the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
Frankly this is inconsistent. We all agree that murder, theft, kidnapping and rape are wrong (with most Christians agreeing those crimes deserve the punishments demanded by Scripture), but many Christians are loathe to admit that these are examples of employing biblical law in this modern age. Instead, Believers attempt to point to “natural law” as the source of a basic criminal code. The idea is that a natural aversion toward murder and so on, is built in to the very being of humanity because man was created in God’s image.
There is some truth to this position. However it ignores the fact that sin has perverted the sense of deity in humanity and any appeal to natural law ends in relativism. To natural man, natural law is simply the survival of the fittest. Therefore, consistent natural law would suggest that there is no such thing as murder, there is only might which makes right.
More could be said about the futility of appealing to natural law but what I want to discuss is the proper manner of applying God’s law to this modern age; specifically an examination of HR 3200 (the House resolution seeking to impose federally controlled universal health care) in light of biblical law.
All Christians should object to HR 3200 because it will open the door to State funded abortion. We know this because there is no prohibition against doing so in the bill. Christians should also oppose HR 3200 because it mandates “end-of-life counseling” for patients who experience a dramatic decline in health, especially senior citizens.
Yet, let us suppose that these and other sticky issues were eliminated from the bill: could we then support this legislation? The answer according to the Bible is no.
In the Bible we are presented with four categories of sphere sovereignty (sovereignty under God): the Individual, the Family, the Church and the State. None of the four is absolutely sovereign. Each is beholden to God and required to cooperate with the others. The authority of each sphere is indicated by the symbol applied to it in Scripture. The realm of the individual is often designated by the term “soul.” The symbol of the family is the rod of correction. The authority of the Church is defined by the keys and the power of the state is symbolized by the sword.
When we wish to understand the application of a particular law, a first step is to discover the means of imposing sanctions for disobedience to that law. For instance, the Bible teaches that the conscience of the individual is under the jurisdiction of God himself. Even God does not force the conscience of man. Indeed, the offer of salvation is freely accepted or rejected by each individual. We know that the individual conscience is not under the authority of the other institutions because the sanction for rejecting the Gospel is pronounced in the court of God. Rejecting Christ’s offer of salvation is punished by eternity in hell not by a spanking or a stint in prison. True, the Church is instructed to withhold the sacraments from those who reject the Gospel but that serves to warn the sinner of a future punishment from the hand of God.
The Bible says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child but it does not say that a youngster should be turned away from the Lord’s table or that he should serve time behind bars for his childish ways. Instead it says that the rod of reproof will drive foolishness far from him.
More Next Week.