Monday, February 23, 2009

Submit to Government?

How are Christians to submit to the government? Here is what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 13: 1

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong.

Here are six thoughts that can help us interpret his passage (The rule is, we interpret Scripture via Scripture).

  1. Typically governments are to do good and punish the wicked. If we reject government, we end up with anarchy. In Judges, 17:6, “those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes” It was not a good time for Israel…ultimately they clamored for a King (Saul).

  2. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). However, God is fully involved in the affairs of nations. Jesus submitted to the governing authority of His time (Pontius Pilot) and allowed an unjust arrest but to what purpose? God’s ultimately higher plan.

  3. Even when laws are unjust or unfair, we are not to rebel against the authority (to the point of anarchy), but obey the laws and typically work within the system for justice and mercy. Are there some laws that are unjust? Yes, and it was true during Paul’s day; but Paul sent a runaway slave back to his Christian master (Philemon 1:17), and provided specific instructions to both masters and slaves in his epistles to Ephesus and Colossae.

  4. Benjamin Franklin's statement: "God governs in the affairs of men" was fully embraced by those leaders of the colonial government of the time…at the time of a revolution. His statement is fully reflected in Jer. 27:5-7:
    "It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes; then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave."

  5. Submission, however, does not rule out criticism or working for change within the government The American Revolution was led by many Christians who were well aware of Romans 13, a passage often described as the “Rule of Kings” and they generally were taught by their Biblical scholars that Romans 13 meant they were not to overthrow government as an institution and live in anarchy. Today as well as then, it would be rare that the passage be interpreted to mean that Christians are to submit to every civil law.

  6. We are to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4), however, that doesn't mean that we don't have to always be polite in the way we talk about them. Jesus called Herod, "that fox", (Luke 13:32) not a very complimentary term, but likely a pretty good use of the word.

  7. Note that in the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11, many of those who were included and identified as heroes of the faith were guilty not submitting to government--including Daniel, his friends, Shadrack Meshack and Abendigo, the Hebrew women who allowed the little Hebrew boys to live and Moses, the Lawgiver. The Apostles, in Acts 4 & 5 also said they would obey God rather than the governing authorities.

Friday, February 20, 2009

If no one fails, we all lose

So this is how we now define longer any failure!

So the auto companies may not have made really wise decisions in the past in their spending or product selection or in dealing with the UAW? No problem, let's give them tens of billions of dollars and we'll make sure that none of them fail.

Had this been the philosophy of government the past 100 years, we would still be propping up companies that made typewriters, buggy whips and rotary telephones. Capitalism, by design, is going to create winners and losers. Without business and product graveyards, we don't get the opportunity to see new businesses open, new industries created and healthy financial cycles started.

When companies are left alone and they either have to adapt or fail, their adaptation and success brings innovation....products and services done better, or cheaper, or more efficient. However, when the government props up the companies (and individuals) that have manged poorly, there is no opportunity for consolidation or the "fire sales" that allow the winners to pick up the assets of the loser at "10 cents on the dollar".

Look at the auto industry just for a moment. It would be good (not bad) if one or two of the world's automakers would fail, go out of business, liquidate and shut down. The remaining auto makers already have the capacity to produce all the vehicles that the market demands. We need a fire sale in the auto industry so that the winners can pick up the assets and market share of the losers and get back to competing with each other rather than coming together and agreeing to government conditions (as if the government ever has been able to run anything profitably)

I'll go one step further. If you allow GM or Chrysler to go out of business, not ONE long-term job is lost any more than these jobs can be saved by throwing money at the problem. Jobs are only created when the market demands that a product or service is desired. Today, many are forecasting that U.S. vehicles sales will drop this year to the 10 million range, down from a very anemic 13.2 million vehicles last year and 16.1 million in 2007. All of the automobile manufacturers will have serious problems if only 10 million vehicles are sold with capacity to build 17 to 18 million vehicles. The only way to get the industry healthy is to cut capacity dramatically and allow those that know best how to manage these cycles be the ones that succeed.

Take a GM or a Chrysler out of the picture and it's like pulling your hand out of a bucket of water. The water fills in where your hand was faster than you can say "oh mama!"

If no one fails, we all lose.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Faith Stimulus Needed

I was just on reading some information about the Economic Stimulus Bill. It seems like some people are losing faith in the stimulus. If they are losing faith in the economic stimulus, it's obvious that it's not because of the size of the stimulus (now close to $1 trillion) but the quality of the economic stimulus. I can relate. In many ways, it's like faith. It's not the size of the faith that matters but the quality of the faith. Maybe what we really need in this Country is a "Faith Stimulus".

Jesus told us something very interesting when he said “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Matthew 17:20) Most bible scholars tell us that because Jesus is using the reference of a mustard seed, which is one of the smallest seeds, He is showing us it's not the "size" of your faith that matters.

While size may not matter, quality certainly does matter. If you recall other examples in the New Testament, Jesus was rejected at Nazareth and because of the people's unbelief, Jesus didn't do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. The Bible says that Jesus, "was amazed at their unbelief" (Mark 6:6) Also, the time that Peter had enough faith to get out of the boat, he soon started sinking and Jesus replied, "You have so little faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?" (Matt 14:31)

Quality faith that is needed is faith that doesn't waiver. If we have faith in the government, we will likely be disappointed. If we have faith in our own ability, we also will likely be disappointed. If we however, place our faith in God of the Bible, we will certainly have the quality faith needed for the journey.

The Real Virus Is Fear

There is a virus that is attacking and ravaging this country but it is not Covid-19.   It is fear.  This fear is being spread by people ...