In terms of Christian theory, privatization means that the grand, global umbrella of faith has shrunk to the size of a plastic rain hat. Total life norms have become part-time values. In terms of Christian practice, watch your average Christian business person or politician. Are there family prayers at home before leaving for work? The private sphere. Are there Bible studies with colleagues at the office? Still the private sphere. (Os Guinness, The Gravedigger File: Papers on the Subversion of the Modern Church (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1983), 79. Also see James Sire, Chris Chrisman Goes to College (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 23, 123–127.)
Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920), homeschooled by his father, minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, prime minister of the Netherlands, editor of the newspaper The Standard, president of the Free University of Amsterdam, founder of the Anti-Revolutionary Party, and prolific author, said, “there is not one inch of creation of which Christ doesn’t say ‘Mine,’” (Douglas Groothuis, “Revolutionizing our Worldview,” The Reformed Journal (November 1982), 23.) Christians often choose practically “there is not one inch of creation of which the Antichrist doesn’t say ‘Mine,’” this side of something called the “rapture of the church.”
They would add that it’s Satan who rules on Earth until Jesus comes one more time to vanquish him but until a man called the antichrist arises and wreaks havoc on the earth that results in the deaths of billions of people. This is a curious belief since the people who believe this argue that Jesus is needed to reign personally and physically on the earth before He can take back rule from Satan. How is it possible for Satan to rule over the earth when he is not physically present and has no physical throne and not Jesus? Does Jesus have to be physically present throughout the cosmos to be its ruler? Notice what Psalm 110:1, the most quoted Old Testament passage found in the New Testament, states:
The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” (see Matt. 22:44; 26:64; Mark 13:36; Luke 20:42–43; Acts 2:34–35; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Cor. 15:25; Eph. 1:22).
And Isaiah 66:1: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is the footstool for My feet. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?’” This verse, quoted in Matthew 5:34–35, is clear that God does not need to be present to be the ruler of heaven and earth. Besides, Jesus said He has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:16–20).
By This Standard
God's Law is Christianity's tool of dominion. This is where any discussion of God's law ultimately arrives: the issue of dominion. Ask yourself: Who is to rule on earth, Christ or Satan? Whose followers have the ethically acceptable tool of dominion, Christ's or Satan's? What is this tool of dominion, the Biblically revealed law of God, or the law of self-proclaimed autonomous man? Whose word is sovereign, God's or man's?Buy Now
There are many Christians who see no direct relationship between their Christian faith and business and politics and everything else. It’s not that they are hypocrites, although they may be, but their worldview is limited to the personal. Their Christianity could be more cultural and social than authentic. It’s more likely they were taught the Bible does not apply to their larger world, certainly not when it comes to law, economics, business, and politics because there is a fixed sacred-secular divide.
The pastor does not address politics from the pulpit since Jesus didn’t get mixed up in politics, there’s a separation between church and state, our citizenship is in heaven, politics is dirty, you can’t impose your morality on other people, we don’t want to offend people, we’re told not to judge, we are to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, etc. As a result, Christians often adopt the broader culture’s version of the role that the State plays in our lives, and Christians can’t violate the directive of Paul in Romans 13 and Peter in 1 Peter 2:13–17.
When it comes to business, “business is the business of business.” Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, had this to say about the Ten Commandments when he addressed the National Press Association in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1988: “We’re living with outmoded rules. The rules we’re living under [are] the Ten Commandments, and I bet nobody here even pays much attention to ’em, because they are too old. When Moses went up on the mountain, there were no nuclear weapons, there was no poverty. Nobody around likes to be commanded.’”
While Turner rejected God’s moral law, don’t think that he rejected morality. He created his own moral code to suit his personal beliefs. Those “outmoded rules” were not done away with completely. I suspect he still believed that it was wrong to murder him (Sixth Commandment) and steal from him (Eighth Commandment) and lie about him (Ninth Commandment).
There is a prevailing belief held by many Christians that the laws of God are not applicable today because (1) they are outdated and (2) we under grace, not law. Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote the following in his commentary on Romans:
It was a tragic hour when the Reformation churches wrote the Ten Commandments into their creeds and catechisms and sought to bring Gentile believers into bondage to Jewish law, which was never intended either for the Gentile nations or for the church. (Donald Grey Barnhouse, God’s Freedom (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1958), 134. Quoted in S. Lewis Johnson, “The Paralysis of Legalism,” Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 120 (April/June 1963), 109.)
Without God’s commandments, we are left with Ted Turner’s new commandments and/or those of the enemies of God. Compare and contrast God’s Ten Commandments with the No-God Ten Commandments:
- The First Commandment states that there is only one God, and only He can save us. The State believes it is god and on it can save.
- The Second Commandment forbids idolatry. The State has become an idol and is worshipped as a god when the Bible declares that it is a “minister [servant] of God to [us] for good” (Rom. 13:4). The State continues to grow with the promise of political salvation.
- The Third Commandment forbids taking God’s name in vain. Politicians appeal to God all the time and yet violate His commandments in the same breath. Former President Obama referred to God—even singing “Amazing Grace”—in his eulogy for Rev. Pinckney and soon after celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling making same-sex marriage the law of the land. This is taking God’s name in vain.
- The Fourth Commandment sets one day a week aside for rest. The interesting thing about this commandment is that it’s written into the Constitution in Article I, Section 7, Clause 2. It’s interesting how the Federal Government has its own set of holidays from which its employees rest and get paid.
- The Fifth Commandment defines the family. As we’ve seen the courts have redefined the family, and by redefining the family they can now rewrite all law in terms of that new definition, and those who reject will be canceled.
- The Sixth Commandment was legislated out of existence decades ago by the sanctioning of perpetual war and the legalization of abortion.
- The Seventh Commandment in its prohibition of adultery is a summary statement about all marital relationships. The law prohibiting adultery rests on the creation mandate of marriage being between a man and a woman (Gen. 1:27–28; 2:20–25). The complement of man and woman is what’s “suitable,” not a man and man or a woman and a woman. Jesus confirmed the creation mandate (Matt. 19:1–6).
- The Eighth Commandment prohibits stealing. Our nation’s outrageous taxing system is based on theft when people are given the right to vote to take money from some people so it can be given to other people.
- The Ninth Commandment prohibits bearing false witness. Politicians bear false witness with almost every word they speak. Consider the following statement from presidential candidate Barack Obama that he gave on April 17, 2008 when he was campaigning for the presidency: “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it’s also a sacred union God’s in the mix.” Hillary Clinton said something similar.
- The Tenth Commandment indicts the modern State and those who support it because it covets everything: power, property, authority, money, prestige, privilege, and our souls. Covetousness leads to envy.
Most people who only have seen the film The Ten Commandments on television have never seen Cecil B. DeMille’s opening monologue. DeMille had something more in mind than just making a film about a religious figure from the Bible. He considered his production to be so important that he came out on stage to deliver a short but powerful statement on the nature of freedom under the law of God:
The theme of this picture is whether men ought to be ruled by God’s laws or whether they are to be ruled by the whims of a dictator like Rameses. Are men the property of the State or are they free souls under God? This same battle continues throughout the world today.
The elaborate film Souvenir Book that was made available in theaters includes a preface with the title “The Law by Which Men Live”:
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS are not laws. They are THE LAW. Man has made 32,000,000 laws since they were handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai more than three thousand years ago, but he has never improved on God’s law. (The Ten Commandments Souvenir Book_,_ Paramount Pictures Corporation (1956, 1957), was published by The Greenstone Company, New York, N.Y.)
All law is a reflection of some worldview. Law is an inescapable concept. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Every religion consists of moral precepts, and of dogmas.” (Quoted in Paul Grimley Kuntz, The Ten Commandments in History: Mosaic Paradigms for a Well-Ordered Society (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004), 170.) There is a corollary to Jefferson’s observation: “Every non-religion consists of moral precepts, and of dogmas.” Jefferson proved this by compiling a moral philosophy in his Literary Commonplace Book. Even the most lawless person has his own sense of justice. We hear people talk about “prison justice.” Prisoners will judge other prisoners, especially those involved in child abuse. There are some crimes that even murderers will not tolerate. Someone is ultimately in charge: the sovereign individual where “every man does what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6), a single ruler who claims a “divine right,” the call for a political savior by the people best exemplified in the way Israel asked for a “king like all the other nations” (Judges 8:22–23; 1 Sam. 8), a “we the people mentality” where the decisions of the majority become the law of the land, or placing the final arbitration of what is right in the hands of nine Supreme Court justices where only five are needed to change a law.
God's Law and Government in America
The three sermons presented in this book exemplify the full-orbed worldview of early American Christianity we need to recover today. They remind us of a time not too far gone in which preachers were highly and broadly educated men who brought biblical worldview to bear in full force to every area of life. In these sermons, we see this especially in regard to the application of biblical law to civil government.Buy Now