German Homeschool Case May Impact U.S. Homeschool Freedom, by Michael Farris:
Michael Farris and I go way back. We worked shoulder to shoulder together in the ’80s on many issues – and have the battle scars to prove it.
For the last several decades, he has been on the forefront of homeschool and religious liberty issues. We would do well to heed his warning.
Leading up to Tuesday’s elections here in the United States, I often used this blog and Facebook to urge Christians to vote. (See Does Jesus Want You to Vote?)
When I did, I always got heated push back – mainly from other Christians who oppose Biblical civic engagement.
Generally, they think God is only interested our personal relationships with Him, or that He is solely focused on the Church.
Yesterday was the 123rd anniversary of Hitler’s birth. The fact that we do not celebrate his birth or the evil he did is a testimony to those who gave their lives to stop him.
One such man was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a brilliant theologian and humble pastor who wrote two of the great Christian classics of the twentieth century, The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together.
For Bonhoeffer, his faith was not just a private matter or limited only to the church. As he saw firsthand the horrors of Nazi Germany, he resolved to stop them and became involved in a plot to overthrow the government. The plot failed and Bonhoeffer was arrested. He eventually was martyred by Hitler, who imprisoned him in a German concentration camp and then hanged him.
I may be a citizen of the Kingdom of God, but the precinct where God has me live and vote is here in Virginia.
Because of my citizenship in Christ’s Kingdom…
Because the Lord rose triumphantly from the grave and declared that “all authority on heaven and earth has been given to me”…
And because of His concurrent command in Matt. 28 to therefore go transform all “nations” (the Greek word is “ethne”, which actually means cultures)…
I take the time to understand the issues and the candidates – and then vote.
S&P downgraded the United States last night.
I hope and pray that this will serve as a wake-up call for the Church to realize that Biblical precepts can’t be mocked if any nation wants to survive. If God’s people don’t begin to understand, articulate and follow those precepts, then there is no hope.
One of those precepts is that God has ordained certain roles and responsibilities for civil government, and Scripture has lots to say about how individuals, families, the Church, the State and voluntary associations are to function.
However, there is not a single verse or example in all of Scripture which lends any credence to the view that God has given civil government the right or responsibility to re-distribute wealth or provide for our individual health or income. See The Growing Idolatry of Civil Government.
So you’ve tried to follow the procedure of 1 Tim. 5, as discussed in Part 3 of this series, by investigating and exposing church leaders who abused their positions of power and trust.
But what if you were rebuffed?
Or what if – despite public reprimand, confession and repentance – you reasonably fear that they may continue preying on others or the church is not providing restitution for the harm you’ve been bearing? Scripturally, do you have additional options?
More specifically, is it ever proper to seek help from the courts and secular authorities to deal with pastoral sexual abuse or churches which allowed it to happen? After all, doesn’t 1 Cor. 6 say we should not sue another brother?
In return for a little less freedom, civil government ever seeks to solve problems we should be solving on our own through individual responsibility, family support, personal charity or voluntary associations. As we’ve continued to trade liberty for government “solutions” (which never in reality actually solve much, but often make things worse), little by little we’ve become increasingly enslaved.
Every American should watch this cartoon from 1948 and heed its warning about Utopian promises to fix all of our problems. It is more relevant today than ever before.
May we once again find the courage, and the common sense, to stand tall as free men and free women.
For a related bog, take a look at The Growing Idolatry of Civil Government.
“The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” — Margaret Thatcher.
Some may think we’ve not yet sunk into the clutches of socialism — which happens when we have a state-run economy. But consider this: In 2009, federal and state governments will consume 40 percent of the United States’ TOTAL gross domestic product.
This means that nearly half of all the wealth generated in America this year will be taken by civil government to fund its ever expanding control over more and more of our lives and our economy. As a result, we have run out of money while undercutting the means for producing future wealth.
Yet the federal government seeks to expand its reach even more.
It’s the 4th of July weekend here in the United States, and I was thinking about the first time I truly fell in love with America.
It was during my first trip overseas on my own, at the ripe old age of 21, after a year of grad school at Westminster Theological Seminary. I was sitting in Trafalgar Square in London on Independence Day, after more than a month of backpacking through the British Isles. It had been a grand trip of personal discovery as I hitchhiked from town to town, ate my meals in open air markets, slept on church steps, and occasionally visited youth hostels to take a shower. During my stay in Scotland, someone had given me the book “When Free Men Shall Stand,” and I had been reading it off and on during my travels.
As my trip was coming to a close and I was hanging out in London waiting for a stand-by airline seat home, I finished the book while sitting in that park. For the first time, I started looking back at America through the filter of another culture and began thinking about what made America unique. Many, like me that day, never really discover America until they’ve had the opportunity to leave her.
At that time in the United Kingdom, Thatcher had not yet been elected Prime Minister and the Liberal Party was wrecking that nation with policies that destroyed personal responsibility and initiative. Even as a twenty-one year old, the culture and the people, by and large, struck me as bland, crass and dominated by attitudes of entitlement. As money was being sucked out of the economy to feed that sense of personal entitlement at the hand of big brother, hope and opportunity were dying.
As a result, the Brits had lost their spark and zest for life. It finally was dawning on me that those qualities are vital for any people. I also was beginning to realize that those qualities had persevered in America because of the ideals that sparked the revolution of 1776 and then the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Those ideals, in turn, were gleaned by our Founding Fathers from Biblical principles that gave birth to the first Constitutional Republic to grace the earth in nearly 3000 years (since dying out when Israel foolishly chose a King rather than continuing as a constitutional republic under the Decalogue through locally chosen representative leaders).
I very much had been a liberal activist until then, but started weeping that day as I suddenly realized how I had taken for granted – and been ignorant about – the principles in our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I also began to appreciate how truly revolutionary the core value of our Founding Fathers had been: Mainly, that the liberty to pursue virtue requires limited civil government, and that the greatest danger to virtue and liberty is a government which assumes the prerogatives of individual responsibility under the guise of benevolence.
I came back a changed man.
Are there any other 4th of July stories out there, or tales about your own political and cultural epiphanies, as we celebrate Independence Day?
(c) Copyright 2009, Fulcrum Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
The following is an op-ed I wrote and the Baltimore Sun published on December 3, 1986. I was in my late twenties at that time and leading the main pro-life, pro-family organization in Maryland, which I started six years earlier and had over 15,000 active members with offices next to the General Assembly in Annapolis. I like to say I’m now a refugee from Maryland living the good life in Virginia. I no longer describe myself as “fundamentalist”, at least regarding my attitudes, even though I strongly adhere to the essentials of the faith.
I’m re-publishing the op-ed because it’s interesting to see how much has changed, yet how much remains the same!