NORTH OREA

You Can’t Preach the Gospel without Freedom

When I hear Christians saying we ought not get involved in politics but just “preach the Gospel,” I show them this satellite picture of the Korean peninsula.  Here we see a homogenous population of mostly Koreans separated by a well-fortified border.  South Korea is full of freedom, food and productivity—it’s one of the most Christianized countries in the world.  North Korea is a concentration camp.   They have no freedom, no food, and very little Christianity.

What’s the primary reason for the stark difference between these two countries? Politics. The South politically allows freedom, while the North does not.

Ironically, Christians who shun politics to supposedly advance the Gospel are actually allowing others to stop the Gospel.  How so?  Because politics and law affects one’s ability to preach the Gospel!  If you think otherwise, visit some of the countries I have visited—Iran, Saudi Arabia and China.  You cannot legally “preach the Gospel” in those countries—or practice other aspects of your religion freely—because politically they’ve ruled it out as they have in North Korea.

In fact, politics affects virtually every area of your life through the laws made by government.  So if you care about your family, business, church, school, children, money, property, home, security, healthcare, safety, freedom, and your ability to “preach the Gospel,” then you should care about politics.

Politics affects everything, which is why leaders throughout the Bible—including Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Nehemiah, Mordecai, Esther, John the Baptist, and Paul— “went political” to influence civil governments to govern morally.  Even Jesus himself got involved in politics when he publically chastised the Pharisees—the religious and political leaders of Israel—for neglecting “the more important matters of the law.”

Unfortunately, our lawmakers today are doing the same thing.   They use the force of law tell us what light bulbs to use and what the school lunch menu should be, but neglect to put any restrictions on the taking of human life by abortion!  What could be more important than life? The right to life is the right to all other rights.  If you don’t have life, you don’t have anything.

But what can Christians do?  After all, we can’t legislate morality, can we?  News flash: All laws legislate morality!  Morality is about right and wrong and all laws declare one behavior right and the opposite behavior wrong. So the question is not whether we can legislate morality, but “Whose morality will we legislate?”

The answer our Founding Fathers gave was the “self-evident” morality given to us by our Creator—the same Moral Law that the apostle Paul said that all people have “written on their hearts.” In other words, not my morality or your morality, but the morality—the one we inherited not the one we invented.  (This doesn’t mean that every moral or political issue has clear right and wrong answers.  It only means that “the more important matters of the law” – life, marriage and religious freedom for example—do have clear answers that we should heed.)

Notice our Founders did not have to establish a particular denomination or force religious practice in order to legislate a moral code.  Our country justifies moral rights with theism, but does not require its citizens to acknowledge or practice theism. That’s why Chris Matthews and other liberals are wrong when they charge that Christians are trying to impose a “theocracy” or violate the “separation of Church and State.”  They fail to distinguish between religion and morality.

Broadly defined, religion involves our duty to God while morality involves our duty to one another. Our lawmakers are not telling people how, when, or if to go to church—that would be legislating religion. But lawmakers cannot avoid telling people how they should treat one another— that is legislating morality, and that is what all laws do.

Opposition to abortion or same-sex marriage, for example, does not entail the establishment of a “theocracy.” Churches and the Bible also teach that murder, theft, and child abuse are wrong, but no one says laws prohibiting such acts establish a theocracy or are a violation of the “separation of church and state.” In fact, if the government could not pass laws consistent with church or biblical teachings, then all criminal laws would have to be overturned because they are all in some way consistent with at least one of the Ten Commandments.

Second, there are churches on both sides of these issues. In other words, some liberal churches, contrary to scripture, actually support abortion and same-sex marriage. So if church-supported positions could not be put into law, then we could not have laws either way on abortion or same-sex marriage.  Absurd.

Finally, most proponents of same-sex marriage argue as if they have some kind of moral right to having their relationships endorsed by the state. They claim that they don’t have “equal rights” or that they are being “discriminated” against.  Likewise, abortion advocates claim they have a moral “right” to choose an abortion.  None of these claims are true, as I have explained elsewhere.  Nevertheless, their arguments, while flawed, expose the fact that independent of religion they seek to legislate their morality rather than the morality.

If you have a problem with the morality, don’t blame me. I didn’t make it up. I didn’t make up the fact that abortion is wrong, that men are not designed for other men, or that natural marriage is the foundation of a civilized society. Those unchangeable objective truths about reality are examples of the “Laws of Nature” from “Nature’s God,” as the Declaration of Independence puts it, and we only hurt others and ourselves by suppressing those truths and legislating immoral laws.

When we fail to legislate morally, others impose immorality.  For example, totalitarian political correctness is already imposed in states such as Massachusetts where the implications of same-sex marriage override the religious liberties of businesses, charities and even parents.  As documented here and illustrated here, same sex marriage prevents you from running your business, educating your children, or practicing your religion in accord with your Conscience.  And soon, as is the case in Canada, you may not be able to merely speak Biblically about homosexual behavior. That is because those who say they are fighting for “tolerance” are often the most intolerant.

Unless Christians begin to influence politics and the culture more significantly, we will continue to lose the very freedoms that enable us to live according to our beliefs and spread the Gospel all over the world.  That’s why you should not vote for candidates because of their race or religion, but because they will govern morally on the more important matters of the law—life, marriage and religious freedom. (To see where all the major candidates stand visit the non-partisan website http://www.ontheissues.org.)

If you are a pastor who is worried about your tax-exempt status: 1) you have more freedom than you think to speak on political and moral issues from the pulpit; 2) if you do not speak up for truth now, you will soon lose your freedom to speak for anything, including the Gospel; and 3) you are called to be salt and light, not tax-exempt.

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15 replies
  1. Toby says:

    Abortion. You believe in a soul. There is clearly no evidence that such a thing could exist. There’s no known means by which anything immaterial (which I’m assume you believe the soul is) effects material. This is purely a religious belief issue. If a person does not believe in a soul they look at abortion in terms of viability, health of the fetus or mother, and freedom of women to exercise their own will and do whats best for themselves. What you propose is forcing your belief on nonbelievers through law.

    I’d like to know how you feel about the comments that have been made in this election season about rape and abortion. Would you force, through law, a raped woman to keep her rapist’s baby? If you say yes, would you reconsider when presented with the fact that over 50% of the states do not take away parental rights from rapists? So not only are they raped, they could be saddled with their rapist for the rest of their life. Of the few states (about 19) that protect rape victims from this situation most of them require a rape conviction.

    Reply
  2. Frank Turek says:

    If the only reason to protect human life is because human life has a soul, then Toby you must believe that no human life should be protected because you don’t think anyone has a soul. Is that right?

    On what grounds should human life be protected?

    BTW, from the moment of conception, a new human being with it’s own genetic code, gender and blood type exists. That’s a genetic fact. It does not rely on religion, only science.

    Reply
  3. Toby says:

    “If the only reason to protect human life is because human life has a soul, then Toby you must believe that no human life should be protected because you don’t think anyone has a soul. Is that right?”

    Is this beneficial to rational discourse? Twisting someone’s statement around in an effort to “put them in the hot seat” by painting them as a monster?

    I don’t believe there is a soul, therefore why assume I think that gives value to anything. I think you believe there is. I think you think that is what gives value to life—along with following directions in an ancient book.

    Yes, a zygote is genetically unique. Cancer often is as well, but I don’t see people shaking signs with pictures of excised tumors outside of oncology clinics.

    There’s a funny bumper sticker out there that reads: My mother chose life. I’m surprised this ever caught on as it has a very awkward verb. Chose. Let them choose for themselves and keep your theology out of their wombs.

    Should raped women be forced to bear their rapist’s baby?

    Reply
  4. Thinker says:

    What I dislike about these discussions is that folks take an issue and focus on the hot-button items. My strong suspicion is that the vast majority of abortions are not being performed on women who have been raped.

    But….let’s just for arguments sake say I do agree that they should be able to do that, since I do not consider the unborn baby a soul, but rather just a collection of random tissue formed inside a women. Let’s concede that for arguments sake.

    Now, given that, and assuming my premise for that is the fact that the unborn child has no soul (nor any other human being), why logically could we not stop there? Should a woman have the right to kill a child up to say, the age of 5? 7? What about until the age con consent, 16/18. If we justify killing an unborn child due to it having no “soul”, then how logically can we stop there? Let’s just pick the random age of 8. Would you, Toby, support a woman’s right that if she no longer wanted to care for or support a child to have them taken to a clinic where they were immersed in a toxic bath that burned off their skin until they died (similar to a chemical abortion)? Or one where there spinal cord was cut and they were dismembered (as happens in other types of abortion). Would you approve of / support that?

    I know there has been a lot of scorn heaped on the politician who made this statement, but frankly, even if you take out the idea of a soul and religion, his philosophy seemed a lot more logical that that of abortion supporters. Either life is sacred and must be valued, or it is nothing and we are simply a collection of cells who should be “put down” as soon as we are no longer convenient or wanted.

    To me, abortion supporters constantly want to harp on the logic used by the politician who made this statement, but I don’t see them applying this same logic to their own argument in addressing “the next level” that their abortion argument proceeds to. If abortion is morally nuetral, then it should be just as legal for a mother to throw an unwanted baby in front of a bus as it is to have that life terminated in a clinic as a “choice”. As it is now, the two acts could theoretically be committed within minutes of each other by the same woman, with the first being a legal right and the latter being murder.

    Reply
  5. Stephen B says:

    ” My strong suspicion is that the vast majority of abortions are not being performed on women who have been raped.”

    And the great majority are not performed late term, but that’s what gets focused on by the pro-lifers.

    “As it is now, the two acts could theoretically be committed within minutes of each other by the same woman”

    Not sure about that – the cut-off point for abortion doesn’t leave much room for viability. In other words, it’s pretty unlikely that a baby would live a few minutes after the abortion cut-off point.

    And one doesn’t have to see abortion as ‘morally neutral’ to support abortion rights. You can see it as a lesser of two evils.

    “Would you, Toby, support a woman’s right that if she no longer wanted to care for or support a child to have them taken to a clinic where they were immersed in a toxic bath ”

    This is a bizarre question – an unwanted baby can be looked after by someone else. A foetus is inside the mother’s body. Volunteer to gestate it yourself if you want!

    ” If we justify killing an unborn child due to it having no “soul…”
    Who gave that as a justification? Not Toby.

    Reply
  6. Ken says:

    Toby, Sorry I am so late to this conversation….but please give an answer to when should a woman not “abort” her child? 3 months after conception? 6 months? anytime before birth? at birth? 6 months after birth? Please do not use not use the word “feel” in your response. If you “feel” the need to use this word, please explain then why the tragedy at Sandyhook is a tragedy? I bet the Executioner that committed that crime “felt” he had the right to kill those children and adults.

    If a mother can “feel” that she can abort her child (and use this as the reasoning for the abortion) than anyone’s “feelings” are just as viable. Including the executioner at Sandyhook.

    Reply
    • Stephen B says:

      “please give an answer to when should a woman not “abort” her child?”

      Around the time that brain activity starts.

      “I bet the Executioner that committed that crime “felt” he had the right to kill those children and adults”

      As you point out yourself, they weren’t foetuses, they were children and adults. And even if they had been foetuses, they weren’t HIS.

      Also, God himself commands the slaughter of suckling babies in 1SA 15:3, 7-8. I guess He FELT he had the right too.

      Reply
    • Stephen B says:

      If you FEEL you can force a woman to carry a baby to term, why not force her to give up her organs? I mean, she could save the lives of several people with her liver, heart etc. What right does she have to deny life to others?

      Reply
  7. frAncIs says:

    First, I’m am thankful for the opportunity and the freedom to discuss such heated topics as one finds here. And everyone should hope and pray that this never changes. My comment is just to direct attention to the irony and perhaps hypocrisy of how the freedom of religion point is a foundation for fundamental Christians to preach their message when it is in place to protect non-believers from their message. Other beliefs beyond Christianity are important.

    Reply
  8. Ken says:

    Stephen,

    “Around the time brain activity starts” is when abortion should not be allowed? Why then? Either life has value or it doesn’t.

    “as you point out they wern’t fetuses they were children and adults and even if they were fetuses they weren’t His” So I guess the the parents of the Sandyhook victims, if they so desired since they are theirs, could massacre there children because they are the parents?? If a parent can take a childs life why can’t a stranger? For example, in Florida if I commit battery on a female that I know or should have known is pregnant and she losses the “fetus” due to my crime. I can be convicted of manslaughter. Do you support such a law? Why should I be convicted of manslaughter for only committing battery? If you believe (feel) that I should be convicted of manslaughter, Please explain your justification.

    I definitely dont mind starting the God debate, but I take it from your post that you don’t look at the Bible as God’s word, and I have not asked or used the Bible in any of my post so for now I will let that lay.

    Reply
  9. Steve says:

    Francis wrote:
    “My comment is just to direct attention to the irony and perhaps hypocrisy of how the freedom of religion point is a foundation for fundamental Christians to preach their message when it is in place to protect non-believers from their message. Other beliefs beyond Christianity are important.”

    Well, Francis, actually there is no hypocrisy in Christians preaching their message here, because there is no “protection” for non-believers from their message. You can give your beliefs as well, and let the truth prevail. No one forces you to believe!

    Other than your opinion or mine, there must be a higher authority that governs us all or we simply will do as we wish, either kill or protect life. We cannot all be right…

    Reply
  10. Ted R. Weiland says:

    While I understand your sentiments, I would suggest a title change. Actually, we can preach the gospel without freedom and, in fact, we have the obligation to regardless whether we live in a free nation or not.

    Moreover, there is one freedom we could do without–Amendment 1’s freedom of religion provision, which enabled polytheism to thrive in America. Think about it: Since the framers replaced the monotheistic First Commandment (AS FOUND in some of the 1600 Colonial constitutions) with the polytheistic First Amendment, America was quickly transformed from a predominately monotheistic Christian nation into the most polytheistic nation to exist, with the possible exception of the Roman Empire.

    If interested, I have written on this in detail in Chapter 11 “Amendment 1: Government-Sanctioned Polytheism” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.” This entire 565-page (in which I examine every article and amendment by the Bible) is available online at http://www.constitutionversusbible.org. If you take our Constitution Survey in the right-hand side bar, I’ll send you a free copy of the 85-page “Primer” of the complete book.

    Reply
  11. Mel Kizadek says:

    Excellent article! One thing. Defining marriage, requiring marriage licenses is NONE OF THE GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS! If you look up the history of the marriage license, you will see that it was invented by King George III. What did people do before they asked governments for permission to marry? The groom asked the father of the bride, and then they made promises before God and witnesses. Government should not be involved in marriage!

    Reply
    • Frank Turek says:

      Hi Mel, If Government is not involved in marriage, who is going to force a deadbeat Dad to take care of his kids? No church has the power to do so. Therefore, the government must be involved in marriage. It should also promote marriage because the best form of government is the biological two parent family. When the biological two parent family crumbles, society crumbles. Just look at what the last 40 years of no-fault divorce has brought us.

      Reply

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