By Randall Terry
Published November 1, 1993
After nearly fifteen years in Christian ministry, I have been through more battles (and certainly more jails!) than most Christians will go through in a lifetime. As I have observed the Church throughout the second half of the seventies, the eighties, and now the nineties, I have been hopeful at her potential, yet troubled, dismayed, and even brokenhearted at her inability – or unwillingness – to stand for God and His Word in our nation and to impact the culture at large.
Most Christians today pay lip service to the concept of “Higher Law.” They acknowledge that God’s Law is higher than man’s law. Even those who are the most rabidly against Operation Rescue, even those who say we should always obey the law of man, celebrate the Fourth of July. So much for consistency.
I’ll bet that most Christians in America have never stopped to seriously meditate on “The Fourth of July,” its biblical and philosophical underpinnings, and what the Declaration of Independence meant for the signers.
- It meant the signers were breaking the law.
- It meant that they were guilty of treason.
- It meant that they were prepared to go to war for the freedoms we take for granted.
- It meant that real men fired real bullets at other real men who shed blood, died excruciating, real deaths, and left behind real grieving widows and orphans on both sides of the war.
The American Revolution was not a debate about Romans 13 nor a civics lesson on freedom. It was a war for freedom dedicated to the proposition that all men are created endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights; it was a war founded on a belief in Higher Law.
Tragically, while most Christians pay lip service to “Higher Law,” they do not possess a concrete or even modest conviction or understanding of Higher Law.
Those Christians who argue against Operation Rescue or smuggling Bibles into China or praying at high school graduations on the basis of Romans 13 have foolishly turned the Bible on its head. They have made God’s Word subservient to man’s evil law – in the name of Romans 13. In the name of the Bible, they subjugate the Bible to pagans. Unfortunately, those “law and order” Christians have not looked at the whole Bible, nor rightly divided the Word of Truth. Let’s take a little closer look at Romans 13:1-5:
Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause for 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 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 for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
Please note that God ordained government to punish wicked doers and to praise the righteous. Question: What do we do when the government rejects its God-ordained duty and does the exact opposite – praising and protecting the wicked, while punishing and persecuting the righteous? This passage does not deal with that dilemma.
I believe the apostle Peter answered the question most succinctly when he said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Again and again we see in the Scriptures that when God’s law and man’s law conflict, the saints of God must obey God.*
The saints of God “broke the law” not only when they were commanded to do evil, but when they were commanded not to do good. “Don’t pray!” Daniel was told. “Don’t preach,” the apostles were told. Christians nowadays are told, “Don’t rescue babies”; “Don’t smuggle Bibles”; “Don’t preach about political matters in your church”; “Don’t pray at school commencements.”
We need to do some serious studying and thinking and do it fast. The conflict between God’s Law and man’s law is not only in the realms I’ve mentioned. The battle is intensifying in America on a multitude of fronts. The pagans are using the law to slowly crush biblical morality and justice on all fronts. The God-haters are using the law to harass and intimidate families and churches who believe and practice the teachings of the Bible. “Children’s rights” lunatics are using the law to persecute parents who spank their children. The statists are slowly using man’s law to obtain control over what pastors preach and whom they hire.
First Principle – God Rules
We’ve got to accept this simple principle: God rules. His Law is supreme. And he requires all men in all nations at all times to obey his laws. And when His law and man’s law conflict, His law is the unquestionable authority. Man’s law at that point is unrighteous tyranny.
For those who doubt this conclusion, please consider these questions:
- Whose law is eternal – God’s or man’s?
- Can God’s Law be rescinded, revised or improved?
- Does God hold His Law or man’s law to be higher when the two are in conflict?
- Does God want His people to obey His Law or man’s when the two are in conflict?
- Does God hold all rulers in all nations – including non-Christians – accountable to His Law, or are the lost free to do what they want?
If the lost are free to do as they please, to what standard will God hold them accountable? By what standard will He judge them? How can the Holy Spirit convict them of sin if the measure of sin (the Law) has been removed? We need to forever settle in our minds and hearts the supremacy of God’s Law. While we quibble over what place we think the Bible should have in culture and law, our enemies know exactly where they want the Bible.
Our Enemies’ Vision for the Bible
Our enemies want the complete eradication of Christianity and biblical principles from our public schools, our city, county, state, and federal governments.
The secular Humanist elite preach “tolerance,” but they are absolutely intolerant of a God-centered, Bible-based view of law and culture. They want the influence of the Law of God eradicated from this nation (except, of course, that part in Romans 13 that the pietists wrongly believe calls them to submit to the pagan government’s every demand – rebels in power love to wave Romans 13 in front of Christians).
The pagan elite and Bible-phobes boldly march forward, trying to stamp out biblical Christianity, while we timidly speak of a “Judeo-Christian ethic,” “pluralism,” and “tolerance.” I believe that those Christian leaders, teachers, and pastors who side with man’s law above God’s Law are unwitting collaborators with the enemy for America’s demise. They might mean well – they might be sincere – but they are sincerely deceived and sincerely deceiving.
Our Vision of the Bible
Let us be just as bold – no, more bold – than God’s enemies. Not only is God’s Law above man’s law, but it must undergird man’s law. For man’s law to be legitimate, it must be founded on biblical law.
We want our nation and all its institutions to be self-consciously built on the laws and principles of God’s Word. Any other foundation will crumble. God’s Law is over all human authority. And God’s Law is the only unchanging, transcendent law from heaven, the only set of moral absolutes upon which human authority can rest.
Those Christian leaders who insist that we not enter the cultural fray with the Ten Commandments as our spoken foundation are misguided, and they are leading the church astray. Not only are many Christian leaders unsure of the supremacy of God’s Law over man’s law, but they question whether or not we should even discuss human law in connection with biblical law. They feel it’s out of bounds for us.
The antichrists in power like nothing better than when pastors proclaim hell’s party lines: “Religion and politics don’t mix, “and “Don’t bring politics in the church,” and “We live in a pluralistic society, so we can’t bring our Christian convictions into politics.” This is foolishness, a deception from hell. The rebels in power pronounce their rebellion against God, and we so much as tell them this is their right, that God accepts their “pluralistic” rebellion.
But God warns them: “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling, Kiss he Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way” (Psalm 2:11,12).
Equal Time With Hell
Yet another attempt at compromise that many Christian leaders have come up with at first seems reasonable, but it is rotten to the core. It goes like this: “We just want equal time.”
Wrong! We don’t want “equal time” with baby-killers, condom pushers, New Agers, and sodomite recruiters. We do not want them to have any access to public schools. We won’t tolerate their having a single minute to expose our children or anyone else’s children to their godless agenda. Planned Parenthood, Queer nation and their cohorts form hell have no right to give the time of day to children in school and fill their unsuspecting minds with filth. We don’t want equal time, because we want them to have no time.
We will not put the flawless, eternal Word of God on the same par with godless laws, or the ungodly lies of men and demons. God’s Law is supreme and will abide forever. man’s rebellious thoughts are as chaff for the fire.
Intolerance Is a Beautiful Thing
In the light of God’s holy, flawless, unchanging eternal Word, we have a duty to be intolerant of the pagan world agenda. They often accuse uss of being intolerant. We should wear this intended insult as a badge of honor.
Consider a few biblical figures:
- David was intolerant of Goliath (1 Sam. 17).
- The prophet Elijah was intolerant of Jezebel (1 Kings 18,21).
- The apostle Paul was intolerant of books on witchcraft – the books were burned! (How’s that for being politically incorrect! See Acts 19:19).
Or let’s consider some recent historical figures who were intolerant – including men and women the so-called liberals cherish.
- Thomas Jefferson was intolerant of King George III.
- George Washington was intolerant of British troops.
- Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman were intolerant of slavery.
- Susan B. Anthony – a pro-life suffragette – was intolerant of only men voting.
- Lech Walesa is intolerant of communism.
- And Mother Teresa is intolerant of abortion.
Intolerance is a beautiful thing!
Long Live Righteous Intolerance!
In the book of Revelation, Jesus rebuked the church of Thyatira because “You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads my bondservants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols” (Rev. 2:20).
So please, don’t waver. Your love for God and His Word should make you intolerant of abominations and perversions. We must reach out in mercy to those who are trapped in sin; we must offer the grace of God to His enemies, but we are not called to shower “mush love” on those who are knowingly, deliberately leading people astray. We must warn the enemies’ leaders of the coming judgment of God and encourage them to repent and turn to Christ.
But we must also denounce their agenda and fearlessly rebuke their paganism, especially in public settings. Your allegiance to the King of the Universe should make you intolerant of the prophets of Baal – the leaders and the agenda of the rebels of our day. In fact, you may want to read 1 Kings 18 to see the contempt God’s prophets have for Baal’s prophets. The false prophets were proclaiming lies. Elijah was prophesying God’s Word. Elijah mocked them.
Why? Because Elijah knew the only true God and had received His Word. The prophets of Baal were following deceptive demons, prophesying lies, and leading the people astray. Elijah did not dignify their pagan deity, pagan ideas, and pagan immorality by showing pluralistic respect for what he knew was a hellish lie.
God’s Law is supreme. Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word will not. And if the culture is going to survive, every power base must be rebuilt on the bedrock of God’s Law. We cannot compromise with the prophets of Baal. We cannot appease those who are dedicated to our demise.
- See Ex. 1:15-2:5; Heb. 11:23; Josh. 2; Dan. 3; Dan. 6; Matt. 2:1-12; Acts 9:23-25; Acts 12:5-10; 2 Cor. 11:32-33.
Reprinted by permission of the author: How Does a Nice Guy Like Me Keep Getting Thrown in Jail? chapter three: “God’s Law Is Supreme.”
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Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
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