CIVIL LAW VS. GOD’S LAW
by Michael Gaddy, ©2015, blogging at The Rebel Madman
In a previous Rant, I questioned the logic of one Kutter Callaway and his renunciation of his right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed in the Second Amendment of our Bill of Rights and his obvious embracing of what is civil religion, or man’s religion known as government. Now, another one of these statevangelicals has come to my attention with his questioning of whether Christians should be armed. His name is John Piper. Obviously neither Callaway nor Piper see any contradictions in their teachings or they wouldn’t be advocating for their fellow Christians to denounce or refuse to utilize their Second Amendment rights.
Piper, in a 2005 sermon, stated Christians must be “submissive to the Constitution.” Now, is that the entirety of the Constitution, or just the parts Piper agrees with? If we are to be submissive to the civil authority, as Piper claims, are we to be submissive to that authority when it stands in contradiction to the Constitution? To state the question more simply, would be to ask: If our Bill of Rights, which, according to our Declaration of Independence contains rights “endowed by our creator,” and states the people have a right to keep and bear arms and the government claims they do not, which “authority” does a Christian submit to? Do we submit to the laws of God or the laws of man when they conflict? It is impossible to be submissive to both. Do the words of Matthew 6:24 have relevance here?
In a January 2006 article, Piper states the individual does not have the right to resist evil. In his words reference individuals, “It looks as though he [God] leaves no place in using force in resisting evil.” In the same sermon, Piper makes his case for war in defense of evil as long as the government (civil authority) is in command. He also states an individual Christian while serving in the military, because he is serving man and not God, has the right to resist evil with force.
What I hear Piper saying is: if an individual were in their own home and that home was invaded by criminals and those criminals were about to murder and rape his wife and children, make him watch and then kill him, “God leaves no place in using force in resisting evil.” But, if that same individual was wearing the uniform of his country and found himself face to face with an enemy who was defending his home and family from an invader, in his own country, the soldier has every right to use deadly force against that enemy, simply because that enemy was designated such by those Piper views to be in authority.
Perhaps a prudent individual might see the conundrum I see in the positions taken by both Piper and Callaway? I have heard sermon after sermon and read article upon article concerning the 13th Chapter of Romans and “submission to authority” yet, I have heard not one on what are the obligations of Christians when the authority they are to be submissive to becomes tyrannical and evil. Piper states, “Pacifism is harmful” and “to let someone murder when it is in your power to stop them is completely contrary to our moral sentiments.” But, his reference is to governments and not individuals. He says that if a tyrant [Hitler was his example] is “on the move and seeking to bind the world in tyranny, it would be clearly wrong not to oppose him with force.”
Piper also states the police have the right to enforce man’s laws using force, so if a policeman happened to be in your home when a group of thugs break in to debauch and murder you and your family, that policeman can defend you, if not, “God has left no place for you [as a husband/wife and father/mother] to use force in resisting that evil.”
While reading and listening to several sermons and articles by Piper and Callaway, I found a common denominator being both appear to studiously avoid any reference to our founders and their reason(s) for demanding the “right to keep and bear arms” be included in our Bill of Rights; perhaps, because this would run contrary to their stated positions. Many of our founders understood what was necessary to keep the “civil authority” bound within the limits of the Constitution to which Piper said “Christians must be in submission.” Noah Webster defined it well:
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power.” — An Examination of The Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, Philadelphia, 1787
In my humble opinion, I believe both Piper and Callaway have transferred their allegiance from God’s law, as described in the Declaration of Independence, to man’s law as we see it today in the perversions of our Constitution by those in “authority.” In their minds the individual must be in submission to the civil authority and only allow that authority to use force against evil. The problem they ignore is: what to do if those in authority become evil, which would leave all means of force in their hands, the exact thing many of our founders warned us about.
Have many of our religious leaders have sold out to the government and its “position of authority” as is seen in Form 1023 of the IRS code? Would these religious leaders, were they to have lived during the reigns of Hitler, Stalin and other tyrants, have submitted themselves to tyranny and evil because they were the authorities appointed over them?
We have a government of authority which allows for infanticide on a grand scale, the embracing of “alternative lifestyles” which many “Christians” deplore, unconstitutional wars waged against civilian populations around the globe and forbids the tenets of the Christian faith be taught in schools under their control, yet there are those in ministerial positions who believe only those commissioned by those in authority have the right to defend themselves. Yes, they do present a conundrum wrapped in an enigma to any thinking individual.
Jeremiah 50: 6, “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.”
In Rightful Liberty