Monday, January 14, 2013

Spirit of 1776 or Spirit of Rebellion

Let me be clear right at the outset. This post may be controversial to many. Even so, the questions that I will be referencing are important for those of us who identify ourselves as Christian believers. I can tell you quite frankly that I am not sure where I will end up landing on the issue. You'll see why in a moment.

Guns are a hot debate again in American society, pushed to the forefront of the news by another nutcase shooting up a school, as well as by opportunistic anti-2nd Amendment politicians and their acolytes in the media. I am a proud NRA member and have been for years. I am also probably among the last of the generation that had the opportunity to attend a public school where traditional patriotism was taught and upheld in my elementary education years. The leftward drift had begun, of course, but the small town in which I was raised had plenty of old-school teachers still on the job. I am thankful that I grew up to be a patriot who loved my country, and also cherished the great gift given to us by our Founding Fathers—and ultimately by God.

But within Christianity, another debate is out there if you look for it. There has always been a pacifist strain in the faith, with adherents believing any use of deadly force by a believer was wrong, i.e. sin. Others follow the "Just War" doctrine of Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas. Many believe that use of deadly force is entirely appropriate in self-defense or the defense of others, interpreting the Lord Jesus' command to "turn the other cheek" as applying to personal offenses. That has long been my view.

Complicating this a bit are other places in Scripture where believers seemingly did not resist governmental authority and went to their deaths without trying to defend themselves. Many cite Romans 13 and other places in Scripture where submission to authority seems to be an absolute command. Others see something else in Romans 13—namely, that if the purpose of authority is to "restrain evildoers," and the authority stops doing that and begins oppressing and terrorizing the righteous, then it is no longer a legitimate government and can be resisted. Theologians and teachers I respect come down in different places on this subject.

Some point out that those jailed and killed in Scripture were penalized for their faith, the advance of the Gospel. Christians are not to spread the faith by the sword, and if you are suffering for the sake of the Gospel, then we are to follow the example laid out before us in Scripture and be witnesses faithful until death. But if faith is not the issue and its simply political tyranny, then the door may be open more broadly to resist with force.

Yet others point to the unique nature of the United States and the country's founding values. The Declaration of Independence clearly sets out the right of the people to alter or change a repressive government, and the Constitution—the supreme law of the land—restricts government power. The Founding Fathers would have had no debate on the meaning of the Second Amendment. Its purpose was—and always has been—to give the people "teeth" to resist a government gone tyrannical. That mindset is in our very makeup, the American DNA.

It is an interesting and troubling question. Kings and Emperors governed largely in the biblical period. There was no government such as America in biblical times with a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution. Some theologians today say our Founding Fathers were sinning against God because they rebelled against King George and the British government, and Scripture says "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." And to "obey the governing authorities." (Keep in mind the different interpretation of Romans 13 and how far that obedience needs to go)

But if the very supreme law and founding documents of your government recognize a right of the people to resist and overthrow an unjust, tyrannical government, is it then sin to adhere to that supreme law, and insist that your governing authorities recognize it, and be ready to lose their positions if not their heads if they dare try to become tyrants?

God's law outweighs human law, of course. And as believers, in the end we must be obedient to the Lord and not men. Those who fought for American independence thought they were just in their cause, and that God was on their side. No doubt the other side found some justification for their position.

With this gun debate ranging, the question lies—just how far will the Obama Administration and rabidly anti-gun lawmakers try to go in clear defiance of the Supreme Court and of the Constitution? Will they chip away and lull people to sleep, taking away rights bit by bit? Or are they so emboldened that they will try outright confiscation, which they will certainly not announce ahead of time. They'd just do it. And you know as well as I do. There are those who will not give up their firearms, believing it is their unalienable right to hold them. Are those smug, self-righteous politicians (protected themselves by armed guards) ready to take responsibility for the bloodshed that will result if there is a confiscation scheme tried?

What if—God forbid—there does end up being a large-scale insurrection over this issue? What will we as Christians do? Where will we stand? We have enjoyed freedom for more than 200 years, but our sin as a nation and forgetting of God has resulted in the decay of values and morals that has brought us to this point in time. We now have the freedom to worship freely, although even that seems to be losing ground. Are we ready as believers to face persecution and oppression?

What is the right thing to do? I hope and pray that I am not placed in the position that I will have to make that final choice. May the Lord come and take His people home to be with Him before we are put to that test. But we may not be. The thought of bloodshed grieves my heart. The thought of hundreds if not thousands of people being rounded up and put in concentration camps makes my blood run cold. There are some who think there are plans to do just that, and I can honestly find no credible evidence that this is the case (and yes, I've seen all the websites and pictures that claim to document it. I am not convinced). If you fall for wild conspiracy theories, then you lose all credibility and people will not heed you when a real crisis does arise.

Let's pray for peace, and let's pray that cooler heads will prevail. Let's pray that President Obama, Vice President Biden, Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the other far-left gun banners will give up their nonsense, and put the focus where it should be—enforcing existing law and doing more to get guns out of the hands of nutcases, plus turning the focus on the forces in society that are causing young kids, teenagers and others to turn into narcissistic, soulless mass murderers. Reform the mental health system and let's reverse this ridiculous "de-institutionalization" idea that has been a disaster. Leave people's 2nd Amendment rights alone, and stop making it harder for the law-abiding to exercise their rights.

I do believe there is one cardinal truth here. It's been this way internationally for eons, and it is the same here, no matter how much the left swells up like puffer fish and deny it. The ultimate intention is to completely disarm the people. And once the people are disarmed, they are sitting ducks to be victimized by whatever government wants to do to them. Right now, government can't. The people as it stands right now have the means to defend themselves. That's why they're so desperate to disarm you. I wish they'd just admit the truth, but they can't.

As a believer, I would much rather focus on spreading Christ's love, teaching Bible and sharing the Gospel with any who will hear. I pray that I will be able to do this for a good many years to come.

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