The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the category “Philosophy of Government”

Down South: Southern Baptists convene amid declining overall numbers

By Thomas Kidd

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) held its annual meeting in Houston in June, and although the assembly did not witness any of the spectacular controversies that have marked previous SBC meetings, it nevertheless confronted some hotly debated topics.

The meeting’s most anticipated issue concerned the SBC and the Boy Scouts. Some had predicted that the SBC would endorse a full-fledged boycott of the Scouts for the group’s recent decision to admit openly gay boys as members. But the actual resolution stopped short of a boycott, expressing “opposition to and disappointment in the decision” and calling for the removal of Boy Scouts executive leaders who supported the change.

SBC representatives (called “messengers”) also passed a resolution exhorting member congregations about their “legal and moral responsibility to report any child abuse to authorities.” Its sponsor, Peter Lumpkins, crafted the statement in response to a lawsuit alleging abuse cover-ups by leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), including its founder, C.J. Mahaney. A judge dismissed the case against SGM pastors in May, citing statute of limitation requirements. Mahaney stepped down as president of SGM in April. Prominent Baptist leaders Albert Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church expressed their individual support for Mahaney in a public statement in May. Read more…

American Hypocrisy: How Would Saint Paul Write To Us?

by Mark Horne

all-seeing-eye-300x295I’ve heard Mormons believe that God directly inspired the Constitution. As a Christian, I know there was only one nation that had a directly inspired “Constitution.” Knowing that one’s country is founded by God should have given Israel a great deal of confidence among the nations. Sometimes it did so. Other times, due to unbelief, it did not.

But there was another way unbelief could trap Israelites. They could allow God’s gifts to Israel to give them confidence even when they were in sin and should have been humbling themselves both in the sight of God and the nations. Paul wrote to them about this:

But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:17-24, ESV)

As I write my posts on how to understand Romans, I’ve been thinking a great deal about this passage. In light of recent news about Edward Snowden, with headlines like, “US Seemingly Unaware of Irony in Accusing Snowden of Spying,” there seem to be similarities. Israel was both publicly immoral and publicly moralistic, at the same time, without any insincerity. If that seems impossible, look at the news about how America’s ruling class is posturing. Read more…

To Push Out A Tyrant You Need Space

crosscrownby Mark Horne

I’ve written a few posts about the rule of law and related issues. I supposed I could write a few more if I had the time. In my mind I am going in a certain directions with these posts. I’ll go ahead and get to the point in this post:

Revolution is a really stupid idea.

Perhaps I’ve left out some steps in the argument. Let me try to make it obvious.

I’ve argued (or at least claimed, hopefully with some degree of credibility) that the rule of law is a social custom. It involves a set of rules that is enmeshed in a society so that “everybody” knows them. It is analogous to a language, with a similar role for teachers and the liability to degradation—but with a similar imperviousness to planning committees. It exists apart from the government or the state. It can be found in societies that had no state (i.e. Medieval Iceland, both in its pagan and Christian forms) and in societies with a well-developed state. Read more…

Pluralism Is Not Sufficient

bible & crown 1I blogged about what the future with an appeal to Psalm 2. Perhaps we should re-visit it.

Psalm 1 and 2 together are commonly considered the “entry” into the Psalter. If so, then perhaps Psalm 2 presents us with a problem and then spells out the solution in later Psalms.

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
(Psalm 2 ESV)

The choice is stark. They must “perish in the way” if they refuse to “take refuge in him” and “kiss the Son.” Read more…

Government Free Childrearing

by Luke Welch

gluten free

Imagine you have celiac disease, you and all your children. You live in a land that demands that your children eat glutenous meals everyday. You are old enough to do what you want, but growing up you experienced the torment of being given shredded wheat every day, and you don’t want your children to suffer. But the land doesn’t care for your plan to feed them at home – they have to go to the public feeding centers, by force of law. The land says, “Celiac disease is a figment of your imagination.” So one day, you leave the land and go to a place that will allow you to serve completely gluten-free meals.

You thought you were safe, because everyone in the land of the gluten-free is free to be gluten-free. But after a while the GF country starts pushing you to go back home. “Sorry Folks, just because WE protect people with celiac, doesn’t mean you have a right to have that same protection, since you came from Gluteny.”

In the case against you, someone even says, “Come on! Your kids are free to eat gluten free all they want! Right after they come home from the gluten meal! So what are you complaining about!?”

But that’s not the point, is it? You aren’t hoping to get to give them SOME gluten free. You are trying to get them completely gluten free. Gluten-somewhat-free is not actually free.

Napp Nazworth, at the Christian Post, writes, “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard arguments Tuesday in a case, Romeike vs. Holder, that could Read more…

Bless the Police with Bishop Myriel & NT Wright

Sacramento County Sheriff's Department

April 2013: Sheriff’s Deputy taking my picture outside a High School in Elk Grove, California.


By Steve Macias, Executive Director of Cherish California’s Children

I have had quite a few interactions with the police.

It is unusual for a month to go by in which I don’t have an encounter with the boys in blue.

I’ve spent time dealing with the officers hired to troll college campuses, I’ve been sat on a curb in handcuffs for being “overeager” with a videocamera, I’ve been threatened and detained by cops who were unhappy with the stir I’d caused as I peacefully protested abortion, and I’ve been given a “good talking to” dozens of times.

This is the consequence of being a Christian activist in the land of the free.

In many ways it has made me resent the uniform. Read more…

Anarchy, The State, And Christendom: Thinking About the Military

Let us think of the American military as we have it now and as we have known it since World War II. The military has a welcome place with Evangelicals because we know that government is supposed to protect us and the military is the government’s agency for that purpose. It is supposed to protect the American people from hostile invaders.

As clear as this seems to be, there are problems. In the first place, even though Evangelicals are correct that political leaders should lead in protecting their people from alien invaders, it still doesn’t make sense for those who honor the Bible to lobby for military buildups or technology. For it is written:

When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, “I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,” you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose… Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, “You shall never return that way again.” And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

Horses, I am told, were the “war machine” of the ancient world. They allowed you to use chariots. This gave you equipment for your army that most people would not be able to afford or match. Naturally, such a build up would both require silver and gold as well as promise to be a means to acquire such silver and gold.

How does the military measure up? Read more…

Can North Carolina Make Christianity Its Official Religion?

Rowan CountyThomas Kidd is a contributing scholar to The Kuyperian Commentary. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books.

North Carolina legislators recently made an ill-fated attempt to introduce Christianity as the state’s official religion. The move was precipitated by an ACLU lawsuit against the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, a board notorious for allowing people to utter Jesus’s name in prayers at their meetings. The establishment proposal generated a predictably breathless response from the left. WaPo’s Alexandra Petri sarcastically wrote, “The North Carolina state legislature can totally establish a state religion. The Founders specifically said so in Article III, in the part where the letters “EXCEPT NORTH CAROLINA CAN DO WHAT IT WANTS” appear in bold flashing letters.” Read more…

Society Thrives On Law While The State Produces Anarchy

Post by Mark Horne

One of the problems with the discussions of “Libertarian Anarchism” is that the participants in the discussion do not know that

  1. There have been functional societies lacking a state.
  2. These societies have never been libertarian.

You can read about one such stateless society in David (yes, the son of Milton) Friedman’s essay on the economics of Medieval Iceland, “Private Creation and Enforcement of Law: A Historical Case.” After you do so, you might then have “new eyes” to use to read the book of Judges over again. Judges is another society that, before Saul, had no state, unless the religious obligation to support the Tabernacle could be considered that organization. Read more…

Further Reflections on Anarchy

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Over the last four weeks, I’ve offered a series of critiques on anarcho-capitalism. I believe anarchy is an unworkable concept because it is self-refuting; in practice it cannot operate within its premises consistently. I’ve attempted to show that it assumes conformity to an unproven principle and that it cannot deliver its promise of better, more effective justice. In this last installment I’d like to make a few more observations.

1) Christian anarchists deny the nature of God’s courtroom.

In the opening chapters of the Bible, God sets up angels at the gate of the garden to prevent sinful man from eating from the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24). The use of force is specifically described: God drove man out of the garden and if man tried to enter he would be killed. Adam was to be the guard of the garden but he failed. The angels were sent to do what Adam didn’t. This is relevant to our topic because it shows that God gives judicial authority to humanity. Later on in Scripture, the elders at the gate of each city were the judges with authority to punish and execute (Deut. 22:13-21, 25:5-10).  This creates a parallel between earthly rulers and heavenly rulers. To deny it is to ignore how the Bible is written.

God makes humanity stewards of creation to rule and reign. Jesus is the Gardener, he makes us gardeners. Jesus is the Shepherd, he makes us shepherds. Jesus is the Judge, he makes us judges. As images of God, this is the foundational way we mirror his sovereignty. The institution of civil government is set up by God to reflect his courtroom, his government. Read more…

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