Follower of The Way


War

Posted in Christ and Culture,Government & Politics,History by sosipater on December 12, 2007

battle-dead.jpg

War. Are there always wars and rumors of wars? Hasn’t war been in our nature since Adam and Eve sinned those many, many years ago. Think back to your history classes. What seems to be a common thread in them all? War.

Now in 2007 war is just as prevalent as always. The U.S.A. is engaged in a “war”. So how are Christians to think about war in general, and this specific war in Iraq?

Well, to help us think about this, I want to pass along a 15+ year old interview that based on the content could have been recorded yesterday. My friend BJ brought to my attention this interview with the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen conducted back during the first Iraq War. Dr. Bahnsen is known for his grasp of philosophy and apologetics, but to me he hits the ball out of the park in this interview. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Peacefully yours.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Posted in History,Miscellaneous by sosipater on November 21, 2007

turkey.jpgFriends, I wanted to pass along Thanksgiving holiday wishes from Follower of The Way. Is it just me, or does Thanksgiving have more of a Biblical feel than even Christmas these days? Doesn’t the very existence of this holiday presuppose that there is someone out there whom everyone deserves to give thanks to? I know there are many who either don’t give that a second thought, or find substitutes. But as for me and my house, we will eat Turkey and be thankful to the sovereign God who gives and takes for His own glory.

By the way, check out this post by Steve Weaver. The best parts are the historical information (please pardon the quotes by Lincoln and Bush).

Enjoy the holiday and make sure you give thanks where thanks are due!

Forgotten Henry

Posted in Books,Christ and Culture,Christian Theology,Government & Politics,History by sosipater on September 6, 2007

Check out Timmy Brister’s post on Carl Henry here.

Francis Schaeffer and the Pro-Life Movement

Posted in Christ and Culture,Christian Theology,History by sosipater on September 6, 2007

Founders QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on July 26, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens….There has never been a moment of my life in which I should have relinquished for it the enjoyments of my family, my farm, my friends & books.”

— Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Melish, 13 January 1813)

Founders QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on July 20, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.”

— James Madison (speech in the Virginia constitutional convention, 2 December 1829)

Reference: resp. quoted

Founders QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on July 17, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“It is not necessary to enumerate the many advantages, that arise from this custom of early marriages.  They comprehend all the society can receive from this source; from the preservation, and increase of the human race.  Every thing useful and beneficial to man, seems to be connected with obedience to the laws of his nature, the inclinations, the duties, and the happiness of individuals, resolve themselves into customs and habits, favourable, in the highest degree, to society.  In no case is this more apparent, than in the customs of nations respecting marriage.”

— Samuel Williams (The Natural and Civil History of Vermont, 1794)

Reference: American Political Writing during the Founding Era: 1760-1805, Hyneman and Lutz, ed., vol. 2 (952)

Founders QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on July 13, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

— Thomas Jefferson (fair copy of the drafts of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, 1798)

Reference: respect. Quoted

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on July 10, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“In the next place, the state governments are, by the very theory of the constitution, essential constituent parts of the general government. They can exist without the latter, but the latter
cannot exist without them.”

— Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 191.

The Devolution of Liberty

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on June 29, 2007

From:  The Patriot Post Digest

PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE

The roots of liberty— “The unanimous Declaration…”

The roots of liberty and American government run deep—back to the year 1164 in Clarendon, England. At that time, the idea of democratic republicanism and the liberal state could hardly be imagined. The student of English history will remember this as the place and date of the Constitutions of Clarendon, which struck the decisive blow in the battle over royal prerogatives between Henry II, King of England, and Thomas a Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Installed as a puppet, Becket had found true faith and refused to bow to the whims of a tyrannical king. Becket’s refusal to sign and submit to the Constitutions of Clarendon forced him into exile and, ultimately, led to his assassination at the hands of Henry’s knights—hardly a picture of democratic process.

Clarendon has been remembered as a loss of rights for the church, a triumph of the secular over the sacred. However true this interpretation of events may be, Clarendon’s significance for the movement toward the modern liberal state is equally important. With Clarendon, the English church would no longer be able to use excommunication to enforce its temporal demands over the subjects of the crown. Rather, trial by jury began to remove arbitrary justice from the hands of bishops and kings alike, replaced by justice dispensed under a code of law administered by fellow citizens. Despite Henry’s dubious intentions, Clarendon begins to delineate the modern relationship between church and state: Civil law, not Rome, would hereafter govern temporal affairs.

Half a century later, in 1215, the next major leap forward in modern liberal governance would be ushered in with Magna Carta, the “Great Charter,” issued by King John of England at the demand of his rebellious barons. Magna Carta was reissued several times and comes to us in its final form, issued in 1297 by Edward I, John’s grandson. Though the context for Magna Carta is a very different one, it is nonetheless an important corrective to the abuses of Clarendon, establishing the inviolable freedom of the Church of England from the English crown. If Clarendon protected the state from the church, Magna Carta protected the church from the intrusions of the state.

Far from limited to church-state relations, Magna Carta formalized the fundamental rights enjoyed by all citizens of the modern liberal state. Among others, Magna Carta codified the following: rights of inheritance, property rights, protections for debtors, the rights of localities to a degree of self-government, trade rights, retributive justice (designing punishments to fit the crime, as opposed to one punishment for all crimes), protections for citizens from the abuses of domestic authorities, requirements of witnesses to establish guilt, and the right to trial by one’s peers. Most important, however, was the heart of Magna Carta, which established the objective rule of law over and above the subjective rule of the king. Rex Lex (“The king is law”) was slowly being replaced by Lex Rex (“The law is king”). With Magna Carta, the king was bound under the law by a national covenant—a declaration of mutual obligations of the ruler and those ruled to one another.

John Locke would articulate this contractual vision of a government of laws existing to protect the liberties of its citizens in his Second Treatise on Government (1690). The context for Locke’s thought was the Glorious Revolution (1688) and the English Bill of Rights (1689), in which William and Mary of Orange affirmed the limits of government, protecting the liberties of its citizens and correcting the gross abuse of royal power under James II.

It is in this setting that Locke summarizes the purpose of the state. In Chapter 9 of his Second Treatise, “Of the Ends of Political Society and Government,” Locke writes on the preservation of property, concluding that men come together and subject themselves to laws. Governments exist to judge and enforce this rule of law. In this way men voluntarily covenant together to form governments, each surrendering some freedom in order to preserve the liberty of all. The one (the state) and the many (its members) thus mutually serve the cause of liberty.

When the Stamp Act was passed for the American colonies in 1765, when courts of admiralty enforced justice without trial by jury and a standing army held in the colonies during a time of peace, the purpose of government to guarantee the liberties of its citizens was foremost in the minds of many colonists.

The First Continental Congress met in October 1774 to seek redress for the colonies’ grievances. Their Declaration and Resolves laid claim to the rights that had evolved over the centuries, from Clarendon to the English Bill of Rights. The colonies are entitled, Congress declared, to “life, liberty and property,” and “they have never ceded to any foreign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.”

When the British crown and parliament refused to recognize the equal rights of the colonists as British citizens, the Americans seized upon another essential feature of the idea of government as covenant: If a government ceases to exist under its obligations to its citizens as the preserver of liberty, then the contract is broken and the citizens reserve the right to abjure that delinquent government. In other words, government is by consent of the governed.

Over the course of America’s struggle for independence, this theme would be rearticulated and expanded upon by some of the colonies’ greatest minds: Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, Thomas Jefferson’s Lockean forerunner to the colonies’ Declaration of Independence; Patrick Henry’s Resolutions of the Stamp Act (1765) and his later cry of, “Give me liberty or give me death!” (1775); Thomas Paine’s Common Sense (1776) and The Rights of Man (1792); and Samuel Adams’ speech at the statehouse in Philadelphia (1776), to name a few. Government is a covenant, they said, and a covenant cannot be broken without consequence.

Later, these Patriots would turn from justifications for their declaration of independence from the old government to articulations of what should replace it. The 12 years between the institution of the Articles of Confederation (1777), which maintained the maximal autonomy of the individual states, and the ratification and implementation of the United States Constitution (1789), which would turn a confederation of states into a federal republic, where punctuated by heated debate about the sustenance of liberty under any unified government.

Having thrown off one tyrannical government, federalists, who advocated a strong central government, and anti-federalists, who advocated states’ rights, were sharply divided as to the powers of the new government. Which model would better guarantee the objective of a government existing to preserve the liberties of its citizens?

The federalists won that debate, but two centuries later, it is clear that many of the elements of a “tyrannical government” have re-emerged, as predicted by anti-federalist protagonist Thomas Jefferson. Most notably, Jefferson warned that the judiciary would become a “despotic branch” and that the Constitution would be “a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”

Indeed, the despotic branch has twisted and shaped our government’s foundational document into what in now called in common parlance, a “Living Constitution”, effectively undermining “Constitutional eisegesis”—the constructionist interpretation of the Constitution as written and ratified.

If the Constitution can be amended by judicial diktat rather than as prescribed by law, then we are a nation governed by men rather than the law, and the consequences are dire.

Where does that leave us today? Few who serve in the Executive, Legislative or Judicial branches of our national government honor their oaths to “support and defend” our Constitution.

Of course, the Constitution is subordinate to the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution’s author, James Madison, wrote Thomas Jefferson on 8 February 1825 these words concerning the supremacy of the Declaration of Independence over our nation’s Constitution: “On the distinctive principles of the Government… of the U. States, the best guides are to be found in… The Declaration of Independence, as the fundamental Act of Union of these States.”

The Declaration elucidates “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It also records “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

Liberty is elusive, and awaits its next great leap forward.

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on June 29, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; and to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary. But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.”

— John Adams (Thoughts on Government, 1776)

Reference: The Works of John Adams, Charles Adams, ed., 225.

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on June 25, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?”

— Patrick Henry (speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 5 June 1778)

Reference: The Debates of the Several State…, Elliot, vol. 3 (51)

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on June 22, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion.  Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”

— Benjamin Rush (On the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic, 1806)

Reference: Original Intent, Barton (153); original Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosohpical, Rush (8)

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on June 19, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“The state governments have a full superintendence and control over the immense mass of local interests of their respective states,
which connect themselves with the feelings, the affections,the municipal institutions, and the internal arrangements of the whole population. They possess, too, the immediate administration of justice in all cases, civil and criminal, which concern the property, personal rights, and peaceful pursuits of their own citizens.”

— Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 191.

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on June 15, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have past at home in the bosom of my family.”

— Thomas Jefferson (letter to Francis Willis Jr., 18 April 1790)

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on June 12, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice.  Every shilling which they overburden the inferior number is a shilling saved to their own pockets.”

— James Madison (Federalist No. 10, 23 November 1787)

Reference: Madison, Federalist No. 10

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on June 8, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm… But what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity.”

— James Madison (Federalist No. 46, 29 January 1788)

Reference: The Federalist

Creation Museum Part 2

Posted in Christ and Culture,History,Origins by sosipater on May 31, 2007

I want to make a follow up post to my original creation museum post found here.  There is a great article in the Salon about the museum.  Not great because the writer was a Christian, or even believed anything proposed at the museum, but great because the writer exposed a couple of things and, seems to me, didn’t even know it.  Let me give you a couple of examples.

In the next scene, after the fall from grace, Adam and Eve, looking far less happy than before, are standing next to two lambs they have slaughtered on a sacrificial stone table. The sacrifice has a practical value — the original couple are now wearing lambskin suits and the lambs are skinless — and a spiritual one; the lambs are sacrificed, a visitor explains to me, in partial payment for the debt incurred by Adam and Eve for eating the fruit of knowledge. I tell the visitor it seems unfair for the lamb to pay for their mistake. “Well, it wasn’t enough,” he says. “God had to send his only Son to pay the ultimate price for their sin.” When I tell him that sounds kind of extreme, he looks at me and shakes his head slowly a couple of times before moving on.

Gordy (the article’s author) is exactly right, Jesus Christ dying on the cross was extreme!  Don’t you think the sinless son of God paying the penalty for sinners is extreme?  Gordy, its called extreme love.  And it makes me want to make much of a God who loves that much.

Next,

After the flood, Noah’s descendants multiply again on Earth, but not quickly or broadly enough to satisfy God, who then introduces a slew of new languages to drive people apart, resulting in their dispersal around the globe. The ensuing C-for-Confusion theme is represented through a gritty and menacing back alley postered with newspaper headlines about the rise in abortion, drug use, homosexuality and teen suicide.

The entire exhibit, in fact, is awfully grim. A montage slide show of fetuses, starving kids, swastikas, tourniquet-bound arms ready for the needle bombard the wall in a room with a soundtrack of blaring sirens, boots marching in unison, and crying kids.

Perhaps some of us need a “grim” reminder of the fact that evil and sin reign in the hearts of man, and that the only thing that can do anything about it is the extreme sacrifice of Jesus.  Really good article, I recommend it.  I would love to hear what you think, and what else you would have told Gordy Slack (is that a cool name or what?)

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on May 14, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“To prevent crimes, is the noblest end and aim of criminal jurisprudence.  To punish them, is one of the means necessary for the accomplishment of this noble end and aim.”– James Wilson (Of the Study of the Law in the United States, Circa 1790)Reference: The Works of James Wilson, McCloskey, ed., vol. 1 (441-43) [Sheehan (5:14)]

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on April 23, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary.  If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.  In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed;
and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”

— James Madison (Federalist No. 51, 8 February 1788)

Reference: Madison, Federalist No. 51.

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on April 17, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“A dying man can do nothing easy.”

— Benjamin Franklin (after his daughter asked him to move, 17 April 1790)

Reference: The Life of Franklin, Sparks, vol. 1 (531)

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on March 22, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.”

— John Marshall (McCullough v. Maryland, 1819)

Reference: Mccullough v. Maryland, 17 US 316 (1819)

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on March 21, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their, own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”

— Thomas Jefferson (letter to Abigail Adams, 11 September 1804)

Reference: Original Intent, Barton (265-66); original Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, From the Papers of Thomas Jefferson

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on March 16, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth – and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this
the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things
which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

— Patrick Henry (speech in the Virginia Convention, 23 March 1775)

Reference: resp. quoted

QOD

Posted in Government & Politics,History by sosipater on March 12, 2007

Founders’ Quote Daily

“Since private and publick Vices, are in Reality, though not always apparently, so nearly connected, of how much Importance, how necessary is it, that the utmost Pains be taken by the Publick, to have the Principles of Virtue early inculcated on the Minds even of children, and the moral Sense kept alive, and that the wise institutions of our Ancestors for these great Purposes be encouraged by the Government. For no people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.”

— Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 4 November 1775)

Reference: Our Sacred Honor, Bennett, 261.

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