The Bible and Voting – Part 14Proverbs 14:34 • Dr. Andy Woods • October 9, 2016 • The Bible and Voting 2016
SUGAR LAND BIBLE CHURCH
October 9, 2016 The Bible and Voting, Part 14
Good morning everybody. If we could take our Bibles and open them to the book of Genesis, chapter 9 and verse 6. Of course I’m very excited that we’re getting a chance to baptize fifteen people today. We’ve got, actually, a whole family getting baptized. [clapping] Yeah. Of course baptism as you probably know is something that takes place in the presence of witnesses so that means we need what? Witnesses. So if you have some time free this afternoon over at Wayne Pittman’s house we’re going to be baptizing there, a beautiful place for baptism, by the way, overlooking the lake and he’s got a… I don’t want to call it a Jacuzzi, it’s kind of like a quasi-pool Jacuzzi, so it’s going to be a lot of fun. We should have some maps and so forth on the name tag table for you to pick up.
Genesis 9:6, the title of our message this morning is The Bible and Voting. Of course voting, now that we’re very close, within a month or so to a national election, less than a month actually, the great maneuver is on again, the race for President, and you get a lot of polls, you get a lot of pundits, you get a lot of what they call October surprises, things like that. And so America today is thinking about elections; one of the great freedoms that we have is voting for our leaders. So in this series, which we’ve entitled The Bible and Voting, which we’ve been going through since Independence Day weekend actually, is not really to get into parties or names or candidates but it’s really to get into principles. What does the Bible say about the great issues of the day?
And we have looked at several principles that I think you can apply to any election, this one included, but any subsequent election, federal, state or local. We’ve looked at a host of economic issues, about ten of them. These are things that the Bible speaks on, so this is not coming from a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian viewpoint, it’s coming from a Bible viewpoint.
And from there we look at social issues, several of those the Bible speaks to. In fact the very issues that they’re yelling about at each other on the cable shows, which have turned more into yelling matches lately than conversations, but you’ll notice that the Bible actually speaks on most, if not all of these issues: abortion, same-sex marriage, those sort of things. And from there we moved into foreign affairs, as the United States interacts with other nations does the Bible deal with that topic at all. We’ve looked at the fact that the Bible is against one-world government and it supports the sovereign of the nation-state, which is going to be very important today as we look at the subject of terrorism. The Bible has a lot to say about the morality of border enforcement. The Bible, and we spent probably about three weeks on this it’s so important, it has a great deal to say about support for the modern state of Israel. And then the last issue that we’re considering, I’m not sure we’re even going to finish it today (I thought we could but there may be a Part 15 next week), is the whole subject of peace through strength.
And of course this subject becomes very important because one of the great issues that is happening in our time is something called terrorism. We have seen a number of terrorist attacks in places like 9/11 of course, Fort Hood, the Boston marathon bomber, Orlando, Chelsea, New York, San Bernardino, these are all things that have happened in the last, actually many of them, very, very recent times. So terrorism and attacks on innocent civilians has almost become something that we expect and anticipate as we look at our newspaper. And of course terrorism is something that goes on worldwide. And the question is, does the Bible actually deal with this subject of terrorism? Nobody has learned more in this series than me; I have been astounded at how much of the Scripture deals with subjects that we wrestle with when we let is speak.
So to kind of condense our thoughts we have a six part outline that we’re following. We looked at, number 1, Terrorism’s false causes. You’ll find that when unbelievers or people that don’t have a biblical frame of mind, when they comment on terrorism they have to come up with some kind of explanation it’s so grievous when it happens, so they attribute it to everything but what the Bible attributes it to. Some people blame it on poverty, or a lack of education, or American Imperialism; we in prior sermons have gone through each of those and explained why those aren’t adequate explanations at all, which took us to number 2, what is the true cause of terrorism? The issue is depravity of man. We’ve gone through several verses that indicate, particularly Mark 7:22-23 that indicates that murder is a natural emanation of the human heart and it’s sinful condition. [Mark 7:33, “deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.  All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”]
And when that depraved nature comes in contact with what I like to call a radical ideology, we can think of Marxism, we’ve talked about Islam, other types of radical ideologies which give the sin nature permission to do what it naturally wants to do and no longer acts as a restraint against the sinful impulses in a human being; you have the makings of a terrorist. And with every terrorist typically what you’ll see, unless they’re insane or something like that, you’ll see that they’re in contact with some radical ideology of some kind, giving their sin nature (which already exists in them) permission to vent itself in the name of a higher good.
You know, the Bible says, “There is a way that seems right… but the end thereof is” what? Death. [Proverbs 14:12, “There is a pathway that seems right to a man, but in the end it’s a road to death.” Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”] And that’s the makings of a terrorist.
And from there, since that is the true cause of terrorism we ask ourselves many times, well, what can be done to stop terrorism? And if you can’t diagnose the problem accurately you’ll never be able to come up with the right solution. And because there is such a lack of understanding of the depravity of man and radical ideologies what people do is they come up with strategies that do almost nothing to contain terrorism: military reduction, appeasement where you just let the bully do what it wants, dialogue, treaties, subsidies, sort of going around the world and apologizing for America. These are all things that have been tried and tested and what you’ll discover is that they haven’t curbed terrorism at all. In fact, terrorism is very much on the rise in spite of these things.
So then if all of this is true, and by the way, one of the reasons these other things that we’ve mentioned really don’t deter terrorism is because of what Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes 8:11, he says, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.” If a person is not going to be controlled, if their sin nature is not going to be controlled by the Scripture there has to be a greater power from without. You have to make people so afraid of punishment that they won’t follow through with terrorist activities. And if the Bible itself, if an internal value system won’t hold people back the only thing left is the force of the State, executing sentences rapidly, and that is the whole notion of peace through strength, allowing the governments of the world to root out terrorist activity; people knowing that if they commit such atrocities there’s going to be a quick and swift and an immediate repercussion. That’s what controls the sin nature. These other solutions are really not solutions at all, they miss the mark.
So that takes into now Roman numeral IV, effective deterrents to terrorism. Has God spoken on this subject? I believe He has and that’s why I had you open up to the book of Genesis, chapter 9 and verse 6, which is the origin of human government. It’s interesting that early America understood these concepts very well, and our generation, for whatever reason, we don’t understand them well. But Robert Charles Winthrop, who was the Speaker of the House from 1847-1849 spoke to the Massachusetts Bible Society and he made this tremendous statement: “Men in a word must necessarily be controlled by a power within them or a power without them, either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man, either by the Bible or the bayonet.”
There are many times that I am tempted to come into work about 85 miles an hour and I’m not really thinking about people in the crosswalks… I’m not in favor of running people down in crosswalks, they’re just not on my mind. What I’m interested in is getting through here or wherever as fast as I can possibly go because I’m basically a self-centered person, which all of us are when we admit it. But what prevents me from doing such a thing and in the process of jeopardizing the lives of others is the police officer on the side of the road with the radar gun which clocks my speed. I don’t want another speeding ticket, I don’t want my insurance to go up and so consequently my hand is held back from evil which could hurt somebody because of a power from without.
And when you understand this you begin to understand why God established the institution of human government. If you want to see what the world would be like without the institution of human government you look, really no further than Genesis 6:11. You might turn back there for just a moment. This is a description of what the world was like before the flood and it says this: “Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with” what? “violence.” Bloodshed and murder existed in what I would call a “wild, wild west mentality” all over the earth prior to the global flood. God brought an end to the whole thing through the global deluge; He preserved Noah and his three sons and their respective wives in the ark. God, as you know from Sunday School, began to repopulate the earth after the flood had destroyed the earth and the world and the population at that time, but what never changed even through the environment was fixed, was the sin nature of man. The sin nature of man continues right on into the post-flood world.
In fact, you have a reference to it in the book of Genesis, chapter 8, notice that again, verse 21, it says, “The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself ‘I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his’” what? “youth; [and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.’]” Yes, the world has been changed through the flood but the sin nature of man continues on; it continues on into the post-flood population. So the question becomes well, what is going to prevent the world (as it repopulates) from becoming just like it was prior to the flood? And the answer to that equation is the institution of human government, which God Himself established.
Now notice, if you will, Genesis 9:6, this is the beginning of human government in a covenant that God made with Noah. And God says this: “Whoever sheds man’s blood,” now the next two words are VERY important, “By man”, “By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” God says what’s going to happen is I’m not going to directly intervene and through justice and retribution deal with every circumstance; I am delegating that authority to another institution, and this is called the institution of human government.
Human government has a responsibility to bring justice upon those who shed blood. Now why is that? Because that way people will be so afraid of the time, as we like to say, that they won’t do the crime. That’s a subject called deterrents; that literally becomes the only thing that will hold someone back from evil when they are not controlled by an internal value system called the Bible; the subject that the lawyers and the sociologists call deterrence. Why is God setting things up this way? Because man bears whose image? The image of God. An attack on another human being is actually an indirect attack on God because all human beings bear God’s image. So God is trying to halt, He is trying to stop, He is trying to cease, if you will, the great bloodshed that existed prior to the flood and the only solution preventing the world from reverting to exactly what it was prior to the flood is the institution of human government. A strong government maintains peace; a government which punishes wrongdoing rapidly maintains peace.
People say well, you’re bringing the Old Testament into it, I thought we weren’t under the Old Testament any more. Let me remind you of something very basic, and we’ve covered this in prior sermons: what God said to Noah is NOT part of the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law would not be given until about 1446-1445 B.C. This covenant that God entered into with Noah precedes the Mosaic Law. It is true that the Mosaic Law was only given to the nation of Israel but not so the covenant with Noah where human government is rooted in; it was given to the whole human race. And just as you see the rainbow in the sky when it rains and we have moisture and things like that, that is a sign that the Noahic Covenant, the covenant with Noah, is still in operation; it’s the origin of human government.
In other words, what I’m trying to say is what God said to Noah is just as much a reality and is just as binding today as it was when God originally articulated the words to Noah in this particular covenant. And what you’ll discover, let’s go to the New Testament now, Romans 13:3-5, as Paul, now last time I checked Romans is in which testament? New Testament, Paul picks up on this. So all Paul is doing when he begins to get into the subject of government is just reiterating what God originally said to Noah.
Paul writes, and in fact, I would encourage you to read verses 1-7 in their entirety on your own, we’re just going to look at a few verses, verses 3-5. Paul says, “For rulers” now he’s talking there about the institution of human government, “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” that’s government, “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” what do you do with a sword? You don’t spank people with swords; it’s an instrument of execution, “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.” The governments of the world are instituted to fulfill a basic function under God, to punish those who do evil and commend those who do right. That is exactly how God designed government, going back to His covenant with Noah back in Genesis 9. That’s why those in government are called “ministers” of God. Now the folks in government may not even be saved (do I get an “amen” to that?) But whether they know it or not they are fulfilling something that God designed for the human race as a preservative, rooted in the Noahic Covenant.
And notice that Paul talks here about be afraid if you do wrong. The government’s job is to make people that do wrong afraid and put them into fear because if they’re not controlled by the Bible they will be controlled by a force outside. So it becomes almost a last resort to prevent humanity from regressing to what it was like prior to the flood.
Now Paul is not the only one who talks about this. Notice 1 Peter 2 if you could, verses 13-14. Peter writes, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,” and then he starts mentioning a particular institution, this would be the institution of government, “whether to a king as the one in authority,  or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” Government exists to comment those who do right and to punish those who do evil. That’s why government agents, those who work in government, are ministers of God; most of them probably don’t even realize it. That’s why we are to pray for governments of the world. We’re specifically told that in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, so they can quickly and efficiently expedite their task, and the social order is maintained this way. [1 Timothy 2:1, “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.  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”]
This is the design of God. This is why we’re called in Romans 13 to pay our taxes. See, as Christians we are not hostile to governments, we are not anti-government people, but we generally support the idea of government fulfilling what God says it ought to do. Now I realize that there are governments that abuse their power and when that happens Peter, who wrote these words, said something in Acts 5:29, “We must obey God rather than” what? “man.” Should the government coerce me to do something against what God wants me to do or coerce me to do something God says stay away from, in a very narrow circumstance I’m allowed in God to tell the government no although I have to pay the consequences for that. So the biblical position is not unlimited submission to government no matter what government says; that’s not the biblical position. The biblical position is government has a very important role in maintaining society. When it functions the way God designed it, it prevents the world from progressing to what it was like prior to the flood.
Now you may say well this subject of deterrence, people so afraid of a punishment that they will stay away from a crime; I mean, does this really work, all the lawyers and the sociologists and the academics, they deny that such a thing is a reality. Well, if you believe the Bible and you care about what the Bible says, which obviously you do or you wouldn’t be here this morning, what you’ll discover in the Bible is deterrence is biblical, it works. I would direct your attention to Deuteronomy 13:10-11. Now true, this is the Mosaic Law, but the Mosaic Law under Israel had punishments built into it and God says those punishments will keep the Israeli’s away from certain horrible acts. It talks about one such sin, and God through Moses says, [Deuteronomy 13:10] “So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Notice this next sentence,  “Then all Israel will hear and” what? “be afraid, [and will never again do such a wicked thing among you.”] Isn’t that what Paul said back in Romans 13, the government agent brings the sword for purposes of instilling fear. Why do I have to be motivated by fear? Because that’s the only thing I’ll listen to many times, given my depraved nature. I’m so interested as a depraved person in self-preservation that I’ll stay away from crime simply to preserve myself. That’s the subject of deterrence which is a workable idea. Moses says that “all Israel and be afraid” and will what? “never again do such a wicked thing” among you.
Punishment when executed swiftly, quickly, efficiently and fairly has a tremendous impact on the sin nature, keeping it under control, preventing another attack on an image bearer or God, preventing violence that was so freely wielded in the pre flood world. This is the biblical position, if you will, on the institution of human government. God has a lot to say, as you discover in His Word, about the institution of human government.
Wayne Grudem, in a wonderful book that I’ve been using quite a bit, called Politics — According to the Bible, [Politics – According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture.] Wayne Grudem, a conservative evangelical theologian writes this: “Now if a government is commanded by God to protect its citizens from the robber or the thief who comes from within a country then certainly it also has an obligation to protect its citizens against thousands of murderers and thieves who come as an army from” somewhere… where? “outside the nation, therefore a nation has a moral obligation to defend itself against foreign attackers who would come and kill and conquer and subjugate the people of that nation.”
So what Grudem is saying is because God has authorized government through the threat of force to maintain the social order within its boundaries does it not also have the same right to hunt down and root out villains that come from the outside and threaten a nation? And this goes back to an earlier study we did about the nation/state. God, as we saw at the tower of Babel, formed the independent nation/state; His design was each would have its own sovereignty and freedom to fulfill its basic function.
There isn’t any talk here about how a nation has to somehow go and genuflect before some kind of world body genuflect or world community before it acts to fulfill its basic functions and obligations. And this is what we call the whole doctrine of peace through strength. In fact, one of my favorite lines in American history comes from Teddy Roosevelt, who said “Speak softly but carry a” what? “a big stick.” You want a strong and viable military, not for bloodshed but to prevent bloodshed. And this begins to help shape and develop a proper perspective on what the role of government actually is. There is a big difference between a strong President and a weak President. A weak President, by and large, that does not understand what his role is has a tendency, with all sorts of glowing language of peace, has a tendency to create greater instability because the bad apples of the world know they can get away with an awful lot and the deterrent factor is gone. And simply moving around the world with all of these different strategies we talked about earlier, military reduction, appeasement, dialogue, treaties, subsidies to sworn enemies, apology tours, these don’t create peace. They create a lack of peace. It is the strength of the arm of government as the design of God which brings forth greater peace.
If you want an example of this all you have to do is go back to 1979 where in Iran, as America’s embassy there was attacked, American hostages were held for 444 days against their will. And it was during that time I would contend that we had a very weak President, in that case the President’s name was Jimmy Carter. And he did all the negotiations and all the dialogue and all of the promises and the American people, rightfully so in my view, voted him out of office. And in came a different President with a completely different philosophy who argued from the position of peace through strength and the exact day that he was sworn into office, remember what happened? The Iranians released all of our hostages; it took less than a few hours.
That is the difference in the world that transpires when you have someone with a mindset of peace through strength and someone else who really doesn’t understand human depravity. And oh how we need to go back to this simple idea of peace through strength and see it actually as a Bible-based idea. You may not have seen this since the news media did not pick this up; this very early on in this year, ten United States sailors were briefly detained by the American military last week (this is a January 18th article) and held at gunpoint, and had a verbal exchange with Iranian personnel before they were released, the U.S. military said Monday. The U.S. soldiers who were aboard two patrol craft were detained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard on January 12th when they inadvertently entered Iranian territorial waters. They were released the next day after being held for about fifteen hours.
Look at how they were on their knees there, our people, at gunpoint. It’s a shocking thing to see, especially when… it brings back memories, does it not, of the 444 days our hostages were held against their will back in 1979. This is the fruit or the product of a totalitarian regime that really has no fear of the United States of America or any other country for that matter because we’re drifting away from a basic biblical concept of peace through strength. I would argue that the world today is more dangerous than it’s ever been. When I was a college student, let me read to you about an event that happened in 1986, April 5, 1986, “Three people were killed and 230 were injured at the Label Discothèque was bombed in West Belin. The entertainment venue was commonly frequented by United States soldiers, and two of the dead and 79 of the injured were American servicemen. Libya” that should ring a bell, Libya, isn’t that where we had the whole Bengasi fiasco not too long ago? “Libya was accused of sponsoring the bombing, by the US and US President Ronald Reagan ordered retaliatory strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya ten days later. The strikes reportedly killed at least 15 people, including Colonel Kaddafi,” the mastermind at the time behind this terrorist activity in the Berlin Discothèque. “…including Colonel Kaddafi’s adopted daughter. A 2001 trial” see, this is the problem here, we have a trial in 2001 and the incident happened when? 1986. We’re not seeing, may times, swift justice. “A 2001 trial in the US found that the bombing had been ‘planned by the Libyan secret service and the Libyan Embassy.’ Because of the consistent application of the United States President Reagan’s peace through strength doctrine against sponsors of terrorism, Kaddafi largely remained silent and nonassertive in the subsequent decades.”
Isn’t it interesting that when there was a rapid response to something that was clearly documented as terrorism that it had a tendency to shut the mastermind of this terrorist activity down for decades. In fact, Kaddafi was so quiet in the following decades I forgot all about this incident until he was murdered recently, because of an uprising in his own country. But peace through strength actually works. And I remember at the time, I was just a young naïve college student, I remember in the university that I was in all of the protests, all of the anti-American protests that were happening because we dared to fight back against what Libya had done. And we went after terrorists with force. I remember everybody saying how un-Christian that is, how unloving it is. People liked to quote the Sermon on the Mount, I’ll talk to you about that in just a minute, how they misused that.
But the fact of the matter is, I believe then and I believe now, that the government at that time was fulfilling its God-ordained function under the Noahic Covenant and it kept the world safer as evidenced by the fact that Kaddafi disappeared from the scene in terms of influence, not just for a year or two but for subsequent decades, more than two decades. Peace through strength! Speak softly and carry a big stick!
I remember being in the office of my reader, Dr. Harold Hoehner, a brilliant man, he was my dissertation reader, one of the three, he was a very conservative gentleman, he’s gone on to be with the Lord, I loved him dearly, but he was very liberal in his political beliefs; I was very conservative in my political beliefs and he figured that out, and one time he invited me into his office for a conversation which really wasn’t a conversation at all, it was more like Andy in the lion’s den, and he starts all of a sudden just going off on the cold war and how Reagan was completely wrong to build up the defenses during that time because we would have won the cold war anyway, because after all, the Soviet Union, as he talked about, was a paper tiger and it was getting ready to collapse anyway so the only thing we bankrupted was ourselves in the 1980’s military buildup.
This is very common from many, many people. I was sort of surprised to hear this from Harold Hoehner, given his very strong views in the Bible, but listen to this; this is from Strobe Talbot, a very liberal individual. He says, “The Soviet Union collapsed…, the cold war ended almost overwhelmingly because of the internal contradictions or pressures within the Soviet Union and the Soviet’s system itself. And even if Jimmy Carter had been reelected and followed by Walter Mondale, something like what we have now seen would probably have happened anyway. “
In other words, the peace through strength doctrine is something that’s in our minds, it really doesn’t effectively work. And many Americans listen to something like that, whether it’s said on a talk show, an interview, sometimes over a pulpit, and they start to buy into that. Until you actually read what high ranking members of the Soviet Union said themselves about the military buildup in the 1980’s. Here’s some Russian names, I’m not going to pronounce very well but bear with me: Oleg Kalugin, former KGB agent says this: “American policy in the 1980’s was a catalyst for the clash of the Soviet Union. It caused the collapse of the Soviet Union.” In other words, Reagan, through peace through strength, won the cold war without firing a shot. That’s the peace through strength idea.
Yegenny Novikov, Senior member of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee, says this: The Reagan policies were a major factor in the demise of the Soviet Union. Alexander Bessmertnykhtold Princeton Conference attendees that programs like the strategic defense initiative accelerated the decline of the Soviet Union.
This is what I believe the Bible is talking about in terms of peace through strength. I am reluctant to bring up names of political figures because people may like a particular President, not like a particular President, and that really is not my point. It’s to direct us back to a tried and tested formula that God Himself established. And if the bad apples of the world, who are wrapped up in some sort of ideological persuasion that tells them to do in the name of a higher good what they’re sin nature always wants to do, then God has ordained human government itself for the purpose of deterrence. Without human government operating in this way the world becomes exactly like it was, filled with violence prior to the flood. And as we’ve moved away from this principle, would you not agree that the world is less safe and less destabilized today than it’s ever been.
Now I know what many of you are thinking, wait a minute now, hold the phone, I’ve been told from my denomination, or my pastor, or the book that I’m reading that the Bible teaches pacifism. Pacifism is this idea that it is wrong to go to war for any circumstance, no matter what, because it’s un-Christian.
Here are some very common arguments that you will run into with pacifists. They’ll say this: violence begets violence. And they talk about a cycle of violence; if one group is violent and another country responds with violence then that just creates a climate of violence. I don’t find that to be true at all; I find that the wicked rulers of the world, whether it be Kadaffi or on a much larger scale, Adolf Hitler, their hands were actually held back from greater violence because of the concept of peace through strength.
And people say well, why don’t you just trust the Lord, I mean, why do you have to argue for a political point of view? Aren’t you a Christian? You ought to just trust the Lord. Well, as my dad liked to tell me, trust the Lord but row away from the rocks. Of course we should trust the Lord but I want you to understand something, that the Lord Himself has ordained an institution. Trusting the Lord is allowing that institution to do what God has already established it to do. It’s like a person that says you know… and there are people like this, all my bills are piling up, I’m behind on my payments, finances are drifting low and I usually say well, have you ever tried to do something creative? And they say like what? Well, like get a job! Oh no, no, I’m not going to do that, I’m trusting the Lord. Well, the problem with that mindset is God Himself has ordained the institution of labor to provide for your family, so to simply say I’m going to trust the Lord is to ignore how God has established things in our fallen world. To simply say I’m going to trust the Lord is to ignore the institutions that He has given us to maintain peace.
One of the big arguments today, and this was very vociferous at the time of our response to 911 with the invasion of Iraq and then Afghanistan, people said all of the time, you have no right to invade those countries to root out terrorism. Why is that? Because you ought to get this issue resolved through a world court; there ought to be global opinion in that. So here are some words of Jim Wallace. Jim Wallace, I’ve mentioned him before, is what you would call a member of the religious left. He wrote a book actually, called God’s Politics. He is, and the checking I’ve done on him he is the number one spiritual advisor today to the current President of the United States. You see, as much as everybody today throws out his boogieman of the religious right and the power of the religious right, the fact of the matter is it’s not the religious right that is in ascendency today; it is the religious left. The religious right would be people who would use the Bible to promote a conservative social agenda. The religious left is just as influential, perhaps even more influential in comparison to the right, using the Bible to promote a progress or a leftist or a liberal agenda.
And this is what Wallace says in his book, God’s Politics. He says this is… now here’s some commentary first by Gruden, he says “This is why pacifists such as Wallace are actually unbiblical when they say that nations like the United States should not act alone but” (quote) “not use unilateral action to defend themselves.” You ought to learn that phrase, “unilateralism,” because that is what’s being denied and demonized today. Unilateralism is a nation acting within its sovereignty to protect its own citizens. People today that have a globalist mindset don’t want unilateralism; what they want is something called multilateralism where free countries don’t even have a right to assert themselves and act to fulfill basic God-ordained functions unless they get some sort of stamp of approval from the world as a whole. That’s called multilateralism.
And what I’m saying is the Bible doesn’t teach multilateralism; it teaches unilateralism. In fact, the more you drift into multilateralism the more you drift into something that man has already tried, called the tower of what? Babel, which one day the antichrist will reconstruct. Today the nations of the earth are being told over and over again that they can’t act within their own power and sovereignty to protect their own people, they have to genuflect to some global stamp of authority. I’m trying to say that that is setting the stage for the antichrist, that mindset. That is the very thing that God disrupted at the tower of Babel, which many people today are seeking to reassert.
Wallace goes on and he says: “The United States should rather have gone to a world court to weigh facts and make judgments with effective multinational law enforcement.” Elsewhere, Wallace wants to depend on a much more powerful (quote) “international law and global force” (close quote). Wallace says that “only such a world court with effective power will be able to protect us.”
May I just say something to you that God has spoken on this? When you study, as we have talked about, the authority that God has vested with the individual nation/state, when people start talking like this you should automatically think that something is not right. This is contradicting the very nature of God’s social order, which is through the independent nation/state; this is the design of God.
Let me let you in on a little secret about the world court, and we might as well throw the United Nations into the mix. I like what Israel calls the U.N., the United Nothing. The United Nations and the world court is filled with people that have a value system that’s totally different than yours.
Why do I say that? Most of them are what we would call Islamic; in fact, they assert such authority within the United Nations that there’s actually a name given to them, called Islamic Cooperation where they can get together and coalesce as nations and vote a certain way. That’s why there are so many rulings in the United Nations that go against the state of Israel, Islam as we have talked about being an opponent or an enemy of the nation of Israel. Many nations in the United Nations or the World Court are what you would call Marxist nations, or recovering Marxist nations, where they’ve tried the Marxist experiment and it’s bankrupted them, so they don’t believe in free markets; they don’t believe in ownership of private property, they don’t believe in a capitalistic system, all of which I believe, as I’ve tried to defend, are biblical ideas.
Beyond that, many of these nations are so poverty stricken that they look at the United States as the great Imperialist bully sheerly out of eyes of covetousness and jealousy. And so there is always a mindset in these other nations to somehow bring America down, to make what they would call the playing field level. Now if that’s the way people in these international bodies think you can submit your decisions one after another to some sort of world body and you are never going to get a fair shake. In fact, one of our Presidents, recent Presidents, George W. Bush, our 43rd President, actually tried to go to the United Nations to secure the world’s approval before invading Iraq and Afghanistan. And he found that body was so scandal ridden and there was so much pay for play going on that he actually began to call that body irrelevant, and he said I can’t work with this body, I’m going to have to act unilaterally.
Now there were other nations that joined us but when you go into Europe, and I was in seminary at the time and I had some friends from Europe that would tell me about the climate in Europe and they would say I want you to understand something, you may like your President, George W. Bush but he is looked at like Adolf Hitler all over Europe, and all over Europe you can hear propaganda, one piece pf propaganda after another demonizing George Bush. In fact, there’s an entire book written about this, if you have an interest in it, by John Gibson. The title of the book is Hating America, The New Global Sport. It’s a documentation of all of the inflammatory rhetoric happening internationally when George W. Bush was President.
I realize that George W. Bush had problems and issues; I’m not trying to defend every little nook and cranny of his administration. I’m trying to get you to understand that the man was hated by the globalists. What was his crime? In fact, George W. Bush can’t travel anywhere he wants to go in the world. Did you know that? Because he knows that if he travels to certain locations in the world he will be immediately prosecuted for war crimes. That’s why he’s so comfortable (probably) in his ranch there in Crawford, Texas; he can’t go too far from there.
But this is the globalist mindset. Why the hatred? Here’s the hatred, here’s what it boils down to: George W. Bush acted unilaterally and not multilaterally and he never secured the world’s permission to do what he wanted. I find such an idea foreign to the pages of the Scripture. I believe that God has established the nation/state, not a global government, the nation/state to act within its own sovereignty and power to fulfill a God-ordained function.
And by the way, this issue of globalists, you may notice, maybe you don’t, we just turned over the internet, an American experiment, that has brought tremendous entrepreneurship, job creation, freedom of speech, just willy-nilly we turned the whole invention, created within these borders, to an international body of some kind, some murky international body filled with who? Filled with people who (A) are communists or Marxists or Third World poverty stricken nations, who don’t know anything about free speech. In fact, if you gave them a test on free speech and the First Amendment they wouldn’t think anything of it, they don’t know anything about it. And how smart is it to turn the internet over to a group like that? This is the great conflict that is happening in our world between nationalism and the nation state and globalism.
And by the way, if the political leaders of America are listening to some sort of global consensus in determining whether they’re going to act or not, who are they not listening to? They’re not listening to you, Mr. and Mrs. America. They are not listening to what Abraham Lincoln and The Declaration of Independence and The United States Constitution call “We the people.” It is an acquiescence of authority away from the nation back to a world power. But many pacifists think this way.
Others use this argument: you need to love your neighbor. How can you support aggressive military intervention when Matthew 22:39 says “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” How can you support the bombing of Kaddafi’s headquarters when the Bible is so clear that we ought to love our neighbor? Well, let me tell you something. The moment the United States intervened in World War II and liberated those in concentration camps, was that not an act of love? That was an act of liberation, and that’s what the idea of peace through strength is. There is no such thing as perfection in a fallen world but there is a way that government is to operate to minimize death, to maintain the social order, to prevent the violence from reasserting itself that was reasserting itself just prior to the flood. I think that’s an act of love, not destruction.
Now the big issue people raise is Exodus 20:13, commandment number 6. Let’s test the Bible literacy of the congregation here, shall we do that? You all fill in the blank: “Thou shalt not…” 25% of you got it right, 75% of you got it wrong. The commandment is “Thou shalt” the commandment is not “Thou shalt not kill.” The commandment is “Thou shalt not murder.” In fact, the Hebrew word that’s used there, ratsakh, is the word “murder” which is something completely different than killing. In fact, God sent out the Israelis many times in the Old Testament to do war and as that bloodshed is described in the Old Testament, not a single time, there’s about 50 usages, where God sends out His people to do war; never is the word “murder” used. Never is the same word used that’s prohibited in Exodus 20:13. The command is not thou shalt not murder… I got it wrong, I flunked the test, [laughter] The commandment is not thou shalt not kill, rather the commandment is “thou shalt not” what? “murder, that’s what the Hebrew actually says.
Is there a difference between killing and murder? There’s a world of difference. Murder involves evil motive; the lawyers call it malice of forethought. That’s what Cain did to Abel, murder. But killing in the name of government to prevent greater evil is never in the Bible called murder; it’s called killing. If somebody comes into my house and they threaten my wife and my daughter and I use reasonable self-defense to contain them to protect myself, my wife and my daughter and they lose their life in the process, that is not an act of murder; that’s an act of killing. The Bible prevents murder, it does not prevent killing. How could the Bible speak against killing when God gave the Noahic Covenant, Genesis 9:6. [Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.”] How could He speak unilaterally or completely or comprehensively against killing when He gave the instructions to the Apostle Paul about government bearing its sword.
And in fact, you ought to, and we’ve covered this verse before, you ought to write down and circle in your Bible Luke 22:36; this is what sweet little Jesus said to the disciples; you ready! “And He said to them, ‘But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword” what do you do with a sword? It’s an instrument of death, “whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.’” What He’s telling His disciples as he sends them out into hostile circumstances is you need an instrument of self-defense. He is not preaching the doctrine that you find in Islam of conversion through the sword. What He is talking about is reasonable self-defense and having the means necessary for reasonable self-defense. That’s a biblical idea. That whole command would make no sense if the Bible completely and comprehensively banned killing.
Other people use his argument: Doesn’t Matthew 5:39 talk about turning the other cheek? Doesn’t Matthew 5:39 say, “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on” which cheek? This is very important, “whoever slaps you on” which cheek “your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” And people say well, there it is in the Bible, don’t resist an evil person, whoever slaps you, you’re not allowed to retaliate. May I just say something; that that comes from the Sermon on the Mount. What is the Sermon on the Mount talking about? It’s talking about the relationship of one human being to another; interpersonal relationship is what it is dealing with. It is not at all dealing with the relationship of the state to sinful humanity. To read into that some kind of pacifist argument that governments are not allowed to root out terrorism and to assume that the Sermon on the Mount speaks against it is to wrench out of context the Sermon on the Mount.
In other words, you’re going to the wrong passage to prove your point. You need to instead interact with the Noahic Covenant, Romans 13; those become the important passages. And by the way, if I’m going to slap you on the right cheek what does that mean? That means I’m doing this (under handed slap), that’s the only way I can hit you on the right cheek, right, if I do this. What is this? This is an idiom in Jewish culture for an insult. It doesn’t talk about being hit on the other cheek, which is like this (over handed punch), see that? This is an assault. You guys didn’t know I was going to do visuals up here did you? (Laughter) This is an assault (over handed punch); this is an idiom for an insult (underhanded slap). When Jesus, in Matthew 5:39 says, “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also,” He’s not dealing with the issue of self-defense; He’s not dealing with the issue of an assault. He’s dealing with the issue of an insult. He’s dealing with how we are to act as God’s people when people insult us, NOT reasonable self-defense.
And so I find Christians using the Bible all of the time to support a doctrine of pacifism where the Bible doesn’t even support such an idea. Look at Luke 3:14 for a minute, and I know my time is almost up, we’ll stop here because there are many people that will tell you that serving in the Armed Forces is anti-Christian; serving in the military is anti-Christian, serving as a police officer is anti-Christian. Those are occupations and professions the pacifists tell us that Christians should have no part in. In fact, one of the members of our youth group as Gabe was giving the presentation showed one of our graduates being sworn in to the Armed Forces in our business meeting and we were all so proud of that. And yet a pacifist would come along and say that person is in sin, and you as a church should not support that activity.
Notice Luke 3:14, this is John the Baptist, John the Baptist is called the greatest prophet ever by Jesus. And this is what John the Baptist said, “Some soldiers,” see that, “Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, ‘And what about us, what shall we do?’” A lot of people under John the Baptist’s ministry were repenting; some soldiers heard John the Baptist’s message and they said what should we do. What does John the Baptist answer, Luke 3:14, “And he said to them, ‘Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.’” Did you notice that John the Baptist never told these soldiers to drop out of the military, which obviously he would have done had those involved in the military been involved in some kind of inherent sin? What he says is don’t abuse your position of power; that’s what John the Baptist condemned. He never condemned service in the military itself. In fact, I think we need to elevate service in the military; we need to start seeing people that want to serve in the military and put their own lives into Harm’s way and our police officers [clapping]. We need to start seeing them as ministers, not people to deprecate.
Over in Acts 10, the first Gentile gets saved. The whole church is Jewish up to this point. Peter shares the gospel with the first Gentile convert. Anybody know the name of that convert? A guy named Cornelius. Who was Cornelius? He was a Roman what? Centurion. There were probably, and I’ve looked at different commentators on this, there were probably about a hundred men under the command of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion. And yet what does Cornelius do? Peter leads him to Christ and never in the book of Acts, chapter 10, does Peter say to Cornelius, you know, you really ought to drop out of the military because it’s just not the will of God to do such a thing.
Well, what causes terrorism, depravity, coming into contact with a false ideology? What doesn’t work with terrorism? It is moving away from peace through strength. What does deter terrorism? The consistent application of the peace through strength, doctrine, and you say now wait a minute Pastor, can’t the government go too far in rooting out terrorism? And the answer is, you’ll have to come back next week to find out. Let’s pray.
Father, we are grateful for Your truth, we’re grateful for Your Word in this political season as we think about issues that confront us regularly. Father, I just pray if anybody is here within the sound of my voice and they have never trusted in Your provision, I pray even as I speak the Spirit would convict them, that today would be the day when they trust, which is what faith means, completely in Your provision, Jesus Christ. We, Father, are so thankful that Jesus came into the world to do something which we could never do, pay our sin debt. And by believing or trusting in Him we have eternity with You forever and a relationship with You here and now. I ask, Father, if anybody is in that unsaved condition that even as I speak, within the sound of my voice that they would respond to Your gospel, trusting in You and You alone, not in raising a hand, joining a church, giving money, walking an aisle, vowing to do better, no human work but trusting exclusively in You. I pray that even as I speak, Father, You would convict men and women of that and they would do so. And for the rest of us Father I pray that we would continue to allow the Scripture to renew the way we think as we have so much to offer and say from Your Word in a culture that’s obviously very confused and has wandered far from the light of Your truth. We ask that you’ll do this great work in our midst. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said, Amen.