Monday, April 30, 2007

Honor your father and mother: Dt 5:16

"Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you." (Deuteronomy 5:16)
Recently our local library called and informed me know that the book placed on reserve by one of my children was now available to be checked out. However, when I asked what the book was, the librarian responded that she could not tell me because it would violate my child's right to privacy. I was shocked and a little outraged that the state (in this case, a state run library) would interfere with my parental rights and interject themselves into the relationship between my self and my child. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example. There are an increasing number of examples across my country where the government is asserting its influences over the family. Take for example the state run schools that give contraceptives to students without parental consent or acknowledgment.

There are three primary institutions that are common to all mankind: the church, the state, and the family. Each institution has its own set of responsibilities and boundaries which it should not cross. Governments must be careful not to interfere with families, rather they should seek to establish laws and policies that strengthen and support the family. In many ways, the strength of a nation is measured by the strength of its families. Some have said that it takes a village to raise a child, but in reality, it only takes a family. It is not the government's job to raise our children, it is our job; it is the job of parents.

Paul reminds us that this commandment is special to God. "Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise )." (Ephesians 6:2) The promise is that it would go well with us and we would live long in the land. If we desire our nation to be blessed and to prospoer, then it is critically important that our families are strong and healthy. When a government interfears with the family, it weakens the nation and limits the blessing of God, but when a government supports and strengthens the family, it creates and environment that can lead to greater blessing and prosperity from God.

David Robison

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Keep the Sabbath: Dt 5:12-15

"Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day." (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
The sabbath was God's gift to mankind; a day of rest and a day for honoring God. On the seventh day, God rested from all His work and, in the sabbath, He invites us to rest from our works as well. "So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His." (Hebrews 4:9-10) The sabbath is a day to lay down our own works and to take up God's works; to silence our own words and to speak the words of God.
"If because of the sabbath , you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word, then you will take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah 58:13-14)
There are three things that governments must learn from the sabbath.
  1. Man lives to serve God not the state. In fact, it is the state that is to serve man, not man the state. In communist Russia, the people were expected to sacrifice for and to serve the state. In return the state was to provide for all their needs. However, citizens are to serve God, and the role of government is to help establish an environment where they can worship freely and without fear.
  2. There is a part of every man that uniquely belongs to God. The state cannot and must not attempt to lay claim on the whole person. While there is that which every citizen owns the state, in obedience and loyalty, the state does not own the whole person. There is a part of each person's life that is given in love, devotion, and service to God.
  3. Government must never seek to interfere with a person's free exercise of worship. The sabbath was granted to man without the agency of the state. People should have the free right to enjoy this gift and to worship God as He should desire, not as the state would desire. God's commandment to Pharaoh was to let His people go and "You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice them to the LORD our God." (Exodus 10:25) Not only had Pharaoh enslaved the Hebrews, but he had repressed them and hindered them from worshiping God. The free worship of God is not a privilege granted by the state, but it is a right given by God that must be honored by all governments and states.

David Robison

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Do not take the Lord's name in vain: Dt 5:11

"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain." (Deuteronomy 5:11)
To take the name of the Lord in vain means to use, invoke, or speak of the Lord's name in a way that is empty, useless, or worthless. When considering a foundation for governance, in relationship to their spirituality, nations and governments should be both genuine and reverent.

A government's invocation and acknowledgment of God should be genuine. It is hypocrisy to speak of God in public yet live a life void of His influence in private. When a political candidate goes to church on Sunday to make a good showing before the cameras, he may sway the minds of his constituents, but God is not fooled. We may print on our money, "In God we trust" but do we really trust Him or is our faith in our own strength, wisdom, and resources? We may say, "God bless America" but do we have a relationship with God from which to pronounce such a blessing? When a government, or a nation, gives voice to an acknowledgment of God, but denies that acknowledgment by its actions, then it is taking the name of the Lord in vain. God speaks this judgment against Israel, "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men." (Mark 7:6-7) As a nation and a government, we should live our lives in such a way that our words are testified to by our lives. Our words and our life should be the same; there should be no disparity.

A government should also be reverent of the name of the Lord. The Lord's name is not some magic charm to grant us what we desire. We can say God is on our side, but saying it does not necessarily make it so. We can say we have the divine right to rule, or that we have some Manifest Destiny, but saying it doesn't automatically make it true. God's name has power, but only when it is associated with His word and His purpose. No matter how loud and how long we proclaim His name over our own works, they will still remain our works and they will always be less than divine.

Israel was facing war and had already been defeated once before their enemy. So they sent to Shiloh to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant that it might go before them into battle. "As the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth resounded." (1 Samuel 4:5) Unfortunately, they presumed upon God. They were so certain that God would back up their plans that they never asked God what they should do. Instead of relying on God, they used God for their own purposes. In the end, the Lord did not fight for Israel, the Ark of the Covenant was lost, and Israel was defeated. "So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent; and the slaughter was very great, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died." (1 Samuel 4:10-11)

As a nation and as a government, the Lord's name should only be used over His own works, and not the works of our hand. We should be reverent of His name and not use it for our own purposes. We must not take His name in vain.

David Robison

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Make no idol (part 2): Dt 5:8-10

"Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, 'Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' [So] he took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.'" (Exodus 32:1, 4)
God had lead the people out of the land of Egypt. His Spirit went before them as a cloud by day and a pillar by night. At Mount Horeb, He appeared to the people and spoke to them from the midst of the fire and smoke. God invited Moses up into the mountain to receive the instructions from the Lord. As the days passed, the people became restless and they wondered what could have become of Moses? As time passed, they finally gave up on Moses and looked for another leader to lead them back to Egypt. To this end, Aaron fashioned a golden calf and set it before the people and declared it to be their god. In their fear and unbelief, they forsook the Lord and Moses as their leaders and made for themselves and idol to lead them; to lead, protect, and provide for them.

Many, if not most, western nations have made of their government an idol. Increasingly, people are looking to their governments to provide for their needs. In my country, our government now provides for retirement, a minimum wage for workers, welfare for the poor, and if some would have their way, our government would also be in charge of providing and regulating our health care. We have become a people who no longer look to God for our needs and prosperity, rather we look to government to provide these things. How many times have I heard someone say, "There must be a law!" or, "The government should do something!" Yet many times, government is not the solution to our problems, God is! It is God who gives us the power to create wealth, so why do we look to government to provide welfare and to secure us a minimum wage for our work? Why do we put greater faith in our government to secure our prosperity than we do in God?

In establishing government as an idol, many in government have been complicit. Just as Arron and the people, the people have demanded government to fulfill the roll of God in their lives and the rulers have been all too willing to comply. Politicians routinely promise programs, subsidies, money, and opportunities in order to garner the people's votes. They play on the people's desires to secure their own power and position.

As citizens, we must repent for rejecting the Lord and looking to government to meet the needs of our life. For those who govern, they too must repent for acting like god and thinking they could provide for people what God meant for Himself to provide. We must never allow our desire for leadership, security, or prosperity to cause us to demand a government to replace God. We must never allow government to become our idol.

David Robison

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tragedy at Virginia Tech

I would like to express my deepest sympathies for those who lost friends and family yesterday at Virginia Tech. My son attended VT for two years as a member of the Corp of Cadets. One of his "buds" in the core was one of those killed yesterday. He said to me that the only comfort he has is in knowing that he was a Christian man. This has been a tragic loss and I will continue to keep all of you in my prayers.

David Robison

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Make no idol (part 1): Dt 5:8-10

"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." (Deuteronomy 5:8-10)
Idols come in many shapes, styles, and colors. The idols that Moses was familiar with were most certainly different from our present day idols, yet when we set anything before our eyes to serve and worship as god, it has become to us an idol. In forming a foundation for governance, we must consider how a government might become an idol to itself and to the people under its rule.

The most obvious form of government idolatry is when a ruler, or a class of rulers, sets themselves above the populous. The portray themselves as the "savior" of the nation; the ones to be venerated, followed, trusted, and obeyed without challenge. I had the privilege to travel to the Soviet Union in January of 1978. Communism had ruled in the USSR for more than seventy years and the signs of their idol worship were everywhere. You could hardly go anywhere without seeing a statue or mural of Lenin and/or Marx. While in Moscow we waited in line, in the snow, for over an hour just to pass by Lenin's preserved body lying in state. These men, and in fact the entire communist party, was asserting themselves as "god" for the Soviet Union. They were the saviors of the common man, they were the defenders of the working people, and they were the ones promising "cradle to grave" protection for those who would serve the state. The state was to be feared, the state was to be served, and the state was to be obeyed. In a very real sense, the founders of communism had created for the people an idol, complete with promises of prosperity and peace. In the end, history has shown that men like Lenin and Marx were no gods at all, and the governments they sought to establish were not divine but merely the results of the misguided ideals of mortal men.

Another form of governmental idolatry is seen when a ruler asserts their right to rule as being a divine right. During the seventeenth century, the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings was widely accepted and practiced in Europe. This doctrine held that the king derived their right to rule by divine selection and decree. Often this right was assumed by being born into royalty. Because the king's right to rule was supposedly granted by god, all challenges to the crown were also a challenge to god who had granted authority to the crown. Under this doctrine, the king became accountable to god alone and not to the people. In England, this Divine Right extended not only to political and governmental issues but also to religious as well. In a very real sense, the king became the mediator between god and man. He determined the appropriate modes and methods of worship. He set standards of faith and obedience. And if the people disagreed with him, they were also disagreeing with god.

In both cases, idolatry is born when we fail to realize that it is not the people that are divine but rather the institutions that God has established for the benefit of mankind. Civil government is a divine institution established by God to secure peace and tranquility, that its citizens may live lives of godliness and dignity. However, while the institution are divine, it does not guarantee that those who hold power and authority within those institutions are always divine, noble, and just. In his August 15th, 1988 speech, Ronald Reagen gave voice to this fundamental concept. "You don't become President of the United States. You are given temporary custody of an institution called the Presidency, which belongs to our people. Having temporary custody of this office has been for me a sacred trust and an honor beyond words or measure." Being a ruler does not make you divine nor guarantee that all your decisions and decrees are divine, just, and right. While the institution of government is divine, it is still incumbent upon those entrusted with its execution to rule in a manner that is consistent with the nature and purpose of the one who created the institution. Those entrusted with government must yield themselves in subjection to the one who established government and gave then the authority and position to govern.

We must never allow people, classes of people, or even philosophies to be elevated to the place where they become idols for us to serve and worship. There is only one God and and all governments, and those who occupy positions of government, receive their authority from Him. Those who rule, do so by His pleasure. If they should choose a way contrary to His will and purpose, then it is His prerogative to overthrow them. They are not gods, they are mere men.
"This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men." (Daniel 4:17 NKJV)
David Robison

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

No other God (part 4): Dt 5:7

So what does it mean for a government to have "no other gods before Me." (Deuteronomy 5:7)? It means fundamentally that the government submits itself to the will and purpose of God and choses to govern itself and its citizens in a way that is consistent with God's ordinances. So what is the will and purpose of God for civil government? Paul gives us a clue when he instructs us how to pray for our governments.
"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
The role of government is to secure an environment of peace and tranquility for its citizens that they may live their lives in godliness and dignity. Government is not responsible for producing nor enforcing the godliness and dignity of its citizens, rather it is to establish domestic peace whereby people can freely live their lives giving expression to the godliness and dignity granted to them as gifts by God. Government's primary means for establishing peace is through the legislating of order and the punishment of evil.
"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing." (Romans 13:1-6)
This is what Paul meant when he said that the law "was added because of transgressions." (Galatians 3:19) The natural tendency of mankind is towards evil. If left to itself, a society would naturally spiral downward into sin, debauchery, and anarchy. God established His law, in part, as a restraint on man's sinful nature; to force him, under the penalty of law, to live an orderly life that is in conformance with God's legislated morality. It is through the rule of law that government secures domestic tranquility which forms a foundation for prosperity, fraternity, and liberty within the nation.

Civil government's primary calling is to establish peace and order. It is not called upon to establish religion, education, health care, and financial welfare, but it is called to establish laws and ordnances that will foster godly lifestyles for the benefit of all its citizens. By doing this, such a government will be placing God first; placing God before all other gods.

David Robison

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No other God (part 3): Dt 5:7

"Because your heart is lifted up and you have said, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods in the heart of the seas'; yet you are a man and not God, although you make your heart like the heart of God." (Ezekiel 28:2)
Another god that nations place before the Lord God is mankind. Marxist, communists, and some liberals have long tried to eliminate God from society. While on a trip to Leningrad, USSR in 1978 I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Religion and Atheism. The museum sets out to portray religion as "the opium of the people" and the communist state as their savior. However, when we remove God from His throne and assert our own "deity", we sow weakness into our society, culture, and government. Here are a few areas where we are weakened when we place man before God.

Justice: In my country, there has been shift within our criminal justice system such that we have become less concerned with the crime that a person comments and more concerned with why they committed the crime. This shift became very clear when a few years ago two brothers were brought to trial for murdering their parents. The murders were planned and deliberate, the brothers even taking time to reload their shotguns during the murders. The facts in the case were incontrovertible and unchallenged by the defense. Yet after much deliberation, a jury of their peers were unable to find them guilty. Their reasoning was that the murders were the result of the two brothers being abused by their parents when they were young. They were more moved by the why of the crime than they were by the what of the crime. God instructs judges, "Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." (Deuteronomy 19:21) When a nation forgets God they can easily confuse compassion for pity. While we can have compassion for someone with regards to how life shaped them to become who they have become, where justice is involved, this compassion must never give way to pity. In compassion we must still execute justice, and that without pity.

Culture: Every nation has a culture that is distinctly theirs. The challenge is, how to assimilate foreigners into that culture. God told Israel, "There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 24:22) God instructed the Israelites to treat those who sojourned with them as one of their own. There was to be no distinction between the native born and the alien. However, while Israel was to tolerate the foreigner, they were not to change their culture to accommodate them. During the height of immigration, America was know as a "melting pot", a place where many people could come and assimilate together and participate in America's culture and prosperity. Today, however, there are many who do not what to give up their culture and don't want to become "Americans". They want an America that is a "salad bowl", a place where many differing cultures can exist side by side. One of the greatest challenges facing governments today is how to deal with immigrating people groups who refuse to be assimilated into the native culture. In a nation where mankind is exalted before God, it becomes necessary for the culture to mutate to accommodate new immigrants rather than the immigrants being required to change to adapt to the native culture. Not all cultural change is bad, but change for the sake of accommodation runs the risk of surrendering that part of their culture that is noble, divinely inspired, and God given.

Sovereignty: Sovereignty is the assertion of a state's right to exist, but this right is not self assigned but rather God given. In order to protect its sovereignty, it is necessary for a nation to protect itself from enemies foreign and domestic. A nation must recognize the inherent evil of mankind and must be willing to confront and overcome evil where ever it may rise. However, a nation that elevates man above God believes the lie that man is basically good. They believe that all problems in the world can be solved by appealing to the "good" in each human being. It is precisely this believe that has given us the League of Nations and the United Nations. These institutions were conceived with the belief that, if we could just sit down together and discuss our differences, then we could resolve all our conflicts and realize peace on Earth. However, God gives a difference view of mankind. "There is none righteous, not even one... There is none who does good. There is not even one." (Romans 3:10, 12) History has shown the folly of trying to appeasing evil in the world, as such was the policy of much of Europe towards Hitler. Evil must never be appeased or negotiated with, evil has to be conquered and overcome. Only by having a godly understanding of the nature of man can a nation be prepared to defend their right to exist and to assert their own sovereignty.

David Robison

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Monday, April 09, 2007

No other God (part 2): Dt 5:7

"You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves." (Exodus 20:23)
Every nation has a fundamental right to raise taxes to cover its operational costs and to provide for its common defense. However, the primary role of government is not to raise funds or to increase wealth and prosperity but rather to serve and govern its citizens. When a government places the gods of gold an silver before the Lord God, then they loose sight of their primary purpose of existence and face difficult ethical challenges.

One of the ethical dilemmas a government faces when it serves the god of wealth is how to raise the funds it needs to operate and to run its programs. While funds must be raised, it is important that they are raised in an ethical manor and in a manor that is consistent with the biblical foundation upon which the nation was established. One example of such a dilemma faced by my country is the forced transfer of private property from one owner to another in the hope of increasing tax revenues. In one such case, a state government acquired private property through "eminent domain" and gave that property to a private developer to develop. The state's justification was that by the development of the property, the people would benefit through the increase tax revenues on the developed land. While this may make financial sense, it does not answer the ethical question of the seizure of private property for the purpose of raising revenues. Another example in my country is the use of state operated of lotteries to raise money for programs such as government schools. Lotteries have raised millions of dollars for public education and have gained many supporters. However, it raises moral questions when the state must market the lottery to increase ticket sales. This places the state in the role of temptress and deceiver; tempting people to gamble away their income for the perceived chance of getting rich quick. When wealth is placed first, then the ethical questions become difficult to discern, but with a proper biblical foundation of governance, these issues become much clearer. The Bible establishes a personal right to property and therefore it would be wrong for the government to violate this individual right of ownership for the sole purpose of making the state richer. Similarly, when the government relies on and promotes a method of increasing revenues that forces the government to deceive its own citizens and to tempt them with an unrealistic expectation of gaining personal wealth, then that government is not operating within the morals of integrity, honesty, and justice as exemplified in the scriptures.

Along with the ethical dilemma of how to raise funds, a nation also faces the dilemma of how to use those funds. For some nations, the ruling classes have used their governmental powers to increase their personal wealth at the expense of their citizens. The world is replete with examples of dictators and monarchs who have gained great wealth while their countrymen live in intense poverty. Other governments have raised revenues for the purpose of redistributing wealth. In my country, our system of income tax has predominantly become a system of wealth redistribution. The rich are taxed to support programs for the poor. The more someone earns, the more they are taxed and a disproportionate amount of this money is "redistributed" to fund social programs; program that have no direct relation to the running of the government but only serve to provide financial support to those who earn less. While it is noble to care for the poor, it must be asked if it is the role of the government to take from the rich and give to the poor? Is this the role of the government or is it the role of the family and the church? The scripture says that it is the Lord "who is giving you power to make wealth." (Deuteronomy 8:18) If God has given power to individuals to create wealth, then it would be unethical for those in power to take this wealth for their own personal enrichment. It is equally unethical for government to decide how one should use their wealth. Many social programs are in essences a governmentally mandated form of benevolence, the difference being that it is the government who decides the contribution not the individual. It is not the government's place to force an individual to give a portion of their wealth to the poor, this decision belongs to the individual and their God.

These ethical issues can only be properly understood when, as a nation and a government, we have no other God but the God of the Bible. Only by making wealth and prosperity secondary to God and a strong biblical foundation, can government deal with financial issues in a way that is both moral and ethical.

David Robison

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

No other God (part 1): Dt 5:7

"You shall have no other gods before Me." (Deuteronomy 5:7)
God never intended nations and governments to be secular in nature. Each nation is to remember that they exist at the pleasure of God and for His purposes. It is God who establish nations and it is God who overthrows them if He wills. When a nation places other "gods" before the one true God, problems arise. Here are some example of "other gods" that nations can and have adopted and the troubles it causes for a society and its government.

The Creation
"and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them." (2 Kings 21:3)
"and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever." (Romans 1:25)
One name for choosing the creation over the creator is "environmentalism". While it is important for each citizen to do what they can to protect their environment, for some, environmentalism has become their religion. In my country, religious environmentalists are actively involved in trying to establish their philosophies as public policy. The problem is that these policies express a greater concern for the state of the environment then they do for the state of mankind. Religious environmentalists forget that, in all of creation, man is special. God spoke all things into existence, but man He formed with His own hands. It was to man that God gave dominion over all His creation, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Geneses 1:28) The earth was made subject to man, not the other way around. However, many environmentalist policies would punish man for his consumption of natural resources and place him in subjection to his environment. In my country, the mantra of the religious environmentalist is "conserver, conserver, conserver" while they concurrently seek to forbid the exploration, development, and production of existing stores of natural resources; such resources that could be used to better the lives of millions of people. We are told we must "do with out" and we must "sacrifice for future generations" yet the resources we need have already been plentifully provided by God, we need only to find and develop them; something the religious environmentalists would seek to prevent us from doing. The religious environmental policies do not honor the place that God has given mankind in His creation, and in doing so, have not helped mankind.

Another name for choosing the creation over the creator is "evolutionism". Evolution purports to be a theory of how all life evolved from inorganic chemicals guided only by the processes of random chance. However, around the world this theory has been adopted as religious "fact" by the faithful. In some school systems in my country, it is no longer allowed to teach competing theories, such as creationism, and evolution is taught as "fact" and not "theory". Not only is the adoption of evolution as a "religion" dangerous to the individual, but its destructive effects are multiplied when it is embraced by a nation and by a government. God created man, and he created him fully "evolved". However, having accepted evolution, nations and governments had believed that some humans are more evolved than others to the extent that, in the name of natural selection and survival of the fittest, they have sought to eliminate from the gene-pool those who were thought to be "less" evolved. In my country there have been documented cases where forced sterilization was used to prevent the poor, the crippled, and the undesirable from being able to reproduce; all in the name of achieving genetic purity. This movement was known as the Eugenics Movement and produces such leaders as Margret Sanger who was the founder of Planned Parenthood. It was this same movement that helped shape Adolf Hitler's ambivalence towards the Jews. It was in an attempt, in part, to purify the gene-pool in Germany and to see the rise of a superior race, the Arian Race, that Hitler set about to eliminate those who were less desirable, those who were not the "fittest", that only the "best" would survive. These public policies, with their roots in evolutionism, led to the slaughter of millions of innocent human lives.

Finally, when we place the creation before the creator, we loose our ability to apply biblical ethics in the face of advancing science. In my country, the rapid advancement of science has led us to difficult ethical and moral challenges. For example, modern science has opened the door for fetal stem cell research and human cloning, both which require the taking of life for the purpose of extending their research. Proponents of such research have touted the potential benefit to mankind if their research is successful. However, the question for governments is, is such research ethical? If we have replace God with a devotion to science, then how do we decide? Especially as science becomes more secular and more dogmatic in their rejection of God as a real and personal spirit being that is involved in everyday life, how then do we decide on the ethics of scientific advances? There are other issues, such as late term abortions, upon which government must make decisions based on the morality and ethics of such practices. Will such practices be allowed to continue? Does government have the right and/or responsibility to intervene in such practices? Without a moral foundation these questions become difficult and their resolution often arbitrary and subjective. However, with a proper foundation and relationship to God, the governmental solutions to these issues become clear. When we place God first we see that He is the creator of all life and that all life is precious. We also begin to understand that it is a fundamental right and responsibility of governments to protect and defend innocent life. Based on these principles, it its well within the purview of governments to restrict and prohibit such research and practices that involve the taking of life, even pre-born life.

More to come... David Robison

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Ten Commandments: A Foundation for a Nation: Dt 5:1

"Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: 'Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully.'"(Deuteronomy 5:1)

Here is a basic teaching on the Ten Commandments: If you are doing numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 then stop. If you are not doing numbers 4 or 5 then start. Just kidding...

Actually, the Ten Commandments were more than just good rules to live by, they were the foundation upon which the nation of Israel was build. There were an agreement between God and children of Israel such that, if they would agree to live by them, God would give them a land and establish them as a nation under His care. As long as the kept their end of the agreement (obeying the commands) God would continue to bless then and establish them in the Earth. The Ten Commandments not only addressed the individual's personal and spiritual life but it also set a foundation for their civil life as well.

We have all heard many teachings on the Ten Commandments and how they apply to our own personal lives. However, over the next several posts, we will examine each of the commandments to understand their implications for civil government and for the life of a nation. The Ten Commandments were both the moral and civil foundations for the nation of Israel and, I believe, they still hold importance as we consider a biblical foundation for governance. I look forward to pondering these questions and sharing them with you over the next several weeks.

David Robison

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