Monday, October 20, 2014

The God and Government Project

Thursday, August 1, 2013, 20:11
This news item was posted in Covenant Commonwealth category.
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[Editor's Note: John Lofton, Communications Director for the Institute on the Constitution and self-described 'Recovering Republican' has begun the "God and Government Project", which he describes in this article.] 

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Mr. Lofton writes:

Among other things, I am Director of the “God and Government Project,” an outreach mission of “Institute on the Constitution” in Pasadena, Maryland. The purpose of this project is to inform all our civil government officials that their first duty is to obey God, to administer and apply His Law in whatever office they hold. One way we will inform public officials of their duty to obey God is by going before city and county governing bodies to speak for the allowed two or five minutes that is allowed for citizens to make statements. I have written several statements that fit such time slots and will be glad to work with you. All you have to do is deliver this important witness. So, will you, please, be one of those who go before your city/county council to tell them, respectfully, what God requires of them? I hope you will be. And to reiterate, you do not have to write anything. I have already written several statements. All you have to do is read them. The overwhelming majority of people holding civil government offices in America claim to be some kind of “Christian.” It is our duty to respectfully tell them — and unbelieving public officials — what God requires of them, what God says is the purpose of civil government. You may respond to me here or at . Thank you. And may God bless us all as we obey Him.

Here are some information and suggestions regarding your witness as part of the “God/Government” project. If you go alone, I’d suggest the following statement which is written for a two-minute time period:

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Suggested Statement for Those Going Alone

(The greeting you are most comfortable with but one that is respectful)

My name is __________________. And I wanted to come here this evening to tell about what God says is the duty of those holding the public office you hold.

In the 13th chapter of the book of Romans in the New Testament, God’s says that those who govern us, such as this (yourselves, this Council, whatever) are ministers of God — that actual word “minister” is used. And that you are a minister of God to us for good, for good, as defined by God’s Word. And that you are, conversely, to bring wrath on those who are evil — evil as defined by God’s Word.

Thus, your job is ministerial and not legislative. Your job is to administer and apply God’s Law. And this means it is not the role of government to house or feed or clothe or give health care or education or welfare to anyone.  There is no Biblical authority for that kind of thing. The provision of those things is the job of Christ’s Church.

Romans 13 also tells us that a law is just or unjust depending on whether it is in accord with what God says or whether it is at odds with God’s Law. That is the teaching of the Bible, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, the British jurist William Blackstone and Martin Luther King in his “Letter From The Birmingham Jail.”

In that “Letter,” Dr. King said, and I quote: “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God….An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law,” unquote. King said, and again I quote him directly: “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’.” The word legal in this letter is in direct quotes, King’s point being that what Hitler did in Nazi Germany was not  legal because it was against the Laws of God.

Thank you very much. And may God bless us all as we obey Him.

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HERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER STATEMENTS; also written for two-minute time periods. If you are allowed more than two minutes, you can combine statements. You are also free, of course, to change statements to fit your own speaking habits.

The statements following are written to be read in order, one after the other, by different people, if you can do that. When we went before our county council we had three people in a row read their statements, in the order below.

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Nine Statements

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Statement One – Law

(Introduce Self)

Every social order has a foundation, a concept of law and government. And for most of the history of our country this foundation was, originally, the Bible, the Word of God, both the Old and New Testaments. Thus, the American view of law and government is founded on the Biblical view of law and government.

And this is explicitly made clear in the Declaration of Independence which invokes and appeals to: The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God; and the Supreme Judge of the world. Asserting a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, the Declaration says that all men are endowed by their Creator (capital “C”) with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. And, AND…to secure these God-given rights, our Founders said Governments are instituted among Men.

Our Founders said, clearly, explicitly, that the express purpose of governments — plural, meaning all governments — is to secure, to protect, rights that we already have from God. It is not the role of governments to give people “rights” but instead to protect the rights God has already given us as human beings made in His image.

So, the often-heard assertion today that America was founded as a secular country, where law and government are, supposedly, neutral and totally man-made, is false, dangerously false, indeed ruinously false.

I respectfully ask, please, that you consider my remarks. Thank you.

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Statement Two – Law

(Introduce Self)

All law is “religious” in the sense that it derives its authority from something outside itself. And for our country the something our law was based on, as has been noted, is the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. This is clearly apparent from reading the texts of our earliest covenants, law-codes, compacts, oaths of allegiance, constitutions, and colonial charters.

And what I am saying here is not the view of just Christians. A 1982 “Newsweek” magazine cover story headlined, “How the Bible Made America” said that historians were discovering that the Bible is our founding document. And it is our founding on Scripture that made us an exceptional, special country, a people called by God to establish a model society, a beacon to the world.

In our country, until relatively recently, God’s Word, His Law, was the standard by which to judge whether a man-made law was just or unjust. This view is taught in Scripture itself, by St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, by the great British jurist William Blackstone and by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In this letter Dr. King said, quote, “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law,” unquote. Dr. King went on to remind us that we should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” ….the word legal he put in quote marks because, of course, what Hitler did was not legal since it violated God’s Law.

I respectfully ask, please, that you consider my remarks. Thank you.

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Statement Three – Law

(Introduce Self)

The original American view — the truly American view — is that law originates with God, and what is not in accord with God’s Law is not law, is based, of course, on Scripture and centuries of the application of this view by those on whose shoulders we stand.

As far back as the 9th century King Alfred the Great’s codified English law began with the Ten Commandments. Bible-believing Puritans in England fought against and overthrew the tyrannical view that the king was above the law and thus could do no wrong. From these same Puritans we got our legal views on free speech and press, free exercise of religion, privilege against self-incrimination, the independence of the jury, the right to not be imprisoned without cause.  These same Bible-believing Puritans also gave us the view that we have the right to choose those who govern us which meant, ultimately, not King George III because — as colonial preachers never tired of telling — he was, Biblically speaking, a tyrant who must be resisted.

A final important point. The notion that the church and state are to be separate is a Biblical command found in the Old Testament and in the Lord Jesus Christ’s command that there are things that are to be rendered unto Caesar and things that are to be rendered unto to God.

I respectfully ask, please, that you consider my remarks. Thank you.

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Statement Four – Government

(Introduce Self)

The original, true American view of civil government is the view that is expressed in the Bible, the book of Romans, chapter 13, which tells us that all legitimate authority is from God. And the powers that be, such as this council, are ordained by God.

In fact, this passage of Scripture says that each one of you council members is a quote, “minister,” unquote, of God — the word “minister” is actually used in the text. Thus, your job is ministerial, to administer, to apply, God’s Law.

And, interestingly, the Greek word in Romans 13:4 in the New Testament for “minister” is “diakonos” meaning, as I say, minister, but also translated as “servant.” And it is from the Greek word “diakonos” from which we get the English word for one of our church offices, the Office of Deacon.

Finally, a very important point. To say that civil government is from God and must obey God is NOT to say that that church and state are to be combined. I believe strongly in the separation of church and state, properly understood. I do not want the local police serving communion at my church. Nor do I want my church elders arresting people and putting them in jail. And Scripture teaches that church and state are separate, with different functions. But…BUT both church and state are under God and must obey His Word. Otherwise, we get Godless government. And Godless government is not good government.

I respectfully ask, please, that you consider my remarks. Thank you.

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Statement Five – Government

(Introduce Self)

2 Samuel, chapter 23, verse 3 says, quote: “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God,” unquote.

I, too, appear here this evening to witness to you regarding the fact that the most important duty you have, as ministers of God, is to obey God and administer His Law. But, to say this is not to seek to impose on this council a specific religion or sect or denomination. And it is none of these things because God — the God of the Bible, the only true God there is — is neither a religion nor a sect nor a denomination. He is — GOD.

So, what does it mean to say you must administer God’s Law? Well, in a nutshell, it means that all you say and do here must be in accord with what God says in His Word, either literally — if His Word applies literally, in a case law — or in accord with the general equity of His literal Word if His literal Word does not apply to that with which you are dealing.

Being a minister of God means not only that you stay within God’s limits for civil government but also that you not do outside those limits. For example, it is not the role of civil government, at any level, to house, feed, clothe, educate, or give welfare or health care to anyone. To meet those needs is the duty of Christ’s Church.

Our national governments and many state and local governments are deeply in debt and bankrupt because they have ignored what God says is the role and purpose of government. I say, with the utmost respect gentlemen, that I hope and pray you will remember that it is your solemn duty to obey God and not play God. Thank you.

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Statement Six – Government

(Introduce Self)

I would like, please, to take my time to raise with all of you what I think is the most important question concerning everything you do. And that key, threshold question has to do with authority and jurisdiction.

When civil government bodies meet and discuss issues the discussion is almost totally about such things as: Funding levels for programs and the meaning of various words and phrases in the texts of laws or proposed laws. But, as I say, what is almost never discussed is the authority or jurisdiction question, that question being: Do we have any authority at all to do anything regarding the topic being discussed? If so, what exactly is that authority? And where do we get it?

For example, I have seen discussions here about what you should or should not do about certain private properties. Many questions were asked of various witnesses here. But, no one — not one Council member — raised, much less answered — the key, threshold question: Do we have — the Council, the State of Maryland, the Federal Government — do we have the authority to do anything about an individual’s private property? And if so, what is the origin of that authority?

So, perhaps, at the outset of all discussions here about anything, it should be stated, explicitly, transparently, the authority by which you are dealing with the matter at hand.

I stipulate, gentlemen, your desire to act here in a legal and moral manner. My intention here, and suggestion, is nothing more than my effort to help you to that.

I respectfully ask that you consider my remarks.

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Statement Seven – Theocracy

(Introduce Self)

If you are for Godly government — which our Founders were for and made that clear in their writings — someone inevitably accuses you not merely of being for a “theocracy” but a “theocracy” like they have in Iran or like the “theocracy” favored by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

But, all the word “theocracy” means, literally, is Godly-rule. And Godly rule — for most of our history — meant that whatever form of government there is those governing must rule according to God’s Law, the Law of the God of the Bible. Therefore, throughout history whenever the Church or State ruled the civil government according to Church rules or State rules — and not God’s Law — such man-made rule was not a “theocracy” but rather….well, rule by human beings making up their own rules.

And, for the most part, that is what we have today: Governments ruled by only the opinions and appetites of men and women. Today, for the most part, we have Godless rule and that has been a disaster for all levels of government — local, State and national.

True Godly rule means that God and His Law must guide civil governments such as this council, our State government, and our national government. There must be limits to what government is allowed to do. And there are such limits, from God Who ordained civil government. We will continue to ignore those limits at our peril.

I respectfully request that you seriously consider what I say. Thank you.

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Statement Eight – Interposition

(Introduce Self)

Many Americans are beginning to remember and recover the ideas of nullification and interposition which our founders and our grandparents knew were the people’s and the States’ proper legal defense against lawless, tyrannical government. And this Council has a responsibility to interpose and nullify when necessary.

Each one of you took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, and the Maryland Constitution. This means you must resist and refuse to cooperate in any way with the imposition on the citizens of this county any laws or regulations that are not in accord with the US Constitution or the Maryland Constitution. And, even more importantly, you must resist and refuse to cooperate in any way with the imposition on the citizens of this county any laws or regulations that are not in accord with God’s Laws.

Our Declaration of Independence — explaining why we were seeking our independence — listed as one of the reasons that our English rulers had saddled us with an absolute despotism by, quote, “a long train of abuses and usurpations,” unquote. Therefore, our Founders said, we must separate ourselves from such government.

And so it is today. Most of the so-called laws that are passed by Congress in Washington and by the legislature in Annapolis are unGodly and unConstitutional violating both the US Constitution and the Maryland Constitution. So, they are not laws at all. They are “abuses and usurpations.”

I ask you, please, to be cognizant of such despotism and resist it. Thank you.

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Statement Nine – Election Sermons

(Introduce Self)

Over the past several weeks some of our citizens have come here to respectfully share with you what God requires of you in your civil government office of county council member. For most of our history this kind of speaking God’s truth to power was known an election sermon. And what is most notable about such sermons is that those delivering these sermons were invited to do so by the elected officials, including judges!

A common point made in these sermons to elected officials was that where God’s Law was not obeyed no person would be secure in the enjoyment of his liberty or property or life. In fact, it was said that public officials who did not rule in accord with God’s Law or its general equity were said to unrighteous and chargeable with, quote, “framing mischief by a law,” unquote, a reference to phraseology in Psalm 94, verse 20.

In a famous at the time election sermon to the Massachusetts house of representatives on May 27, 1747, the Rev. Charles Chauncy said that ruling in accord with God was not a trifling concern, not a matter that should be treated with carelessness or inattention. He reminded them that it was not for themselves alone that they were empowered but rather to, FIRST, serve God.

Well — amen!  I would hope and pray that you would consider these wise words from the Rev. Chauncy. And that you would agree with what Scripture says, and what most Americans believed for most of our history, and that is that the very definition of a just ruler is one who rules in the fear of God. Thank you.

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Finally, please. When you testify have someone video tape it with good quality video.  If your government meeting is televised, send me link so I can see you testifying. 

And do send me email right away after testifying to tell me how it went. Might want to take tape recorder with you to record your thoughts, whatever action happens when you testify.

Also, if council member should denounce you or try and engage you in argument, just say, humbly, that’s your statement, you did not come to debate or argue —- just to tell them what God requires of them.

If you have any questions, email me JLof@aol.com or call me 301-873-4612. I’m honored to help you.

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(The following Scripture passages to be handed out)

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God and Government

Romans 13: 1-7: 1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

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Obedience to Government Not Absolute

Acts 5:26-29: Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men….”

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(New King James Version (NKJV))

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John Lofton, Editor – Archive.TheAmericanView.com

Communications Director, Institute on the Constitution

Recovering Republican

301-873-4612

JLof@aol.com

 

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“Accursed is that peace of which revolt from God is the bond, and blessed are those contentions by which it is necessary to maintain the kingdom of Christ.” — John Calvin.

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