries they stayed in the city to be taught their new faith. There was also great persecution against the church and Christians reasoned that holding things in common would strengthen their position.
Third, Jerusalem was condemned property because Jesus had prophesied the city would be destroyed. Therefore, the Christians needed to get prepared to leave.
The primary question between socialism and capitalism is this: Who or what determines the services that will be produced or provided in a society? The socialist answers "the government made up of an elite group of planners"; the capitalists replies "the free operation of the market."
Capitalism is the more just and equitable system because each time the individual buys or sells on the market he casts his vote for the goods or services that will be produced and provided.
The successful capitalist must sacrifice for the present to gain capital for the future. He must be wise and risk producing a product or providing a service that he believes the public will buy. If he succeeds it is because he is efficiently providing a product or service the public wants.
Economic, political and religious freedom are all tied together. Second only to religious freedom is a man's privilege to enjoy the fruit of his own labor. However, to enjoy this privilege, one must fulfill his responsibility to work. God's Word says: "If any would not work, neither should he eat" (II Thessalonians 3:10).
Socialists accuse the Christians and the conservatives who oppose the welfare state of lacking compassion for the poor. Christians recognize a responsibility to the poor but they feel that any help to the poor must be voluntary if it is to be virtuous. The church should aid the genuinely helpless if family and friends fail in their responsibility. The socialist makes a mistake in assuming that if the state does not do it, it will not get done. The U.S. Constitution established the responsibility of government to "promote the general welfare," but not provide it. The general welfare will be advanced by government supporting the freedom to buy and sell at will, without state intervention. (An exception would be if an enterprise is against God's law such as traffic in drugs or pornography). Not only would laissez-faire economics eliminate government welfare to the poor, but also forbid protecting and subsidizing favored industries.
Capital punishment is always a controversial issue on campus. The majority of students and faculty oppose the death penalty. It never ceases to amaze me that the same one who support murdering babies (abortion) are against the state executing convicted criminals. The babies are innocent; the convicts are wicked.
God's law repeatedly commands capital punishment: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man" (Genesis 9:6).
"He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall surely be put to death" (Exodus 21:12), the Word also admonishes us.
However, murder is not the only crime that demands the death penalty. Levitical Law provides for the public stoning of anyone that curses his parents, commits adultery, incest, homosexuality or bestiality (including death for the beast) (Leviticus 20).
But the students argue, "Thou shalt not kill."
Murder is unjustified killing. Capital punishment is justice for capital crimes. Actually, the sixth commandment is more accurately translated murder. Most modern translation read "Thou shalt not murder."
Others protest, "But that is the Old Testament."
I remind them that Jesus came not "to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17).
Law without sanctions is merely suggestion. If government does away with the penalty of the law then the precept goes with it. Effective law must include both precept and penalty.
Romans 13 teaches that the governing authorities are the ministers of God to execute wrath upon evildoers. The officials do not "bear the sword in vain." It is the responsibility of good government to execute the penalty of God's law. If a government refuses to execute capital criminals then it has become wicked and rebellious against God.
To take away the state's power to enforce the law with capital punishment is an attack on the very foundation of the government.
Former Chief Justice Warren Burger of the U.S. Supreme Court admitted that "a reign of terror" existed on the streets of America because of the crime, violence and murder that go unpunished.
Since established authority is not protecting property from theft and citizens from violent attacks, vigilante groups such as the "Guardian Angels" have formed taking the law into their own hands.
If constitutional government continues to fail in its basic function to protect those who abide by the law and to punish the lawbreakers, it will crumble. A totalitarian regime will replace it which will establish law and order at the expense of the unalienable rights of life, liberty and property.
If God spared not his own Son who was innocent but delivered him up for us all, who do these moral morons on campus think they are to advocate that the state should set aside the death penalty or those guilty of capital crimes? Anyone who professes to be a Christian and opposes capital punishment reveals his disregard not only for God's law but for the voluntary sufferings of Christ on the cross for the sins of mankind.
The Pharisees took counsel how they might entangle Jesus in his talk.--Matthew 22:15
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