By Editorial Staff
Published April 24, 2008
by Stephen McDowell and Mark Beliles
THE WORLD IS CHANGING RAPIDLY TODAY. Nations are looking for ways to bring prosperity to their lands. The Bible teaches and history confirms that to the degree a nation applies the principles of the Word of God to all aspects of the society is the degree to which that nation obtains freedom and prosperity.
Nations seeking to shift from communistic economic systems to a free market (or from state control to more self-government) must recognize that they will never accomplish their goals unless the people have the proper foundation in character and thought.
It is not enough to set up external structures, even if they have worked in other nations and have been part of the best and most free governments in history. We must remember that good structures are not enough because the best government in ill hands can do nothing great or good.
No nation can long endure without virtue or morality in the people. A loss of principles and manners is the greatest threat to a free people and will cause its downfall more surely than any foreign enemy. Samuel Adams, the father of the American Revolution, said, “While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.” He went on to say that the greatest security from enslavement in a country is virtue or morality among the people.
People of character will desire to observe the law and will not willfully take the life, liberty or property of others. Consequently, people will not live in fear of other citizens. In addition, less government will be required in a virtuous nation. Since fewer people will violate the law, a large police force and judicial system will not be needed. Law-making bodies will also have less to do because prohibitive laws will be at a minimum, as citizens will constrain themselves.
In a virtuous nation the rulers will be moral. This produces more freedom because the rulers will not usurp individual rights through bad legislation and they will not steal from people through fiat money, excessive or graduated taxes, or other means. Consequently, people will not live in fear of civil government.
What is virtue or character? Virtue has been defined as a conformity to a standard of right, and also a voluntary obedience to truth. Character is a convictional belief that results in consistent behavior.
Character literally means “to stamp and engrave through pressure.” This sums up nicely what God is doing in the lives of Christians. God’s plan is to make each person like Him. Romans 8:29 tells us that God has predestined that Christians, as His children, are to be conformed into the image of Christ. He is building His character within His people, or you might say He is stamping and engraving His image upon His people. He is doing this so that they might be examples of Him to the world and, also, that they may be able to fulfill His purpose for their lives.
The Basis of Happiness
History has shown that virtue and character in a people is the basis of happiness in a society and is absolutely necessary for a state to long remain free. As human nature is corrupted, the foundations of freedom are easily destroyed.
Following are some characteristics of virtuous citizens:
- They will have a concern for the common good above their own self-interest.
- They will vigorously participate in local, regional, and national government, and will seek to correct wrong conduct in public officials.
- If necessary, they will risk their life, fortune, and honor for their country.
- They will perform their duties and seek to have right conduct in public and private.
A free market economy is dependent upon the people being virtuous because such a people:
- Will not steal from their employees or others. Such theft increases the cost of goods and services for everyone.
- Will have a strong work ethic and be productive. This hard labor will cause the economy to grow.
- Will respect contracts.
- Will save and invest to acquire a greater return later.
- Will have a concern for their posterity and will seek to pass on a greater estate than they received.
- Will not waste public resources and will be good stewards of the environment.
Therefore, a lack of character in the people can produce the following: a stagnant or declining economy, corrupt laws, a lack of smooth transition from one political leader or party to another after elections, a corrupt military that may take control of the government, and increased power in civil government to attempt to solve the many problems that result from lack of character in the people.
A virtuous people will be vigilant to work to establish a free nation and then also to maintain it. Eternal vigilance is the price to maintain liberty. People of character will be eternally vigilant to secure their rights and demand that their government’s power remain limited.
From Liberating the Nations: Biblical Principles of Government, Education, Economics, and Politics, by Stephen K. McDowell and Mark A. Beliles, Providence Foundation, ©1991. Used with permission.
Forerunner - Home » The Mandate Newspaper » The Mandate - Volume 2, Number 2
Your comments are welcome!
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these six short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)