Christianity and American Law

Are Americans prepared for the wholesale rejection of Christianity?

[This article is based on an article in Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, August 2005, pp. 67–73]

By Don Ruhl

In the Western World, especially in America, the Bible formed our laws and democracy. Does anyone want to see the western nations, including America, fall under a menacing dictator who takes away our rights, and who persecutes the church?

Knowing that we enjoy freedom, we have to restore the biblical foundations of our society, especially our government. God expects us to grant to each other certain rights, and that belief led the founding fathers of America and other nations to form what is commonly known as democracy, or what really is better termed a republic.

Rights, Freedoms, and Christianity 

Spiritual hosts of wickedness work without ceasing to silence God in public, to remove any remnants of the Bible from society, and to limit the influence of the church, including in America. Yet, they know not what they do. If they succeed, they shall remove the very thing that gave them their freedoms and rights!

Before the spread of Christianity in the world, individual rights did not exist, except in ancient Israel. In cultures where the people and the government do not know the Bible, there is oppression, and no individual rights or freedoms, because the government, especially the head of the government, believes he is God. That happens when humans believe that they are accountable to no one.

Yet, the Scriptures show that the government, even the head of state, is under the law. Deuteronomy 17 commanded a radical idea for Israel. The world did not know such an idea, explained in this passage. Where governments ignore the Bible, the government and its head will balk at what is written here. They will do whatever they can to suppress such an idea as this, “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel” (De. 17:18–20). Keeping his own copy of the Scriptures, when few owned copies the way we do today, prevented him from oppressing others, keeping him humble before God and his brethren.

The Bible supports individual rights. The right to own land (Ru. 4:6); the right to be a child of God (Jn. 1:12); and the right to life and its enjoyments (1Co. 9:4, 12) are just some of rights supported in the Scriptures.

Listen to the wording of the Declaration of Independence, remembering that what it says prompted the writing of the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights. America formally and publicly declared her independence from England and declared her dependence upon God. We remember the first declaration. We forget the second declaration. Before our founding fathers listed the indictment against King George III of Great Britain, they referred to God, saying, “…the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God…all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights…” After listing the indictment, they concluded, “We, therefore, the Representatives…appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

“Supreme Judge of the World,” implies someone greater than America, for He is over the world. “A firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence,” implies God is greater than America, because she needs His protection. Those are the kind of sentiments we read in the Bible.

With the current mindset in the principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, do you think they would word the Declaration of Independence the same way today?

Law and Liberty Are Friends 

James wrote in the first chapter of his letter, that law provides liberty, referring to “the perfect law of liberty” (Ja. 1:25). In the 19th Psalm, David showed what the law of God does to a soul. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul” (Ps. 19:7).

Give a group of people the law of the Lord and watch it transform that group or at least many in that group. Take away that law from the group and watch their degeneration.

Our Constitution guarantees liberty, yet, those working to force all biblical things from our culture will eventually see their own liberties disappear. Why do they think they can silence the church, but that the same forces will not silence the press? Both are protected in the Bill of Rights. Both are contained in the first amendment. If one goes down, why will the other not go down?

Yet, those fighting the church use the freedom of the press and freedom of speech to silence the church. The Bible says you reap as you sow.

American history and law are rooted in the belief that there is a higher law than human law. The Declaration of Independence affirmed this very thing and that thinking conceived our Constitution! Man’s law, such as the Constitution, does not allow God’s law to exist, but God’s law allows man’s law to exist. If you take away the greater, what happens to the lesser?

Christianity declared, as Galatians 3 and Colossians 3 show, that all people stand equal before God. Everyone has an equal chance to become a child of God. That belief transformed minds to think that we all have rights. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Ga. 3:28). “…where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Co. 3:11). That came from the mind of God, not the mind of man.

Christianity declared, as Isaiah 10 shows, that God’s laws benefit society. Isaiah 10 speaks against unjust laws, but notice why. “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, who write misfortune, which they have prescribed to rob the needy of justice, and to take what is right from the poor of My people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless” (Is. 10:1, 2). Thus, the opposite of this passage teaches that God’s laws are designed to help people. His laws, which we have adopted, give the needy justice, and give what is right to the poor of God’s people.

Therefore, let the church teach the Bible freely and openly in a nation, and a tyrant or a tyrannical government shall not rise its head. This is why the first amendment in the Bill of Rights says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” All of that prevents tyranny. Interestingly, the first amendment mentions religion first. The religious read the Bible. Those who read the Bible think. Dictators do not want a population that thinks.

God Wants Government 

Genesis 9 announces God’s intention for one of the main duties of government. God orders the death of murderers. Genesis 9 shows that the death penalty is based on the idea that the victim was created in the image of God, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (Ge. 9:6). Human life is precious. Therefore, God commands us to love our neighbor, and to do countless good works for him. Our laws have had respect for this truth, but silence the Scriptures and watch what happens. Human life is so precious that he who takes the life of another forfeits his own right to life.

Romans 13 comments further upon the necessary role of government. The Bible here teaches us to respect the government. Yet, it also teaches that the government has a job to do, “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. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 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. 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” (Ro. 13:1–4).

Evolution Destroys Law 

When governments accept the teachings of evolution, they see their right to govern through force and domination. They seek to rule for their own pleasure rather than for the benefit of the population. What happens when people no longer see each as images of God, but as images of animals? Watch the all-powerful state grow its ugly head, just as in ancient times with Empires revealed in the Bible. That state believes it has the power to determine what is right. At that time, the government does not believe it answers to a higher law or a power greater than itself.

However, we observe nature and know that there are laws greater than the laws of man. The laws of nature do not care for the laws of man. The laws of nature will do as they please, regardless of who runs the government. The question is, who made those greater laws? If we finally get to the point of saying that it is God, then we also have to acknowledge that if He made natural laws, He also made moral and spiritual laws. Here is why. Natural laws mirror moral and spiritual laws.

Yet, when people abandon the rule of law revealed in the Scriptures, they do not abandon law altogether, but start to change the laws that had been based on the knowledge of God. People start to believe that they know better than God.

God’s Law Greater Than the State 

Man is not God. Moreover, man has sinned. Being a creature who is subject to laws and one that has sinned because he has broken laws, we cannot form the perfect laws. Without God, we do not know the way. “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Je. 10:23).

How can we deny the truth revealed in First Corinthians 1? Listen to man say the opposite is the truth, but watch man in action without God’s direction and you will see the truth of this passage, “…the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1Co. 1:25).

So then, do we want a merciful God making our laws or sinful man with his whims of wickedness?

Disobeying the Government 

God gives authority to people, but that does not give them license to abuse that authority. Ephesians 6 speaks a mild threat to those who abuse their authority. The threat is mild, but only because it makes an implication, but the implication is not mild, “…and you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him” (Ep. 6:9). Paul did not say it, but you know what he implied. Sometimes people use their God-given authority to abuse others or to ask us to violate God’s laws. When that happens we cannot listen to them, because we have to follow the higher lawgiver, who is God.

Pharaoh commanded the midwives to throw the Israelites boys into the water, “But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive” (Ex. 1:17). Nebuchadnezzar made a great image for people to worship, but three Jews did not do it. “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Da. 3:16–18). The King of Persia made a decree that no one could pray to any god, except to the king; yet, “when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Da. 6:10). The Jewish Council told the apostles not to preach anymore, “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’” (Ac. 4:19, 20). It happened again, and the Council threatened and beat the apostles, “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’” (Ac. 5:29).

In each case, God’s people willingly suffered the consequences for civil disobedience. God has given governments to us, and we cannot use the preceding examples to justify rebellion or anything else along those lines when it is not called for.

A professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, Paul L. Maier has said, “…no other religion, philosophy, teaching, nation, movement—whatever—has so changed the world for the better as Christianity has done.” Contrariwise, when everyone does what is right in his own eyes all kinds of weird things happen, as the latter chapters of the Book of Judges show.

People may speak against Christianity. They may seek to be free of it. Yet, the very freedom promoted by Christianity allows them to do those things. When Christianity disappears, so will their rights to do as they please. To keep that from happening, do what your Creator pleases. He wants you to follow His Son Jesus Christ.

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2 thoughts on “Christianity and American Law

  1. Don,

    “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also”. John 15: 20.


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