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Remembering the Price He Paid

Remembering the Price He Paid

CalvaryLast night I had the privilege of enjoying the Passion Play presented by Northside Baptist Church in Elkhart, Indiana. My heart was stirred with the beautiful music and retelling of the great sacrifice Christ made for each of us in His death on the cross, but then the glorious resurrection which completed the payment for our sins.

This wonderful presentation reminded me again of why Christ must be the focal point of all of our teaching. During His life on this earth, Christ’s followers thought he had come to set up an earthly kingdom, but He had come for something much greater.

Christ came to change the hearts of men and gave to each of us the means of His government in our lives and actions. This “internal” government brought changes which literally “turned the world upside down.” With Christ and Christianity, man could govern his own actions and have less need for external government.

This change took centuries to bring forth a nation which was built upon the idea that man could govern himself.

My prayer is that Christians will remember Christ’s great sacrifice and the wonderful liberty He gives to us first internally and then, as American Christians, the nation which was designed to protect that liberty. While bombarded on every side with “man’s ideas”, let’s remember Christ and not forget our heritage. Though men may deny Him, we must protect and preserve the Biblical principles of our land.

May God give each of you a blessed Easter season.

Power in the People

Flow of power in government power in the people

Power in the People

Friday we experienced what Ronald Reagan described, in his first Inaugural Address, as “a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place . . . and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this very 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.”

During his inaugural address, the 45th President Trump, made a statement, “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

“January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”

Following the Inaugural speech, many news pundits picked up on this idea as something not necessarily consistent with conservative ideas. And yet this is not a new idea. Rather, it reflects the very basic idea upon which our nation was founded. For some reason, critics seemed to think putting the power in the people did not coincide with the ideas of limited government. It was puzzling why this was their interpretation.

William Penn stated that “we put the power in the people.” Historian Felix Morley wrote, “To put the power in the people implies faith. It implies that the component individuals are, for the most part, already endowed with self-control.”

Historian Verna Hall defined civil government as “the flow of power and force in society.”[1] The Scripture teaches us that all power comes from God. The individual becomes the fountain through which that power can flow from the individual to his delegated representatives. Over the past century, the flow of power has been interrupted as the Executive Branch developed a huge bureaucracy, expanding its powers far beyond the realm of its constitutional powers. In addition, the checks and balances of our three branches of government have been weakened. Power has gradually been centralized in the national government and flowing from Washington, D.C. down to the people in many areas, rather than from the people delegating authority to their elected representatives.

To truly put the power back in the hands of the people would be a formidable task, but one that could at least begin at some levels. It would require huge discipline on the part of the leadership in Washington and a willingness to give up power and move it back to the state or local levels where it belongs. The challenge will be whether the thousands of political appointees and employees in civil service positions will be willing to allow this to occur.

Turning to national government, rather than local government or private enterprise, has become so much a way of life in America that it will be very difficult to undo the mindset of a people who do not realize how much it is a part of our thinking. We need to be asking questions as to why is civil government providing funding for research, granting funds for arts, or protecting an endangered species, or meeting many other needs? Is this the function of civil government as provided by the Constitution? Or does this need to be the responsibility of local foundations, corporations, or individuals, who if liberated from their tax burden, would have the resources to provide for such opportunities?

Americans must educate themselves in the true purpose of civil government as it was intended and then seek to restore those foundational principles. One of those basic principles is to restore the power to the people. Can we once again be a government “of the people, by the people, for the people?” Do we have the character for such a government? Or have we become so dependent on big government that we cannot take the responsibility which would be required of each of us?

 

[1] Verna M. Hall, The Christian of the American Revolution: Consider and Ponder (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1976) page xxi v.

Standing on Principles

Standing on Principles

As I watched brief news coverage on the Supreme Court hearing involving the religious liberty of such groups as the Little Sisters of the Poor, it reminded me of the challenge faced by the colonists in 1773 concerning the tax on tea. When the colonists refused to pay the tax, since they had no representation, a plan was devised that the tax would be absorbed, so that the tax would be paid, but the colonists would not pay the tax.

Capitol Bldg

Thinking this would satisfy the colonists, Benjamin Franklin wrote: “They have no idea that any people can act from any other principle but that of interest; and they believe that three pence on a pound of tea, of which one does not perhaps drink ten pounds in a year, is sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American . . . “ “They did not rise up against the paltry duty because they were poor and could not pay, but because they were free and would not submit to wrong.” The same principles apply today. Organizations and individuals are being asked to sacrifice their principles, even though the cost is being hidden. We must stand on those principles even as did the founding fathers of our nation. May the Lord guide the hearts of the Supreme Court, even as He can turn the heart of the King.

Elections have Consequences

Elections have Consequences

by Ruth Smith

The idea that “elections have consequences” is a concept that many forget. Today the main election we are hearing about through interviews and ads is the Presidential election. Each candidate is endeavoring to present himself or herself as the “best” person to lead our nation for the next four years. The field is vast, from a declared socialist to those who identify themselves as conservative.

Noah Webster Quote Elections consequences

Do “we, the people” know what a “socialist” is? We see young people, especially college-age young people flocking to follow the siren call of this individual. Or what does it mean to be a “conservative”? To one individual for what a conservative stands may mean one thing and to another it means something different.

Whose responsibility is it to determine what each candidate represents? Or to know how this candidate will govern? Is it the one who has the loudest voice?

As a Christian, do we only look for the one who says he is a born-again Christian? History reveals that isn’t the only basis by which we should choose a candidate and can bring poor results? On the other hand, how important is it that the candidate stands for the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all as stated in the Declaration of Independence?

Our forefathers understood from the very beginning that our nation could only stand if people of integrity and principle were chosen to be the leaders and make the laws by which we would be governed.

Following is a quote from Noah Webster in his Letters to a Young Gentleman. The content may not be easy reading, but rings true yet today:

In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character as a man of known principle, of tried integrity, and undoubted ability for the office.

“It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men who rule in the fear of God, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness. But if we had no divine instruction on the subject, our own interest would demand of us a strict observance of the principle of these injunctions. And it is to the neglect of this rule of conduct in our citizens, that we must ascribe the multiplied frauds, breaches of trust, peculations and embezzlements of public property which astonish even ourselves; which tarnish the character of our country; which disgrace a republican government; and which will tend to reconcile men to monarchy in other countries and even in our own. . . .”

More to follow in a later post.

Do you know the principles upon which this nation was founded? Do your children know? Do your friends and neighbors know?

Study Kit

Pilgrim Institute has designed a great DVD study for restoring this foundation – check out the details for Restoring America’s Biblical Foundations.

 

Electoral College Electing the President

The Mode of Electing the President and the Electoral College

by Darold Booton, Jr.

In recent times the manner of electing the President of the United States (and the electoral college) has come under criticism from all sides, but when the Constitution was first adopted, Alexander Hamilton tells us, that this was one part of our system of government which had “escaped without severe censure” (Federalist No. 68). Hamilton further wrote, “I venture somewhat further, and hesitate not to affirm, that if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent. It unites in an eminent degree all the advantages, the union of which was to be wished for.”

As all Americans should know the President and Vice President are chosen through an indirect election (the manner of this election is prescribed in the U. S. Constitution (Article II, section 1, amended by Amendment 12, and augmented by Amendment 23), so that the President and Vice President are chosen by electors from each state. The number of which in each state is equal to the number of senators and representatives in Congress for that state.

Electoral College Electing the President

Why is this system of Electoral College “excellent”? According to Hamilton,

  • The Electoral College is representative of the citizens of each state, but unlike Congress is widely distributed through the states and exists only for the purpose of electing the President and Vice President, thus minimizing the possibility of influencing or coercing its decision.
  • Through this means of election the President “[is] independent for his continuance in office on all but the people themselves” (Hamilton), and is, therefore, not beholden to any other branch of government.
  • In the case of no presidential ticket receiving a clear majority the election falls back on the House of Representatives (representatives of the people of the various states) where each state receives one vote.
  • Just as Congress is organized so as to balance the relative influence of large and small states, the Electoral College moderates the influence of large population centers and thus makes the choice of President and Vice President a real election among the states.

The outcome of a direct election for these offices would mean that only those centers of population, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, etc. would determine the election each time.

For further teaching by Darold Booton, check the Pilgrim Institute Online Store:
American Leadership in the 18th Century
Nathaniel Bowditch: Mathematician and Navigator
Mathematics from the Principle Approach

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